Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

How tolerance became so intolerant

original article: Why the New Definition of Tolerance Is Dangerous
March 11, 2016 by Amy Hall

I received an email objecting to one of Greg’s commentaries on tolerance. In the commentary, Greg explains that tolerance “involves three elements: (1) permitting or allowing (2) a conduct or point of view one disagrees with (3) while respecting the person in the process.” In other words, only disagreement calls for toleration; otherwise, it’s simply agreement (or apathy). But not according to the email I received:

You said on Feb 4, 2013 – “Tolerance is reserved for those we think are wrong.”

Wrong. Tolerance is removing the right/wrong judgement from your view of other people & beliefs, as long [as] those people and their beliefs don’t impede the freedom or well-being of others.

What you’re describing is holding your nose and lying about being tolerant. That’s not tolerance, that’s empty condescension.

“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” – Karl Popper

Of course, this response perfectly illustrates Greg’s description of the current understanding of “tolerance,” and it struck me, as I read it, how dangerous this view of tolerance is. Here’s what he’s really saying: “It’s wrong for you to think my views are wrong. Therefore, if you think my views are wrong, then I have a right to shut you up.”

Keep in mind that his complaint here isn’t even about “intolerant” actions; it’s about beliefs. He argues that “intolerance” means holding a judgment in your mind against someone else’s beliefs. And intolerance (i.e., incorrect beliefs), according to him, should not be tolerated. How far people will go to uphold this new “tolerance” remains to be seen. Considering the fact that 40% of Millennials favor government censorship of speech, the future doesn’t look promising.

Notice also that his reasoning doesn’t work the other way around—i.e., Greg wouldn’t be allowed to say to him, “‘Tolerance’ means that if you think I’m wrong, then I have a right to shut you up,” because baked into this new definition is a preference for a particular set of political positions (i.e., anything his side deems essential for the “well-being of others”). If you agree with those positions, you’re declared “tolerant.” If you disagree, you’re intolerant.

This new definition of tolerance is nothing but a political tool to accomplish the very opposite of tolerance.

censorship, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, free speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, tolerance

Filed under: censorship, culture, elitism, ethics, extremism, free speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism, tolerance

One college defends free speech despite its hateful intent

Among the many examples of hate speech punished on college campuses there are still two topics on which free speech trumps all. These are anti-Americanism and Antisemitism.

Numerous instances have been reported about differences of opinion and policy about academic freedom. Oberlin College shows us another example of a higher ed. administration defending free speech when it is anti-American or anti-Israeli in nature, even if it’s racism. In any other situation, speech like this would simply be deemed hate speech and prosecuted.

The head of a prestigious Ohio school appeared to have defended a professor whose Facebook posts blaming Israel and Jews for everything from 9/11 to the creation of ISIS created an uproar earlier this week.

Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov said in a letter to the college community Wednesday that professor Joy Karega’s posts on social media affected him on a personal level and also challenged his professional beliefs, according to The Chronicle-Telegram.

To be honest, the way Oberlin is treating this instructor’s comments is how speech ought to be treated across the spectrum, on every campus in the US. Approved speech is the opposite of free speech; setting rules on what is approved or where it is approved naturally invites further restriction. That is not how free speech works. If Oberlin will defend all speech like this, kudos to them. But will they?

read full article:
Oberlin College president appears to defend controversial professor in letter
March 3, 2016 by FoxNews

Rutgers University can also be found defending free speech recently.

bigotry, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, ideology, racism, racist, tolerance

Filed under: bigotry, education, extremism, free speech, hate speech, ideology, racism, racist, tolerance

Immigrants explain why they love America

original article: US Immigrants From All Over the World Tell Us Exactly Why They’re Proud to Live Here
July 8, 2015 by MALLORY SHELBOURNE

To celebrate America’s birthday this year, IJReview talked to several immigrants from all over the world, who told us why they love living in the United States.

From Lebanon, to Ethiopia, to Ukraine, these U.S. immigrants explain why they are happy they left the countries where they were born to move here.

I don’t often look at comments on anything online but these, from the original article, are worth a quick read.

Those who come here legally wanting to be to become Americans quite often have a better idea of what America is than recent college grads who are born here.

I work with a doctor that legally immigrated to this country. He is a great man. He was in a refugee camp after he and his family barely got out of afganistan before the Russians came in. he is so interesting to talk to and yes he is a Muslim but he is a Muslim that loves this country. Immigrants that come here, that really want to be here, not the ones that just come for what America can give them but the ones that come because they want to be Americans and make a difference and go through the legal channels because they respect America are really very good for this country, but the ones that have no respect for our laws and steal into our country are NOT good for the United States. I have a friend on facebook, a young man from Africa who has just gotten a teaching degree in special education – he wants to come to America. I would love to help make that happen for him. So many people think I am a bigot or a racist because I am against illegal invaders coming into this country – yes I am but if someone really wants to become an American and come in legally and really be an American I am all for them coming. Just do not break our laws, have respect.

american, conservative, culture, freedom, immigration, patriotism, right wing, tolerance, video

Filed under: american, conservative, culture, freedom, immigration, patriotism, right wing, tolerance, video

Can one support gay marriage and religious liberty at the same time?

note: I don’t support gay marriage like Lopez does, but I do support civil unions. Lopez is refreshingly open minded and honest in this piece, for someone who does support gay marriage.

original article: I Support Gay Marriage And Religious Freedom Laws
April 6, 2015 by Ramon Lopez

I strongly support gay marriage. Yet I also strongly support Indiana’s recent religious freedom law. Given that many in the media have characterized it as being “anti-gay,” causing state legislators to amend some of its protections away, this might seem like a contradiction. Therefore it’s important to clarify exactly what Indiana’s law says, does, and how it fits in with a vision of a tolerant and pluralistic society.

The Indiana religious freedom law is modeled after the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993 by a unanimous vote in the House, a 97-3 vote in the Senate, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton (there are two notable differences between the federal law and Indiana’s law that some critics have pointed out, and I’ll get to those differences in a bit). At the time, right-wing groups like the Christian Coalition joined with left-wing groups like the ACLU in support of the law, and it had remained a bipartisan commitment until recently.

The Historical and Legal Background of Religious Freedom Laws

To understand why RFRA was passed in the first place, we should review its historical and legal background. In 1963 the Supreme Court decided in Sherbert v. Verner that under the First Amendment religious objectors to facially neutral laws have a presumptive constitutional right to exemption. This means religious persons could sue for exemption from a law that compels them to violate their religious beliefs, even if that law did not specifically target their religion.

According to a 2006 study, governments meet strict scrutiny standards in nearly 60 percent of religious-liberty exemption cases.

If a law was passed that required all delis to serve pork, for example, conservative Muslim and Orthodox Jewish deli owners could apply for an exemption given their religious convictions. Although such a law may not be intentionally discriminatory, its effect would be burdensome to the practices of certain religious groups, as it would compel members of those faiths to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court determined that a “strict scrutiny” standard would be applied to laws that imposed a “substantial burden” on a person’s religious beliefs. Under this principle, religious objectors would be exempt from laws that burden their religious practices unless the law was the least-restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.

A “compelling government interest” is typically understood to be an interest that is necessary, one that is an essential government function, not merely one that is preferable policy. It includes issues such as maintaining constitutional protections and preserving the lives, health, security, and rights of persons. To meet the “least restrictive means” standard, the state must show there is not a reasonable and possible alternative means to fulfill the compelling interest. Both before and after RFRA, the Supreme Court has kept religious-freedom exemptions narrow—members of a religion that forbids its members to pay taxes are not exempt from taxation, as the state can both demonstrate that such laws serve a compelling government interest and are the least restrictive means of serving that interest. According to a 2006 study, governments meet these standards in nearly 60 percent of religious-liberty exemption cases.

The Supreme Court Decision that Led to the Federal RFRA

In 1990, the court reversed itself in Employment Division v. Smith. Two members of the Native American Church had been fired for ingesting peyote, which some Native American religious groups use for religious purposes. Because they were fired for violating state drug laws, the former employees were unable to qualify for unemployment compensation. They sued, claiming that the state law prohibiting their use of peyote substantially burdened their religious practices, but in this case the Court determined that the First Amendment did not protect religious groups from facially neutral laws. Legislatures could carve out exemptions when passing laws that might substantially burden certain religious groups if they so chose, but religious persons would no longer have a presumptive right to exemption.

Since its passage, RFRA has disproportionately protected minority religious groups.

This resulted in a political backlash from all sides, culminating in the passage of RFRA, which reestablished the strict scrutiny standard. In 1997 the Supreme Court determined RFRA could not be applied to state laws—given that it went beyond the scope of Congress’s enforcement powers—but that it still applied to federal laws. Since 1997, 26 states have passed state-level RFRA legislation, with Indiana being the most recent, and another nine have constitutional religious-freedom provisions that state courts have interpreted to require the strict scrutiny standard.

Since its passage, RFRA has disproportionately protected minority religious groups—while Jewish, Muslim, and Native American religions only make up only 3 percent of the population, they make up 18 percent of RFRA cases. And while last year’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case grabbed headlines, earlier this year the court determined in Holt v. Hobbes that Arkansas’s policy prohibiting inmates from growing beards violated RFRA, as it substantially burdened a Muslim inmate from practicing his faith.

Three Objections to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law

There are then three main issues that are raised with Indiana’s RFRA law. The first is the more general question about whether a religious person should have a presumed right to exemption from a facially neutral law if it substantially burdens his or her religious practices. This issue not only applies to Indiana, but to every other state with a strict scrutiny standard, as well as the federal government.

As a pluralistic society, we ought to respect others’ religious beliefs, and make space for them to practice their values so long as it does not interfere with basic political requirements.

As a pluralistic society, we ought to respect others’ religious beliefs, and do what we can to make space for them to practice their values so long as it does not interfere with basic political requirements. America has a long and proud tradition of making such accommodations—Catholic churches were exempt from prohibition so they could serve wine as a part of the Eucharist, Quakers and other pacifist groups have historically been exempt from being drafted into the military in combat positions, and in the 1990s we further strengthened laws protecting peyote use by Native American religions in their ceremonies.

RFRA protections are particularly important when dealing with religious minorities. More widely represented and politically powerful religions may have the visibility and influence to ensure they are given legislative exemptions from facially neutral laws. But smaller and less influential religious groups, those without as much political clout, will have a harder time protecting their religious liberties and practices. When deciding between following a secular authority or a spiritual one, many people will choose the latter over the former. Giving space within the law to people of different faiths to practice their beliefs does not divide us, but makes us a more cohesive, open, and respectful society.

Many might agree that RFRA protections are important to maintain, but will argue that Indiana’s version went too far by legalizing these kinds of exemptions in private dealings. Unlike the federal version, Indiana’s law states, “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding” (italics mine). This is the second issue: Whether RFRA should allow religious persons to discriminate against private citizens.

Instead, Fight Job Loss for Being Gay

In this case, we should keep two things in mind. First, Indiana, like many states and the federal government, before adding its “fix” to its new RFRA had not listed sexual orientation as a protected status under civil-rights laws. Private businesses are prohibited from discriminating based on race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, etc., but in most states employers can legally fire someone for being gay. Even if Indiana’s religious-freedom law allowed for discrimination, it would be superfluous given that discrimination based on sexual orientation is already legal. That gay, lesbian, and transsexual persons are still subject to this kind of treatment is a national embarrassment, and all the energy many have expended on fighting RFRA would be better directed at expanding non-discrimination legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Even if Indiana’s religious-freedom law allowed for discrimination, it would be superfluous given that discrimination based on sexual orientation is already legal.

The second point is that although Indiana’s law goes further than the federal RFRA law in this respect, it would still not allow for widespread discrimination against homosexuals. If a restaurant banned gays from entering—and if sexual orientation were covered under civil rights protections—then the Supreme Court would easily find that the restaurant violated the Civil Rights Act. Preventing discrimination by private companies is a compelling government interest and there is no less restrictive way of preventing such discrimination than barring private companies from discriminating. Just as a religious objector is still required to pay taxes, given that there’s no way to collect tax revenue without actually taxing persons, so too would private businesses still be required to comply with non-discrimination protections. Religious liberty claims to discriminate have never survived judicial review under the strict scrutiny standard.

The purpose of the additional language is not to allow for widespread discrimination, but to protect the religious liberties of specific professionals who provide services to couples who are getting married—wedding photographers, florists, caterers, etc. This language was inspired by a case in New Mexico (among others), in which a wedding photographer was found in violation of the state’s Human Rights Act for refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding.

But there is an important distinction between a restaurant discriminating against a gay customer and a wedding photographer refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding. In the first case, the restaurant is refusing to serve a person because of their sexual orientation. In the second case, the photographer is refusing to participate in a ceremony that would violate her religious beliefs. As was noted in her petition to the court, the photographer had photographed numerous gay couples in the past, and did not discriminate based on sexual orientation. While the government has an obligation to prevent discrimination, it goes beyond its scope when compelling religious persons to attend ceremonies or other proceedings they find religiously objectionable. So while Indiana’s RFRA would not allow for discrimination of gay customers simply because they are gay, it would have allowed religious objectors to exempt themselves from participating in private ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs. (Its “fix” changed this. Private businesses may no longer exempt themselves from religious ceremonies they find objectionable.)

Toleration is easy when we support or are neutral about the belief or practice in question.

There are important limits on this kind of religious-freedom protection. It’s an open question whether someone who provides a product or service but does not participate in the wedding itself—like a baker—would be covered under this provision. I find it to be unlikely, and don’t think the protection should extend that far, but it’s an issue for us as a society to debate. Additionally, if the wedding photographer were the only professional photographer in town it would be reasonable for the state to compel her to lend her services to the wedding ceremony, given that the gay couple would otherwise be burdened by not having access to that service at all due to their sexual orientation. But the point I’d like to emphasize here is that this is a complex question between legitimate competing values, and any decision we reach as a society should hopefully take both into account. Toleration is easy when we support or are neutral about the belief or practice in question. It’s far more difficult—but even more necessary—when concerning something we ourselves find objectionable.

Why Individual Rights Extend to Corporations

The third and perhaps most controversial issue surrounding the Indiana religious freedom law is its explicit extension of these protections to corporate entities. Critics argue that corporations cannot have religious beliefs, and that by extending religious protections to corporations Indiana opened the door to legalized discrimination. But the points raised when discussing issue two apply in this case as well: Corporations, like individuals, cannot violate civil-rights protections by appealing to RFRA because non-discrimination requirements meet the two standards needed to override a religious objection. While the federal RFRA does not explicitly protect corporations, in last year’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court decided that the federal law applies to “closely held” corporations, meaning the difference between the two laws on this point is not as much as many have made it out to be.

Most churches and religious charities legally take a corporate form, and it would be strange if religious liberty protections applied to members of a church but not to the church itself.

While treating corporations as if they have religious beliefs might seem strange, we rightly extend a number of individual rights to corporations. The First Amendment’s protections on speech do not only apply to individual journalists, but to the corporation of which they are apart—The New York Times as an institution is protected by the First Amendment as much as its members.

Most churches and religious charities legally take a corporate form, and it would be strange if religious liberty protections applied to members of a church but not to the church itself. When an exemption was made for Catholics under prohibition, the exemption was not extended to specific members of the Catholic Church, but to the Catholic Church as a corporate institution.

We recognize that corporations are forms of association, and persons do not lose their rights—religious or otherwise—when acting as an association, when united in a corporate body. Corporations can also be held legally accountable, just as individuals—a company as a corporate person can be sued for violating some law, or for infringing on the rights of particular individuals or other corporations. Although corporate personhood has been a controversial issue since Citizens United v. FEC, corporations have long been legally treated as persons. There is more that could be said on this point, but debating the merits of corporate personhood would require its own article. However, the basic point is that even though Indiana’s RFRA extends to corporations, it still does not allow for legalized discrimination against gay persons.

Be Generous In Argument

These are hard questions. I don’t want to treat my positions on this matter as final—there are strong arguments on the other side. I may also be mistaken in my analysis, moral reasoning and intuitions, or understanding of the law. But as fellow citizens we should avoid the tendency to paint these issues in the blackest of blacks and whitest of whites. We’re all working through these difficult questions together, and we should do so with compassion and goodwill. We should work to educate each other, and be open to hearing from others with whom we disagree—especially when we don’t understand how anyone could disagree.

The principle of charity demands that we consider the best the other side has to offer and assume they are operating in good faith.

Given how homosexual people have been historically treated, both in the United States and elsewhere, it is no wonder that gay-rights groups are especially attuned to any perceived infringement. And with rapidly changing views on gay marriage, the gay rights movement finally feels like it has the wind at its back. But those of us who support gay rights should be careful with our rhetoric and with the battles we choose. Not everyone we disagree with is homophobic, and not every law proposed by opponents of gay marriage will damage the cause of gay rights.

Pushing for gay rights will be easier if religious objectors can be secure in the knowledge that the state will not be used to compel them to violate their religious beliefs. This does not mean gay persons should be discriminated against, but it does mean we should provide the space for people to not participate in religiously objectionable acts. As a tolerant and pluralistic society, it is incumbent upon us to provide this option, even if we strongly disagree with the moral stance of religious objectors.

We should keep one last important thing in mind when engaging in broader debates about gay rights. You don’t change minds by labeling everyone who disagrees with you a bigot. Plenty of the opposition to gay marriage may be rooted in homophobia, but there are a great number of kind and generous people who—due to religious beliefs, cultural norms, or (yes) rational arguments—still maintain the traditional definition of marriage. Criticizing those who disagree with us as morally ignorant is easy, but a healthy public discourse requires that we treat them fairly. The principle of charity demands that we consider the best the other side has to offer and assume they are operating in good faith.

This should apply to all political debates, but particularly to those contentious moral questions—gay marriage, abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, and all the intersecting issues around race and gender. If we wish to change others’ minds, we have to be open to changing ourselves. Public discourse, like tolerance, is a two-way street.

abuse, culture, first amendment, freedom, homosexuality, ideology, justice, legislation, news media, opinion, political correctness, politics, public policy, reform, religion, tolerance

Filed under: abuse, culture, first amendment, freedom, homosexuality, ideology, justice, legislation, news media, opinion, political correctness, politics, public policy, reform, religion, tolerance

When did ‘tolerance’ start to mean punishing people for their beliefs?

original article: Here’s What Happens When It’s Okay To Punish People’s Beliefs
April 3, 2015 by Rick Wilson

I try to stay off Twitter on April first. The jokes are rarely as good as their authors think, which is why the Internet Rage Machine attack unleashed on the Memories Pizza parlor in Indiana couldn’t have happened on a worse day. This had to be a joke, right?

Sadly, it wasn’t. It was a custom-made moral panic story perfectly tuned to stroke the egos and ideological erogenous zones of Washington and New York’s media classes. It was a perfect opportunity to play their Red State Haters narrative at full volume. Of course, we’re locked in the Stupid Spiral now, talking about this instead of the news of a Democratic U.S. senator being indicted for corruption or of Hillary Clinton destroying evidence under subpoena, or of Barack Obama willing to sell his soul for a bad nuclear deal with a gleeful Iran.

As with immigration, race, abortion, guns, income inequality, and a host of other topics, I’m reminded that gay marriage and religious liberty questions will never be resolved in the eyes of liberals. A large segment of the Left wants their vote-driver issues to never, ever be in the rear-view. There is no shining city ahead for them, just an endless arena of raw, almost inchoate rage and complaint. Their entire model is predicated on the creation and maintenance of grievance demographics, and the latest flavor is the hypothetical oppression of gay couples in contrived scenarios in tiny Indiana pizza shops. Oh, this one will fade soon, but the sense that these fights are getting louder, and uglier, is troubling.

Political Violence Is Never Okay

At some point, the social-justice warrior crowd is going to incite their people into something more than Ferguson or Occupy or Internet harassment. At some point, their fanatic desire to erase God from the hearts and minds and actions of red America will cross a threshold. Someday, in some town, a Christian shopkeeper who becomes the focus of the 4chan or Reddit Rage Machine will be killed by some militant atheist or black bloc kid or some other flavor of crazy. That day, their rage won’t come from the click of a mouse, but from the barrel of a gun.

That day, their rage won’t come from the click of a mouse, but from the barrel of a gun.

On that day, instead of reacting with horror and disgust, someone important enough in their social-justice-warrior universe–be it a political figure, a celebrity, or just a popular activist–will say something like, “I abhor violence, but…”

On the day that “but” becomes acceptable on the Left, it’s a ratchet that turns only one way. When political violence becomes mainstreamed, it infects a society quickly. It’s a short, quick slide into hell. The tolerance crowd will read that scenario and explode with denials. They’re never going to call for violence. Leftism is a peaceful religion. (Sound familiar?)

Sorry, kids. The twentieth century (really, every century) is replete with examples of the boundaries of civilization fraying when the cause of the day made religiously or ideologically driven violence acceptable. In almost every case, the owners of the dominant share of cultural and social power did let it happen there. I fear that even here, even now we’re not beyond it.

It’s Reprehensible to Punish Thoughtcrime

If, following a breathless media report, it’s okay to destroy the business of someone who objects to you or your lifestyle on religious grounds, why not burn their home down? Does someone like that really deserve to have a place to live? Why not torch his cars? His kids are allowed in school? Hell, why not drag those hateful, homophobic bigots outside and hang them, pour encourager les autres? Of course, it couldn’t happen here, says America’s justice-warrior class, “We just want you to stop having Wrong Thoughts.”

If it’s okay to destroy the business of someone who objects to you or your lifestyle on religious grounds, why not burn their home down?

The Rage Machine’s footsoldiers are unable to imagine consequence, or accountability–and it shows. They’ve been told what the Wrong Thoughts are and, by Tyson, they’re going to punish the people who hold them. You might think some vestigial moral center of the Left would rein in their vanguard, but as in so many cases before, they’re hiding behind the “it can’t happen here” argument. It resonates well in their minds–and with their media enablers.

I imagine that promise sits less comfortably with the uneasy ghosts of Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Armenia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and a hundred other less-known excursions into correcting the Wrong Thoughts of the Wrong People.

Floyd Lee Corkins II attacks FRC, attempts mass murder because of their supposed ‘anti-gay’ stance

Provocating journalist instigates story resulting in death threats and other terrorism against Christian pizzeria

anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, christian, civil rights, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, elitism, extremism, freedom, hate speech, homosexuality, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, religion, tolerance, victimization

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, bigotry, bullies, censorship, christian, civil rights, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, elitism, extremism, freedom, hate speech, homosexuality, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, public policy, relativism, religion, tolerance, victimization

Again Muslim terrorists murder people, Obama wants to defend Islam

January 8, 2015 by Ben Shapiro

On Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced that the Obama administration would prioritize fighting Islamophobia in the aftermath of the terrorist attack onCharlie Hebdo in France. Never mind that most Westerners aren’t Islamophobic, but rather GettingShotInTheFaceForExpressingMyOpinion-Phobic.

The real problem, according to the Obama administration, is lack of leadership in defending Islam:

There are some individuals that are using a peaceful religion and grossly distorting it, and trying to use its tenets to inspire people around the globe to carry out acts of violence. And we have enjoyed significant success in enlisting leaders in the Muslim community, like I said, both in the United States and around the world to condemn that kind of messaging, to condemn those efforts to radicalize individuals, and to be clear about what the tenets of Islam actually are.  And we’re going to redouble those efforts in the days and weeks ahead.

This, of course, is not the first time the Obama administration has discovered a duty to illuminate the inherent beauty and wonder of Islam. Over and over again, the Obama administration, in high culturally imperialist dudgeon, has attempted to explain to the world the true meaning of Islam.

Here are five other examples:

President Obama, 2009: Immediately upon taking office, Obama did an interview withAl-Arabiya in which he explained that his job as president encompassed apologizing to the Muslim world for evil America, and explaining to Americans that Muslims are the cream of the religious crop:

My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.

If you forgot the provision of Article II of the Constitution that gives the president the authority to do outreach on behalf of Islam in the United States, that’s because it doesn’t exist. But don’t worry: Obama’s on the job.

President Obama, 2009: In speaking about Islam at Cairo University on June 4, 2009 – a speech to which the Obama administration invited the then-banned Muslim Brotherhood – Obama stated:

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.  That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.  And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

If you forgot the provision of Article II of the Constitution that places responsibility for fighting negative stereotypes of Islam in the hands of the executive branch, that’s because it doesn’t exist. But don’t worry: Obama’s on the job.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, 2010: Speaking with Al-Jazeera, the head of NASA explained that the mission of the space agency would now include outreach to Muslims:

When I became the NASA Administrator, [President Obama] charged me with three things. One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.

If you forgot the provision of the National Aeronautics and Space Act that grants authority to NASA to make Muslims feel good about medieval contributions to astronomy, that’s because it doesn’t exist. But don’t worry: Obama’s on the job.

President Obama, 2012: In the aftermath of the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, President Obama took to the podium of the United Nations to condemn a YouTube filmmaker in the United States exercising freedom of speech:

[A] crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.  Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.
It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith.  We are home to Muslims who worship across our country.  We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe.  We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them….The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

If you forgot the provision of the First Amendment to the Constitution that gives the president of the United States the authority to officially criticize exercise of First Amendment rights under color of authority, that’s because it doesn’t exist. But don’t worry: Obama’s on the job.

Secretary of State John Kerry, 2014: Last year, as ISIS released video after video of the beheadings of Westerners, Secretary of State Kerry explained that his mission was to promote true Islam – which makes perfect sense, given his status as imam of Martha’s Vineyard:

[Our effort] has to start major efforts to delegitimize ISIS’s claim to some religious foundation for what it’s doing and begin to put real Islam out there and draw lines throughout the region.

If you forgot the provision of Article II that lends authority to the State Department to “begin to put real Islam out there,” presumably in violation of the separation of church and state, that’s because it doesn’t exist. But don’t worry: Obama’s on the job.

Even as the Obama administration pretends to push “true Islam,” the Obama administration completely ignored the words of Egyptian leader General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who just days ago called for a “religious revolution” in the Muslim world. Al-Sisi explained:

I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution. You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting on you. The entire world is waiting for your word … because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands….It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible that this thinking — and I am not saying the religion — I am saying this thinking. This is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world! Does this mean that 1.6 billion people (Muslims) should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

Al-Sisi seems significantly more qualified to lead an educational effort about Islam than Barack Obama. But for the Obama administration to recognize the truth of al-Sisi’s statement would suggest that their own ignorance about Islam has prevented them from effecting change for the past six years. And that is an admission that President Obama and his lackeys refuse to make, given their deeply held belief that Islam isn’t the problem in any way.

original article: 6 TIMES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SAID ITS JOB WAS TO PROMOTE ISLAM

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High school senior says she was suspended for saying ‘bless you’

August 21, 2014 by Dylan Stableford

A high school senior in Tennessee says she was given an in-school suspension for saying “bless you” to a classmate who had sneezed.

 Kendra Turner, a student at Dyer County High School, told WMC-TV that when her teacher told her she had broken a class rule against invoking religious terms, she complained.

“She said that we’re not going to have godly speaking in her class,” Turner said, “and that’s when I said we have a constitutional right. … It’s all right to defend God and it’s our constitutional right, because we have a freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”

Turner was sent to the administrator’s office, where she finished the class period with an “in-school suspension,” WMC said.

According to Turner, school officials told her parents that their daughter had shouted “bless you” and had disrupted the class.

Local pastor Becky Winegardner said this wasn’t the first time Turner’s teacher had clashed with students over religion.

“There were several students that were talking about this particular faculty member there that was very demeaning to them in regard to their faith,” Winegardner told WMC. “This was something that had come up previously in the last few weeks just since the beginning of school, and I shared with all of those students what their rights were.”

Turner said that “bless you” is listed among several other banned terms on the teacher’s whiteboard.

“‘Bless you,’ ‘hang out,’ ‘my bad,’ ‘dumb,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘stuff’ and just things like that,” Turner toldWBBJ-TV.

She added that after her suspension, fellow students wore T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Bless You” to support her.

The Dyer County Schools superintendent’s office could not immediately be reached for comment. According to WBBJ, school officials declined “multiple requests to talk on camera about the incident, but said [the incident] has been blown way out of proportion.”

original article: High school senior says she was suspended for saying ‘bless you’

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Private, Religious Schools Have Strong Showing at Science Fair

August 14, 2014 by Michael Chartier

As an alumnus of private Catholic schools, I continually am surprised by the evolving notion that religious education is dismissive of science. Indeed, much is being made about private school teachings that are deemed incompatible with science. But as a recent personal experience of my own shows, this generalization is taken oftentimes on faith.
 
Indeed, kids in private schools not only are learning about the scientific method, but many are excelling in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medical (STEM) fields as well. Just one example has been private schools’ showing at the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair (HSEF) in Indiana, home to the nation’s largest school voucher program.
 
More than 70 students from around Indiana competed at the HSEF and, of those, 26 were chosen to represent their state at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Of those initial 70, half were from private schools of choice—an impressive showing for schools that are considered by Heather Weaver, an ACLU senior staff attorney, “to discriminate and indoctrinate.”
 
For example, to show just how wrong critics such as Weaver can be, consider the students from the Eman School in Fishers, Indiana—a private school that accepts voucher students “offer[ing] (them) an Islamic environment that promotes moral and ethical values that are part of Islamic teachings.” The Eman School’s students make up the largest delegation of Hoosier students at the ISEF. In addition, three of the four students from the Eman School’s delegation are female, which is notable considering women make up only 24 percent of all STEM degree holders nationwide. In fact, Iman Mahoui, earned second place in Cellular/Molecular Biology, the highest award from anyone in the Hoosier delegation. Just by talking to these students, one can see that an appreciation for the scientific method was instilled in them from the earliest grade levels. The school views science not in isolation, but as a tool for understanding the natural laws that God, or Allah, put in place after the creation of the universe.
 
Another private school accepting voucher students that participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair is Marian High School, a Catholic High School in Mishawaka, Indiana—and powerhouse in science. The Marian Knights brought two students to the ISEF this year led by the 2010 Science Teacher of the Year Ken Andrzejewski, whose title was awarded by the Sigma Xi Society for Science Research. Mr. Andrzejewski has been bringing students to the ISEF since the early 1990s. Two years ago, the Top Young Scientist, awarded by the Science Education Foundation of Indiana, was Tim Trippel from Marian High School. The Top Young Scientist earns a $10,000 scholarship chosen by a senior group of SEFI scientists.
 
But those two anecdotes actually represent a larger theme.

full article: Private, Religious Schools Have Strong Showing at Science Fair

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Educational Choice Fosters Political Tolerance

July 3, 2014 by JASON BEDRICK

As America prepares to celebrate its independence, many Americans are caught up in the political squabbles over several recent Supreme Court decisions. If the SCOTUS decisions and their fallout reveal anything, it’s that too many Americans are willing to use the government to coerce their fellow citizens into behaving a certain way. Such people lack the virtue of political tolerance, which Thomas Jefferson believed was the foundation of “social harmony… the first of human felicities.”

What sort of education system is most likely to foster that political tolerance?

People often assume that government-run “public” schools are the best inculcators of political tolerance. After all, Horace Mann’s vision of the “common school” involved bringing together students from ethnically and religiously diverse backgrounds and training them to be good citizens. By contrast, private schools are not required to take all students and many of them are religiously sectarian. Indeed, even President Obama made this claimwhen visiting Ireland in 2013:

If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs — if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear and resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

Surely the common schools do a better job inculcating the value of political tolerance than the sectarian schools… right?

In reality, as my colleague Neal McCluskey has painstakingly demonstrated, government schools often force citizens into political conflict. Parents and educators clash over issues of pedagogy, curriculum, morality, sexuality, etc. Too often, deciding which policies a government school will adopt is a zero-sum game.

Moreover, the empirical evidence demonstrates that private schools (including religiously sectarian ones) do as well or better than government schools at inculcating political tolerance.

read full article: Educational Choice Fosters Political Tolerance

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Current Progressive Thinking in the age of Obama

In the age of Obama leftists feel more comfortable revealing their genuine beliefs. It’s not so compassionate or altruistic as you might think. Click the infographic for full size.

current progressive thinking

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