Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Does AFP’s sloppy reporting reveal bias?

On Monday, November 18, the AFP published a “Breaking” news story about more than 100,000 migrant children being detained by US immigration services. By Wednesday, the story has been deleted. Why would the AFP scrap a story after two days? It turns out a vital piece of information was neglected in the original story: the main premise was wrong.

AFP deleted a story incorrectly accusing the Trump administration of detaining over 100,000 migrant children

Searching online for an extant copy of the original AFP story (authored by Ben Simon and Nina Larson) shows the initial story highlighted a recent UN report on migrant children detained in over 80 countries across the world. But the AFP story focused on how the US handles these children, and more specifically, it blamed the sad situation on president Trump.

One syndicated copy of the story (from Vaal weekblad) shows quite clearly the current US administration is blamed for the situation.

AFP syndicated story blames the Trump administration for detention of migrant children

The story’s opening paragraph tells us a recent study was published in which responsibility was assigned to the Trump administration (emphasis added):

Lead author of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, Manfred Nowak, said the figure refers to migrants children currently in custody who reached a US border unaccompanied, as well as those detained with relatives and minors separated from their parents prior to detention.

President Trump is even named in the AFP story (emphasis added):

The US is the only UN member state that has not ratified the convention which took effect in 1990.

But Nowak said that did not absolve President Donald Trump’s administration of wrongdoing with respect to the detention of migrant children at the southern border with Mexico.

But AFP’s notification that it’s story is being withdrawn makes a substantial correction:

AFP is withdrawing this story.

The author of the report has clarified that his figures do not represent the number of children currently in migration-related US detention, but the total number of children in migration-related US detention in 2015.

We will delete the story.

So a fuller perspective on the story actually places responsibility for the situation at the foot of the Obama administration. Yet, rather than issue a correction, as is common practice in the news industry, the AFP has instead opted to withdraw the story. The desire to cast blame is already out of the bag, given the story was clearly worthy of being reported on Monday. Is the story no longer news worthy simply because the AFP was forced to admit president Obama should be the object of ridicule?

When the detention and caging of migrant children became a coast to coast outrage in 2018, the US main stream media was sure to cover the story ad nauseam. The first articles critical of the Trump administration inconveniently used 2014 photos of caged migrant children, photos taken when the Obama administration was detaining them. Conservatives responded to the 2018 bombshell with skepticism about the leftwing outrage, given the complete absence of outrage when the Obama administration built those cages and detained tens of thousands of migrant children.

Many people question the sincerity of leftwing outrage given its highly selective application – even on the same issue. If separating migrant children from their parents and detaining them in cages is a moral outrage today in the Trump era, it was equally outrageous in the Obama era. The lack of public outrage of this matter in the Obama years, and the AFP’s initial interest in it this week yet sudden disinterest in the same matter after discovering president Obama should have been blamed in their own story, makes the outrage look less moral and more political.

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A dynamic society is not perfectible – stop acting like cattle

In light of the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage we see the two fundamental social forces at work in the United States. These forces show us the human condition is dynamic, thus so is human society. Because society is not a static thing the idea of progress is not nearly as settled as many people would think.

The idea of progress is a very noble one, at its core. There is suffering and injustice in the world. A lot of it. ISIS is a good example of the evil that exists in the world. Indeed the desire for improvement of the human condition adds social pressure to a people to prevent its decay into a barbaric society like that of ISIS. A health society needs this desire to improve.

On the other hand, because society is dynamic and not static, we must remember that progress itself is not static. The idea that past improvements are here to stay is an assumption. There are good reasons for thinking progress is a permanent thing but there are also good reasons to doubt this assumption. It seems to me the idea of progress, while often viewed as achievement, is in practice really nothing more than trend.

In the gay marriage example, we have a group of people who are widely believed to have been oppressed. The alleged oppression prevented gay people from loving who they wanted to love and prevented them from living with who they wanted to live with. Of course neither of these forms of oppression are true in the United States, as gay people were living with and loving the people they wanted all along. Though these allegations are true in some regions of the world:

Thrown to death… for being gay

‘Kill the gays’ penalty proposed Malawi Muslim Association

UK Muslim Cleric: ’Okay to Kill Gays’

Horrific moment ISIS kill four gay men by throwing them from a roof

Iranian Gay Men To Be Hanged For Sodomy: Report

‘Gays’ and the Muslims who kill them

So Far, Media Downplaying Muslim Scholar Preaching Death for Gays in Orlando

Yes, yes, gay people have been murdered in the United States as well. In the US killing gay people is considered murder, while in many other parts of the world murdering gays is considered justice. But there are plenty of people who insist on treating the murder of gays in the US as no different from killing them elsewhere. In fact many go out of their way to argue conservatives and Christians are no different from Islamic extremists, yet would insist Muslims don’t hate gays. How are conservatives and Christians hateful homophobes no different from Muslim homophobes while Muslim homophobes are not homophobes at all? Don’t ask me. We live in a country where believing marriage is between one man and one woman is treated as equivalent to murdering gays, yet when gays are actually murdered by an Islamic extremists it is not Muslims who are to blame. Guess who is to blame:

ABC Blames Orlando Terror on Election Rhetoric and Guns in America

Anything But Islam: Media Attack Guns, Men, Christians, GOP Instead of Ideology in Terror Attack

NYT Columnist: Orlando Shows ‘How Potent’ Combination of ISIS, NRA Can Be

The View: Orlando Shooter Had No Ties to ISIS but Trump Is ‘Working With ISIS to Kill Us’

Vile Bee Prays NRA Is Plagued with Boils, Declares She Wants to Take Guns Away Post-Orlando

ThinkProgress Blames Christians For Orlando Shooting

Nets Censor Chick-fil-A’s Help in Orlando Blood Drives After Shooting

North Carolina NBC Reporter Blames Christians, Bathroom Law Advocates for Orlando

CBS Insinuates Christians ‘Promote the Kind of Violence’ in Orlando

Huffington Post Blames Orlando on Christians and Fox News Viewers

NY Times Again Blames Anti-Gay GOP, Not Radical Islam, for Orlando Massacre

The Logic Behind the Left’s Demonization of Conservatives

So we’ve got a convoluted notion of who is anti-gay and who is not but American culture tells itself redefining marriage to include same sex couples is progress, and this progress is here to stay.

That’s rather curious. In Europe in centuries past, it was one group or another of Christians who could be oppressed, abused and murdered merely for being the wrong kind of Christian. Some of those people left the old world to help forge a new world, one inherently based in a spirit of individual liberty where they could practice their beliefs freely. This idea would later be codified as the freedom of religion and made part of the law of the land. But that essential liberty is being undermined, along with a few other things.

There some fundamental problems with the way the American government dealt with the gay marriage issue. The tactics chosen to affect this type of change undermine many rights Americans currently enjoy and even some vital aspects of the government itself.

First, American society holds to a separation between church and state. This separation is widely and frequently cited as essential to the preservation of liberty. Throughout its history the United States has treated marriage as an inherently religious thing. But in 2016 the federal government usurped this religious institution, making it what a few oligarchs on the bench decided it should be. And gay activists demanded this. So much for keeping government out of the bedroom. It turns out keeping government and religion separate is only selectively important; apparently we don’t need this separation when government wants power over religion.

Second, American society holds to a separation of powers. The genius of the American experiment has several aspects, not least of which is the balance of power. In the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the land, the power to make law does not rest in the hands of the President or the Supreme Court. That power is reserved for the Congress. But the Supreme Court has decided it can make law by fiat. This is not the first time SCOTUS presumed the right to make law (Roe v Wade is another).

This episode in American history show us certain things presumed permanent can easily be undone. The separation between church and state and the separation of powers are being undermined, and are done so with celebration from the political left. In the aftermath of recent mass shootings we see an overt effort to defend Muslims against imaginary acts of meanness while undermining the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms (and even question the right to self defense, another aspect of the law of the land long thought to be permanent). Some people are willing to be honest about their true intentions in supporting gun control.

You think gay marriage is a great step forward? Will you think the same if it turns out changing marriage in this way was merely a step toward banning marriage altogether as activist Masha Gessen is candid enough to admit?

You think the right to free speech is a permanent fixture of a free society? Well, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean the United States is going to remain a free society, not with politicians clamoring to change the first amendment. In the United States it used to be taken as self evident that rights do not come from government but from a higher source. Today it seems half of Americans think rights are bestowed upon us by government. Some may call this progress; I would call it regress.

When our Progressive (by that I mean radically left leaning) society pushes for its idea of liberty I cannot help but notice this also means the restriction or even elimination of other liberties often taken for granted. Liberty is an achievement, but not a permanent one. The American experiment is an historical anomaly in a world where oppression and tyranny are the norm. Not seeing tyranny for what it is, Progressives tend to fight inequality not realizing they do so by sacrificing everyone else’s liberty and are pushing American society back towards the historical norm.

In his body of work on analyzing society Russel Kirk explains ten principles of conservatism. In principle 10 he explains it like this:

The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Let us embrace healthy change (an admittedly subjective concept) when it is needed (also a subjective notion) and not rush to it just for the sake of change. All actions have consequences. Changes we impose on society by fiat have not been vetted and consequences will ensue, often painful and often accomplishing the opposite of what was promised. As Kirk alludes to a balance between permanence and progression let us carefully consider the change we desire and especially the methods we employ to achieve it. Whether the change we affect hits its target or misses completely there will inevitably be unforeseen consequences either way. We cannot possibly know how future generations will interpret or distort our efforts and accomplishments of today.

Change should be viewed more like a pendulum rather than a ladder. As we see in our own lifetime some things previously taken for granted have been inverted. We now allow a man to claim to be a woman. We now allow a white person to claim to be black (though for some reason we won’t allow a murderous thug to declare himself Muslim). We officially claim the freedom of religion and use it as an excuse to restrict the freedom of religion. We restrict the freedom of speech and excuse it as the avoidance of hurting someone’s feelings. The more volatile an issue is, and the more controversial the methods of dealing with it, the more likely a strong reaction will upend what was once considered stable. You can push, but you should expect others to push back.

We humans are not perfectible. And neither is society. What was once achieved can be torn down. Humanity is a dynamic thing. Real solutions are elusive. Realistically we should expect to deal with the problems of life by finding trade offs rather than sweeping solutions. In this election season we would do well to remember every promise a politician makes has an underlying cost, a cost often obscured or ignored but will come back to bite us eventually. Don’t blindly accept what politicians and news media are selling.

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Do you really know what Democracy is?

A minor peeve of mine in American politics is the allegation that conservatives don’t know what Socialism is. Granted, conservatives attribute a lot of problems in our nation to socialism. From a more generalized perspective, Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and Fascism all hold to the ideal that society needs to be controlled by government. A standard feature of this type of thinking is that government knows best, and if anything is to be accomplished in society it can be accomplished only by government. This view can be summarized in one term: Socialist.

Contrast this with some other generalizations you find in America. To some, all sodas are called “coke” (though this trend seems to be dying away). Another common example can be found in just about every household in the nation. Do you know what this is?


If you call this a “Band-Aid” you are wrong. This is a bandage, or more specifically an adhesive bandage. “Band-Aid” is a brand name of bandage just like Coca-Cola is a brand name of carbonated beverage.


Technically, to be accurate, we should simply use the term bandages. But, practically speaking, it’s okay to call all bandages “Band-Aids”. We play this semantic game in other areas of life. In politics we do the same thing with another concept: Democracy.

Technically, the United States is not a Democracy. Democracy is direct government by the people. We either show up to a meeting and offer our input, or we don’t show up and we don’t have a voice. Direct government by the people means you have to personally participate to have input into anything. That’s simply not feasible in a large nation spread over thousands of miles (though technology might change that – over 200 years after the American form of government was installed).

The logistical difficulty in Democracy is why we have elections. We elect people to represent us and our interests so we don’t have to spend our own time, every day, doing “the people’s business”. We send our representatives to meet together and handle government business on our behalf. In America we have representative Democracy. There is a word for this type of government; it’s called a Republic. (Technically, we have a constitutional republic, which ads another layer). If we’re going to be sticklers about the accuracy of the term “Socialism” we should be equally strict about the term “Democracy”. If what conservatives often call Socialism isn’t really Socialism, what modern liberals call Democracy isn’t really Democracy.

But we’re not often concerned with semantic accuracy. We can say conservatives don’t understand Socialism, but likewise we can say liberals don’t understand Democracy (especially since by “Democracy” liberals often mean government makes decisions with or without our consent). In fact, modern liberals don’t understand conservatism either, and seldom are honest enough to care to.

Liberals have a backwards understanding of many things in life. Their views on conservatism are merely par for the course. It’s very easy to find out what liberals think conservatism is since many definitions of the term and the concept are written by liberals. The trite, myopic, and intellectually dishonest liberal view of conservatism is typically something like a group of control freaks who don’t like change. Aristocracy is sometimes a term liberals might use to describe conservatism. The problem is, in the real world all political power is like this regardless of ideology.

All political power seeks to preserve itself. Which is another point where liberals are confused; they don’t know the difference between PREservative and CONservative. Power is very much like an addictive substance. That’s why, as we say, power corrupts. Communism seeks to preserve itself. Socialism seeks to preserve itself. Monarchy, aristocracy, and dictatorship all seek to preserve themselves. But preserving power is a bit different than preserving other things. For power to be preserved it must be expanded. How does power get expanded? Ironically, political power is expanded by being concentrated.

The preservation of power naturally encourages the concentration of power – gaining more power and keeping it in the hands of the few. This is something conservatives despise. Conservatives abhor aristocracy. Conservative ideology demands the dispersion of political power, not its concentration. The concentration of government power inevitably means the loss of autonomy among the people. But when they talk about this common sense fact of power, you can probably guess what liberals call conservatives: anti-government. To the modern liberal more government is good a thing. So in fact, it is liberals who want concentration of power – aristocracy. Conservatives are constantly talking about getting government out of people’s way and what they mean by this is the opposite of the concentration of power. Liberals, on the other hand, often promote the expansion and concentration of government power as the means to individual liberty. Just as an aristocracy would.

So why does conservatism demand the dispersion of power? Because conservatism recognizes, among many other things in life, that good and evil actually exist. Conservatism does not pretend all things are equal. Believe it or not, some things are better than others. Some decisions are good, and some not so good. Things in life are not all equal, which makes it very important for power to be limited. In the view that good and evil exist it is natural to resist and fight evil. Preventing it is even better; thus the impetus to prevent the concentration of power.

One of Conservatism’s prime imperatives is the avoidance of waste and abuse. In fact, liberals do actually have an example of conservatism where they are willing to be at least somewhat intellectually honest: environmentalism.

Environmentalism commonly includes the imperative to avoid wasting energy or abusing resources. That’s why we call it “conservation”. Environmentalism seeks to CONSERVE resources (avoid waste) in order to PRESERVE our environment (avoid abuse). But, unlike political conservatism, environmental conservation follows a liberal methodology of enforcement: taking liberty with other people’s rights by concentrating power in the hands of the few. Thus, where political conservatives seek to avoid the over use of power, environmentalists, and frankly all modern liberals, prefer the over use of power to compel people to do what liberals think people should do.

What environmental conservation and political conservatism share is a desire to preserve something by avoiding over use and waste of something else. Political conservatism seeks to preserve liberty by conserving political power (avoiding its abuse). But liberty can be abused as well, thus conservatism seeks to limit liberty only where it becomes destructive. Of course, these notions are quite subjective, thus not so simple to navigate.

Liberalism, on the other hand, also claims to preserve liberty by avoiding abuse. But liberalism seems to focus on limiting the abuse of liberty by means of concentrated power. Liberals take the liberty of deciding what other people need. It is not conservatives who tried to restrict sodas in order to “protect” people’s health (a measure which did not survive). It is not conservatives floating the idea of mandatory voting on the premise that we “need” to vote. It is not conservatives infringing on people’s right to defend themselves under the guise of preventing gun violence (gun control supporters easily make themselves look anti-self defense by deciding what sort of guns people need or don’t need). It is not conservatives who thought increasing government bureaucracy in healthcare or mandating health insurance was what people needed. It is not conservatives who keep regulating fossil fuels into astronomically high prices with ethanol and taxes. It is not conservatives who keep regulating tobacco products out of the marketplace while touting weed should be legalized. It is not conservatives creating and enforcing politically correct speech codes all across the country, limiting what people are permitted to say and punishing them for the slightest transgressions. It is not conservatives redefining bedrock notions upon which civilization itself is built.

A common issue where modern liberals think they really know what conservatives believe is gay marriage. But, as is typically the case, liberals are wrong. Liberals tend to believe ideas are so malleable that anyone can make any idea into anything they want. Liberals trumpet the notion of redefining things (as long as it is they who do the redefining). As mentioned above, to the modern liberal, the constitutional right to free speech has been redefined to include an ever expanding list of things people cannot say – because being free from unpleasant words is somehow better than being free to express those words (a lesson quite the opposite of one society has taught conservative Christians over the years). To the liberal, believing marriage means one man and one woman is equivalent to preventing gay people from loving or living with whom ever they wish. But this is simply not the case, as is clear for anyone willing to actually think about it for themselves. But to the liberal, as of last year, to still believe the predominant view of marriage of a mere two years ago is now bigotry. The inconvenient truth is conservatives commonly favored expanding civil unions to accommodate gay activists. Instead, liberals demanded the government usurp a religious institution to redefine marriage and pretend the new definition is what marriage really meant all along (which is in direct contradiction of the separation between church and state liberals so frequently claim is such an important aspect of a free society). The ordinary gay folk who want to live their lives in peace were not part of the militant activism, sometimes called the “gay mafia”. The militant activists were the unreasonable ones trying to push their views in everyone’s face and bully people by the force of government.

Conservatism is not about resistance to change or keeping things “the way they used to be”. Conservatives freely embrace good ideas that are well vetted. But fast, untested change automatically meets great resistance for two reasons. First, untested change means we don’t know what the consequences will be. Wanting good change is one thing; wanting any change and presuming it will be good is very different. We don’t know what consequences untested change will bring and that means change could be bad even if unintentionally so. That’s asking for trouble. Massive cultural change ought to be good and good change requires thorough consideration over time. Second, fast and untested change on a massive scale is how tyrants get into power and cement it. Shouldn’t reasonable people resist such a thing?

Even the battle against slavery was not fast, untested change. Slavery was an abuse of power and a distortion of reason and decency. It was not progressives who fought against slavery in the US; it was conservatives who wanted to end an abuse of power. Slave owners saw slavery as about property rights; abolitionists saw slavery as about human rights. The same is true of Jim Crow. By definition, Jim Crow laws were LAWS! I realize this will come as a shock for some, but it was not Republicans who made, imposed, and enforced Jim Crow; it was Democrats trying to preserve their power by abusing it. Liberals presumed the authority to take liberty with other people’s rights, further abusing power. The very notion of ending Jim Crow was inherently conservative (avoiding the abuse of power) and championed by conservative Republicans.

Likewise conservatives want to put an end to abortion, for the same reasons they wanted to put and end to slavery and Jim Crow. Preserving freedom demands conserving power, which means preventing or fighting against the abuse of power. Abortion supporters view abortion as about women’s rights; conservatives see abortion as about babies’ rights and the abuse of power over them. But, like its paradoxically open minded yet utterly intolerant definition of marriage, so too is the liberal definition of abortion absolute, fixed, and refusing to allow any differing view. But it is only the conservative view that is ridiculed for being absolute or fixed, as if insisting a child in the womb is a person is somehow an unscientific or absurd idea. It is not conservatives who are in the habit of playing semantic games which deny other people’s humanity.

The modern liberal perspective of freedom often results in restricting what people are allowed to do or say or even believe and it does so by demanding more power concentrated in the hands of government. But there a couple noted exceptions, of course: abortion and entertainment (recreational drugs, sexual experimentation, etc.). The calls for “choice” or the “right to control one’s own body” trump all other considerations only in these areas – choice and autonomy are flatly ignored in almost every other aspect of life for liberals. For liberalism, dealing with problems typically requires more government programs and more laws – preferably from the FEDERAL level. To conservatives, this looks like a totalitarian approach. The conservative perspective of freedom is meant to restrict the harm unfettered power or unfettered liberty can inflict on society while dispersing power from government, leaving as much liberty as possible for the individual. For conservatism, dealing with problems is best left to individuals and groups personally navigating tough decisions in a respectful way which does not infringe upon other people’s right over themselves. We recognize the sensible limit this places on one’s autonomy, what we call the “social compact”. Similarly, conservatism holds compassion (traditionally meaning to “suffer with”) is the responsibility of the individual, not the state, and that self-inflicted harm or harm inflicted on others is best dealt with by teaching each other how to make good decisions (recognizing the consequences (good and bad) of our own decisions) and having local government intervene only when necessary.

The New York Times gives us some good examples of liberals not knowing what conservatism is. Their own David Brooks is branded as the official “conservative” writer. From a thoroughly conservative perspective, Brooks is a moderate liberal on most issues, but in the modern liberal view this qualifies as “conservative”. William Saletan wrote a great piece in the NYT covering Jonathan Haidt’s argument on how liberals simply don’t know what conservatives believe and probably don’t care to. And a psychological study on “conservative” purchasing habits also shows an overwhelming liberal bias in the very premise of the study itself – a bias that misses important realizations largely because it misidentifies conservatism and even human nature.

So the next time someone talks about Democracy but uses the term incorrectly, it’s probably not worth the trouble to correct the mistake. But if some liberal hack spouts off about conservatism, if possible remind them they don’t know what they are talking about. You can use Coke, Band-Aid, and Democracy to help drive the point home.

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Student Bullied by Anti-Religious Hostility at University of Wisconsin

original article: Student Bullied by Anti-Religious Hostility at University of Wisconsin
June 24, 2015 by Liberty Counsel

Baraboo, WI – Liberty Counsel demanded the University of Wisconsin reverse its professor’s viewpoint discrimination and open hostility toward religion that occurred when Professor Annette Kuhlman threatened her student, Rachel Langeberg, with a failing grade for a group project unless she removed a Bible reference from a class presentation at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County.

When reviewing Langeberg’s sociology group project, Professor Kuhlman wrote, “…the University of Wisconsin is a secular institution. Religious contemplations and the bible [sic] belong to a different realm and not academic sources. So your argumentation along Christian lines, including the slides you designed in relation to it, are [sic] inappropriate for this presentation. I will not allow you to present unless you change this. You will also fail your presentation if your discuss religion in connection with it.” After Ms. Langeberg tried to resolve the matter by meeting with the professor and Dean Tracy White, to no avail, she contacted Liberty Counsel.

“Dr. Kuhlman’s review crossed the line from scholarship to censorship,” said Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast. On numerous occasions, the Supreme Court has upheld students’ First Amendment rights in the public schools. The Constitution does not “require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any.” Lynch v. Donnelly. Moreover, “teachers must be sensitive to students’ personal beliefs and take care not to abuse their positions of authority.” Farnan v. Capistrano.

“Students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they sign up for classes at the University of Wisconsin,” said Mast. “It is blatantly unconstitutional to restrict student religious speech or threaten a failing grade for religious content, where the speech or content is otherwise academically appropriate for the assignment,” Mast concluded.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

We need a separation between school and state.

abuse, anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, christian, discrimination, education, first amendment, free speech, freedom, government, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, oppression, political correctness, public policy, relativism, religion, scandal, separation

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Air Force general court-martialed for speaking about God?

original article: Air Force general who spoke of God in talk should be court-martialed, group says
May 17, 2015 by Fox News

An Air Force general who recently spoke about how God has guided his career should be court-martialed, a civil liberties group is saying.

In a speech at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event on May 7, Maj. Gen. Craig Olson credits God for his accomplishments in the military, and refers to himself as a “redeemed believer in Christ.”

The Air Force Times reports that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has taken issue with Olson’s remarks, is calling for the two-star general to be court-martialed and “aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions.”

The group authored a letter to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Walsh, arguing that Olson’s speech violates rules within the Air Force, which prohibits airmen from endorsing a particular faith or belief.

The letter, posted on the group’s website, begins, “This demand letter is sent to you on behalf of countless members of the United States Air Force who are utterly disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing recently perpetrated, on international television (“GOD TV”), and streaming all over the Internet and in full military uniform, by USAF Major General Craig S. Olson on Thursday, May 7, 2015 during a VERY public speech for a private Christian organization (The “National Day of Prayer Task Force”: NDPTF) headed up by Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson’s, wife Shirley Dobson. “

“. . . disgusted and shocked by the brazenly illicit and wholly unconstitutional, fundamentalist Christian proselytizing . . .”

– letter from Military Religious Freedom Foundation

The group, which believes that the American flag and the U.S. Constitution are the only religious symbol and scripture, respectively, for those who serve in the military, also wants other service members who helped Olson to be investigated and punished “to the full extent of military law.”

During Olson’s 23-minute talk, the Air Force Times reports, Olson spoke of “flying complex aircraft; doing complex nuclear missions — I have no ability to do that. God enabled me to do that.”

“He put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars,” Olson said. “I have no ability to do that, no training to do that. God did that. He sent me to Iraq to negotiate foreign military sales deals through an Arabic interpreter. I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that. God did all of that.”

At the end of his speech, Olson asked those in attendance to pray for Defense Department leaders and troops preparing to be deployed.

Olson is the program executive officer at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, where he is responsible for more than 2,200 personnel, according to the U.S. Air Force website. He was commissioned in 1982 following graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy and has extensive operational, flight test and acquisition experience.

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Hillary wants government to change people’s religious beliefs: any MSM concern over separation between church and state?

original article: Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Change Your ‘Deep-Seated Cultural Codes, Religious Beliefs’
April 27, 2015 by Susan Calloway Knowles

Former Secretary of State and current 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on a mission and it has been completely ignored by the mainstream media.

Speaking at the sixth annual 2015 Women in the World Summit in New York recently, Clinton had a few choice things to say to the world. And even though the summit was about women, Clinton had another agenda which went mostly unreported.

Clinton, the proud recipient of the Margaret Sanger award in 2009, the award from none other than the “mother of eugenics,” now wants to change your “deep seated…religious beliefs” among other aspects of your culture, so that abortions will be available without interference from principles that shouldn’t matter.

“Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton argued. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will … And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” Clinton added.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a round table conversation and press conference announcing a childhood development initiative with first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray on April 1, 2015 in New York City. The initiative is between New York City Children's Cabinet and Too Small to Fail. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Reminiscent of the rhetoric from President Barack Obama’s “Hope & Change” campaign mantra, Clinton’s new campaign slogan, at least from what was said during her New York speech, should probably be “Move over God, Family & Culture.”

Reading between the lines, it was obvious that Clinton took aim at Christians in America during the recent women’s summit. Implications of Clinton’s speech toward Christians couldn’t be clearer.

It was perhaps Clinton’s attempt to hammer the final nail into America’s proverbial coffin by lessening Christians’ religious, cultural, and familial beliefs. If achieved, the result will be that God, the Bible and the U.S. Constitution which was founded upon Christian principles, will take a back seat to other progressive agendas, at least in a Clinton presidency.

America, under Clinton, would usher in yet another new era. It could possibly be such a cataclysmic transformation that even Obama will have to admit that he’s impressed.

Perhaps hoping that she had not revealed too much, Clinton returned to the original subject about women, setting aside religion and other important beliefs for a moment, and moved on toward “unfinished business.”

“As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton claimed.

Clinton added, “Not just for women but for everyone … And not just in faraway countries but right here in the United States.”

Clinton then moved on to another part of her discourse.

Clinton, not wanting to leave out those that may have the opportunity to illegally vote for her in the 2016 election should she become the Democratic presidential nominee, tied women’s rights to the rights of those illegally in the country and even took aim at talk radio.

“There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life, rather than risk the ire of talk radio,” Clinton said.

What is ironic about Clinton’s speech and where it was given is that the summit was held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

As you may know, Koch is a Republican and part of the “hated” Koch Brothers’ dynasty that all “good” progressives on the left despise as being a participant in the “war on women.”

Apparently, the irony of the venue was lost on Clinton and those in attendance.

But as for her religious principles, not to worry. I’m sure Clinton’s Christian principles will never change and parts of her speech were just a misunderstanding of what she really meant, right?

Clinton clarified in June 2014 while doing her best “Nancy Pelosi” impression during a New York Times interview that she’s really all about the “Word,” just like you.

Clinton was asked by the interviewer if she had to name one book that made her who she is today, what would it be?

In an answer that Pelosi could be proud of, Clinton answered, “At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking.”

She continued, “I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it … I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement.”

Perhaps Clinton’s recent statements at the women’s summit regarding religious beliefs just mirror the fact that religious liberties of Christians are currently under attack by the progressive left in this country. Maybe indicating that those beliefs must be changed is just her idea of “riding the popular left-wing progressive political agenda” with no intent to ever follow through on diminishing the rights granted to every American under the Constitution.

I’m not buying it. Let us not forget how Clinton once “evolved” on her views toward gay marriage when she was first against it and then for it.

Undoubtedly, if true to Clinton form, look for her further evolution when it comes to changing Americans’ religious beliefs, family and culture should she be elected president.

And, if true to form, also expect the mainstream media to remain silent on such a crucial issue to Christians.

anti-religion, bias, campaign, civil rights, constitution, Democrats, elections, extremism, first amendment, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, religion, separation

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News media think American people are dumb, prefer the political class

Michelle Bachmann has been getting a lot of grief from our impartial news media of late. But it is interesting to see what the media are pushing.

Gregory Scolds Bachmann for Listening to Public Opinion on Debt Ceiling
August 14, 2011 by Noel Sheppard

It appears David Gregory is a bit confused about how our system of government works.

During intense questioning of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” the host scolded his guest for having the nerve to actually care what the American people thought about raising the debt ceiling (video follows with transcript and commentary):

read full article and see the video

CNN’s Candy Crowley Insists to Michele Bachmann That She’s ‘Outside the Mainstream’
August 15, 2011 by Tim Graham

On her Sunday interview show State of the Union, CNN host Candy Crowley pushed Michele Bachmann hard from the left, suggesting her stance on the debt ceiling is “outside the mainstream” of political society. Touting a CBS-New York Times poll which found the Tea Party were losing popularity among Republicans, she added, “we have a poll where the majority of Americans said you all need to compromise on this debt ceiling, you all need to raise the debt ceiling, and it out to be — the deal ought to include a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. You are opposed to both raising the debt ceiling and that kind of compromise. So doesn’t that put you outside the mainstream?”

Bachmann said “absolutely not” to that pushy question:

BACHMANN: Oh goodness, absolutely not. I haven’t gone…

CROWLEY: Even if most people disagree?

BACHMANN: I have not gone one place in Iowa or South Carolina or New Hampshire where anyone has said, please, raise my taxes they are not high enough already. Never happens. And people, I will almost every event I go to, and we don’t poll in just certain people, it’s open to the public, people are not there saying raise the debt ceiling, we want you to borrow more money. It doesn’t happen, Candy.

People are very upset and nervous about where the economy is at now. And what we saw yesterday in the straw poll, people in Iowa sent a message loud and clear to President Obama. They said we are done with your policies. We want something very different, because after all in this debt ceiling debate, this wasn’t about default. Remember, the president had no plan. I offered a plan. My plan says we don’t default, but what we do is pay the interest on the debt, our military and senior citizens and prioritize our spending. That’s what Washington is unwilling to do.

Crowley built up to that point with a series of inquiries about why the Tea Party’s popularity is collapsing among Republicans. Bachmann did not point out the obvious media bias in this polling. Was anyone polling the popularity of the Daily Kos/MoveOn/”anti-war” movement on the left in 2004 or 2008? CBS and The New York Times never did! And so it went, with a series of “but, but” questions returning to the poll:

read the full article

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Freedom of religion really means freedom from?

Legal Challenges to Prayer on the Rise
July 23, 2010 by Lauren Green

Arizona school children are told they can’t pray in front of the Supreme Court building … Two University of Texas Arlington employees are fired for praying over a co-worker’s cubicle after work hours … In Cranston, R.I., a high school banner causes controversy when a parent complains it contains a prayer and demands that it be removed.

There are more legal challenges to prayer in the United States than ever before, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist organization whose business is booming as Americans increasingly tackle church vs. state issues.

“We’ve never had more complaints about government prayer,” Gaylor says. “We have just hired a second staff attorney in July. It’s turned into a cottage industry for our attorneys.”

The foundation has had a huge volume of complaints about prayer in the public sector, including numerous issues involving civic and government meetings where sessions have traditionally begun with a prayer or moment of silence.

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Supreme Court says cross can stay

High court says Mojave cross in Calif. can remain
April 28, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court said Wednesday that a federal court went too far in ordering the removal of a congressionally endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home in California.

In ruling that the cross could stay, the justices said federal judges in California did not take sufficient notice of the government’s decision to transfer the land in a remote area of California to private ownership. The move was designed to eliminate any constitutional concern about a religious symbol on public land.

The ruling was 5-4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority.

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Education board tackles issue of religion in textbooks

Education board tackles issue of religion in textbooks
January 12, 2010 by Karina Kling (hat tip to Education Watch International)

Religion, in the founding and evolution of America, has taken the leading role in a new drama playing at the State Board of Education, as educators and elected officials edit new scripts for Texas school children.

SBOE board members will decide just how big a leading role religion will play in textbooks for Texas public schools.

“The expert reports and proposals put inaccurate and artificial weight on religious influences on our nation’s founding,” law and history professor Steven Green said. Green is also director of the Willamette Center for Religion at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

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