Friday, September 29, 2006

Marquette Tribute Following the Lead of The Warrior?

Both The Marquette Tribune and The Warrior came out yesterday.

The striking thing: the Tribune seems to be following the lead of The Warrior in putting a feature story on the front page, above the fold.

And in full color.

The Warrior has done this for several issues now.

The Warrior has a long feature, written by Diana Sroka, about a Marquette sophomore who is an unwed mother, struggling with the demands of school, working long hours and caring for her 2-year-old daughter.

The Tribune likewise ran a story, written by Phil Caruso, about Marquette ROTC students in their Field Training Exercise at Fort McCoy. It, like the Warrior feature, has large color photos splashed all over.

We haven’t asked the Tribune staff whether they are following the lead of the Warrior. We doubt that they have any such explicit policy, and the feature story they ran yesterday may be partly the result of a week that has been slow for real news. But we wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the Tribune staff has noticed the success of the Warrior formula.

The Warrior, by the way, seems to get better and better. The long-term success of any “alternative” student paper is always in doubt. But some of them do get enough visibility, credibility and advertiser base to become viable long-term fixtures of campus life.

Founded explicitly as a conservative alternative to the liberal Tribune, The Warrior has leaned to the right (featurning columnists like Daniel Suhr and Robert Fafinski), but also allowed considerable diversity of opinion (such as an anti-concealed carry essay by Mike Rudzinski and a Letter to the Editor defending heretical theologian Dan Maguire’s right to teach at Marquette, both in the current issue).

Of course, the paper has a fair amount of non-ideological news of interest to students, cultural coverage.

The question is: when the current cadre of staffers leaves Marquette, will the paper be an attractive enough project to attract new blood? That’s becoming more likely with each issue.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Congress Protects Rights Of Parents on Abortion Issue

From Christianity Today:
The Child Custody Protection Act, which would make it illegal to transport minors seeking an abortion across state lines to avoid parental-consent laws, passed the Senate 65-34 on July 25. The bill includes an exception if the minor’s life is in danger. An amendment to give clergy and grandparents the right to transport minors failed. President Bush has said he will sign the bill once differences are resolved between the Senate and the House, which has passed a version of the bill four times.
What about Marquette alumna Gwen Moore?

She voted against the measure.

Gosh, We Couldn’t Have That

Oshkosh Professor Approves Chavez Tirade

Liberal blogger Tony Palmeri teaches in the Communications School of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

While many liberals are distancing themselves from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez’ United Nations tirade against George Bush, Palmeri says what he thinks.

He quotes an intemperate essay attacking Bush as follows:
“. . . I think the difference between Chavez and most others even on the left is that Chavez is seeking to win, and we are instead seeking, as often as not, to avoid alienating pundits or to even appeal to them. We are seeking to avoid annoying anyone we like, or anyone we might like, or who might like us. We are seeking to avoid looking odd to anyone, or to avoid making a mistake, or to avoid seeming shrill and angry, or self serving, or passionate. And we need to transcend all that.”
Yes, the hate-Bush left needs to “transcend” civility and use the vile language that comes from their hearts.

We applaud that. We want it to be clear who the bigots are, and who the haters are.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Racial Discrimination in Journalism

From Frontpage Magazine:
When fifteen-year old Emily Smith applied to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Urban Journalism Workshop last April, she didn’t think her experience would become the basis for a new federal lawsuit designed to crack down on the illegal use of racial exclusions by colleges and universities.

But neither did she expect a phone call from one of the program directors inquiring about her race -- after she had been admitted to the program. When she said that she was “white,” the director immediately rescinded her acceptance. “I’m sorry,” she was told, “but you can’t come.”

It turned out that the Urban Journalism Workshop is one of dozens sponsored each year by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, a philanthropic arm of the publisher of the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Since it started the program in 1967, the Dow Jones Fund has required that participants be black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan native.

There was little way Emily could have known the program was racially segregated, since the application materials no where asked her to indicate her race. Moreover, it wasn’t until she received that phone call a few weeks before the program was to begin that she learned that the program discriminated on the basis of skin color. And so, while Emily Smith met every other requirement of the program (and even was accepted), she couldn’t attend solely because she was the wrong race.

Yesterday, Smith filed suit against VCU, the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Richmond Times Dispatch -- the three program sponsors. In addition, her suit names the individual officials responsible for establishing and operating the workshop in a plainly discriminatory manner. She is represented in this effort by my organization, the Center for Individual Rights, which has challenged racially exclusionary admissions policies at other public colleges, including most notably the University of Michigan.

Smith seeks a legal ruling that programs that exclude individuals solely because of their race and for no other reason are unconstitutional. Unlike racially preferential admissions policies in which race is one factor used to ensure classroom diversity, the Urban Journalism Workshop excludes individuals solely on the basis of race and without considering any other factor. Moreover, a 100% racial quota does not make the classroom more diverse -- it does just the reverse.

Most schools, including the likes of Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School, have ended race exclusive programs. And in February 2006, Southern Illinois University acceded to threatened legal action by the U.S. Department of Justice and entered into a consent decree obligating it to end several racially exclusive graduate programs.
It’s good to learn that the civil rights laws, which were intended to protect both whites and blacks from racial discrimination, actually work the way they were intended.

Of course, there are usually more subtle ways of discriminating.

Suppose a university department wants to hire a black professor? The first thing you do is put some code words in the advertisement. You ask for “African-American studies” as a field of expertise, or “Urban Studies” (“urban” was the code word in the workshop at VCU).

You then look for indications that the candidate in question is black. Having won a “minority scholarship” would do nicely.

But what if somebody slips through? Simple. You just refuse to hire them. Forget qualifications, they aren’t hired.

We know of one case where three candidates came for interviews for a “black studies” line (not at Marquette), and to the shock of the department doing the hiring, one of them was white!

They, of course, had to go through the motions of the interview process, but it was clear (except to the poor job candidate) that the whole thing was a sham.

Still, it’s good that particularly blatant examples of racial discrimination can be stopped.

Now American society needs to go after the more subtle ones.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

E-Mail to English Instructors: Use Clinton/Fox News Interview To Slip Political Issues Into Class

Following is an e-mail send by an M.A. student and Teaching Assistant in the Marquette English Department to all instructors of First Year English.
Subject: Rockstar material for class activities

Everybody:

Somebody should figure out a way to use Clinton’s recent slam on Chris Wallace/FOX. I just saw it and I’m inspired to incorporate it into Unit 2 (multiple perspectives stuff), and then I think I may return to it in Unit 4 to emphasize elements of argument. It’s an amazing piece of work, a great way of slipping important political issues into class. Even if you’re not inclined to do anything with it, you should watch it anyway. Below is a link to a page that will give you a bunch of different sites where you can view it on the net. Actually, now that I think of it, it might be interesting not only to analyze the broadcast itself, but to analyze it as it has been framed by the various machines that are offered on this site.

Anyway...

http://tailrank.com/579668/Clinton-Fox-News-Preview

Drop me a line, anybody, if you end up doing something successful with this.

PeaceintheMiddleEast,
Melissa
The video clip is described as “Clinton’s recent slam on Chris Wallace/FOX” rather than “Clinton losing his cool” or “Clinton goes ballistic.”

So the apparent idea is to use it to attack Fox News.

This conclusion is supported by strongly leftist slant of the English Department. The faculty almost unanimously opposed returning to the “Warriors” nickname for Marquette athletic teams, a position that only very liberal people take.

Of course, this e-mail isn’t from some faculty member, and much less from some faculty member with any authority over Teaching Assistants. So it’s not any sort of English Department policy.

But it does show that at least one English instructor wants to “slip important political issues into class” and believes that her cohorts are interested in doing the same thing.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Brits Toss 800 Year Precedent: Double Jeopardy Now Allowed

A news dispatch about a change in the criminal justice system in Britain that sounds earth shaking:
Double jeopardy law ushered out

A legal principle which prevents people being tried for the same crime twice has been scrapped in England and Wales.

The ban on “double jeopardy”, which has existed for around 800 years, took effect from Monday.

The Court of Appeal can now quash an acquittal and order a retrial when “new and compelling” evidence is produced.

Police plan to re-examine the case of 22-year-old Julie Hogg, who was murdered in a sex attack at her home in Billingham, Teesside, in November 1989.

Boyfriend Billy Dunlop was tried for the murder of the pizza delivery girl, but acquitted after the jury failed to reach a verdict on two separate occasions.

‘Deliver justice’

The change will apply retrospectively, so someone could face a second trial if evidence such as DNA material, new witnesses or a confession came to light.

A Home Office spokesman said: “It is important the public should have full confidence in the ability of the criminal justice system to deliver justice.

“This can be undermined if it is not possible to convict offenders for very serious crimes where there is strong and viable evidence of their guilt.”

Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald expects no more than “a handful” of cases to be brought a year.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: “There has to be new evidence which was not available at the time of the original trial.”
One’s first reaction is horror at the abrogation of a fundamental part of Anglo-Saxon law.

The restriction on double jeopardy was considered so important that has been enshrined in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The reality, in fact, has been less than pristine respect for the principle in the U.S. For example, the courts have ruled that the U.S. government and state governments are “two sovereignties, deriving power from different sources, capable of dealing with the same subject-matter within the same territory . . . Each government in determining what shall be an offense against its peace and dignity is exercising its own sovereignty, not that of the other.”

In practice, this has meant that one could be tried and acquitted by a state government, and then tried and convicted of the same crime by the U.S. government.

The police officers who beat Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 fell afoul of this quirk in the law.

While one has to have reservations about the abandonment of an 800 year old protection for civil liberties, in reality it’s of minor importance compared to (for example) professionalized police forces, well-trained judges, a free press to publicize abuses, and such.

Certainly, certain aspects of the U.S. justice system such as the Miranda warning and the exclusionary rule can’t be considered sacrosanct either, especially since both were imposed by the Supreme Court, and are nowhere in the Constitution.

Contradictory Arguments From the Pro-Gay Marriage Crowd

From Patrick McIlheran, some observations about the fundamental incoherence (is “dishonesty” too strong a word?) of the pro-gay marriage crowd.
What is complicated is the way those favoring gay marriage must reconcile two arguments they’re making about the amendment’s core, the woman-and-man thing.

. . . their chief argument is that the amendment is bad because we’ve already banned gay marriage, so you needn’t worry about there ever being two-husband families. And it’s also bad because it bans gay marriage, denying civil rights.

That is, the amendment will stop gay marriage, which isn’t going to happen anyhow so don’t bother passing the amendment to stop it because it should be allowed.

The amendment’s foes are banking that people who want things to stay as they are can be persuaded to stand pat.

Only they’d be standing on a conveyor belt. Saying the amendment takes away a right that everybody acknowledges does not yet exist implies the right is nonetheless expected.

And so it is: Gay-marriage advocates have been tirelessly arguing in courts to have marriage’s definition changed to include them. As they assure voters that statutes have settled the matter, they ask courts to overturn those statutes, imposing a social revolution the people never would have voted for.
The truth is that the effect of the amendment will be less legal than political.

Passing it will be a way of saying to activist liberal judges (including judges out of state) “don‘t legalize gay marriage by judicial fiat.”

Failure to pass the amendment will be interpreted by activist liberal judges everywhere to mean “opposition to gay marriage is softening. Feel free to go ahead and legislate it.”

Sunday, September 24, 2006

California Library Discriminates Against Christians

It’s not at all surprising in California.

A public library in Contra Costa County has a public meeting room. It has routinely allowed all kinds of organizations to hold all kinds of meetings there, but outlawed a worship service.
Contra Costa County did not intrude on religious freedom when it barred a church from holding prayer services in a meeting room of the Antioch library, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in a case that drew arguments from the Bush administration in support of the church.

In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that the Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries had the right to hold religious discussions in a room that was open to other community groups, but that the county could prohibit it from conducting worship services.

“The county has a legitimate interest in ... excluding meeting room activities that may interfere with the library’s primary function as a sanctuary for reading, writing and quiet contemplation,” and in preventing the room from being “transformed into an occasional house of worship,” Judge Richard Paez said in the majority opinion.

He acknowledged that there may be little difference between prayer services and other types of meetings by religious groups in some cases, and said judges and government agencies are not competent to make such distinctions. But in this case, Paez said, Faith Center itself described its planned library gathering as one for “praise and worship.”

Judge Richard Tallman stressed the same issue in his dissenting opinion. “Separating religious worship from other religious speech inevitably leads to state entanglement in religion” and is beyond the government’s authority, he said.

The Bush administration entered the case on the side of the church, arguing last fall that barring worship services, while allowing social and political groups to meet at the library, would violate the religious group’s freedom of expression.

“Religious worship is also communicative,” the Justice Department said in its brief. “Hymns and prayers are expressions among believers, and to observers, of their common faith.”

A lawyer for Faith Center said he would appeal Wednesday’s ruling.

“The effect of this decision is to treat Christians and all religious people, who might want to worship in an otherwise public meeting room in a public library, as second-class citizens,” said attorney Gary McCaleb of the Alliance Defense Fund.

But Deputy County Counsel Kelly Flanagan said the county was concerned that allowing prayer services in a public building would amount to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

“We think a library and a church are different things and should stay different,” Flanagan said.

Meeting rooms at the Antioch library, at 501 West 18th St., have been used by community and political groups, including the Sierra Club and a local Democratic Party chapter. The county initially banned all religious activities in the rooms, but, after Faith Center filed suit, modified the exclusion in December 2004 to prohibit only religious services.
Of course, a library and a political meeting house are different things too. Yet the library is quite happy to be a political meeting house.

This is nothing more nor less than discrimination against Christians, in a liberal California county.

And it was approved by the same liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals what said the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional.

But Keep Doing It Anyway

Gas Prices: Just Who Are the Anti-Science Fundamentalists?

After months of demagoguery from politicians about how the evil oil companies are fixing prices, gas prices have come down.

Driving to South Milwaukee this morning, we saw two gas stations selling basic unleaded at $2.299 per gallon. We saw the same price in Shorewood this evening.

If the oil companies can manipulate the price upward, to pad their profit margins, why would they would let the price decline and settle for less profit?

But the demagogues have a fallback position.

They claim it’s just the fact that an election is coming up. Supposedly, the oil companies want the Republicans to win, and are holding down the price to help them.

Of course, since prices are low right now, we would not be surprised to see them go up after the election. But then, likely, they will go down again.

And the demagogues will have some ad hoc explanation about how the scheming oil companies decided to do all that.

In reality, there has never been (at least since the heyday of the Standard Oil monopoly a century ago) any real proof of price fixing.

Donald A. Nichols, a Madison economist who is a political liberal, has pointed out the following:
The historic markup between crude costs and gasoline prices has been in the range of 80 or 90 cents to the gallon. This includes the costs of taxes, marketing and distribution. . . .

Taxes are about 42 cents a gallon on average, 50 cents a gallon in Wisconsin. 18 cents of these taxes are Federal. This means that about 43 cents of the 85 cent differential between crude and gasoline is the cost of refining and distribution, which shows that this has been a quite competitive industry.
The only major disruption of this relationship has been Hurricane Katrina, which knocked offline a large part of the nation’s refining capacity.

We find it interesting that secular liberals ridicule Christian fundamentalists for not believing in evolution.

What are we to say about liberal fundamentalists who refuse to believe in supply and demand? Not understanding natural processes, they believe in Intelligent Design, not from a Divine Intelligence, but rather from the evil oil executives.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Environmentalists vs. the World’s Poor

From the Rocky Mountain News, a seasoned reporter on a shocking discovery:
. . . in my more recent journalism, I have discovered there is a new threat to miners, their families and their wider communities.

This threat is not from cigar-sucking, champagne-swilling robber barons. Mining is now one of the most regulated businesses in the world. Banks will not lend to, insurance companies will not cover and governments will not give licenses to companies that want to open unsafe or polluting mines.

Instead I have discovered that the biggest threat to miners and their families comes from upper-class Western environmentalists.

The discovery has been particularly shocking because at heart I have always been an environmentalist. I want to protect the planet for future generations. I want to ensure that industry cleans up its messes and does more good than harm.

My admiration for environmentalists started to decline when I was lucky enough to be posted to Romania as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times. There I covered a campaign by Western environmentalists against a proposed mine at Rosia Montana in the Transylvania region of the country.

It was the usual story. The environmentalists told how Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company, was going to pollute the environment and forcibly resettle locals before destroying a pristine wilderness.

But when I went to see the village for myself I found that almost everything the environmentalists were saying about the project was misleading, exaggerated or quite simply false.

Rosia Montana was already a heavily polluted village because of the 2,000 years of mining in the area. The mining company actually planned to clean up the existing mess.

And the locals, rather than being forcibly resettled as the environmentalists claimed, were queuing up to sell their decrepit houses to the company which was paying well over the market rate.

It was surprising that environmentalists would lie, but the most shocking part was yet to come. As I spoke to the Western environmentalists it quickly emerged that they wanted to stop the mine because they felt that development and prosperity will ruin the rural “idyllic” lifestyle of these happy peasants.

This “lifestyle” includes 70 percent unemployment, two-thirds of the people having no running water and using an outhouse in winters where the temperature can plummet to 20 degrees below zero centigrade.

One environmentalist (foreign of course) tried to persuade me that villagers actually preferred riding a horse and cart to driving a car.

Of course the Rosia Montana villagers wanted a modern life - just like the rest of us. They wanted indoor bathrooms and the good schools and medical care that the large investment would bring.

When I left the Financial Times, the plight of these villagers never really left me. I have come across a lot of tragedies and hard-luck stories as a journalist, but I had never covered a situation where the solution to poverty is being opposed by educated Westerners who think that people really are “poor but happy.”
We have seen this exact attitude among some of our left-leaning students, and they have gotten it from their left-leaning professors or left-leaning parents.

It basically involves the desire to use the lives of poor people to serve their own anti-western, anti-capitalist and anti-materialist sensibilities. They would rather see poor people live in squalor than see the advance of capitalism.

Better Watch What You Say

Friday, September 22, 2006

Questionable Solicitation Tactics from the Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Our office phone just rang, and we picked up to hear a recorded female voice say “someone left this message for you.”

Then the voice of an actor came on, identifying himself as Ebenezer Scrooge and offering a discount on the Milwaukee Repertory Theater production of “A Christmas Carol.”

There was only one problem with this: the female was lying.

We know how our voice mail works. We never just get rung up with a voice mail message. A light on our phone goes on, and we get the message when we want to.

Of course, if we assume that nobody ever answers their phone, the female voice would be making a true statement. But some people do.

One might also claim that, since the actor is lying claiming to be Ebenezer Scrooge, why not have an actress claiming to be some sort of phone attendant? The problem is that everybody knows that “Ebenezer Scrooge” is an actor, but the intention seems to be to mislead people about the phone attendant.

This is not a big deal, but why lie? The product is of quite high quality -- if quite pricy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sleazy Doyle Campaign Tactic Highlights Dangers of Finance Reform

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jim Doyle is still running, as of this evening, TV ads claiming that Republican Mark Green “laundered dirty money” in violation of Wisconsin campaign finance laws.

This is about the most cynical and shameless tactic we have seen.

In review, a little chronology:

  • In 2001, Democrat Tom Barrett, former Congressman, transfers money from his “federal account” (were it would be used had he wanted to run for Congress again) to his “state account” (where he could use it to run for mayor of Milwaukee). This had the explicit approval of the State Elections Board.
  • Republican Gubernatorial candidate Mark Green, wanting to do the same thing Barrett did, asked the Elections Board whether this would be acceptable, and got a letter from the Board’s staff accepting the transfer.
  • In January, 2005, Green transferred the money.
  • The day after the transfer, the Elections Board met, and in a party line vote passed a rule making it illegal to transfer money the way Green did. And it made the rule retroactive to apply it to Green’s transfer.
Green, of course, refused to return the money, and promised to take the Elections Board to court.

At this point, Doyle attacked, accusing Green of breaking the law in keeping his “dirty money.”

Even the liberal Journal-Sentinel sided with Green, calling the decision “rank partisanship.”

But It Gets Worse

The Journal-Sentinel reported today that Mike Maistelman, an attorney for Doyle’s campaign, was giving marching orders to Democratic members of the Elections Board.
A lawyer for Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s campaign repeatedly lobbied three Democratic members of the State Elections Board before they voted with the majority to order Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green to divest $467,844 in donations from out-of-state political action committees, records show.

Attorney Michael S. Maistelman bluntly told Democratic Party members of the board he contacted why they should publicly sanction or punish the Green campaign, according to documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel under the state’s open records law.

“Even if this ends up in Court it is a PR victory for us since it makes Green spend money and have to defend the use of his Washington DC dirty money,” Maistelman said in a 9:31 a.m. e-mail one day before the vote. He sent the message to Carl Holborn and Kerry Dwyer, board members appointed by Democratic leaders of the Legislature.

Holborn, Dwyer and another Democratic appointee, Robert Kasieta, were part of a five-vote majority that gave Green’s campaign 10 days to divest itself of $467,844 in donations from political action committees not registered in Wisconsin - an order the Green campaign will fight in a Dane County courtroom today.
Note the stunning cynicism of the “PR victory” language.

This is not about enforcing the law. It’s about election tactics.

The Broader Lessons

It’s easy to deplore all this but let’s, for a moment, look at the broader issues.

When government controls campaign finances, these sorts of antics are unavoidable.

It’s easy to say that we merely need to make the Elections Board “nonpartisan.” But that’s easier said that done. The U.S. Supreme Court, remember, is supposed to be “nonpartisan.”

Campaign finance laws are not enacted by a bevy of Platonic guardians. They are enacted by politicians who can be expected to protect their own interests.

And, this fiasco reminds us, those who administer campaign finance laws are not a bevy of Platonic guardians either.

So defining campaign finance rules becomes just another battle in the political war.

And one wins the battle not by going to the people and making a case, but by impeding one’s opponent’s ability to go to the people and make a case.

Thus the net effect of campaign finance reform is to move the important battles out of the democratic arena, and have them fought by lawyers in courts.

Hurry, Popeye!

Philosophy Department Censorship in the Marquette Tribune

The Marquette Tribune, which didn’t see fit to treat the censorship of a Philosophy graduate student’s door posting as a news story, did run our Op-Ed piece today.

We first covered the story on September 8.

In the Op-Ed piece, we discussed what we think is most relevant about this, which is the replacement of traditional liberals with 60s leftists in faculty positions.
Academia has long leaned to the left politically, but until the last generation or so, it was dominated by traditional liberals. These liberals prided themselves on “tolerance.”

Of course, liberals can be as intolerant as anybody else, but traditional liberals claimed to be tolerant, tried to be tolerant, and when cornered often would be tolerant.

But this has changed. Increasingly, during the last generation, academia has seen the rise of ‘60s leftism as the dominant ideology.

Marquette has been, happily, “behind the times” on this, but unfortunately, we are catching up.

The problem is not so much the children of the ‘60s (few in number at Marquette and well into their 50s) as the grandchildren of the ‘60s — trained by children of the ‘60s in Ph.D. programs and coming to constitute a critical mass in several Marquette departments.
We then recounted the details of the case, and concluded.
Thus ‘60s leftists and their spiritual children (and grandchildren) think themselves free to ban any sort of speech they think “offensive” or “hate speech” or “against human rights.”

And of course, they think they are the ones who get to define what is “offensive” or “hate speech” or “against human rights.”

Traditional liberals are people you can talk to and disagree with. ‘60s leftists are people convinced that no discussion is needed, indeed that discussion is dangerous, and that if you disagree with them you should be shut up.
We didn’t add, due to space limitations, the fact that this culture has penetrated into student organizations such as the Marquette Gay/Straight Alliance.

It’s a bitter irony, really: universities have become islands of intolerance in the sea of a generally tolerant American society.

Facing the Religion of Peace

What the Pope Was Really Doing

A new faculty blog at Marquette, from Theologian Mark F. Johnson, has a sophisticated but accessible account of the lecture in which the Pope quoted those words that have the Islamic world in turmoil.

Our readers won’t be surprised to learn that the quote that caused so much offense among Muslims was not the point of the lecture, but merely a rhetorical foil which the Pope used to move on to discussing the nature of faith and reason.

Johnson’s conclusion:
No one should take offense at the Pope’s robust confidence in true reason, as expressed by his Regensburg speech.
We live, of course, in an age of professional grievance mongers, some of them in the Muslim world. People committed to reason should be willing to face them down and say “shame!” when they take offense at reasonable arguments.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blog Roundup: The Pope & Islam

From Christianity Today, a roundup of blog comments on the Pope’s comments on Islam, and the reaction in the Islamic world.
The Muslim world is outraged by Pope Benedict’s criticism of “violent conversion” and references to the siege of Constantinople. A lawmaker from the Turkish ruling party said Benedict’s speech on the universality of reason “looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades” and that Benedict “is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini.” Pakistan’s parliament unanimously condemned the Pope and his remarks. In Srinagar, India, a group of Muslims burned an effigy of Benedict and shouted, “Those who dare to target Islam and the Prophet will be finished!”

“This is not an effective way to argue against someone who has questioned your religion’s relationship to violence,” notes Catholic blogger Amy Welborn.

“Honestly, the thin-skinnedness of many Muslims is getting awfully tiresome,” agrees Rod Dreher at Beliefnet’s Crunchy Con. “How on earth are we ever supposed to be able to have a dialogue if the non-Muslim side has to walk on eggshells to avoid offending the wounded sensibilities of Muslim leaders, who seem very eager to take gross offense at anything critical?”

Not that Benedict’s point was to criticize Islam, says National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen Jr. “He brought up the dialogue between Paleologus and the Persian to make a different point. Under the influence of its Greek heritage, he said, Christianity represents a decisive choice in favor of the rationality of God. While Muslims may stress God’s majesty and absolute transcendence, Christians believe it would contradict God’s nature to act irrationally. He argued that the Gospel of John spoke the last word on the biblical concept of God: In the beginning was the logos, usually translated as word, but it is also the Greek term for reason.”

And that’s why we should be defending the pope, said Italian Mario Mauro, one of 14 vice-presidents of the European Parliament. “Let us defend the Pope without ifs or buts, let us defend reason,” he said. “The monstrous attempt on the part of many Islamic leaders, even the so-called moderates, to distort the Pope’s reaching out to all religions (through the lecture), in order to hit out at Christians and the West shows us the gravity of the danger we are facing.”
Note that “[h]ow on earth are we ever supposed to be able to have a dialogue if [we have] to walk on eggshells to avoid offending . . . wounded sensibilities” is hardly a question limited to discussion of Islam.

It applies to the discussion of race, of gender and of sexual orientation.

The secular politically correct jihadists in modern universities are not much different from people who are buring the Pope in effigy.

Just ask Larry Summers of Harvard.

Just note some of the things coming from the Gay/Straight Alliance here at Marquette.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wrong Side Of the Scales

Gay Lobby Has Big Bucks to Oppose Marriage Amendment

From the AP wire, a story about the big bucks that the gay lobby has raised in order to fight the gay marriage ban that will be on the November ballot.
MADISON, Wis. - A Madison philanthropist has given $275,000 of her personal fortune to try to defeat a state ban on gay marriage and civil unions, according to a filing made public on Friday.

Dale Leibowitz was the largest donor to Fair Wisconsin, the political action committee leading the charge against the constitutional amendment that appears on the ballot on Nov. 7, according to the group’s campaign finance report.

Other major donations to the group included $80,000 from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, and $25,000 from the state teachers’ union, the filing with the state Elections Board shows. Esmond Harmsworth, a Boston literary agent, also pitched in $25,000.

Overall, Fair Wisconsin raised $1.3 million between March 1 and June 30. After expenses, the group has $1.08 million cash on hand.

Leibowitz, whose Purple Moon Foundation donates hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to various causes, chipped in $150,000 in March, $75,000 in May and $50,000 in June, the filing shows.

Fair Wisconsin spokesman Josh Freker emphasized that Leibowitz was one of more than 5,000 donors to the cause, 90 percent of whom were from the state.
Supporters of the amendment appear to have raised much less money. Vote Yes For Marriage reported raising $2,500.

Although these are the latest numbers available, they are almost three months old.

Pro-amendment forces may close the gap. Focus on the Family, for example, has entered the fray.

The notion that gays are a poor oppressed minority, like blacks before the Civil Rights movement, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Gays are quite affluent, and with the support of a large constellation of interest groups.

Including the teachers’ union.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Justice Ginsberg: No Minorities in Her Office

Via The Buck Stops Here, a posting on the fact that the “diversity” crowd doesn’t always practice what it preaches. In regard to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
In her 1993 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it was learned, much to Ginsburg’s visible embarrassment, that in her 13 years on the D.C. Circuit she had never had a single black law clerk, intern, or secretary. Out of 57 employees, zero blacks.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Contrast

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“Constitution Day” Is An Abuse of Federal Power

From A Stitch in Haste blog, a discussion of Constitution Day, which is being celebrated tomorrow at Marquette, with a debate in which we are participating!

In fact, it’s a prime case of Congress exceeding its legitimate role.

Some of the controversy is outlined in an article from MSNBC.

WASHINGTON - The Constitution long has ensured that Congress can’t tell schools what to teach. But that’s no longer the case for at least one topic — the Constitution itself.

The Education Department outlined Tuesday how it plans to enforce a little-known provision that Congress passed in 2004: Every school and college that receives federal money must teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the day the document was adopted in 1787.

Schools can determine what kind of educational program they want, but they must hold one every year on the now-named “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.” And if Sept. 17 falls on a weekend or holiday, schools must schedule a program immediately before or after that date.

Some decry ‘federal micromanagement’

In middle school or high school, for example, schools may have to interrupt lesson plans, said Dan Fuller, director of federal programs for the National School Boards Association.

“You may have to leap from the Civil War or Vietnam to the Constitution,” Fuller said. “Local schools cover the Constitution, and they’ve been doing it for a long time. We don’t need the federal micromanagement. Congress has been acting more like a school board.”

In higher education, “It’s the sort of thing that raises the question, ‘If this, what’s next?’” said Becky Timmons, senior director for government relations at the American Council on Education, the leading lobbying group for colleges and universities.

“If the justification is that the Constitution is so central to our democracy, couldn’t somebody else come along and say, ‘Well, I think the history of American architecture is quite important,’” she said. “I don’t think most folks on campus perceive this to be an enormous slippery slope, but it’s never good when the government tells them what to teach.”

Was this some kind of movement in Congress to jam this down school districts throats? No, it was one Senator who was at fault.
But Congress stepped in when it came to the nation’s foundational document, thanks to Sen. Robert Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who keeps a copy of the Constitution in his pocket. Byrd inserted the Constitution lesson mandate into a massive spending bill in 2004, frustrated by what he called a huge ignorance on the part of many Americans about history.
In other words, this sounded like a good idea, and nobody thought to question whether it really was a good idea.

If it was indeed such a good idea, aren’t local school districts capable of figuring that out and doing it on their own? Are they less to be trusted than a senator who used to be a member of the Klan?

We won’t say this is unconstitutional, since any school district (or university) is free to ignore the mandate if they are willing to lose Federal funds. In other words, the same tool that the Federal government used to force desegregation in Southern schools, and to prevent law schools from discriminating against military recruiters is being used to micromanage school curricula.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gay Lobby: Stifle Scientific Research

From the blog of the Marquette Gay/Straight Alliance, news of a scientific research project they want stopped.
from PETA of all places:
Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), a school that has received criticism in the past for torturing monkeys in its labs, has officially been outed. Information has been brought to light about ridiculous “gay sheep” experiments that are being conducted at the school.
Animal experimentation, so now we know why PETA’s on this. But there’s more:
OHSU experimenter Charles Roselli is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to kill homosexual rams and cut open their brains in an attempt to find the hormone behind homosexual tendencies so that these tendencies can be changed.
It gets weirder and more serious when PETA tells us who he’s working with and what for:
Frederick Stormshak of Oregon State University (OSU), who has surgically inserted an estrogen implant in the bodies of these rams in an effort “to restore tissue levels of estrogen comparable to those of heterosexual rams and affect sexual behavior accordingly.”
If killing a bunch of sheep for an unreasonable goal weren’t enough:
Roselli has made it very clear that he intends to use the findings of his experiments to “cure” humans next.
Yea. So once you stop laughing at the premise, go ahead and fill out their e-letter if you want, though both researchers will no doubt seek funding elsewhere.
We don’t assume that the PETA report is accurate, but for the moment let’s consider the gay lobby position on this.

The Gay/Straight Alliance lists as its constituency “LGBT” individuals.

The “T” stands for “transsexual” -- people who (for example) have male genitalia but think of themselves as women (or vice versa).

Quite frequently, this condition is treated by a sex change operation or hormone therapy.

So if people can decide that their genitalia don’t match their “gender identity” and have their genitalia surgically altered to match their “gender identity,” why shouldn’t they be allowed to have their “sexual orientation” altered to match their genitalia?

Indeed, convicted pedophiles sometimes voluntarily undergo chemical castration, and guys who think their sex drive isn’t up to par can be treated with testosterone.

So why shouldn’t people be allowed to get treatment to turn them from being homosexual to heterosexual?

Answer: it’s not politically correct to want to do that.

But changing any other thing about one’s sex life is fine.

And people who object to stem cell research on the grounds that it destroys human embryos are called “anti-science.”

Liberal Icon, Justice William Brennan, Would Not Hire Female Clerks

We’ve already blogged on the hand wringing from feminists about the fact that the number of female Supreme Court law clerks ticked down this year.

There is, of course, no evidence that this is anything but a normal statistical variation, akin to the fact that it might be a bit cool today, and then hot tomorrow.

One of the people complaining is Susan Estrich, feminist law school professor and campaign manager for Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Of course, she can’t think of any reason but discrimination for women being underrepresented, but in making that point, she drops a fascinating piece of information.
But there is also a long tradition of discrimination against women in selecting Supreme Court law clerks, which is why the decision of the Justices to leave the selections to chance, and hope that everything turns out alright, seems naïve at best. The absence of minority clerks has long been noted, and contributes to a continued absence of minorities at the top levels of the profession.

When I was applying, we used to hear “gossip” that certain judges and Justices wouldn’t hire women. The key to getting a clerkship, or one key anyway, is to clerk for the right “feeder judge;” certain judges regularly send clerks to the Supreme Court, although to some extent it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because they tend to be the ones who get the students from the best law schools with the highest grades.

The best feeder in my day was the late, great J. Skelly Wright, the liberal hero of the D.C. Circuit, whose clerks always went straight to Justice William Brennan, the most liberal Justice on the Court. As a liberal, and as the president of the Harvard Law Review, that should have been my road.

But there was a catch. Sex. Mine. Judge Wright, according to my research, had had one woman clerk in about 30 years. Justice Brennan had maybe had one. Both of them had taken every single Harvard Law Review president who had ever applied to them without even holding an interview. Would they take me?

Judge Wright did. Justice Brennan wouldn’t. Nothing personal, Judge Wright explained to me on my first day of work, but I was going to have to find someone else to clerk for. Justice Brennan wasn’t going to hire me because I was a woman. That’s how it was.
Brennan, of course, was the sort of activist liberal justice whose votes were easy to predict. Whatever liberals wanted, he would insist was required by the Constitution.

But he wouldn’t hire women clerks.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Debate on the “Living” Constitution Monday

CONSTITUTION DAY CELEBRATION!


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

4:00 - 6:00 PM
RAYNOR MEMORIAL LIBRARY CONFERENCE ROOMS B AND C

Panel on
“Is the (‘Living’?) Constitution a Sound Basis for Our Government Today?”

Panelists:

Gordon Hylton, Marquette Law School
John McAdams, Political Science
Jeffrey Sachse, Political Science
Christopher Wolfe, Political Science

Refreshments provided



Look for this to end up as a debate between McAdams and Wolfe on the one side, and Sachse and Hylton on the other. The issue: whether judges have a right to blow off the expectations of the Founders and interpret the Constitution to mean what they want it to mean.

[Update:] Our colleague, Chris Wolfe, says that Hylton, at least, is unfavorable toward judicial activism. We’ll see. It should be interesting anyway.

[Further Update:] This turned out to be less a debate than a discussion. (We were expecting a debate with clear liberal and conservative sides.) It also turned out to be quite interesting. We bashed judicial legislation, legitimated under the claim of a “Living Constitution.” Hylton insisted that “the Constitution” should be interpreted more as widely shared understandings than as a document written in ink on paper. Sachse talked about Woodrow Wilson, who was not only a U.S. president but also an important political scientist. Wolfe gave us some protective cover on the right, as he was not satisfied with our position that abortion and gay marriage should be decided by state legislatures. He seemed to believe that the U.S. Congress (or perhaps a national constitutional amendment) should outlaw both.

It really was fun, and our impression was that students went away thinking it had been worth the time.

Not a Worthwhile Distraction

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Marquette Gay Lobby on Gay Lobby Censorship in the U.K.

We recently reported a case where Christians in the U.K. have been arrested for handing out pamphlets which repeat the Biblical teaching on homosexuality.

One reaction came on the blog of the Marquette Gay/Straight Alliance, where Jason derided the whole idea that there is anything wrong with arresting people for passing out pamphlets.
Christianity is not under attack, free speech is not under attack, but the McAdamses and O’Reilley’s want us to believe that so we will read/watch them, and 60% of what they say is crap . . .
OK, people get arrested for politely handing out pamphlets condemning homosexuality, and “free speech is not under attack.”

What would it require for free speech to be under attack? That people passing out pamphlets be shot on sight?

Jason continues:
These folks are looking for a loophole to hate speech, which we know is exactly what it is: hate. My point is that if your group’s message falls under hate, you have something wrong with your message there. Perhaps if these so called Christian groups were actually promoting the fundamental teaching of love that comes from Jesus himself, there would be no problem. So instead of passing out pamphlets about how badly homosexuals are sinning, and how they’re evil, why not do as a strange, strange woman did on the bus to me one morning: hand me something that says God loves you. Last I checked, God is love after all.
Of course, Christians are perfectly free to hand out pamphlets that say “God loves you.”

But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether they should be arrested for handing out pamphlets that say that homosexuality is sinful.

Jason apparently thinks they should be.

This is entirely typical of the politically-correct mindset of activists who claim to represent “victim” groups. They can’t conceive of the notion that they have an obligation to tolerate any speech they don’t like.

A very different reaction comes from a blogger named Ed Brayton, a secular liberal who is making an honest effort to overcome his (admitted) biases against Christians. There is a strong libertarian streak to his views.

Brayton first quotes Eugene Volokh as follows:
I certainly don’t agree with the moral views expressed in the leaflet, but my sense is that this is probably about as calm, polite, and reasoned a way of expressing those views as is possible. Of course many people would still find it offensive, because of the ideas that the speech expresses; but preventing such speech really does requiring suppressing the ideas, rather than just insisting that they be expressed in less incendiary ways. If the distribution of such speech is illegal in England, then English law has indeed gone a long way to undermining the ability to discuss such moral matters.
Brayton then adds:
It certainly has. And it highlights the problem with hate speech laws in general. A law that makes it illegal to utter “threatening, abusive or insulting words” is inevitably broadened, at least with respect to certain protected groups, and it is inevitably targeted only against one side. Calling an anti-gay Christian a bigoted moron (and I do so often, though not in all cases) is, objectively, much more of an insult than merely citing moral disapproval of something. Yet you never hear of such laws being used to stifle that sort of speech, only speech aimed from one side and not the other.

And again, I think that’s inevitable. And if the law is going to be applied this broadly, is there any criticism of anything that could not be deemed equally insulting and therefore illegal? We simply should not allow government to police speech and ideas in this manner, deciding what is and is not “insulting”. There is simply no way of doing so in an objective manner, and the result is invariably to make the expression of certain ideas forbidden.
Gay activists like to use the term “homophobe” to describe people who disagree with their views. But the depth of intolerance that the gay lobby shows is vastly closer to a genuine phobia than the thinking of any but the most extreme Christian critics of homosexuality.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Marquette Student Dealing With AIDS in Africa

In the current tissue of The Warrior, a story about Marquette student Tim Blattner and his volunteer work in an AIDS clinic in Nigeria.

It’s a very good piece of journalism about a very good stint of service in a place where it’s very badly needed.

Link: Faith Alive Foundation

Philosophy Department on Office Door Censorship: Stonewall

We recently posted about how Marquette’s Philosophy Department has censored a posting on the door of a graduate student.

We have tried repeatedly to get Prof. James South, Chair of the department and the person who tore down the posting to comment. Finally, today, he did respond to our e-mail as follows:
Hello John,

I appreciate your interest in the workings and decisions of the Philosophy Department. I will decline, though, the opportunity to speak with you about this matter.

Best wishes,

James
Translation: stonewall.

We would have liked to ask him whether the Philosophy Department has any written policy on door postings. Our sources say it doesn’t. Without a written policy and guidelines, any such act of censorship is entirely arbitrary.

We would have liked to have asked him what was “patently offensive” about the quote on graduate student Stuart Ditsler’s door. The quote, remember, said the following:
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
That’s a pretty straightforward expression of a libertarian philosophy -- although liberals and leftists would entirely agree with it where the War on Terror is concerned.

Might people disagree with this? Absolutely. Is it “patently offensive?” Only in some alternative universe.

The next question would have been: what sort of people would object to this? What sort of people (faculty? graduate students?) think they have a right to take “offense” at political ideas with which they disagree, and then have them censored?

South is unwilling to address any of these questions. It seems that his actions (which presumably had the approval of at least a couple of members of the Executive Committee with whom he conferred) can’t be defended.

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Assistant Coach Hummers: Not a Sponsorship Deal

A story broken on the GOP3.COM blog back on August 17 outlined the fact that the Athletic Department has leased several Hummers for the personal use of assistant coaches.

Brandon Henak, who wrote the story, noted the irony of Marquette claiming to have switched from Alterra Coffee to Stone Creek Coffee for “social justice” reasons. The “social justice” (read: leftist) crowd hates sport utility vehicles.

The story has been revived during the last few days on Scout.com and Rivals.com, Marquette sports discussion boards.

Discussion has revolved around the issue of whether this is a “sponsorship” deal, with Marquette getting the Hummers not for cash payment but for other consideration (tickets that can be used by the sponsor as premiums, for example).

We just talked to Mike Broeker, Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations, and he confirms that it is not a sponsorship deal. Rather, it is a perquisite for assistant coaches written into their contracts, and paid for out of Marquette funds.

Broeker confirmed that the Hummers are leased from Bergstrom Hummer, owned by John F. Bergstrom, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Broeker could not discuss how much Marquette pays for the leased vehicles. Bergstrom has been generous with Marquette, and there has been considerable speculation that Marquette gets a deep discount.

Broeker did offer one criticism of the original blog post on the subject. The Hummers are not in fact yellow, contrary to what Brandon Henak posted on GOP3.COM (which we repeated). The photo of the yellow Hummer on GOP3.COM was, according to Broeker, a stock photo.

Broeker argues with the notion that Hummers are huge gas guzzlers. He says they are a “medium sized SUV” that gets good gas milage for an SUV. We don’t in fact particularly care, since we think people should be entirely free to drive SUVs if they are willing to pay for the gas. But if the self-righteous rhetoric about “social justice” that Marquette uses when it’s convenient actually means anything, coaches would be given hybrid autos.

But that would not be much of a perq, would it?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We Won’t Forget

Monday, September 11, 2006

Chicago: Mayor Daley Vetos “Living Wage” Measure Aimed at Wal-Mart

From USA Today:
CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Richard Daley vetoed an ordinance Monday that would have required mega-retailers to pay their workers more than other employers after some of the nation’s largest stores including Wal-Mart Stores (WMTI) warned that the measure would keep them from opening their doors within the city’s limits.

Supporters said the measure would guarantee employees a “living wage,” but in a letter to City Council members released Monday, Daley said the ordinance would drive businesses from Chicago.

“I understand and share a desire to ensure that everyone who works in the city of Chicago earns a decent wage,” Daley wrote. “But I do not believe that this ordinance, well intentioned as it may be, would achieve that end.”
At least some members of the City Council were paying attention to working class and poor constituents, rather than to middle class political activists.
It takes 34 votes to override a mayoral veto. The measure passed 35-14, but some aldermen have since indicated they might be open to changing their votes and acting against the ordinance.

Alderman Shirley Coleman, who voted in favor of the ordinance in July, said she will switch her vote after receiving assurances from Wal-Mart that the company would build a store in her ward.

“I am doing what constituents are telling me is best for our community,” she said. “They’re tired of going out to the suburbs to shop at Wal-Mart.”
Think of that. Just letting people shop where they want to!

U.K.: Free Speech Under Assault From Gay Lobby

From the Daily Mail, via Shark and Shepherd blog.
Christian faces court over ‘offensive’ gay festival leaflets

A police force was caught up in a freedom of speech row after its officers arrested an anti-gay campaigner for handing out leaflets at a homosexual rally.

South Wales police admitted evangelical Christian Stephen Green was then charged purely because his pamphlets contained anti-gay quotations from the Bible.

Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’ after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend ‘Mardi Gras’ event in Cardiff.

A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because ‘the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality’.

The arrest of Mr Green by the South Wales Minorities Support Unit provoked a furious row. Church of England evangelicals said it represented ‘an onslaught on freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression’ and Tory MPs called it ‘disturbing’.

The decision to prosecute Mr Green is the latest in a series of police initiatives aimed against those who have expressed public disapproval of homosexual behaviour.

In recent months incidents have included a Metropolitan Police warning to author Lynette Burrows that she was responsible for a ‘homophobic incident’ after she suggesting on a BBC Radio Five Live programme that gays did not make ideal adoptive parents.

Another warning about future behaviour was delivered by Lancashire police who visited the home of a Christian couple after they complained about their local council’s gay rights policies.

The Met Police in London also investigated former Muslim Council of Britain leader Sir Iqbal Sacranie after he gave an interview saying homosexuality was harmful. However, no prosecution followed in that case.

The action against Mr Green came after he and a fellow member of his evangelical group, Christian Voice, tried to distribute leaflets at the gay Mardi Gras event in Cardiff.

Several thousand people attended the event, which included a gay rugby tournament and a ‘top gayer motor show’, and which was addressed on the importance of tolerance by Liberal Democrat council chief Rodney Berman.

The anti-gay campaigners were first asked by police to leave the site of the show following ‘complaints from the public’, and complied with the request. However, they were approached again by police when they began handing out leaflets at the entrance to the park where the Mardi Gras was staged.

Mr Green refused to stop distributing leaflets and was arrested, and then questioned for four hours at a police station. He was charged after refusing a caution.

The leaflets were headed Same-Sex Love - Same-Sex Sex: What does the Bible Say?, and included a series of quotations from the 1611 King James Bible, a text usually regarded as one of the foundation stones of the English language.

Aimed at demonstrating Biblical disapproval of homosexual sex, they included from the Old Testament Leviticus 18.22, ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination’.

The leaflets also quoted Romans 1:25-27 from the New Testament, to the effect that homosexuals are given to ‘vile affections’.

The handbills urged homosexuals to ‘turn from your sins and you will be saved’.

The charge against Mr Green is that he used ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby’, contrary to the Public Order Act 1986.

Mr Green’s Christian Voice group is regarded by other evangelicals as particularly militant and it has been heavily involved in demonstrations against theatre performances of Jerry Springer the Opera. However, Mr Green has no record of violence or intimidation.

He said yesterday: ‘I am astonished that South Wales Police have a special unit dedicated to silencing those who disagree with homosexuality.’

He said that the force boasts of working closely with gay groups and added: ‘Maybe they work a bit too closely when an evangelist can be victimised simply because he is giving out leaflets quoting verses from the same Bible police officers swear on in court.’ There was strong support for Mr Green from other Christian groups yesterday.

The Reverend Rod Thomas, a Plymouth vicar and spokesman for the influential Reform organisation that represents 500 Church of England clergy, said: ‘The methods of Christian Voice do not always commend themselves to other Christians.

‘But if there was nothing involved here other than the content of the leaflets, the arrest represents an onslaught on freedom of speech and on freedom of religious expression.

‘Why gay rights are regarded as more important that freedom of expression I do not know. There is a real danger that those who have tried to support gay rights for liberal reasons may find themselves responsible for suppressing vital liberties.’

Tory MP Douglas Carswell, a member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, said: ‘I disagree with Mr Green’s views but I feel very strongly that he should be allowed to express them.’

The Harwich and Clacton MP added: ‘I take a liberal view on sexuality but I am disturbed that the police should show so much vigour in arresting this man and bringing him before the courts. I am deeply worried about the implications for freedom of expression.’

Colin Hart of the Christian Institute think tank said: ‘This was a very gentle leaflet. There was no use of words like “perversion”. I have to wonder if churches, bishops and archbishops are now vulnerable to arrest for their views on homosexuality.

‘It is noticeable that police never arrest Muslims who make remarks about homosexuality. They pick on Christians because it is easy, just as they pick on middle class drivers for speeding because it is easier than catching burglars.’
Key comment here: “police never arrest Muslims who make remarks about homosexuality.”

What you have, in that case, is two politically correct victim groups. So it’s hard to know whether the cops should show “cultural sensitivity” to Muslims, or shut up “hate speech” on behalf of homosexuals.

With Christians, it’s clear, to the politically correct mind, which way to go.

More From the President of the Gay/Straight Alliance: Ban Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments

Jessica Cushion, President of the Gay/Straight Alliance at Marquette, is rather unhappy about our post pointing out that she advocates the censorship of speakers opposed to gay marriage.

In doing so, she continues to show a fundamental lack of understanding of the notion of free speech, which she thinks should only be allowed people whom she is not offended at hearing.

Having labeled opposition to gay marriage “hate speech” in a previous post, she says the following:
I don’t really want to dignify his post with a response, but I do feel it necessary to point out this one simple thing -- did it ever occur to you that perhaps distinguished institutions of higher learning bring leftist speakers and further leftist agendas because they know it’s the right thing to do? Ever consider that? I know you love to attack me for not entertaining your side of the argument, Dr. McAdams, but you’re just as guilty as I am.
What Cushion fails to understand is that, if institutions can decide that support for a gay political agenda is “the right thing to do,” other institutions have an equal right to decide that it’s the wrong thing to do.

Indeed, if Marquette is going to decide that certain viewpoints are the “right thing to do,” it should follow the teaching of the Catholic Church. This would call for institutional opposition to gay marriage.

Cushion says she’s not willing to “entertain” our side of the argument.

Interestingly, we haven’t made any argument about gay marriage in this series of exchanges. We’ve only argued that both sides should be heard at Marquette.

But for Cushion, free speech simply doesn’t extend to arguments she believes to be “wrong.”

Cushion is, probably without knowing it, adopting the position the Catholic Church held for centuries, but happily abandoned at Vatican II: “error has no rights.”

Believing that arguments should be shut up because they are wrong, or because they are “offensive” to some politically correct minority, is all too typical of the campus left. They often get their way, largely because leftist administrators (in places like the Office of Student Development or the Campus Ministry) and leftist faculty agree with them.

That’s why college campuses are among the least tolerant places in American society these days.

[Update:]

Jess Cushion, in an apparent response to this post, repeats the same arguments yet again.
My point throughout this whole ordeal has been that Marquette would not allow hate speech on campus. Obviously. When interpreted properly, Christianity reads something like “we are all God’s children and should be loved and celebrated and cared for equally.”
Cushion interprets “cared for” as “you have to agree with my view of homosexuality, and you should be shut up if you don’t.” Needless to say, her interpretation of Christianity is very different from that of (say) the Pope.

In Cushion’s world, it appears that any disagreement with the political agenda of the gay lobby constitutes “hate.” And “hate” must be shut up and punished.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Marquette Gay/Straight Alliance President: Anti-Gay Marriage Views Should be Banned on Campus

A post of ours on a speaker coming to campus has produced an interesting exchange on the blog of the Gay/Straight Alliance.

The speaker, who has been brought in to attack the School of the Americas (that bête noire of the campus left), is also a proponent of gay marriage, and his statements on the issue make him look rather like a flake.

We found it interesting that the e-mail announcing his visit said nothing about his views on gay marriage.

We observed that:
Of course, there is nothing wrong with having an advocate of gay marriage speak on campus -- although it might be nice to have somebody on the other side of the issue speak too (fat chance that J.U.S.T.I.C.E. or the University Ministry will arrange that).
Gay/Straight Alliance President Jess Cushion, posting on the blog of that organization, ridiculed notion that both pro- and anti-gay marriage views should be presented on campus.
In addition, McAdams thinks Marquette should host an anti-gay marriage speaker on campus to even the score and cover the other side of the issue. What issue? Gay people are gay. They’re people. People deserve equal rights. All people. But let’s pretend for a moment that being born a certain way didn’t matter or wasn’t possible. Let’s follow that logic... we would need the KKK to come speak because despite the fact that you’re born into a race and ethnicity, there’s still a right and a wrong race and ethnicity to wind up with. Better book that speaker that’s against equal rights for people born with disabilities, because, you know, they chose to have them.
In fact, we believe in free speech, and would allow a member of the Ku Klux Klan to speak on campus.

But if we are going to forbid speakers on the basis that they believe evil things, then the teachings of the Catholic Church should guide the censorship. So no Ku Klux Klan speaker, and no pro-abortion speaker and no pro-gay marriage speaker.

Cushion seems to assume that when speakers are banned, she and her friends get to decide who will be banned.

But the exchange got worse.

We lectured Cushion a bit, asking:
You seem to be asserting that there is only one legitimate side to this debate, and that people on the other side should be silenced.

Once we decide that people on the “wrong” side of the debate should be silenced, you understand that some people might decide that you are on the wrong side, and are the person to be silenced, right?
Cushion responded:
I’m also acknowledging your point that the university should present both sides of an argument. However, the problem is that gay marriage is an issue of human rights, and having a speaker on campus that will stand up against human rights would basically be promoting hate speech on campus. It’s not like abortion where people can choose whether or not to have one. Homosexuality chooses you, and by automatically deeming someone a second class citizen because of how they were born, and by saying that a university should allow an influential speaker to come to campus and say that homosexuals aren’t entitled to the rights that other Americans enjoy because they were born a certain way, is promoting discrimination.

I highly doubt Marquette would stand for such things, and for once I have something to applaud them for.
So Cushion isn’t backing off. She’s continuing to insist that speakers with whom she disagrees should be banned.

We responded:
You seem to think you can label something “against human rights” and then declare that it should not be allowed on campus.

You are begging the question. What constitutes “human rights” is a matter for debate. You don’t seem willing to tolerate the debate.

I think socialism is “against human rights.”

Should I declare socialist speech “hate speech” and try to ban it?

Indeed, on a Catholic campus, speech favoring abortion has to be considered “against human rights.” Would you like to ban that?

What makes you think you and your friends have the right to ban speech with which you disagree?
Cushion, unfortunately, is all too typical of politically correct campus leftists. She hasn’t made up her authoritarian arguments on her own. She has learned them as part of the intolerant culture of the campus activists.

Not In the Big Game, Kid

Anti-Christian Democrats

Via the Dad29 blog, a post on Shark and Shepherd, about how the various members of Congress have been rated by the Secular Coalition for America.

The group defines itself as “an advocacy group for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists.”

So this is not conservative Christians complaining about people they think to be insufficiently orthodox. These are people who aren’t religious saying who their friends are.

Here are the House ratings, and here are the Senate ratings.

Russ Feingold scored 100.

Even Tammy Baldwin, lesbian House member from Dane County only scored 90.

The Senate numbers are less useful than the House numbers, however, since the Senate scores consist mostly of judicial confirmation issues.

The single most interesting thing about the scores is the cleavage between the Democrats and the Republicans. Virtually every score above 50 is registered by a Democrat, and virtually every score below 50 by a Republican.

For example, there is Barack Obama (D-IL), who wears his religious beliefs in his sleeve, but scores a 90. Then there is Evan Bayh (D-IN) who is supposedly a “moderate” candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He scores 100.

Which reveals the silliness of Democratic efforts to hire consultants to help them “reach out to people of faith.”

Contrary to what Democrats think, people of faith aren’t stupid. They know who favors gay marriage. They know who wants to take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance. They know who wants to ban Christian student organizations on the campuses of public universities. All the consultants in the world can’t conceal those things.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Marquette Philosophy Department: Censoring Graduate Student’s Door Posting

It’s the norm in academia for faculty, graduate students and employees to post things on their doors. Sometimes these things are innocuous, but sometimes they convey a distinct political point of view.

From the Distributed Intelligence blog, via the GOP3.COM blog, the fact that some academic departments don’t tolerate this – or at least, don’t tolerate it when the message is from the political right.

Marquette Philosophy graduate student Stuart Ditsler posted a quote from Dave Barry on his door. It said:
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
What kind of response did that get? A e-mail from department chair James South (although the secretary in the Philosophy Department refused to confirm the source) saying the following:
I had several complaints today about a quotation that was on the door of CH 132F. I’ve taken the quotation down. While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I’m afraid that hallways and office doors are not “free-speech zones.” If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note.
South had conferred with two members of the Department’s Executive Committee, and with the Assistant Chair.

What kind of person would consider this “offensive?” It’s one thing to disagree with something, but quite another to go off whining about how it’s “offensive.”

Add to that the fact that liberals and leftists, not knowing that Barry is a libertarian, might take the quote to mean that the Bush administration is the “enemy.” Ditzler says that he did “not try to put up something that was partisan in some way.”

Around Marquette University, the norm is that professors post things reflecting their political opinions. Our colleague Chris Wolfe has a graphic description of a partial-birth abortion. We have a “Marquette Warriors” sticker.

Indeed, partisan political material has been allowed on the doors in the Philosophy Department.

Last year, a faculty member displayed (for most of the year) a cartoon by Pat Oliphant that was highly critical of President Bush.

And the academic year before that (2004-2005) another faculty member displayed a cartoon (drawn in the wake of the 2004 election) attacking the “family values” voters who supported Bush.

If somebody had claimed to be “offended” by those, would then have been taken down?

Or is the policy enforced in an ideologically biased way?

Ditsler says he “wishes the Department had stood up for me, instead of caving to the people who complained.” There is no Philosophy Department policy on door postings - or at least none of which graduate students were made aware. Thus the censorship was entirely arbitrary, and not the implementation of some well-established policy.

Marquette, being a private institution, has the right to impose whatever restrictions on speech it wants. But that doesn’t mean that this particular restriction is prudent. And it won’t prevent people from thinking that only particular ideas are deemed “offensive” in ideologically slanted academia.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Reminder

From the Asian Badger, a reminder and a call to moral clarity.

Iranian Cleric, Former President, Visits America

From Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe, the scoop on former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, who is on a speaking tour of the United States.
When he became president in 1997, Khatami was reputed to be a moderate democratic reformer. If he had lived up to that reputation, his arrival in America might well be worth celebrating. True, his style was not as incendiary as that of his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But he was just as committed to Khomeini’s radical revolution and its goal of worldwide Islamist rule. If there is one thing Khatami’s presidency made clear, it is that the man was no moderate.

His election as president came only after religious authorities disqualified 234 potential competitors they considered too liberal. In his own writings, Khatami has insisted that “only those who have attended religious seminaries should have a voice in government.” Separation of church and state? Not for this theocrat.

And he is no more opposed to terrorism than he is to theocracy. As minister of culture and Islamic guidance in the 1980s, Khatami oversaw the creation of Hezbollah, the deadly terrorist group that would kill more Americans prior to 9/11 than any other terrorist organization on earth. During the recent war in Lebanon, he hailed Hezbollah as “a shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims.” Throughout Khatami’s term of office, the US State Department identified Iran as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. It was on his watch that President Bush named Iran a part of the “Axis of Evil.”

In 1998, Khatami’s intelligence agents brutally murdered Darioush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh, two well-known leaders of Iran’s liberal opposition. The following year, government thugs attacked student dissidents at Tehran University. Several students were killed. Hundreds were arrested and tortured.

Many Iranians had hoped that Khatami’s accession to office would mean more freedom of speech and of the press. But he presided over the shutting down of at least 85 newspapers and the prosecution of numerous journalists. Reporters Without Borders called Iran under Khatami “the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East.” It was a prison as well for Iran’s religious minorities, all of which were severely persecuted. In a letter protesting the National Cathedral’s invitation to Khatami, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Felice Gaer, notes that during Khatami’s tenure “Jews, Christians, Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Baha’is, dissident Shia Muslims, and others . . . faced systematic harassment, discrimination, imprisonment, torture, and even execution based on their religious beliefs.”
Jacoby strongly objects to the fact that the State Department gave Khatami a visa to enter the country. He cites, and then objects to, the State Department’s explanation of its decision to let him in. First, the State Department:
We recognize that former President Khatami headed a regime that is a leading sponsor of terrorism (and) human rights abuses, and presided over Iran’s secret nuclear program which is now the focus of possible UN action. After careful deliberation, however, we determined that issuing Mr. Khatami a limited visa, and allowing Mr. Khatami to present his views directly to the American people, will demonstrate to Iran that the United States upholds its commitment to freedom and democracy.
Jacoby claims that “Only in Foggy Bottom could people get paid to concoct such arguments.”

We disagree with Jacoby on that.

Based on his first few talks, he seems to be striking a conciliatory tone. But talk is cheap, and his unsavory record is more important than nice-sounding rhetoric about interfaith cooperation.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dangerous Job

Supreme Court Clerks: Not Enough Affirmative Action for Women?

From liberal New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse, an article lamenting the fact that the number of women among Supreme Court clerks has substantially declined this year.

In reality, there is no evidence that this is anything more than random variation, but the article does contain one priceless quote from Justice Souter.
Justice Ginsburg, who will have two women among her four clerks, declined during the conversation to comment further on the clerkship numbers. Why not ask a justice who has not hired any women for the coming term, she suggested.

One who is in that position, Justice Souter, said he was disappointed to find himself without any female clerks. He explained that he had hired the top four applicants, who turned out to be men.
Souter doesn’t seem to “get it.”

A liberal who consistently votes for affirmative action preferences elsewhere in American society, he is content to merely hire the most qualified candidates to work in his office.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

University of California Discriminates Against Christian Schools in Admissions

Yet another of a burgeoning number of cases in which Christians and Christian viewpoints are being discriminated against in higher education.
(AgapePress) - A federal judge has rejected the University of California’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses it of viewpoint discrimination against Christian students. Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta filed suit last summer against the UC system, claiming it prohibits high school students from receiving academic credit for courses taught from a Christian perspective.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, California, after six Calvary Chapel Christian School students claimed their religious views had hurt their chances of being accepted to a UC campus. Joining Calvary as a co-plaintiff is the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents 800 religious schools nationwide.

The claimants’ lawsuit accuses the UC system of violating Christian students’ rights by rejecting private Christian school courses such as Calvary’s “Christianity’s Influence on American History” and “Christianity and Morality in American Literature” as too narrow, meanwhile giving credit for other schools’ curriculum offerings, including courses like “Jewish History” and “Ethnic Experience in Literature.”

The lawsuit challenges a UC admissions requirement that private schools maintain a core of state-approved courses and asks the court to order the university system to recognize the Christian-themed courses. And, although the UC Regents have argued that the university can set its own standards under the First Amendment, Judge James Otero ruled last week that the school’s attorneys alleged sufficient facts to allow all of its federal constitutional claims to go forward.
The notion that the University of California can “set its own standards” sound fair enough -- so long as the “standards” don’t involve discrimination against a particular relgion. Unfortunately these “standards” do.
Bob Tyler, an attorney representing Calvary Chapel, says colleges and universities should not punish Christian students simply because of viewpoints expressed within their schools’ curricula. “This case really is about the future,” he asserts; it’s “about preventing the UC school system from continuing in a pattern of discrimination that will ultimately be applied against all Christian schools.”

Tyler describes the judge’s decision to allow the lawsuit to proceed “a great initial victory” in a case with broad implications for schools across the U.S. that offer courses taught from a faith-based point of view. He believes UC rejected Calvary’s courses not because they lacked sufficient academic content, but because the university officials did not like the viewpoints from which the courses were taught.

“It’s quite possible and likely,” the students’ attorney contends, “that if we don’t win this lawsuit, our school and every other Christian school that teaches from a Christian perspective in the future will have difficulties in having a sufficient number of college prep courses that will be pre-approved for credit into the UC school system.”

According to a report in Riverside, California’s Press-Enterprise, Judge Otero wrote in his decision that, if the UC system did in fact refuse to give credit to Calvary’s courses based solely on their religious viewpoints, “such action would run afoul of the limits of the defendants’ freedom to determine its admission policies.” The judge also noted that the UC Regents’ assertion of the university’s constitutional right to set its admissions standards does not shield it from “the prohibition of engaging in content-based regulation or viewpoint discrimination.”
Here is a news article on this issue and here is another.

An article in a San Diago paper adds another dimension to this.
The suit, filed last August, alleges the university system sent a form letter to Christian high schools, informing them that two popular Christian biology textbooks are “not consistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community.”

“As such, students who take these courses may not be prepared for success if/when they enter science courses/programs at UC,” the letter states.
These particular science courses taught a “creationist” or “intelligent design” perspective, as well as teaching evolution.

In short, the didn’t conform to the orthodoxy in college biology departments.

While outlawing “Christianity’s Influence on American History” and “Christianity and Morality in American Literature” is clearly an outrage, refusal to accept courses that give credence to the heretical notion of intelligent design might seem to be a bit more reasonable. After all, students are allowed to substitute these courses for orthodox college biology courses, so shouldn’t high school instruction reflect the orthodoxy?

No, not necessarily.

In the first place, unless Advanced Placement works differently in California than elsewhere in the country, these students have passed the College Board Advanced Placement exam. According to the exam, they know enough biology to get college credit.

In the second place, the University of California appears to have no trouble with high school Economics taught from a Marxist perspective. It would not raise an eyebrow about an American History course taught by a conspiracy theorist who believes the Kennedy assassination was a government plot, that Bush and Cheney planned the 9/11 attacks and that Roosevelt knew about the forthcoming attack on Pearl Harbor and let it happen to get America into World War II.

It would have no trouble with an “Afrocentric” World History curriculum that taught that black Africans actually invented “Western Civilization” and had it stolen from them by the Greeks.

In short, any sort of crackpot course is OK, just as long as it’s not taught from a Christian perspective.