Thursday, July 02, 2015

A bad omen?

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.

Genesis 9: 12-15

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination

Leviticus 18:22

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men

1 Corinthians 6:9


Greece has a far-Leftist government


Mean priorities

On Friday my phone was blowing up with messages, asking if I’d seen the news. Some expressed disbelief at the headlines. Many said they were crying.

None of them were talking about the dozens of people gunned down in Sousse, Tunisia, by a man who, dressed as a tourist, had hidden his Kalashnikov inside a beach umbrella. Not one was crying over the beheading in a terrorist attack at a chemical factory near Lyon, France. The victim’s head was found on a pike near the factory, his body covered with Arabic inscriptions. And no Facebook friends mentioned the first suicide bombing in Kuwait in more than two decades, in which 27 people were murdered in one of the oldest Shiite mosques in the country.

They were talking about the only news that mattered: gay marriage.

Unlike President Obama, I have always been a staunch supporter of gay marriage, and I cheered the Supreme Court’s ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. But as happy as I was, I was equally upset on Friday—and not just with the Islamists who carried out those savage attacks.

Moral relativism has become its own, perverse form of nativism among those who stake their identity on being universalist and progressive.

How else to explain the lack of outrage for the innocents murdered on the beach, while vitriol is heaped on those who express any shred of doubt about the Supreme Court ruling? How else to make sense of the legions of social-justice activists here at home who have nothing to say about countries where justice means flogging, beheading or stoning?

How else to understand those who have dedicated their lives to creating safe spaces for transgender people, yet issue no news releases about gender apartheid in an entire region of the world? How else to justify that at the gay-pride celebrations this weekend in Manhattan there is unlikely to be much mention of the gay men recently thrown off buildings in Syria and Iraq, their still-warm bodies desecrated by mobs?

It is increasingly eerie to live in this split-screen age. Earlier this week I received an email from a progressive Jewish organization about how Judaism teaches “that the preservation of human dignity is important enough to justify overriding our sacred mitzvot.” The rest of the email was about respecting dignity by using preferred gender pronouns.

On my other computer screen, I looked at a photograph of five men in orange jumpsuits, their legs bound. They were trapped like dogs inside a metal cage and hanging above a pool of water. They were drawing their final breaths before their Islamic State captors lowered the cage into the pool and they drowned together.

What was that about human dignity?

The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter. It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face.

You can’t get married if you’re dead.



Scott Walker leads the charge again

Wisconsin unions Monday are once again attacking Republican Gov. Scott Walker, this time over a proposed budget that may result in cuts to tenure for state college professors.

With the upcoming budget session, the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee is expected to propose a plan to reform the University of Wisconsin System. While it is not yet finalized, unions warn the plan will cut $250 million in funding and will remove academic protections for professors such as teacher tenure.

This latest union battles comes at the heels of a likely announcement Walker will run for president. With his previous labor reforms, unions will likely become one of his main advisories.

“Today’s move by JFC Republicans to pay for Scott Walker’s tax breaks for his wealthy donors by slashing public education is shameful,” Eleni Schirmer, co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, said in a statement. “These cuts will devastate a UW System that has already been cut to the bone and beyond in previous years.”

Richard Leson, an associate professor of art history and president of Local 3535 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), also argues the plan will have devastating consequences.

“The UW System has a long, rich tradition of encouraging research and learning free from political pressure, serving as a model for the rest of the country,” Leson said in a statement. “Our strong history of academic freedom through faculty tenure has protected education in the UW System from political conflict and corruption for decades, ensuring that higher learning in Wisconsin can pursue the truth wherever it might lead.”

A spokesman for Joint Finance Committee, however, notes the plan is not set in stone. The spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the plan still needs to be finalized by the committee after which point it will move onto the Senate and House. The plan could be amended by lawmakers in either chamber. If it passes the legislature, it will then be up to Walker to decide whether to sign it into law but the end result may look drastically different from the original plan.

As the budget plan is written at the moment, it doesn’t even remove tenure like some unions are claiming. As the committee spokesman detailed, the proposal only transfers authority on tenure to the Board of Regents which is already in charge overseeing community colleges in the state. The board could cut tenure, keep it the same or change it in other ways.

“In order to create an authority, the Governor’s original budget proposal removed all references to tenure and shared governance state statute in order to allow for the proposed authority to create its own policies,” Laurel Patrick, press secretary for Walker, told TheDCNF. “This would allow the UW Board of Regents to address the issue of tenure going forward.”

Though unions are blaming Walker, the proposed budget was approved by members of the committee and was not proposed by the governor. Walker, though, has become a go to target for unions because of his efforts to reform labor policy in the state during his first term.

The reforms, known as Act 10, significantly changed the collective bargaining process for most public employees within the state. It also required public unions to hold a renewal vote every couple of years to determine if workers still wanted them. Labor unions and supporters adamantly opposed the law and even tried to get Walker thrown out of office.

Republicans in the legislature went a step further in the past year when they passed a law which banned mandatory union dues as a condition of employment. Though Walker wasn’t directly involved in creating the measure, unions blamed him anyways.

“It’s worth noting that the reforms included in Act 10 eliminated requirements for seniority and tenure in schools,” Patrick continued. “Many of the critics claiming these changes will cause harm are the same types of voices who said public education would be harmed because of our Act 10 reforms. Today, graduation rates are up, third grade reading scores are up, and ACT scores are second best in the country.”



The Formal End to Judeo-Christian America

By Dennis Prager

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the redefinition of marriage seals the end of America as the Founders envisioned it.

From well before 1776 until the second half of the 20th century, the moral values of the United States were rooted in the Bible and its God.

Unlike Europe, which defined itself as exclusively Christian, America became the first Judeo-Christian society. The American Founders were Christians — either theologically or culturally — but they were rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Even Americans who could not affirm traditional Christian or Jewish theology affirmed the centrality of God to ethics. Americans, from the Founders on, understood that without God, there is no moral truth, only moral opinion — and assumed that those truths were to be gleaned from the Bible more than anywhere else.

Beginning with the Supreme Court’s ban on nondenominational school prayer in 1962, the same-sex marriage decision has essentially completed the state’s secularization of American society. This is one thing about which both right and left, religious and secular, can agree. One side may rejoice over the fact, and the other may weep, but it is a fact.

And what has replaced Judaism, Christianity, Judeo-Christian values and the Bible?

The answer is: feelings. More and more Americans rely on feelings to make moral decisions. The heart has taken the place of the Bible.

Years ago, I recorded an interview with a Swedish graduate student. I began by asking her whether she believed in God. Of course not. Did she believe in religion? Of course not.

“Where, then, do you get your notion of right and wrong?” I asked.

“From my heart,” she responded.

That is why five members of the Supreme Court have redefined marriage. They consulted their hearts.

That is understandable. Any religious conservative who does not acknowledge homosexuals' historic persecution or does not understand gays who desire to marry lacks compassion.

But let’s be honest. This lack of compassion is more than matched by the meanness expressed by the advocates of same-sex marriage. They have rendered those who believe that marriage should remain a man-woman institution the most vilified group in America today.

It is the heart — not the mind, not millennia of human experience, nor any secular or religious body of wisdom — that has determined that marriage should no longer be defined as the union of a man and a woman.

It is the heart, not the mind, that has concluded that gender has no significance. That is the essence of the Brave New World being ushered in. For the first time in recorded history, whole societies are announcing that gender has no significance. Same-sex marriage is, above all else, the statement that male and female mean nothing, are completely interchangeable, and, yes, don’t even objectively exist, because you are only the gender you feel you are. That explains the “T” in “LGBT.” The case for same-sex marriage is dependent on the denial of sexual differences.

It is the heart, not the mind, that has concluded that all a child needs is love, not a father and mother.

And therein lies one of the reasons that the notion of obedience to religion is so loathed by the cultural left. Biblical Judaism and Christianity repeatedly dismiss the heart as a moral guide.

Moreover, the war to replace God, Judeo-Christian values and the Bible as moral guides is far from over. What will this lead to?

Here are three likely scenarios:

Becoming more and more like Western Europe, which has more or less created the first godless and religion-less societies in history. Among the consequences are less marriage and the birth of far fewer children.

More and more ostracizing — eventually outlawing — of religious Jews and Christians, clergy, and institutions that refuse to perform same-sex weddings.

An America increasingly guided by people’s hearts.

If you trust the human heart, you should feel confident about the future. If you don’t, you should be scared. Judeo-Christian values have made America, despite its flaws, uniquely free and prosperous and the greatest force for good in the world. Without those values, all of that will change.



Some Liberties Are More Equal Than Others

One day before the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage, ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling wrote of the organization’s newly announced hostility to Christians and religious liberty, specifically regarding its withdrawal of support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “The ACLU supported the RFRA’s passage at the time because it didn’t believe the Constitution, as newly interpreted by the Supreme Court, would protect people … whose religious expression does not harm anyone else. But we can no longer support the law in its current form.

For more than 15 years, we have been concerned about how the RFRA could be used to discriminate against others. As the events of the past couple of years amply illustrate, our fears were well-founded. While the RFRA may serve as a shield to protect [some], it is now often used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people and others. … Yes, religious freedom needs protection. But religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others.”

It’s not exactly surprising that the ACLU would find a way to oppose such laws once Christians found refuge in them. But this is an organization that has gone to bat for the KKK and the American Nazi Party. And the irony is too much: Melling decries the imposition of views while having no problem with homosexuals forcing bakers, photographers and florists to provide their services against their consciences. Now that the Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, more imposition and discrimination will occur. And the ACLU will be leading the charge. Because “love wins,” right?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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