Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Documentary promotes euthanasia

original article: Doctors agreed to euthanize this depressed woman. Moments before her death, everything changed.
November 16, 2015 by Jeanne Smits

The poignant story of a young and healthy Belgian woman, “Laura”, 24, who obtained permission for legal euthanasia earlier this year because of “unbearable psychological suffering,” has come to an unexpected conclusion. Her last months and days before obtaining a lethal injection were filmed by The Economist in her hometown of Bruges. The documentary has been online since November 10 and – spoiler! – it has a happy end. “Laura”, whose real name is Emily, chose life in what would have been her last hour.

This is of course good news. A young life has been saved. Hopefully, Emily will be able to get on with her life and be fully liberated of her profound despair. But the documentary, with its dramatic and also complacent portrayal of a suicidal young woman, is above all a plea for legal euthanasia in cases like hers.

The gist of the argument goes like this: as long as this deeply depressed young woman felt there was no way out, she desired death more than anything else in the world. But once it was within reach, legal euthanasia freed her of her most terrible anxieties. Knowing it is there, at her fingertips as it were, has given her some peace of mind.

This is an obvious fallacy. When Emily obtained permission to be euthanized from a team of three doctors and psychiatrists, the whole idea was that her condition would not and could not improve, and that no treatment whatsoever was available that would rid her of her mental illness or give her even the slightest hope. Now the fact that she was facing death certainly triggered something in her mind, helping her to find reasons to live. If that means anything, it shows that her despair was not so deep-rooted as to be utterly beyond help. The resources were in her own mind – and, probably, in the sympathy, the listening, the support of her mother and her friends who are shown in the 20 minute film, who were in turns supportive of her decision and devastated by it.

STORY: Disability activist: I was struck by would-be Belgian suicide-girl’s self-absorption

So her illness was not untreatable after all, and even though at the end of the documentary Emily does not seem to be entirely freed of her death wish, she obviously considers life worth living.

Arguably, the doctors and psychiatrists who have been taking care of her for the last three years have failed, not because there was no solution, but because they found no way to give Emily hope. In the film, the young woman shows the reporter her drawer-full of antidepressants and other medication which did not relieve her of her incessant bouts of self-hate and self-harm, much less heal her. Medication is certainly indicated when mental illness creates such a terrible imbalance in the mind – but in this case it was not enough, to say the least.

Emily’s story starts with a video she shot of herself a few years ago expressing her death wish openly for the first time, before being approached by The Economist’s reporter. “It keeps feeling empty, whatever I do,” she says, cringing in a corner, her arms scarred and bandaged where she cut herself. She remembers thinking she “shouldn’t be here” when she was three – Emily was born in a dysfunctional family. Her mother had no other choice than to live apart from her father, a violent alcoholic, and Emily spent most of her time with her maternal grandparents. Aged six, she was already dreaming of killing herself.

In an interview she gave last spring, Emily, under the assumed name of “Laura,” said she was convinced her family troubles were not linked to her death wish. She started harming herself, but those who surrounded her did not realize the gravity of the situation. After high school, she embarked on a theatrical career and moved in with a girlfriend in what she called a “very agreeable amorous passion.” The relationship was to end because of problems caused by Emily’s ongoing depression.

At this point a psychiatrist challenged her to apply for internment in an institution. Emily agreed to let go of the theatre; from that point onwards, episodes of self-harm became more frequent and more intense. In the documentary, she explains that she wanted to get rid of the “evil monster” she felt was trapped in her rib cage: cutting herself would give her the feeling the evil was leaving her body but only for a few minutes; she would bang her head against the wall in an effort to free herself of her inner pain.

The documentary does not underscore what she said during her interview last spring about her difficult childhood, nor does it say her anger and aggressiveness were so bad she was regularly sent home to give workers at the psychiatric institution a rest.

It was at the institution that she met another psychiatric patient, a woman she names “Sarah,” who was organizing her own euthanasia. The two would often talk about death and it was the “example” of her friend that pushed Emily to request for a lethal injection – not doctor assisted suicide, which is also legal under Belgian law. In the documentary, she says she would have killed herself but that it would have been “an awful, painful and lonely death.” “Without the option of euthanasia, I would have committed suicide,” she says.

But would she?

The three doctors who authorized Emily’s euthanasia – as the Belgian law requires when psychological suffering is given as the reason for the request – decided, after several months of consultations, that her suffering was indeed unbearable and that no amount of treatment could offer her hope of getting over her depression. Among them, Lieve Thienpont is a psychiatrist who specializes in assessing euthanasia requests. She authored a book about euthanasia and psychological suffering, Libera me. For her, this is fully a part of the question of “death with dignity” and euthanasia is an acceptable answer from her point of view. Calling her a proponent of euthanasia in these cases does not seem unfair.

She appears several times in the documentary to comment on Emily’s situation. The reporter even filmed the moment when three doctors, including Thienpont, explain the death process to Emily, insisting that she should feel absolutely free to pull back even at the very last moment, without being afraid that her “credibility” would be any less because of that.

In one interview, Thienpont explains that Emily’s suffering is so bad that it is “not compatible with life,” saying only prolonged and profound discussions with the patient can let one become sure of this. She adds that her life does not have a “sufficient quality” for her to go on.

The documentary also shows Emily’s mother and two friends coming to terms with Emily’s death: they are filmed less than two weeks before Emily’s “due date.”

The reporter was also present during those last hours before that day when Emily was to have received a lethal injection at 5 p.m. At the very end, she decided not to go on. “Very rationally, I said: ‘I cannot do it’, because the last two weeks before that Thursday when it should have happened were relatively bearable. There were no crises. And it was very unclear to my why that was so. Was it because the serenity of death was so close? Because we were saying goodbye and that I was feeling OK because of that? Or has something changed?”

What is certain is that Emily’s story is being used to promote euthanasia as a possibility for all who want it, and even as a solution that can, ultimately, help some people choose to go on living. But in Belgium, even if a number of these cases have been documented, others do die at the hands of their doctor while physically in good health, like Emily.

Notably, the filmed documentary does not bring up the subject of Emily’s troubled childhood, nor of her lifestyle. It just notes that she is not a believer, and has no idea whether there is an afterlife.

Did she need spiritual help and support above anything else? The question deserves to be asked, in the same way that the validity of her psychiatric treatment could also have been questioned, but never was in the documentary. At a time when so many young people are struggling with their own identity, not least because of school methods that encourage them to imitate others rather than to gain consciousness of their individuality – so many young people today are not even able to distinguish between the subject and the object in an ordinary sentence – Emily’s case should be a wake-up call rather than being used to lobby for euthanasia.

culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, progressive, propaganda

Filed under: culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, progressive, propaganda

Cornell students don’t want intellectual diversity

original article: Cornell student gov rejects ideological diversity bill
February 10, 2017 by Casey Breznick

  • The Cornell University Student Assembly narrowly rejected a resolution that would have called for a committee to explore strategies for improving ideological diversity among faculty members.
  • In 2015, 96 percent of political contributions from school employees went to liberal candidates and causes.

The Cornell Student Assembly narrowly struck down a resolution Thursday that would have requested the creation of a committee to “increase and improve faculty ideological diversity.”

Student Assembly (SA) President Jordan Berger, who can only vote in the event of a tie, provided the necessary thumbs-down to the proposed diversity initiative, which was defeated by a vote of 10-11-1.

The resolution, “Expanding Ideological Diversity among Faculty Members,” was put forth by SA representative Mitchell McBride, and cited a Cornell Sun report from 2015 that found over 96 percent of Cornell faculty political donations went to Democrat campaigns or liberal/progressive causes.

The resolution asserts, in part, that “universities ought to be places where debate and dissent exists in order to ensure knowledge is expanded,” explaining that “students can create better arguments and challenge subtle assumptions when dealing with differing viewpoints.”

A number of Cornell College Republicans members also supported the proposal.

According to Irvin McCullough, a Cornell Republicans member present at the meeting, opponents of the resolution mainly argued the following three points: (1) conservatives have not been historically oppressed as have other groups; (2) spending resources on intellectual diversity diverts resources from promoting other forms of diversity; and (3) conservative students are free to speak out in class if they find something disagreeable or wish to argue their own point of view.

Despite referencing the stark imbalance in political donations between liberal and conservative campaigns and causes, however, the resolution did not explicitly call for hiring more conservative faculty members.

After the SA meeting, McBride, a government major, told The Cornell Review that Cornell’s government department has no conservatives, despite the fact that the GOP controls two branches of the federal government and the majority of state governments. McBride also expressed concern with bias in faculty hiring, doubting whether faculty act impartially when considering potential professors’ political leanings.

“I find it disheartening and demoralizing that my fellow student leaders do not believe in all types of diversity as they claim. Ostensibly, they believe in supporting aspects of diversity that they agree with, but not others,” McBride said in a statement after the meeting. “I hope, albeit doubt, that the leftist faculty of Cornell will take action to resolve this problem of diversity. Maybe our wisest Trustees might finally step up to the plate to resolve the problem which the faculty lets persist.”

William Jacobson, The Cornell Review’s faculty sponsor and a professor at Cornell Law School, is perhaps Cornell’s most outspoken conservative faculty member and runs the popular legal and political blog Legal Insurrection.

In a statement, Jacobson described the resolution as “moderate and reasonable,” and noted it called for a committee to study the issue and not a specific outcome regarding faculty hiring or makeup.

“The rejection of the Resolution seems to highlight the need for the relief sought in the Resolution,” Jacobson said.

bias, bigotry, corruption, culture, Democrats, discrimination, diversity, education, elitism, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal

Filed under: bias, bigotry, corruption, culture, Democrats, discrimination, diversity, education, elitism, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, reform, relativism, scandal

Replace the word ‘Bible’ with any other Holy book and this Professor would be fired

original article: Audio: student forced to stop reading Bible before class
April 27, 2017 by Anthony Gockowski

A Northern Arizona University student was recently asked to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of one of his classes.

Northern Arizona University student was recently asked to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of one of his classes, according to audio obtained by Campus Reform.

In a recording of the February incident, provided to Campus Reform by Kevin Cavanaugh for Congress, Mark Holden explains the situation to History Department Chair Derek Heng, who had been called in by the instructor, Dr. Heather Martel, after Holden had refused her request that he put his Bible away.

Holden tells Heng that he had arrived early to his U.S. history course and, as usual, used the spare time to read his Bible, but claims that Martel had objected to the routine because she didn’t want to see a Bible in front of her.

“So Prof. Martel says that she doesn’t want you sitting in front of her because you put, you know, a Bible out, right?” Heng can be heard explaining to Holden, adding that while he doesn’t “know what the dynamics [are] going on in the classroom,” the “real key is to make sure that, you know, the class is able to go on and that you are in the classroom.”

“So she doesn’t want me in the front because I have my Bible out?” Holden responded for clarification, to which Heng responded by inquiring as to why Holden had his Bible out in the first place.

[RELATED: College argues that preaching the Gospel is ‘fighting words’]

“No, I think she, I mean, well why do you have your Bible out anyway?” Heng asked, with Holden clarifying that he was “just reading before class” and that the class hadn’t “even started yet.”

Nonetheless, and despite Holden’s protestations that class wasn’t going to begin for “another five minutes,” Heng concluded the conversation by again asking Holden if he would put his Bible away.

“So, will you, will you, will you, put your Bible away?” he asks, to which Holden replies that he always puts his Bible away once class begins, stating that he only reads the Bible “before class” and always makes sure to stow it away “before class starts.”

[RELATED: Clemson evicts man for praying outside free-speech zone]

Prior to the Bible altercation, Holden had been accused by Martel of violating the school’s policy on disruptive classroom behavior for an encounter in which Holden challenged Martel’s views on cultural assimilation.

Holden told Campus Reform that he had cited news reports about two Muslim immigrants who erected a sign declaring that the Koran gives them the right to commit rape, saying he used it as an example of a case in which cultural assimilation might be desirable.

According to an email that Martel sent to Holden explaining the violation, Holden had allegedly interrupted the class multiple times and “made a scene,” only stopping after a classmate intervened.

“Then you raised your hand for most of the rest of class. When I acknowledged that I saw your hand but stated we would be hearing from your classmates instead as you had already had your input, you said in a loud voice: ‘You work for me. I pay your salary,’” Martel alleged in the email, though neither she nor Heng responded to Campus Reform’s requests for elaboration on the matter.

Martel then sent out a second email about the altercation, not just to Holden but to the entire class, outlining “steps to re-instate [sic] civility in the classroom” and declaring emphatically that “hate speech” would not be tolerated.

[RELATED: Criticizing Sharia is ‘hate speech,’ Georgetown students say]

“It’s a systemic problem, not just at this university, but across the United States in the restriction of free speech,” Holden told Campus Reform, revealing that he eventually withdrew from Martel’s class.

As Holden sees it, most college professors are “pushing an ideology on students and any opposition to this is refuted and slashed.” While there may exist students “who want to speak up,” they don’t “feel that they can because of fear about their grades,” he elaborated, noting that conservative-leaning professors face similar concerns in relation to keeping their jobs.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox weighed in on the matter, telling Campus Reform that “public universities are supposed to serve as a marketplace of ideas, and Christian students are not second class citizens on their tax-funded campuses.”

“By singling out a student’s religious views for discriminatory treatment a professor not only violates the First Amendment, but also disserves the very purpose of a university,” he added.

Campus Reform contacted both Martel and Heng, offering them the opportunity to address Holden’s characterization of the events and offer their own perspectives, but neither responded in time for publication.

bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, censorship, christian, criminal, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, freedom, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, victimization

Filed under: bias, bigotry, bureaucracy, censorship, christian, criminal, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, freedom, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, victimization

Pence reveals a triple standard, and you should care

Imagine if you will two men, public officials in American politics (so we’re dealing with only two big political tents). These officials each belong to opposing sides of the political isle. The issue of sexual harassment is of particular significance to both.

For one, let’s call it the Gentleman’s standard. This official is accused of sexual harassment by one woman. She can’t keep her story strait, so the allegation is difficult to corroborate. But the public narrative is not deterred. We are told the following:

  • character matters
  • women don’t lie about this sort of thing
  • the nature of the evidence doesn’t matter, only the seriousness of the charge
  • the allegation itself should be treated as evidence
  • therefore, the accused man is disqualified from public office on ethical grounds

For the other, let’s call it the Politician’s standard. There is no pretense of integrity in this scenario. This official is accused of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women. Some of them produce significant evidence to support their claims. But the public narrative is not deterred. We are told the following:

  • character does not matter
  • a man’s personal life has no affect on his professional life
  • bimbo eruption (women lie about this sort of thing all the time)
  • vast rightwing conspiracy
  • when damning evidence is finally recognized (despite dismissing previous damning evidence) we are told it doesn’t matter anyway
  • therefore, the accused man is not disqualified, leave him alone, move on

These two men are both confronted with allegations of sexual harassment and they are treated with opposite standards. Some of you are old enough to know exactly who is being described here. The Gentleman’s standard was applied to Clarence Thomas during his supreme court confirmation hearings. The Politician’s standard was applied to president Bill Clinton throughout his two terms.

To those of us who have the stomach to actually pay attention to politics, this is no surprise. Republicans and Democrats are treated very differently regarding scandals. For Republicans, allegations of sexual misconduct are serious matters; sexual harassment is sexual harassment. For Democrats, allegations of sexual misconduct are often no more than amusement; sexual harassment is nothing more than a meaningless sex scandal. If you defended Clarence Thomas, you didn’t care about women. If you failed to defend Bill Clinton, you didn’t care about women.

Enter Mike Pence. Pence knows politics works this way. He knows Democrats will be defended when sex scandals are made public, and he knows Republicans will be crucified. So he adopts a very reasonable policy to avoid putting himself in a situation where he can be too easily accused of such things. This has the twofold result of protecting his career and that oh-so-minor detail of guarding his marriage.

So what is the political left to do when it turns out Pence hasn’t provided enough room for them to manufacture an empty sex scandal? Easy – find a way to misconstrue anything else.

Pence’s recent admission that he doesn’t go to dinner alone with women he works with has caught the liberal left by storm. Instead of acknowledging the obvious political reality of the situation, they simply contorted the logic into some other form of scandal.

PenceProtest1

This photo, borrowed from Campus Reform, is a microcosm of the objection. The statement reads “Because women are people, not weird demons who you can’t be trusted to enjoy a meal with #NotMyCommencementSpeaker”.

If you haven’t heard, the fake scandal drummed up by liberals is that Pence is discriminating against women, making it more difficult for them to advance their careers by not giving them an opportunity to schmooze with him after hours. Does the notion of performing well AT THE JOB count for anything? On the other hand, has the political left completely forgotten about Rape Culture, the notion all men are predators and potential rapists? Does “Duke LaCrosse Team” mean anything to anyone? The fact Pence has often declined to dine with men after hours conveniently escapes mention in the criticism.

Notice, also, the swipe at Pence’s religious beliefs: the comment about demons is obviously meant to suggest he is some sort of religious extremist, given the well known fact Pence is Christian. Ah, gratuitous religious intolerance added onto the fake scandal. What’s cherry picking worth without the cherry on top? Douglass Gibbs at Canada Free Press has a good take on this fake scandal.

So the double standard is not available for those who want to attack Pence. But making up a fake scandal is always a valid option. Simply by being smart about defending himself, Pence is faced with a logical distortion only politically correct feminists could invent. This is the triple standard: it really doesn’t matter what happens, if a way can be found to make Republicans look bad, that becomes the official narrative of the day.

But if you think about it, you already know this. We all do. The main stream media has an obvious preference for the Democrat perspective on any and all subjects. That’s precisely what we see with Judge Thomas and President Clinton. There was a way to construe Anita Hill’s allegation against Thomas to make it appear more legitimate, and the main stream media ate that line hook, line, and sinker. And they delivered that line to the people with enthusiasm. There was also a way of defending Bill Clinton in which the women he abused were made to look like liars. While the mere allegation of impropriety was enough to convict Clarence Thomas in the eyes of his critics, suddenly the mere allegation of sexual misconduct was not enough by itself for Bill Clinton’s defenders (the same people who condemned Judge Thomas a few years earlier).

Even if you can’t stand Trump (and I sympathize with you), please defend his administration against this hypocrisy. Partly because of his high dislikability, Hillary Clinton’s hypocrisy wasn’t called out in the main stream press when she pretended to be a defender of sexual assault survivors. She had the exact opposite attitude as first lady when she defended her philandering husband by attempting to destroy any woman who made an allegation against him. Also partly because of his high dislikability, Trump was not defended on the matter of his past treatment of women when the media applied the Gentleman’s standard to him. They could just as easily have applied the Politician’s standard. They opted to attack him, rather than to defend him the way they defended Bill Clinton.

If you don’t want to defend Trump, at least hold liberals to their own standards. “But they don’t have any standards” some might retort. They claim they do. But their supposed standards are quite fickle (such as claiming to value free speech when they want to say something, but are eager to restrict other people’s right to speech). Please don’t let them get away with that. It does none of us any good to let the political left lie to us. Yes, one can say it does us no good to let Trump lie to us either, and you’re right (some of us said the same of Obama for eight years). But if you’re willing to call out Trump’s lies, why would you let other lies from the media, Hollywood culture, and Democrats go unchallenged? Don’t play that game. If you act like you care about truth and justice when Trump says something absurd, you can at least act like you care about truth and justice when other people lie about Trump, Pence, Jeff Sessions, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. You don’t have to like any of those names to be intellectually honest. Truth works for the betterment of all of us. Play that game.

Keep in mind, there was a time when all politicians were expected to act like gentlemen.

bias, conservative, corruption, culture, Democrats, ethics, feminism, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, relativism, scandal, sex, sexism

Filed under: bias, conservative, corruption, culture, Democrats, ethics, feminism, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, relativism, scandal, sex, sexism

Healthy masculinity is exactly what our young boys need

original article: The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Trend Blames Boys For Being Born Male
April 12, 2017 by Nicole Russell

The term “toxic masculinity” is en vogue now, from college campuses to Playboy. But the term implies there’s a problem with masculinity, and teaching our boys and men that their innate wiring is wrong, stupid, and even toxic creates far worse problems. If anything, society doesn’t need less toxic masculinity, we need more men embracing their natural masculinity.

The latest in the explorations and denigrations of toxic masculinity is the University of Regina, a school in Canada. They’re hosting a program called “Man Up Against Violence,” which asks male students to sit in a Catholic-style confessional booth and confess their sin of “hypermasculinity.”

What’s that? You weren’t aware masculinity, hyper or otherwise, was a problem? Well, universities want guys to own it and apologize for it—not just inwardly, but outwardly too. After a female colleague wrote about toxic masculinity, New Zealand’s Martin Van Beynen observed, “Toxic masculinity is the new male burden.” He is also trying to figure out what it means.

You then have to ask what aspects of manliness its accusers don’t find toxic. Surely they can appreciate the masculinity that builds cities and roads and fixes things. Maybe they could also find the hardiness associated with masculinity commendable and worthwhile.

Of course, some men do rape and beat up their partners and make excuses for rude behavior. But nothing suggests a rape culture is endemic to the male psyche—not anywhere close to the majority of men are rapists—and to stigmatize masculinity on the strengths of some bad attitudes among teenage boys and some men is simplistic, counter-productive, and unfair. Labeling masculinity itself as toxic is hardly going to change attitudes, particularly among teenage boys, or enlist the help of men who can make a difference.

Do the Actions of a Few Men Characterize Them All?

While I applaud that Regina University is hosting a “Healthy Relationships and Healthy Masculinity” workshop—who’s not for “healthy masculinity?”—I’m afraid the whole initiative reinforces the myth that men are toxic just because of their natural biology, not because they’ve done anything wrong. Man Up Against Violence says, “[W]e challenge mindsets and behaviors about the social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence. We work together to bring light to the causes of all types of violence related to gender, race, socio-economic status, ability level and beyond.”

The phrase “social construction of masculinity and its relationship with violence” carries an assumption that some men, even all men, are violent. Some women are prostitutes too, but does that mean it’s healthy for society, particularly universities tasked with shaping young minds, to automatically equate females with selling sex? Of course not.

Even Playboy has started using the term. Earlier this month the publication said British singer Ed Sheeran had a “Toxic Masculinity Problem”: “[Sheeran] sometimes comes off as sad and out-of-control. And his attempts to own that—in both his music and his interviews—is what makes it feel like he’s dealing with a severe case of toxic masculinity, one that is continually fueled by binge drinking and sex.”

What this author describes isn’t a toxic male but an immature one. This kind of behavior has been common among musicians and Hollywood celebrities for a long time. In the 80’s, Eddie Murphy joked the band The Busboys made his fish stop swimming because of their propensity to, “f–k anything that moves.” But this says more about Hollywood culture than “toxic masculinity.”

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Even advocates of this thinking can’t agree on what “toxic masculinity” is, save for things men do that women don’t like. Of course, rape, misogyny, and abuse are toxic. Any civilized society should demand that criminal or abusive behavior to be dealt with as a legal and moral imperative.

But if the “We-hate-toxic-masculinity” crowd were just referring to this, they wouldn’t have a confessional booth set up on a college campus for the average male student, and abuse is more serious than that. Criminalizing manhood is a sure way to trivialize actual crimes by comparison by lumping two completely unlike things under the same heading.

Suggesting men confess a crime they didn’t commit, or confess to a crime that’s not even a crime (being a man) is progressive virtue-signaling in overdrive.  Such a scheme is framed in such a way to deliberately hurt young men and thus our society at large, which benefits most from men meeting their masculine potential.

What We Need Is Healthy Masculinity

Our culture is so wrapped up in trying to blur the lines of sexuality, and women have become so obsessed with their warped concept of feminism, we seem dead-set on confusing, even hating, men for their masculinity. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Yes, society should strive for equality between men and women, but no phrase, whether “cisgender,” “toxic masculinity,” or “gender binary attack helicopter,” will ever change that men and women are not the same. Nor should it mean men shouldn’t be as proud to be masculine as women can to be feminine.

Camille Paglia once said, “Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”

Masculine men are as much the bedrock of society as strong, nurturing women. Don’t think so? Read a bit of history about the men and women who traversed this country’s wilderness and winters with minimal belongings on horseback and in carriages during the pioneer era. Talk about the sexes working together. Without each other, they likely may not have survived. Even though survival is easier today, men and women still need each other. We both have unique and complimentary things to offer each other and society.

Because feminists are so clueless and careless about the differences between men and women they seek to emasculate even an “average” guy as opposed to calling out men who are actual misogynists.

Instead of teaching our boys to embrace a healthy masculinity that includes what at first glance appears to be trivial—such as holding doors, carrying groceries, or throwing a coat over the shoulders of a wife or girlfriend—society forces them to not only to eschew such chivalrous gestures but to repent of exuding masculine strength.

I have two boys and believe teaching them the value of healthy masculinity is as imperative as teaching girls it’s good to embrace their femininity. Even the simple truth that maleness is nothing to be ashamed of seems to be a radical concept. Healthy men and boys know their strengths, and instead of seeking to annihilate these traits, we need to encourage them to use their strengths for good. Society needs it far more than we need men to apologize for existing.

bias, bigotry, bullies, children, culture, diversity, education, feminism, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences, victimization

Filed under: bias, bigotry, bullies, children, culture, diversity, education, feminism, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences, victimization

Can gay bakeries refuse service?

original article: This evangelist asked a gay bakery to make a traditional marriage cake. Now he may face charges.
April 9, 2015 by Kirsten Andersen

Joshua Feuerstein was just trying to make a point. Now, he may face legal action, as a bakery that refused to provide him with a cake opposing same-sex “marriage” threatens to sue him for taking their conversation public. The bakery owner is also threatening to press charges related to the recording of the phone call.

In the wake of heated national debate over whether business owners should have the right to refuse to participate in same-sex “weddings” that violate their religious beliefs, Feuerstein, an internet evangelist, decided to see if pro-gay business owners would give him the same deference as a Christian that homosexual activists are demanding Christian business owners give to same-sex couples, even if they disagreed with his worldview.

He made a tape of himself calling Florida-based bakery “Cut the Cake” and asking them to make a cake decorated with the words, “We do not support gay marriage.” As Feuerstein expected, the bakery – which calls itself LGBT-friendly and advertises same-sex “wedding” services in gay publications – refused and hung up the phone.

“We wanted to see if a pro-LGBT bakery would bake a cake for something that it was opposed to what they believed in,” Feuerstein told Florida’s WESH 2 News, “and you know what, I actually believe that Cut the Cake has every right as an American to refuse to print that on a cake.”

Feuerstein posted video of the phone call to YouTube with commentary explaining his position. “Cut the Cake[‘s owner]…refuses to make an anti-gay ‘marriage’ cake, so it obviously violates her principles, and so she doesn’t feel like she should be forced to make the cake,” Feuerstein said in the video. “And yet…there’s all of this hoopla going around because Christian bakeries think that they shouldn’t be forced.”

“Look, this is not about discrimination,” Feuerstein said. “This is about them having the freedom.”

But Cut the Cake’s owner, Sharon Haller, didn’t appreciate being made an example of by Feuerstein. She claims that as soon as Feuerstein’s video was posted, she began receiving dozens of phone calls from his fans and followers placing “fake orders” and telling her and the rest of her bakery staff to “kill ourselves.”

“I’m just afraid because of the type of calls that we were getting that someone is going to attack me in my home,” Haller told News 13.

Feuerstein took down his video as soon as he became aware that Haller was receiving harassing phone calls. “I never asked people to call, be hateful or boycott them,” Feuerstein told WKMG 6.

But Haller quickly reposted the video to YouTube, along with a description classifying Feuerstein’s phone call as an “attack.” She asked people to “put a stop to people like Joshua Feuerstein” by donating to her GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $14,000.

Haller is also threatening to press charges, saying Feuerstein’s recording of the phone call without her consent violates Florida law. She has reached out to the FBI and is considering pursuing a criminal case.

The fiasco echoes similar cases making news around the nation, as cake shops have become the front line battleground in the culture war over the definition of marriage.

In December, blogger Theodore Shoebat recorded himself calling 13 “pro-gay” bakeries to ask if they would make a cake with the words “Gay marriage is wrong.” Shoebat says all 13 bakeries refused to cooperate. Some simply hung up the phone as soon as he made his request. Others called him names and used obscenities when confronted by Shoebat over the perceived double-standard. Shoebat contrasted his own experience with that of a baker in Ireland who suffered “tremendous loss to his business” after resisting attempts by gay activists and the Irish state to force him to create a cake featuring the words “Support Gay Marriage.”

“Christian bakeries that refuse to make pro-homosexual marriage cakes are getting sued left, right, and center,” Shoebat wrote in a blog post explaining the motivation behind his videos, which he called a “social experiment.”

“They get fined, they get death threats, and they lose their businesses. This experiment proves beyond doubt that the gay agenda is not just about their freedom to practice a sexual orientation, but the suppression of free speech,” he said.

Last year, Bill Jack filed a discrimination complaint against Denver’s Azucar Bakery, claiming the owner violated his religious rights by refusing to decorate Bible-shaped cakes with the words “God hates sin. Psalm 45:7″ and “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:22.” He also wanted one cake to feature an image of two men holding hands in front of a cross with a red “X” overlaid on the image.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected Jack’s claim early this week, ruling that the bakery owner rejected his message because it violated an established policy of refusing to decorate cakes with “derogatory language and imagery,” not because of his faith.

The heightened controversy over wedding cakes comes as several states are debating Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) to protect religious business owners’ right to refuse to provide goods and services that violate their deeply held beliefs. Homosexual activists have decried such laws, claiming they will be used as an excuse for people to discriminate against gays.

bias, bigotry, bullies, civil rights, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, scandal, sex

Filed under: bias, bigotry, bullies, civil rights, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, scandal, sex

When anti-science hides behind science

original article: The Left’s New Cure-All: ‘Science’
April 12, 2017 by HEATHER WILHELM

Ah, science. If you’re even loosely engaged in the wild and dark art that is politics these days, you know by now that “science,” as a word, has taken on an almost mystical meaning. “Science,” in many of its modern incantations, now serves as a form of code, as vague and fuzzy as a Wiccan chant. For a growing number of political activists, the meaning is simple: Science, you see, is a lively mix of standard progressive hobbyhorses, tossed wild-eyed and cranky into one cantankerous bag.

Witness the upcoming March for Science, scheduled for Saturday, April 22. This also happens to be Earth Day, which is nice enough — and hey, who could object to a good old-fashioned rah-rah session for science? I, for one, always welcome a refresher on string theory, or the confounding conflict between the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, or that long, troubling episode in our planet’s history when a few impertinent continents apparently traipsed all the way over to the other side of the globe and no one was there to panic about it.

Alas, this March for Science does not appear to be largely about science, or about people who know a great deal about science, or even about people who want to know a great deal about science. (It would be kind of fun, in fact, to quiz earnest potential attendees about the details of the scientific method, or whether Johannes Kepler should finally win that well-deserved Oscar.) Keeping up with today’s hottest trends, the March for Science has wrapped itself in identity politics, cranked up the oven to “scorch,” and potentially set things on track to unceremoniously collapse into one giant intersectional soufflé.

The troubles brewing within the March for Science surfaced in January, marked by a now-deleted official tweet: “Colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.” Since then, the addled march has torn through four different diversity statements, shellacked by critics on both sides. (Harvard’s Steven Pinker bashed the march’s “anti-science PC/identity politics/hard-left rhetoric,” while others complained the statement didn’t go far enough.) The march’s latest set of “Diversity and Inclusion Principles,” when paired with its more shame-faced and apologetic sibling, the “Statement on Diversity and Inclusion,” tops out at over 1,000 words.

You might think that this amounts to a protest march protesting too much. But the hits keep coming. When Bill Nye, the children’s TV personality-turned-science-advocate, was announced as an honorary chair of the march last week, critics bemoaned his status as a white male. Oddly, no one seemed particularly riled up about the fact that Nye is not an actual “scientist” at all. “I was born a dorky white guy who became an engineer,” Nye told BuzzFeed, reportedly “baffled” at the brouhaha. “I’m playing the hand I was dealt. We can’t — this march can’t solve every problem at once.”

But “science,” at least according to the new dogma, can. Since the election of Donald Trump, a trendy new sign has popped up in yards across America: “In this house, we believe black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love, kindness is everything.” People of various political leanings could talk for hours about some of the tenets of the sign — which specific “women’s rights” are we referring to, for instance? — but the “science is real” line confuses me every time. What, after all, can it mean? Most likely, the line refers to anthropogenic climate change, and a beef with the Trump administration’s approach to that contentious issue. But if that’s the case, why not just have your sign say “Manmade climate change is real”? There’s clearly something else afoot, and it strikes deep into the heart of progressive politics today.

What, after all, can it mean? Most likely, the line refers to anthropogenic climate change, and a beef with the Trump administration’s approach to that contentious issue. But if that’s the case, why not just have your sign say “Manmade climate change is real”? There’s clearly something else afoot, and it strikes deep into the heart of progressive politics today.

Of course science is real. Earnest scientists are busy sciencing it up, right now, all over the world. In some cases, as the BBC recently reported, they’re accidentally growing chickens with actual dinosaur faces, a terrifying activity that I sincerely hope they stop. But science is not a doctrine or a dogma. It’s a method — a method of questioning, gathering facts, developing hypotheses, and testing them to get a better understanding of the world.

But here’s the thing about science: Sometimes, it’s a method that reveals answers you’d rather not know. Science might, for instance, make you think about human life, and certain facts about human life, and specific policies that end human life. It might, in fact, turn a few of the most passionately held dogmas of the supposed “party of science” — and the progressive left — completely upside down.

But never mind. Today’s march for science is apparently for the science that affirms our priors. That, after all, is much more fun.

bias, corruption, culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, science, supply and demand

Filed under: bias, corruption, culture, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, science, supply and demand

The absurdity of transgenderism: a stern but necessary critique

original article: The absurdity of transgenderism: a stern but necessary critique
April 22, 2015 by Carlos D. Flores

By now we are all undoubtedly familiar with the tragic suicide of Joshua Alcorn, the transgender teenage boy who, in late December, walked onto a freeway with the intention of ending his life. In an apparent suicide note, Joshua cites a host of reasons for why he was led to end his life, most prominent of which were his parents’ attempts to discourage his identifying as a girl and his being sent to therapists in an attempt to relieve these feelings. All of the problems that ultimately culminated in his suicide, writes Joshua, stem from the fact that, from the time he was a small child, he felt like a “girl trapped in a boy’s body.”

No sooner had Joshua’s heart stopped beating than the story of his suicide was seized by LGBT activists and pruned to advance a familiar narrative of a sexual minority fighting cultural oppression. Joshua’s parents immediately began to be chided as “repressive” and “bigoted” and even began to receive various threats from LGBT internet crusader-activists.

Transgenderism and Gender Identity

I have not referred to Joshua by using female pronouns or by using his self-invented female name of “Leelah.” The reason I am not doing this is simple: Joshua was not a girl—he was a boy—and to address males with female pronouns or females with male pronouns is to contribute to our culture’s confusion about sexuality and the nature of the human person, which is literally leaving casualties in its wake. No amount of surgical mutilation of body parts, effeminate behaviors, or artificial female appearances can make a man a woman.

LGBT activists will respond in various ways to this. They might first respond by saying: “Okay, true enough: Joshua was biologically a male. But you have misunderstood our claim: we contend that his sex was male, yes, but his gender was female because he ‘identified’ as female.” The idea here is that people have a sex, which is either female or male and which one cannot choose. In addition to this, however, there is “gender,” or what sex one is more comfortable “identifying” as. The response to this is simple: Why think that what one “identifies as” is significant at all, especially to the extent that others should actively recognize or cater to such an identity, and especially when the identity one adopts is contrary to reality?

Consider the following analogies. Suppose that a Caucasian man from Finland—call him Gunther—suddenly decided that he identifies as being of Sub-Saharan African descent. Suppose further that, in light of this, Gunther undergoes unusual procedures to have his skin darkened and his skull’s bone structure re-shaped so as to resemble that of individuals of Sub-Saharan descent. Would we think that such a person has suddenly become of Sub-Saharan descent through such procedures? Of course not, and his identifying as such does nothing to change this. His appearance as someone of Sub-Saharan descent might be very convincing. But, again, this doesn’t change the fact that he is not of Sub-Saharan descent.

Similarly, suppose that a seventy-year-old man—call him Bob—comes to identify as a sixteen-year-old. Wouldn’t we think it absurd if people considered it “rude” or “bigoted” to tell the man: “You are not sixteen years old. Your identifying as such doesn’t change this fact, and we will not indulge you in your strange delusions by not calling attention to your old age and by pretending that you really are sixteen years old”?

The cases of Gunther and Bob and the situations of individuals who believe themselves to be transgender are perfectly analogous. In the case of the transgender individual, he identifies as something he is not—someone of the opposite sex—and seeks to undergo harmful surgeries and hormonal treatments in order to have his physical state match his identity of himself as someone of the opposite sex.

Our mental faculties, like our physical ones, are ordered toward various ends. Among these ends is the attainment of truth. To this extent, it is perfective of our mental faculties to recognize how we truly are (and thus apprehend a truth). It is for this reason that we can make sense of mental disorders such as anorexia nervosa as disorders: they involve persons’ having persistent, false beliefs about their identity or how they really are. In the case of the anorexic, someone who is dangerously underweight believes falsely (but tenaciously) that he is really overweight. It would be a proper procedure of medicine, then, for a therapist to help an anorexic individual to do away with his anorexia, restoring the individual’s mental faculties to their properly functioning state.

Gender Reassignment Surgery Is Not Medicine

Those in favor of transgenderism also (naturally) support gender-reassignment surgery as a perfectly legitimate medical procedure for individuals (including children) with gender dysphoria. Now, put to one side the fact that 70-80 percent of children who report having transgender feelings come to lose such feelings. Ignore, for the moment, the fact that individuals who undergo gender reassignment surgery are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Instead consider the following question: Can we reasonably categorize gender reassignment surgery as a medical procedure in the first place?

Before we answer this question, we might venture to ask: what is medicine? Here is a plausible answer: medicine is the enterprise of restoring bodily faculties to their proper function. Our bodily faculties are ordered toward certain ends. This seems impossible to deny. Eyes, for example, are ordered toward (i.e., their function is) seeing, the stomach is ordered toward breaking down food, the heart is ordered toward pumping blood, etc. So if, say, someone’s eyes were not able to achieve their end of sight well, it would be rightly considered a medical procedure to seek to restore this individual’s eyes to their proper function. Similarly, it would be a medical endeavor to seek to restore an individual’s defective heart (one that has arrhythmia, say) to its proper function. All well and good.

But what are we to make of this “gender reassignment” surgery? Insofar as such a surgical procedure involves the intentional damaging and mutilating of otherwise perfectly functioning bodily faculties by twisting them to an end toward which they are not ordered, such a thing cannot, in principle, possibly be considered a medical procedure. And because love compels us to seek the good for another, it is thus a grave evil to condone such surgical procedures.

On Gender Identity Disorder Therapy

A similar point can be made about gender identity disorder therapy. Transgenderism activists are seizing Joshua’s tragic death to insist that such therapy ought to be criminalized. A petition is floating around the internet to ban so-called “transgender conversion therapy,” a procedure that involves, presumably, an attempt by a professional to help a person who is experiencing a gender identity disorder (also known as gender dysphoria). If the progress of the homosexual movement is a guide to what will come next, we can expect that laws will soon be passed criminalizing individuals’ receiving therapy to help them do away with transgender identities or desires—even for those who want to relieve themselves of such identities and desires.

Recall our earlier discussion of anorexia. Like the anorexic, the transgendered individual tenaciously holds to false beliefs about his identity or how or what he truly is: he believes that he is a sex that he is not. Dr. Paul McHugh’s words here are particularly incisive:

The transgendered suffer a disorder of “assumption” like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists. With the transgendered, the disordered assumption is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature—namely one’s maleness or femaleness. Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight.

It would thus be a perfectly proper procedure of medicine for the transgendered individual to visit a therapist to seek his professional help to relieve himself of his disordered transgender identity insofar as this would amount to a restoring of the transgendered individual’s mental faculties to their properly functioning state. The suggestion, then, that gender identity disorder therapy should be criminalized is as absurd as the suggestion that therapy to eliminate anorexia should be criminalized.

Some Common Objections

Now, an apologist for transgenderism might retort in the following way: “You’re missing a key point: the brains of, say, men who ‘identify’ as women have been shown to resemble those of women. This shows that there is a biological basis to their identifying as such.” In response, we might begin by asking for empirical evidence that this dubious claim really is true. But even if this were the case, this doesn’t show that men whose brains “resemble that of a woman’s” (whatever that means) are truly women after all. If we are to say that the person simply is the brain, as the one who espouses this objection seems to suggest, then, because presumably even males who identify as women have brains with male DNA, it follows that they are men after all.

But we don’t even need to grant that the presence of such-and-such brain states is relevant at all. For example, we may suppose that, through habitually behaving as a sixteen-year-old, the brain activity of the seventy-year-old mentioned above “resembles” that of a sixteen-year-old’s. Does it follow, then, that the seventy-year-old really is sixteen years old? Or that he is really a sixteen-year-old trapped inside a seventy-year-old’s body? Of course not. The most rational conclusion is that such an individual has some sort of cognitive or psychological defect associated with identity and self-perception. The same can be said for the transgender individual.

Indeed, it should not come as a surprise to find out that our daily activities shape our brain-states or alter the way our brains behave. After all, it is more or less common knowledge that, say, the process of learning to play an instrument has the effect of establishing new neural pathways, thus causing a change in brain-states. Thus Dr. Norman Doidge comments: “Now we know the brain is ‘neuroplastic,’ and not only can it change, but that it works by changing its structure in response to repeated mental experience.”

On the topic of sexuality more specifically, consider the fact that habitual porn use seems to result in (or correlate with) decreased gray matter in the brain, and that habitual porn use changes the sexual tastes of men. If habitually watching pornography can change a man’s brain so significantly, then it should hardly be surprising that through intentionally and habitually behaving like a woman a man’s brain would too change to some extent. But again, this does not thereby show that such a man is a woman after all; all it shows is that through habituated action of some sort, the man’s brain behavior has changed.

Another response might be to ask rhetorically: “Well, what about intersex individuals?” The implication is that the existence of intersex individuals somehow shows that the nature of sex is up for grabs for everyone, intersex or not. But this doesn’t follow at all. In the genuine case of intersex individuals, it may very well be appropriate to express puzzlement or ignorance as to what to make of such an attribute, metaphysically speaking, and perhaps leave it as an open question whether such individuals are either male or female or whether they should be encouraged to undergo surgical procedures in the interest of their health. Cases in which an individual is intersex, however, are exceedingly rare. Indeed, even granting the point, it would not be unfair to say that in 99.99 percent of cases (and even this might be too low a percentage), a person is either male or female. And unsurprisingly, most of the individuals who believe themselves to be transgender have perfectly functioning male or female reproductive systems. This question is both irrelevant and fruitless.

Finally, the LGBT activist might retort by asking: “but how will a man identifying as a woman affect you?” If these were simply private issues, this might be a valid point (though a concern for the physical and mental well-being of individuals struggling with their gender might obligate us to reach out to them in such a case). But, alas, LGBT activists are actively working to make it the case that the state and private businesses cover “gender-reassignment” surgeries, that men who identify as women be able to use women’s restrooms, that girls who identify as boys be able to play on male sports teams, that we consider it immoral to refer to infants as male or female lest we insidiously impose upon them a “gender” they might not identify with, that we ban therapy to treat gender dysphoria, and that we generally co-opt language and social norms to reflect pernicious falsehoods about the human body.

How a man’s identifying as a woman will personally affect me, you, or John Doe is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether we will make public policy and encourage social norms that reflect the truth about the human person and sexuality, or whether we will obfuscate the truth about such matters and sow the seeds of sexual confusion in future generations for years to come.

conservative, crisis, culture, extremism, government, homosexuality, ideology, justice, philosophy, public policy, relativism, right wing, science, sex, tragedy, victimization

Filed under: conservative, crisis, culture, extremism, government, homosexuality, ideology, justice, philosophy, public policy, relativism, right wing, science, sex, tragedy, victimization

Examining the redefinition of gender and sexuality

original article: Blurred Lines: Understanding The Effort To Redefine Gender And Sexuality
March 22, 2017 by B. Christopher Agee

While civil-rights movements of decades past were met with fierce resistance, the current effort to promote tolerance of wide-ranging sexual and gender identities faces unique challenges.

Numerous advocacy groups have dedicated a large part, if not all, of their resources to LGBT issues; meanwhile, even some of those who marched alongside these activists in previous movements believe the current push is a bridge too far.

The only consensus, it seems, is that the topic of sexuality and gender identity in America is one fraught with polarizing points of view.

A generational shift

Studies continue to show younger Americans are more likely to identify as something other than strictly heterosexual. Even between the young adults of the Millennial generation and their mostly teenage counterparts in Generation Z, there exists a significant gap in sentiment regarding gender roles in general.

While nearly 7 in 10 Millennials, broadly defined as those in their early 20s to mid-30s, are comfortable describing themselves as heterosexual, less than half of those in the younger generation are willing to make such a distinction.

Teens are also far more likely to identify as transgender, research indicates. According to one study, almost 150,000 teenagers living in the U.S. would describe themselves as something other than their gender at birth. In some states, that number is believed to be about 1 in 100. Last year, analysts determined the number of transgender Americans to be about twice as high as previously estimated at approximately 1.4 million adults. That study found young adults — between the ages of 18 and 24 — were more likely than older adults to identify as transgender.

As with many aspects of the topic, there is plenty of debate among experts and academics regarding the cause of this generational shift.

Artist and designer Pablo Solomon is a longtime civil-rights activist who said he and his wife “were active in gay rights in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before it was either hip or safe to do so.”

He told Western Journalism, however, that he believes the current incarnation of the movement has been influenced heavily by “several generations in which sex requires no boundaries, no responsibilities, no feelings — only immediate pleasure.”

That hedonistic lifestyle, he posited, has led each passing generation to see less behavior as off limits.

Others, including social worker and LGBT-rights advocate Brieanna Scolaro, believe the gender identities being expressed today have been felt all along by generations of people with no mechanism to process them.

“Before recent times,” she told Western Journalism, “we didn’t have these ways to think about gender identity and expression, nor did society allow for it.”

She went on to suggest people generally identify “on a spectrum, somewhere between straight and gay as well as somewhere between male and female.”

As society has become more accepting, Scolaro concluded, “it makes complete sense that an increasing number of Americans choose to express somewhere in between.”

Silencing opponents

While advocates in academia, politics and pop culture have aided in ushering in a society more tolerant of gender issues, those on the other side of the debate often describe a growing intolerance aimed at their viewpoints.

Reports last year, for example, indicated landlords and employers in New York were at risk of incurring fines up to $250,000 for failing to use an individual’s preferred pronoun. Furthermore, business owners have been hit with huge fines for refusing service to individuals based on a personal objection to their lifestyle.

A growing sector of the American population has begun advocating for laws and policies that dictate individual behavior related to the LGBT community. A vocal group of detractors, however, continues to insist such compulsory rules run afoul of the First Amendment.

Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for policy studies, told Western Journalism he does not believe “anyone should be fired or disciplined for declining to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns.”

Furthermore, he said his organization’s position is that sexual orientation and gender identity should not qualify as protected classes for the purpose of non-discrimination laws.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity involve behavior factors which — unlike race or sex — are not inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous or in the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “However, even in states which have included these as protected categories, we do not believe that declining to participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding, for example, constitutes sexual-orientation discrimination.”

Allowing Americans to freely express their opinion on the subject, Sprigg said, clearly falls under the umbrella of constitutional liberty.

“For someone who sincerely believes that maleness and femaleness are biological characteristics that are immutable from birth, being forced to use the pronouns of the opposite sex for someone amounts to being forced to lie,” he said. “no one should be put in that position.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb generally agrees with Sprigg’s assessment, telling Western Journalism it is “problematic” to enact such laws.

“If the use of pronouns is simply reflecting the reality of a person’s sex, without intent to harass or otherwise harm the other, it should not be punished,” he told Western Journalism. “Importantly, Title IX [of the Education Amendments Act of 1972] does not regulate the content of speech, and the First Amendment is hostile to compelled speech.”

McCaleb asserted the Constitution also “forbids the government from forcing creative professionals to promote messages, produce art, or celebrate events against their will.”

Where Scolaro wants to see “federal and state law [mandating] the provision of services, which would tell these business owners how they should behave when faced with a question of morality,” Solomon wants to see laws protecting those on the other side of the debate.

“Any group from Black Lives Matter to gay rights to KKK who threaten any business with boycotts or anything else for not supporting their events should be libel for resultant damages and possibly face criminal charges,” he said.

Identity vs. biology

A primary source of disagreement within this societal debate relates to whether gender is determined by biology or a person’s individual identity. This fundamental disagreement has been on full display as governments and businesses wrestle with whether to allow individuals to use restrooms corresponding with the gender of their choice.

Another realm in which this debate frequently rages is organized sports. Where many LGBT-rights activists insist transgender athletes should be allowed to compete according to their gender identity, many others believe biological differences between the genders works to the obvious disadvantage of female competitors.

“If biological males compete against biological females,” Sprigg said, “in the vast majority of sports females will be the losers.”

He went on to assert the “fundamental reality of human nature that the average biological males is taller, heavier, stronger and faster than the average biological female.”

These differences, Sprigg said, were behind the creation of gender-specific sports.

McCaleb agreed, pointing to “well-established physical characteristics, which reflect real differences between male and female skeletal development, musculature, endocrine systems and so on” as reason to maintain separate leagues based on gender.

Scolaro represents the competing view that the issue “isn’t about biological males or females” but “how a person chooses to identify.”

She said transgender athletes should be allowed to compete on the teams of their choice, calling the “psychological harm” of excluding them “far worse than the potential harm of inclusion.”

This issue is being hashed out across the nation with a few states, including Oregon, issuing guidelines to allow transgender students on sports teams corresponding with their identity.

Cyd Ziegler wrote this week on Outsports about a higher-stakes platform on which the transgender athlete issues is being debated.

New Zealand weightlifter Larel Hubbard, who was born male and competed in the sport as a man before transitioning, recently broke a national record while competing as a woman. Hubbard also has dreams of entering the 2020 Summer Olympics, which is already sparking controversy among those who believe such an appearance would be inherently unfair to rivals who were born female.

Cultural influences

The spike in gender fluidity and sexual nonconformity among younger generations has corresponded with a notable increase in references to these lifestyles across much of the cultural landscape.

Some believe the entertainment industry is simply acting as a reflection of changing societal norms while more cynical observers believe there is a deliberate effort to introduce and normalize lifestyles many Americans believe to be immoral.

“I think the producers of popular entertainment have been promoting an agenda more than they have been responding to any change in consumer tastes,” Sprigg said.

Solomon took the thought a step further, declaring the entertainment industry has already “achieved the goals of their leftist agenda,” noting it has “destroyed the family, any sort of morality and any sort of responsibilities connected to sex.”

According to Scolaro, the increased sexual and gender diversity on television and elsewhere is a result of America’s changing culture.

“As society has grown, so has our portrayal of stories and the characters involved,” she said.

She later noted advancements in broadcasting, such as popular content-streaming services, have also led to a wider representation of LGBT groups.

“Networks such as Netflix and Amazon are not bound by as many restrictions as ABC, NBC and so on,” Scolaro explained. “With shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent, viewers across all gender identity and sexual orientation spectrums are finding characters like themselves on television.”

Still, she sees a need for even more on-screen depictions of minority groups.

“As a cisgender gay woman, I see far more characters that look and feel like me than a transgender person of color,” she said. “But overall what we see is that of a white, straight, cisgender world.”

How young is too young?

With an increasing number of children, including some as young as preschool age, expressing a desire to transition to the opposite gender, activists and members of the medical community are left to determine which responses they believe are appropriate. Even among those who believe minors should be allowed to undergo some level of gender reassignment or transitioning, there is clearly no consensus on an appropriate age to begin considering such options.

Dr. Sherman Leis, who founded The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, told Western Journalism his practice generally only operates on individuals 16 year old or older.

“Parents and medical practitioners must take care before approving gender confirmation surgery, or transgender surgery, at an age that is too young,” he advised.

Scolaro, on the other hand, made the case for introducing hormones prior to puberty in some cases to avoid physiological changes that might make an individual more closely resemble his or her birth gender.

“Increased gender-based violence is seen when someone doesn’t pass for their desired gender expression,” she said. “When young males transition to female after puberty, they will have had their growth spurt, have their Adam’s apple, larger features, which can often put them at greater risk of violence and verbal assault.”

She suggested any “decision made involving a child should be considered carefully, and no overall age should be articulated that one should start transitioning.”

In Sprigg’s assessment, introducing hormones to pre-pubescent children is “fundamentally unethical” becasue of the lifelong effects such procedures have on young patients.

“Even a social transition to a new gender identity is unwise, in my opinion, for a minor,” he concluded. “I would recommend that young people wrestling with their gender or sexuality should wait until at least age 18 before making such a decision. Unfortunately, many parents have been influenced by the cultural messages of the LGBT movement on this subject, and are thus supporting their children in these unwise decisions.”

McCaleb also pointed to the permanence of certain gender-altering procedures performed on pre-pubescent children, noting “virtually all such children, left untreated, revert to their natal sex following puberty.”

The next frontier

The LGBT-rights movement saw significant achievements during the Obama era, most notably in a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

While Leis pointed to “the changing political climate” as the cause for “uncertainty among the transgender community and its advocates about the continuity and pace of this progression,” he said he believes activists will continue to advance their cause under a new administration. He cited a desire to see more specialized training in the field of transgender medicine as an area he would like to see progress in coming years.

As for what the future holds, Scolaro said activists “still have many other fronts, including workplace discrimination and provision of services to overcome.”

Sprigg offered his take on the viability of the transgender-rights movement in particular, predicting it will not gain widespread acceptance in America as quickly as prior efforts — including gay rights.

“Homosexuals were able to make a more libertarian argument that others should not care about what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom,” he said. “But the transgender movement is inherently about what people do in public, not just in private. I think there is much greater resistance to being forced to use certain pronouns, being forced to share locker rooms and showers with the opposite biological sex, and so forth.”

With a wave of college students choosing a major in gender studies or a related field, Scalaro envisions these “leaders of tomorrow” will influence further change in the nation’s opinions on gender and sexuality.

Solomon dismissed the idea with his assertion that graduates of gender-studies programs will be qualified to “teach gender education” — and little else. Sprigg echoed his sentiment, suggesting professors in the field are not providing graduates with a well-rounded education or a firm professional foundation.

“My impression is that while other academic fields such as political science or economics are capable of looking at contemporary issues from a range of perspectives,” he said, “it is difficult for any one in gender studies to take any view other than a strict pro-feminist, pro-LGBT approach. This limits its ability to be taken seriously as a truly academic discipline, rather than merely an activist one.”

While only time will tell what shape the LGBT-rights effort will take in the future, one thing seems clear: As Zeigler concluded in his report about Hubbard, “this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.”

Western Journalism reached out to Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of gay and transgender individuals, for comment. Representatives did not respond to our request.

bullies, civil rights, culture, diversity, extremism, feminism, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, progressive, public policy, relativism, sex, unintended consequences

Filed under: bullies, civil rights, culture, diversity, extremism, feminism, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, progressive, public policy, relativism, sex, unintended consequences

Catholic teacher fired for promoting traditional marriage

original article: When our reporter called this Catholic teacher fired for defending marriage, she broke down in tears
April 2, 2017 by Ben Johnson

Which two words best describe the reason LifeSiteNews exists? I could answer that a lot of ways – unborn babies, traditional marriage, Christian worldview – but I think I’ll use these two words: Patricia Jannuzzi.

If you haven’t heard of Patricia Jannuzzi, she’s the high school theology teacher at a Catholic school who is being persecuted for posting a message on Facebook upholding traditional marriage.

In response to a story on her news feed about vile and vicious comments made by gay activist Dan Savage, Jannuzzi said the argument in favor of redefining marriage is “bologna.”

That’s it. That’s the whole outrage. But ever since she said “bologna,” she’s been put through the grinder.

Unfortunately, one of the people who saw this message – on her private Facebook account – was the nephew of actress Susan Sarandon. She got her far-Left Hollywood friends to swoop down on the town and demand the school shut her up.

But here’s where the story gets really terrible: The school turned its back on Jannuzzi – and some say the bishop lied to cover it up.

Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey, said that Jannuzzi had been placed on leave, but she has not been fired, and “there has been no interruption in her pay and benefits.”

But then Jannuzzi’s lawyer released a series of emails that show that may not exactly be true.

The principal at Immaculata High School in Somerville, Mrs. Jean G. Kline, sent an email saying, “I have decided to place you on administrative leave without pay effective immediately.”

In another email, her lawyer accepted a deal for the school to continue paying her salary and benefits – but it appears it was conditioned on Jannuzzi not being rehired next fall.

We personally feel very badly for this heroic, faithful woman who deserves much praise, or at the very least fair reporting of her firing, rather than condemnation. And we are trying to do whatever we can to help her.

All this woman did was share the Catholic Church’s position on gay “marriage” on her own social media page, and even students who disagree with her fidelity say she is a kind and effective teacher who always has her students’ best interests at heart.

But instead, the Catholic school – and the leadership of this diocese – decided to disregard her 30-year teaching career and throw her to the Hollywood lynch mob.

Jannuzzi can’t afford to fight this on her own. She is a 57-year-old breast cancer survivor with one son in college and another in a parochial high school.

Until LifeSiteNews brought her story to light from a traditional perspective, all the media coverage had been hostile. Supposedly “impartial” media sources branded her post an “anti-gay rant” and hinted she was full of “hate.” (Come to think of it, that’s the same thing they say about you….)

After our story, one of our reporters spoke with Patricia Jannuzzi. She couldn’t say much for legal reasons, but she broke down in tears and thanked him for our media coverage. She also asked him to pray with her right there on the phone.

That’s the reason LifeSiteNews is so necessary.

It’s no secret that there’s a war in America. But that war isn’t just between “their” side and “our” side: it’s taking place within the church.

When a beloved, veteran teacher can’t disagree with the Hollywood jet set without fear of her diocese taking away her livelihood, things have gotten terribly out of control.

LifeSiteNews exists to inform you about what’s going on in the world, from a faithful perspective. But we also exist to make sure people like Patricia Jannuzzi can have their story told, truthfully and without fear of being demonized. We want to give them a voice that all others are denying them.

We’re here to hold everyone equally accountable – inside the church and out.

And our reporting is accurate – a little too accurate for some people’s liking. Because we refuse to let “our” side slide when they step over the line, we can never count on them for financial support.

We have to rely on you. We have no one else.

Your generous support for LifeSiteNews helps us bring you the facts you need and the stories that other news outlets are afraid to touch – the stories they refuse to tell the truth about. We desperately need your help at this time to keep working at this mission.

In the last few days of Lent, do yourself two favors: Say a prayer for Patricia Jannuzzi, and make a donation of any size to LifeSiteNews.

God bless,

Ben Johnson, U.S. Bureau Chief
LifeSiteNews.com

abuse, bullies, corruption, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, scandal, tragedy, victimization

Filed under: abuse, bullies, corruption, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, scandal, tragedy, victimization

Pages

Categories

May 2017
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031