Defiance, however, means more than merely ensuring that your church or your Christian school doesn’t change its policies. It means more than still donating to your church even if the day comes when you can’t deduct the contribution. It means a willingness to lose your job, your prosperity, and the respect of your peers. It means saying no every time you are compelled to applaud or participate in the sexual revolution. It means standing beside fellow Christians who face persecution or job loss — not just shaking your head and thinking, “There, but for the grace of God . . . ” It means having the courage to proclaim an opposing message — even during mandatory diversity training, even when you fear you might lose your job, and even when you’re terrified about making your mortgage payment. And through it all, it means being kind to your enemies — blessing those who persecute you.
But being kind to one’s enemies does not mean surrendering to them. I’ll never forget the first time I feared for my job because of my faith. In the midst of my first major religious liberty case — defending a small, rural church against a plainly unconstitutional government action — a senior partner at my firm called and demanded that I drop the lawsuit. He believed the firm’s reputation would suffer for representing an Evangelical church. As a second-year associate, I had no power or standing to defy his order, so — after discussing it with my wife and pondering my own mortgage payment — I summoned up my courage, walked into the managing partner’s office, and simply and respectfully said, “I’m not withdrawing from the case. I understand if you feel like you have to fire me, but I can’t abandon the church.” To my immense relief, I kept my job — and the case, which ended up launching my constitutional career.
I tell that story not to proclaim myself as a model for others — I have more than my share of failings, and that small act of defiance hardly merits mention — but simply to say that this is an old problem. Even in the U.S., Christians who’ve not yet faced these tests likely will, and soon. When they do, it is the church’s responsibility to ensure that they not do so alone. As the church stands, it must remember that our present troubles are meaningless compared to the deadly challenges facing the church in the Middle East. And, always, we must remember who controls our destiny.
It’s interesting how those on the left, in this case Obama and Heschel, make broad, general statements about how far we have to go on race issues but don’t give specifics about what’s left to fix. What do white churches have to do with the Charleston killer? They’ve offered support and unity. Is that something they should hang their heads over? The answer is no. And despite what Obama says, racism is not passed along in DNA through the generations. If that were the case, America wouldn’t be the tolerant, multi-racial country it is today.
Yes, America, like the vast majority of the rest of the world, at one time participated in slavery. While the sin of slavery is not justified, it is important to acknowledge that the sin of slavery isn’t a uniquely American sin, but rather one of mankind throughout the course of history. Further, owning slaves is not a sin unique to white people; in fact, black Africans sold other blacks into slavery (and still do today). Slavery is uniquely human, but societies and countries that respect human dignity, like America, have stopped the horrifying practice.
America had the dignity to end slavery through a civil war and has since moved forward to correct wrongs with the civil rights movement, affirmative action, legislation, pop culture and much more. Institutional racism is no longer prevalent in the ways the left claims. Obama, elected twice by American voters, is black, as is former Attorney General Eric Holder and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch. There are a number of blacks serving in the U.S. Congress, including Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) and Congresswoman Mia Love (Utah). The likes of Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé are business and pop culture icons.
Look around the world and you’ll find that America is the most tolerant and open society on earth. The World Values Survey shows India, not the United States, is in fact the most racist country with a class system. The same survey has shown for years that Americans are among the least racist in the world and therefore are the most tolerant.
Do racists exist in this country? Of course they do. Is their racism sanctioned by the government and celebrated by fellow citizens? Absolutely not. In fact, the Charleston shooter (who I refuse to name) told friends he felt isolated and alone in his evil, racist views. That’s a silver lining. As a society we have corrected many of the wrongs of slavery and racism, the individuals who have not corrected their racist views are an innumerable minority roundly and strongly condemned by the rest of society.
America isn’t a racist country, not even close, and it certainly isn’t a “white supremacist” society. The left falsely saying so promotes not progress but division. American history includes slavery and racism, but its current status and future as a whole does not.
When immigrants move to a country of their own free will, they have an obligation to adapt to their adopted country’s values. This doesn’t mean abandoning their old culture entirely or pretending that the new one is beyond reproach, but at the very least it means giving up aspects of it that are incompatible with their new one. After all, if you think your adopted culture is worth immigrating to, you should want to try to keep and cherish it basically as you found it.
As of this Friday, gay people across the nation are now immigrants to marriage culture. Some of them have been here for a while — I personally know gay couples who’ve been legally married five times longer than I — while most are freshly off the ship. Like all voluntary immigrant populations, they have a positive duty: to assimilate to the culture they chose to adopt and to do so with enthusiasm.
That probably means not only being as married as your straight peers, but more so. In practical terms, that means being more monogamous than straight couples, less prone to divorce, and even more interested in your children’s (should you have any) welfare. And if you’re so inclined, think what a powerful message it would be for marriage if you said that sex only belongs within marriage, even for you.
Moreover, don’t be a jerk about it, or (continue to) use the law to further your victory. If someone doesn’t want to celebrate your marriage, leave them be. The tradition of people objecting to others’ marriages is probably only a few minutes younger than marriage itself. It’s rude when straight people try to force approval from others, and the same goes for you.
Much of the opposition to same-sex marriage comes from the belief that the institution of marriage will make no sense — and will have no form — if sexual complimentariness is removed. You say (and I agree with you) that to the contrary, marriage has a real and important meaning when extended to homosexuals. Do yourself and marriage a favor. Prove yourselves right through your actions. I’ll be rooting for you.
In the matter of the so-called Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court ruled that the law must not say what it in fact does say because it would be better if it were not to say what it says and were to say something else instead. In the matter of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court rules that the law must say what it does not say because it would be better if it were to say what it does not say instead of what it says. Which is to say, the Supreme Court has firmly established that it does not matter what the law says or does not say — what matters is what they want.
That texts may be imaginatively interpreted to any end is not news — “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” as William Shakespeare observed in The Merchant of Venice. The legendary constitutional scholar Barack Obama failed to notice, until the day before yesterday, that the Constitution mandates the legalization of homosexual marriage from sea to shining sea, but, to be fair, that is an easy provision to overlook, even for a mind as keen as Barack Obama’s, since the Constitution does not say one word about marriage, much less about the state-level codification of homosexual couplings being a fundamental federal right.
“Jiggery-pokery” is putting it generously.
But scriptural interpretation is a funny business. I grew up on the edges of some wildly entertaining fundamentalist circles in West Texas, and I very much enjoyed hearing mail-order theologians explain how, sometime between turning water into wine at that famous wedding and pouring out a round for the guys at the Last Supper, Jesus very subtly declared alcohol verboten. Put any given text on the rack, and you can prove Ronald Coase’s dictum: If you torture the evidence enough, it will confess to anything.
Constitutional torture is an art, and Chief Justice John Roberts has emerged as its Andy Warhol: an impresario who will put his name on anything.
Students at a Brooklyn high school had their Regents exams “re-scored” by school administrators to allow them to pass, The New York Post reports.
Automotive High School is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and has been identified by the de Blasio administration as a “renewal” school. De Blasio has vowed to improve the schools with $163 million in the upcoming school year.
According to the city Department of Education it was Aimee Horowitz, superintendent of Renewal schools, who reviewed and approved the requests of nine Automotive students to have their January 2015 Regents exams re-scored.
The practice of re-scoring tests just short of passing is known as “scrubbing,” which was banned by the state in 2011.
“This is Scrubbing Part 2,” A veteren educator told the Post, “The teachers used to do it. Now it’s the administrators.”
A student at the school spoke with a guidance counselor about having his exam re-scored as he was one point shy of passing. He was told to sign his name on a list, along with about 20 other students.
Five students received higher scores, three had them decreased and one stayed the same.
After finding out her son had his Living Environment Regents score raised from a 64 to a 72, she told the Post, “It’s not beneficial for him,” adding that, “It’s going to hurt him in the long run .”
Indeed, it is…
This celebration of a child’s every accomplishment, however slight, is something new. By the time a kid reaches 18, she will have accumulated boxes and boxes of diplomas, medals, ribbons, trophies and certificates for just showing up – whether she’s any good at anything or not.
There’s also a good chance that her parents will still be as heavily involved as ever – guiding, advising, applauding, and doing everything they can to protect their little snowflake from any sense of failure or rejection. The task of parental rescuing now extends well beyond the age the kid is old enough to vote.
A few weeks ago I found myself sharing a table with several business executives and a dean from a leading community college. All had stories to tell about overly protective parents. The dean described parents who help their kids write their essays (these kids are 20), and complain to him if they think their children’s marks are too low. A bank executive told us that it’s not uncommon for parents to call the HR department if they think their kid got an unfair performance appraisal. (He made me swear not to name the bank.) A manager with a major multinational told us how a mother called his office to complain about her son’s too lowly job description.
“I hear stories all the time from recruiters,” says Nate Laurie, who runs Jobpostings, Canada’s leading online student job network. “Parents call the recruiter and ask if he got their child’s resumé, or why their child didn’t get the job. When the kid goes for an interview, they go with her and sit in the waiting room.”
“A lot of parents can’t separate from their kids,” says my friend Barbara Moses, who’s a career counsellor. “Their identity is overly tied to their children’s success and failure. I hear mothers say, ‘We are having trouble finding a job.’ ”
One reason “we” are having trouble finding a job, according to Mr. Laurie, is that expectations are far too high. “Do what you love,” we urge our children, as if there’s a dream job out there just for them. But “do what you love” is probably the worst career advice in the world. It implants the notion that doing what you love can produce a sustainable livelihood – which isn’t always the case, alas. It also sends the message that if you don’t wind up doing what you love, then you’re a flop. That’s how you get freelance writers who are still living in a basement apartment at age 35 and wondering why things haven’t worked out the way they were supposed to.
Sometimes you have to compromise in life, but we don’t want to break this crushing news to our children. Personally, I’ve met far too many young adults who graduate from university with plans to work in development/save the world/find a career in environmental sustainability. There’s nothing wrong with these noble aspirations. What’s amazing is that no adults have ever leveled with them.
The trouble is, snowflakes are not very resilient. They tend to melt when they hit the pavement. How will our snowflake children handle the routine stresses of the grownup world – the obnoxious colleagues, pointless meetings, promotions that don’t come their way? How will they cope when no one thinks they’re special any more?
On Friday my phone was blowing up with messages, asking if I’d seen the news. Some expressed disbelief at the headlines. Many said they were crying.
None of them were talking about the dozens of people gunned down in Sousse, Tunisia, by a man who, dressed as a tourist, had hidden his Kalashnikov inside a beach umbrella. Not one was crying over the beheading in a terrorist attack at a chemical factory near Lyon, France. The victim’s head was found on a pike near the factory, his body covered with Arabic inscriptions. And no Facebook friends mentioned the first suicide bombing in Kuwait in more than two decades, in which 27 people were murdered in one of the oldest Shiite mosques in the country.
They were talking about the only news that mattered: gay marriage.
Unlike President Obama, I have always been a staunch supporter of gay marriage, and I cheered the Supreme Court’s ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. But as happy as I was, I was equally upset on Friday—and not just with the Islamists who carried out those savage attacks.
Moral relativism has become its own, perverse form of nativism among those who stake their identity on being universalist and progressive.
How else to explain the lack of outrage for the innocents murdered on the beach, while vitriol is heaped on those who express any shred of doubt about the Supreme Court ruling? How else to make sense of the legions of social-justice activists here at home who have nothing to say about countries where justice means flogging, beheading or stoning?
How else to understand those who have dedicated their lives to creating safe spaces for transgender people, yet issue no news releases about gender apartheid in an entire region of the world? How else to justify that at the gay-pride celebrations this weekend in Manhattan there is unlikely to be much mention of the gay men recently thrown off buildings in Syria and Iraq, their still-warm bodies desecrated by mobs?
It is increasingly eerie to live in this split-screen age. Earlier this week I received an email from a progressive Jewish organization about how Judaism teaches “that the preservation of human dignity is important enough to justify overriding our sacred mitzvot.” The rest of the email was about respecting dignity by using preferred gender pronouns.
On my other computer screen, I looked at a photograph of five men in orange jumpsuits, their legs bound. They were trapped like dogs inside a metal cage and hanging above a pool of water. They were drawing their final breaths before their Islamic State captors lowered the cage into the pool and they drowned together.
What was that about human dignity?
The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter. It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face.
You can’t get married if you’re dead.
‘But this Court is not a legislature.” Chief Justice John Roberts actually published that sentence in his same-sex marriage dissent on Friday . . . a mere 24 hours after his maestro’s performance in the Supreme Court’s legislative rewrite of the Affordable Care Act — formerly known as “Obamacare,” but now etched in memory as “SCOTUScare,” thanks to Justice Antonin Scalia’s withering dissent.
Roberts’s denial that the Court legislates is astonishing in its cynicism: In saving SCOTUScare, the chief justice not only usurped Congress’s law-writing role with gusto; he claimed the powers, first, to divine legislative purpose from its contradictory expression in legislative language, and, then, to manufacture legislative ambiguity as the pretext for twisting the language to serve the contrived purpose.
It takes a Clintonian quantum of cheek to pull that off one day and, on the next, to inveigh against the very thought of it.
Already, an ocean of ink has been spilled analyzing, lauding, and bemoaning the Supreme Court’s work this week: a second life line tossed to SCOTUScare in just three years; the location of a heretofore unknown constitutional right to same-sex marriage almost a century-and-a-half after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment; and the refashioning of Congress’s Fair Housing Act to embrace legal academe’s loopy “disparate impact” theory of inducing discrimination.
Yet, for all the non-stop commentary, one detail goes nearly unmentioned — the omission that best explains this week’s Fundamental Transformation trifecta.
Did you notice that there was not an iota of speculation about how the four Progressive justices would vote?
Yesterday’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges represents the culmination of a perfectly executed public relations campaign.
In a purely pragmatic sense, it’s difficult not to be impressed by what this activist-driven effort accomplished—I mean in real terms, not the unserious victory slogans of the campaign itself.
In no particular order, it:
1. Successfully and fundamentally transformed the definition of “marriage,” and did so in a way that portrayed efforts to preserve traditional marriage as the novelty, rather than the millennia-old status quo.
2. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public that there is only one side in this debate, despite the fact that the side claiming the monopoly had only existed in any meaningful form for perhaps 20 years.
3. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public that race and sexual orientation are directly analogous.
4. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public (and jurists) that there is no possible argument against gay marriage—to the point where federal judges found that not permitting same-sex marriage is definitionally irrational, and had prominent left-leaning outlets calling yesterday’s dissents simply “crazy.”
5. Successfully branded opponents as simple “bigots” for daring to hold a different view on a live political issue, going so far as to take punitive action against those who did not adopt the “correct” viewpoint.
6. Successfully portrayed the battle as, literally, love versus hate.
7. Successfully accomplished all of the above in about a decade.
My God, the magnitude of it is staggering.
President Barack Obama urged supporters of same-sex marriage Friday to “help” people to overcome their religious convictions, so they are no longer held back from a progressive American view of equality.
“I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue,” he said in a speech following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to Constitutionally recognize same-sex marriage. He initially espoused respect for those who disagree with the ruling.
“Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs,” he said. “All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact. Recognize different viewpoints. Revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.”
“But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple often painfully real change is possible,” he continued, abruptly switching gears, clearly implying that those who disagree must come around to the more righteous, more American, and more equal view of marriage.
“Shifts in hearts and minds is possible,” he said. “And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them. Because for all our differences, we are one people — stronger together than we could ever be alone.”
“That’s always been our story. We are big and vast, and diverse. A nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, with different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are, or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love — America’s a place where you can write your own destiny.”
Perhaps reeducation camps?