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Archive for the ‘Morality’ Category

5 Things About the Hobby Lobby Ruling

I ran across this report earlier today.

I’ve seen some bad reporting over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article that seems to be deliberately designed to make people more ignorant.

Let’s look at a few points:

1. If you work at certain types of for-profit companies, they no longer have to cover the cost of any contraception that they say violates their religious beliefs

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) requires most health insurance plans to cover birth control without cost-sharing. Without healthcare coverage, the pill can cost about $25 a month and an IUD (intrauterine device) can cost up to $900 (though it’s inserted once and lasts up to 12 years).

So my first observation is that they all but admit that this is about saving a measly $25 per month at worst. And there’s the elephant in the room that this is covering something that anywhere else would not be an insurance item.

They also tacitly admit that there was only 4 of the 20 methods covered. So really, it’s hard to see this being a very serious sort of issue. They also start out by talking about the Pill, giving the impression that that is one of the methods removed – but it’s not.

2. All three female Justices dissented, arguing that this ruling limits women’s rights

All of the women on the court are liberals. The liberals voted for less religious liberty, and only one of them is a man. Apparently (since this article is aimed at women) it’s important that you know that all the women on the court were rooting for you. Or something.

Then there’s this quote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer (the only male justice who dissented). “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage,” Ginsberg wrote

Here’s the thing about that. It’s complete nonsense.

It is not even remotely true. It is literally impossible for one simple reason: this decision has given employers of any sort precisely no, zero, zilch rights to determine what pharmaceuticals and employee might buy. That’s not a right employers have ever had, sought, or wanted, even in their wildest dreams.

Yet, that claim not only appears in a media report, but a supreme court decision.

3. The ruling may depress use of IUDs at some privately held corporations that deem it a form of emergency contraception

This is where we really get into the weird zone. I mean, who cared about the IUD use rate at privately held corporations? Seriously, that’s a really weird thing to say.

Now, it would be more useful to say, “this will reduce the use of this really effective method”. And they do try to say that… sort of.

But note this:

The IUD can also be used as emergency contraception if it is inserted five days after intercourse, hence the Hobby Lobby’s objection to it and not birth control pills.

That’s about as good an example of what the article does all the way through: skirts the core issue that this ruling is about abortifacients. Seriously, the word never appears yet that was the entire ethical objection that the court case was about.

4. Women’s rights groups are angry because they see the ruling as a loss of autonomy for women

Feminists don’t like this? Gee, who knew.

See what I mean about making people more ignorant?

Oh, and did you notice that having someone else pay for your birth control somehow = more autonomy. Feminism, gotta love it. (Seriously, you have to, it’s in the rules of modern liberalism.)

In fact, this point is so idiotic, it required detailed fisking.

Some women’s rights advocates have taken the argument even further than Ginsburg did. Up until this point the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been interpreted as a protection for individuals’ religious practices—not those of corporations. The Supreme Court just said that these protections also extend to for-profit companies,

Bzzzt. Wrong. It ruled that when you have a closely-held company, forcing a company to do something is forcing an individual (or a small group of individuals) to do something.

but didn’t protect a woman’s right to choose her method of birth control.

Bzzzt. Wrong. As pointed out above, this ruling says precisely nothing about that. It’s about who pays for it.

Thus, many critics argue, the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people, but women are not.

They may even honestly believe that. But I doubt it – I mean, they’re not that stupid, aren’t they?

Women’s rights groups say restricting insurance coverage for some types of contraception, or making coverage more difficult to obtain, undermines access to birth control in general and point to studies that have shown that offering greater access to contraception—rather than restricting it—leads to fewer unintended pregnancies and thus reduces the number of abortions by 75 percent annually.

That’s a true statement, they do say that. They also say that women are more autonomous when given $25/month worth of pills by their employer. Did I mention that? Yep… ok, just checking.

5. Under the ruling, some corporations could attempt to refuse coverage for other, non-contraceptive medications and procedures citing their religious beliefs

But even the people who wrote this admit almost immediately that it’s a bogus claim:

In the majority opinion written by Justice Alito, he specifies that the ruling applies only to the contraceptive mandate, and states that it should not be understood to include to other insurance mandates, like those for blood transfusions or vaccinations.

Fact is, if something else comes up, it’ll go through the courts again.

So there you have it. A report that never actually talks about the key issue, grossly insults women, tells incredibly silly lies, and then tells us about the most obvious thing ever written.

Modern journalism – gotta love it.

 (See also this post at Patterico)


Respect Women, Respect Men

Here’s something you never hear people talk when they talk about “Gender Equality“.

I’ve discussed at length how men should treat women. I’ve written about the lessons I plan to teach my son; lessons about how he should love, honor, respect, serve, and protect the women in his life. Indeed, men need to respect women, and we, as men, are far from perfect in that regard.

Those posts — the ones where I call on us men to improve the way we treat women — tend to be very popular. They’re popular when I write them or when anyone writes them. Proclaim that women, mothers, and wives should be respected, and a chorus will shout ‘amen.’ …

But I’ve noticed that the corollary – a message about the respect women must give men, a message challenging wives and encouraging husbands – isn’t quite so palatable for many people. Disrespect for men has become standard practice. That scene I witnessed was sad but unremarkable; we’ve all watched that kind of thing play out a thousand times over. Men are disrespected by their wives – they’re disrespected publicly, they’re disrespected privately, they’re disrespected and then told that they have no right to be upset about it because they aren’t worthy of respect in the first place.

He goes on.

Disrespect for men is a joke to us now. A little while ago I stopped on the way home from work to buy my wife some flowers. As she rang me up, the cashier quipped: “Uh-oh, what’d you do?” I wasn’t particularly amused, but I chuckled. She continued. “I don’t know if this will be enough to get you off the couch tonight!”

Ah, yes, the old “husband is punished by his wife and sent to the couch” meme. I’m not sure if this actually happens in real life, or if it’s an invention of 90′s “all men are fat, witless, oafs” sitcoms, but the popularity of the stereotype is telling. Is this how we see husbands now? A man gets “in trouble” with his wife, she scolds him and puts him in time-out on the couch. Now he has to placate his alpha-bride by showering her with flowers and jewelry.

Men are painted like children or dogs. They can be shooed off of their own beds by their wives and sent to cower in the living room until she permits him to return. This is only slightly less offensive than the cliché of the sadistic wife who punitively withholds sex from her husband. “You didn’t clean the garage like I told you. No sex for you, mister! Next time, follow my instructions!

It’s amazing that, while we’ve been so focused on the status of women, we’ve allowed the status of men to be derided so universally that it’s a casual joke.

And anyone who thinks this isn’t having negative effects on society is a fool.


Gay man viciously attacked -for being Republician

Update This story was published, then un-published as I wanted to string out a few posts. However, I only discovered just now that it was not re-published.

It has now been revealed that this story is a fake.

Kyle Wood, an openly gay Republican campaign worker in Wisconsin, admitted on Monday that he faked a bias attack against himself.
Last Thursday, The Daily Caller reported Wood’s allegation that he was the victim of vandalism and assault because he was a gay man working for straight Republican Chad Lee in his congressional race against gay Democrat Mark Pocan.

“A spokesman for Rep. Mark Pocan and an attorney representing his partner, Philip Frank, said they were considering suing for libel over claims that Frank threatened Wood,” The Daily Page reports.

In hindsight, it did seem suspiciously clear-cut. But it’s easy to be wise after the fact.


We hear a lot about how evil the Republican party is in this country, but this sort of story doesn’t get a look in.

“I was getting ready for work and there was a knock at the door,” Wood emailed The Daily Caller late Wednesday. “I opened it, and a guy wrapped a ligature around my neck, slammed my head into the doorway, and smashed my face into a mirror, telling me ‘You should have kept your [f*******] mouth shut.’”

“He then kidney-punched me, while at the same time saying I was ‘warned,’ and continued to beat me,” he added.

Note that: this was no spur of the moment, pick-up-a-stone-and-throw-it incident. This guy was targeted, and the attacker came prepared to strangle him.

Wood said his attacker’s reference to a warning likely pointed to graffiti he found painted on his car last week. The vandalism included the phrases “house trained republican faggot,” “traitor,” and “ur like a jew 4 hitler.”

Those slurs, he explained, were references to him being a gay Republican working to help Lee, a straight GOP candidate, defeat the openly gay Democrat Mark Pocan.

After he discovered the graffiti, Wood wrote an open letter on Facebook to the unknown vandal. “If you understand either freedom or me at all,” he wrote, “you would that this will only make me work harder. … You can think whatever you like about me, but I will not be bullied into voting for a gay man simply because I am gay.”

I was reminded of this comment I read the other day.

This morning, when I woke up and checked the blog, found this comment in our “pending” (for approval) folder:

How many days have you guys gone without being outright called faggots by the people you suck up to? You should put up a running clock and take bets on who will be the one to break down and share his true feelings with you. It’ll probably be Jim Hoft.

I immediately approved it–wanting to provide evidence of left-wing prejudices against conservatives.  For the record, Jim Hoft has shared his feelings with me, at least three times in person, more via e-mail.  You see, I’ve been reading Jim’s blog for a number of years now and twice when I passed through St. Louis, e-mailed him and suggested we meet.

He agreed and we got together at a local coffee shop and talked politics.  Now, Jim and I may not agree on every issue, but he has never insulted me, has even praised this blog.  He is, in short, a decent guy and has always (always) been friendly toward me.

Neither Jim nor any conservative blogger, in person, in text, in e-mail or any other form of communication, has ever called me a “faggot.”  In fact, the only people who seem to be directing that slurat gay conservatives sit on the political left.

Oh, and I’ve never called anyone a faggot in my life – in fact I wouldn’t even use the shortened form of that word to describe a cigarette.

(And as I’ve said many times previously with regard to racism incidents like this, I don’t post stuff like this to try and “prove” that the right has no homophobic people. The US is a big place, and you’ll find all sorts of people in all sorts of places. But we do need to get over this idea that the left has a monopoly on tolerance  They most emphatically do not.)

Wikileaks blows some credibility

Apparently you shouldn’t trust something posted on a website that specialises in stolen information.

The phony column was posted on a website that looks exactly like the online version of the New York Times Opinion Page — the pranksters even loaded the site with similar-looking ads and links to other (legitimate) Times webpages. But that wasn’t all. …

Shortly after the column went up, Keller’s seeming about-face on WikiLeaks made waves through the social media sphere. Web users quickly clamored to read and share it, not realizing the trickery involved. The article and its display was so convincing, in fact, that it even fooled one of Keller’s colleagues, the Times‘ lead technology writer.

Who knew?

As Patterico points out

It is reminiscent of Justice Scalia’s views on stories about Supreme Court deliberations, as expressed in the video I linked last night. Justice Scalia says that one should not credit stories about internal deliberations, because if they are not a lie, they are based on the word of people who are unreliable — because they have promised not to reveal those deliberations, and then turned around and did it anyway.

Of course, it’s only a suprise if you missed his plea for asylum in a country where the president successfully sued two journalists for exposing the fact he was giving his brother government contracts.

Mark Regnerus

Good article by Glenn Peoples on a study that found same-sex partners did not make the best parents.

Glenn examines some of the criticism of the author.

Look through the list of factors that David Sessions (the author of the above article). These are listed as things that Gays and Lesbians should be alarmed by when seeing this study:

  • The research project was led by a person who engages in “attention grabbing” research
  • This man’s findings sometimes agree with what social conservatives think about the sexual revolution.
  • This man was once a professor at a Christian College
  • This man wrote a cover story in a Christian magazine, saying that Christians should encourage marriage at a young age.
  • This man wrote an article claiming that the sexual revolution has had some negative consequences for women.
  • This man’s latest research (the study on same-sex parenting) was funded by groups that are not socially liberal, but socially conservative instead.

Quite a modest set of charges when dealing with this sort of thing. Which of course suggests strongly that the guy is sound, but leans conservative in his convictions.

Oh, and if you think those things are legitimate reasons to ignore research, then I feel very sorry for you.

Glenn then points out that the study is far from a slam dunk anyway. It seems that the offence just may be (and this is my opinion) that it wasn’t a ringing endorsement.

So there you have it. It’s not the bombshell revelation-to-end-all-revelations study that settles every argument that some might have hoped for, and it’s not the atrocious omg-I-can’t-believe-anyone-would-publish-this piece of trash that some are claiming it to be. What the appearance of this study has done, however, is to again allow the ugly side of intellectual policing to rear its head. Some things just shouldn’t be allowed to be said, so when they are, they must be shouted down by any disreputable means necessary.

Have a read and make your own mind up. As I write, there’s two comments – the first a vicious attack on Glenn for his “hateful” criticism, which is of course completely ironic as the second comment says.

I goggled Mark Regnerus (he’s the guy who did the study) and found this article. It is the sort of response that liberals should be making, but starts by noting the response that liberals have been making.

Mark Regnerus is a hateful bigot. He’s an ultra-conservative with links to Opus Dei. His new research paper on same-sex parenting is “intentionally misleading” and “seeks to disparage lesbian and gay parents.” His “so-called study doesn’t match 30 years of scientific research that shows overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who are LGBT do equally as well.” His “junk science” and “pseudo-scientific misinformation,” pitted against statements from the American Psychological Association and “every major child welfare organization,” deserve no coverage or credence.

That’s what four of the nation’s leading gay-rights groups—the Human Rights Campaign, the Family Equality Council, Freedom to Marry, and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation —declared in a joint statement this week. Flanked by a mob of bloggers, they’re out to attack Regnerus’ motives, destroy his credibility, and banish his study from the scientific record. Even Slate contributor E.J. Graff says “Slate‘s editors should be ashamed” for publishing Regnerus’ “dangerous propaganda.”

Nice people, aren’t they?

Churches and christians are not obsessed with homosexuality

This pretty much sums up a point I’ve been trying to make for some time.

Jonathan next gets directly at a point I make in my letter.  Just because that is theimage of the church in the eyes of many does not mean it is the reality.  The reality is the church is by every objective measure focused on helping the poor more than fighting the culture war, but that fact is largely unknown because we don’t control our image in popular culture.  The other side would have us change not by different messaging but through an abandonment of the field.  Al Mohler wrote on Monday: “But when my phone rings with a call from a reporter these days, the question I am asked is never adultery or pornography.  It is about homosexuality.”  When it comes to homosexuality, we are addressing the obsessions of others.  (Don’t believe me?  Here’s a test: track your pastor’s next 25 sermons.  How many deal with homosexuality?)  When it comes to abortion, the blood of the innocents cries out for justice.

For context, here’s a key quote from his origional post:

  In 2011, I researched the budgets of the leading culture war organizations and compared them to the leading Christian anti-poverty organizations.  Here’s what I found:

How do those numbers stack up with leading Christian anti-poverty charities? Let’s look at just three: World VisionCompassion International, and Samaritan’s Purse. Their total annual gross receipts (again, according to most recently available Form 990s) exceed $2.1 billion. The smallest of the three organizations (Samaritan’s Purse) has larger gross receipts than every major “pro-family” culture war organization in the United States combined. World Vision, the largest, not only takes in more than $1 billion per year, it also has more than 1,400 employees and 43,000 volunteers.

In other words, Christians are overwhelmingly focused with their money and their time on the poor, not on culture war issues.  Then why are Christians portrayed differently?  Because the media is obsessed with the sexual revolution and demonizes dissent.  If news outlets focus on Christians only when engaged on culture war issues and ignores the much more extensive work we do for the poor in Africa, in Asia, and at home, then it’s no wonder the wider world sees us as politically-obsessed.

Let me just finish on a tangent here.

There’s a common perception that it’s “liberal” churches who are more involved in charity work. Last year, I got involved with a church who was helping people affected by a certain disaster. It was only on my 4th visit that a chance comment made me realise that the church was in fact a Evangelical one – proir to that comment I had avoided theologyical discussions as I didn’t want disagreements on theology to disrupt the unity we had in our goal of helping people.

It was after that talk that I started to look back, and realised that I had discounted the work that my previous churches had done. I realised that all the churches I’d been involved with had been quite strong on helping the poor and disadvantaged, and in fact the liberal ones had often been the first to quit such projects.

Which makes you wonder what liberal churches do with themselves. As far as I can tell, the answer to that is pretty much nothing.

Holder is not having a good week

Well, Eric Holder no only has had his vote stolen after his refusal to take voter fraud seriously, but he’s also had a harsh telling off because of what he does chose to prosecute – and the fact he’s so determined to do it he’ll do it without evidence. Remember, this is the man who in theory should be the nation’s top lawyer.

(What do you expect though? It’s not like Obama has a history of this sort of appointment.)

After 18 months of litigation, the DOJ’s case was thrown out of federal court, and the department was chastised in a scathing ruling by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp for filing a case with no evidence.

Judge Ryskamp wrote that Holder’s complete failure to present any evidence of wrongdoing, coupled with the DOJ’s cozy relationship with PWC and their apparent joint decision to destroy video surveillance footage of the alleged “obstruction,” caused the court to suspect a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Obama administration. “The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” wrote Judge Ryskamp. “The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.”

The Obama administration has been accused of being the most pro-abortion in US history. Stories like this tend to strengthen that claim quite considerably.


Ann Humphry & Wikipedia

Several months back, I read a book on Ann Humphry and how she was driven to suicide by her husband Derek Humphry.

Now, this would be bad enough, but Derek Humphry was (and is) an assisted suicide proponent. They jointly founded the Hemlock Society and authored books on how caring it was to kill someone.

International euthanasia activist and co-founder of the hemlock Society, Derek Humphry assisted his first wife , Jean, in committing suicide. He was the only witness to the death and later wrote the book Jean’s Way with his new wife, American Ann Wickett who helped him found the Hemlock Society.

From the book it is clear that it was Humphry who made the decision when it was time for Jean to die. Anti-euthanasia activist and author Brian Johnston points out, “Jean exhibited a classic psychological condition displayed by the gravely ill: the desire for affirmation, the self-deprecating “cry for help.” Her needs were clearly of an emotional nature.”

It became apparent, when his wife Ann developed breast cancer and did not intend to choose euthanasia, that Humphry was exceedingly uncomfortable with illness. He left Ann, made life difficult for her and maneuvered her out of Hemlock isolating her from all her friends until the only one she could turn to for assistance and understanding was her former opponent, anti-euthanasia activist Rita Marker.

She later said that her own illness and depression left her feeling very alone and caused her to have misgivings about the right-to-die movement. She now thought that not enough emphasis was given to providing a supportive environment to those with life-threatening illnesses.

“There. You got what you wanted,” she wrote her ex-husband: “Ever since I was diagnosed as having cancer, you have done everything conceivable to precipitate my death…what you did, desertion and abandonment and subsequent harassment of a dying woman, is so unspeakable there are not words to describe the horror of it.” 15

A postscript addressed to Marker read: “Rita, Derek…is a killer. I know. Jean actually died of suffocation. I could never say it until now, who would believe me? Do the best you can. Ann.”

One of the things the book talks about is the way that her husbond pushed her out of the Hemlock Society, which was also her employer. (This also created a crisis mid-treatment with her health insurer.) At the time I read the book, I went onto Wikipedia and noted that Derek’s attempts to remove her from the society had extended even there.

There was however one are where they could not edit out the truth of the situation – her own entry.

Well, today her entry is gone. Guess where it redirects to?

The law is fine, it’s the courts that are the asses

Well, apparently our courts have decided that a law described by it’s authors as…

An Act to specify the circumstances in which contraceptives and information relating to contraception may be supplied and given to young persons, to define the circumstances under which sterilisations may be undertaken, and to provide for the circumstances and procedures under which abortions may be authorised after having full regard to the rights of the unborn child

…gives no rights to any unborn child.

Good to know, that.

And by “that”, I mean the fact that no law in this country has any meaning whatsoever.

In spite of this judgement there are two things we do know.

  1. Unborn children are still human
  2. This law was intended to protect them

I actually feel sorry for the judges. Sooner or later their consciences will catch up with them, and when that happens they will have to live with the horrific consequences of what they’ve done. I don’t think any human being should feel what they will feel that day.

See also: Dredd Scott

Update: Apparently there is still the Supreme court to appeal to. So while it’s unlikely this bizarre decision will be overturned, it is theoretically possible.






Abortion is not Healthcare

Let’s say I break my arm.

I guess I could just leave it. Maybe it’d fall off. Perhaps it wouldn’t.

But if I had any sense I’d get it seen to.

Or I might catch a serious disease which if left untreated would kill me.

It’s around injuries and accidents that we have developed the mordern health care system. “First do no Harm” is what doctors sign up to – they’re there to fix stuff that would otherwise kill us or do serious injury.

Pregnancy is not a disease. It’s a normal bodily function (in the female of the species anyway).* Without it, the human race would have ceased to exist centuries ago. Without it, this blog would have no readers.

I am assured by women I know who have had several children that pregnancy is seriously inconvenient. It typically starts with months of vomiting and nausea and vomiting and ends with a very large belly that makes certain tasks quite difficult and squashes various internal organs creating such problems as a need to frequently urinate. In the case of an illegitimate conception, a late term pregnancy tells the whole world of the shame of the pregnant woman.

(Of course, in this day and age there is rarely shame in such situations, indeed the entire concept of an illegitimate pregnancy is largly absent from our society. Strangely however the feminist movement seems to forget this fact whenever abortion is discussed.)

I am also assured that life after birth is severely inconvenient too. But believe it or not, that’s beside the point. Any parent who really finds the inconvenience of a live baby too much to bear may utilise foster parenting or adoption.

No, this post is about abortion and questions of ending a pregnancy. To me, the ultimate question is one of the convenience of terminating a pregnancy verses the fact of the human rights of the baby. Does the woman have the right to “her own body” or does the conceived baby?

Again, let me more clearly define what I’m talking about. I’m speaking of situations where the woman has consented to the sexual act knowing that one probably outcome of choosing pleasure over responsibility is a pregnancy. Rape or incest are quite different debates to consensual situations.

But back to my original point. Healthcare is fixing a broken arm, or treating a disease. Doctors do not cut off arms because patients ask. You cannot go into a hospital and ask to be injected with smallpox because you’d like a few days off work or a new experience.

So why can a woman go into a hospital and ask for a procedure which, if universally applied, would end the human species?

*Yes, I’m male. Get over it.

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