Wednesday, September 2, 2015

More Leftist Thinking

The University of Tennessee has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I suspect most/all universities do today. You can tell from the title that no good could come from such a bureaucratic entity. While claiming not to be official university policy, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is quite concerned about the use of pronouns. Specifically, pronouns that identify one's sex.

In order to not "offend" anyone, they are encouraging the use of gender neutral pronouns, rather than pronouns such as "he" or "she" or "him" or "her." Here are some of their suggestions (no, I am not making this up): ze, hir, zir, xe, xem, xyr. Being from the east coast, I think I prefer dat, dem and dose.

This leftist need to make sure that no one is ever offended by anything is eerily similar to another group - Muslims. Recall the effort by the Organization of Islamic States to get a binding resolution at the UN to ban all offensive and derogatory speech against Islam. (Criticize the other religions all you want.) So, rather than protecting the exercise of free speech, we see an ever growing movement to protect overly sensitive people from speech.

But let's be honest, these people are taught to be overly sensitive, because they are "victims." To the left, everyone is a victim of something or other, except, of course, for white males.

Former star pitcher and then commentator for ESPN, Curt Schilling, found himself on the wrong side of the speech police. Tweeted Schilling: "It's said only 5-10 percent of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7 percent of Germans were Nazis. How'd that go?" I have had discussions with liberals who tell me that only 5-10% of Muslims are radical. I point out that even 10% is 160 million people.

However, I have also pointed out that all Germans did not wake up the same morning and decide it would be a great idea to kill all the Jews. Rather, it was what Hitler and a small number of initial followers were able to get an entire country to do. Which was Schilling's point. But the truth does not prevail against the word police. So Schilling was suspended.

The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union has 37,000 members, and is apparently the first US union to join the BDS movement (Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel). The anti-Semites who run the union have adopted all the lies and propaganda put forth by the Palestinians. They want the US to cut off all aid to Israel in order to "pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians." Not surprisingly, these people have no understanding of what true apartheid is. (See my 5/9/13 post entitled "An Open Letter to Professor Stephen Hawking.")

Said one union delegate: "It's absolutely disgusting what is going on. Free Palestine." I am not sure what is disgusting to that speaker, as Arab residents of Israel have better lives and more freedoms than do Arabs in Arab countries. What is disgusting, however, is the ongoing persecution, displacement and murder of Christians throughout North Africa and the Middle East - in Muslim countries.

Said Ron Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress: "When hundreds of thousands of Christians - men, women and children - are killed, this isn't a war, this is genocide." But Obama and other Western leaders have little to say about it. I wonder what, if anything, this union has to say about it.

Equal Justice? We'll See

Kim Davis is the County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. After the US Supreme Court declared gay marriage to be the law of the land in all fifty states, Ms. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Based on her religious beliefs, Ms. Davis sought a stay, which was denied all the way up to the US Supreme Court. Thereafter, she still refused to issue licenses, citing her religious beliefs.

Now Ms. Davis must appear in Federal District Court Thursday morning, and face contempt charges as well as possible fines and imprisonment. Unlike the left, I respect Ms. Davis' religious beliefs. However, she has made a mistake. She refuses to resign her position, while also refusing to carry out the law. As a public official, it is her duty to execute the law; and as County Clerk she does not get to write the laws.

Resigning would allow her to not have to compromise her religious beliefs, albeit at the cost of losing her job. Adhering to one's beliefs does, at times, have negative consequences. I wonder if she will get off as easily as another public figure who broke the law.

In 2004, then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the clerk for the city and county of San Francisco to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. At the time state law defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. State law controls over local or municipal ordinances and mayoral orders; just as federal law generally preempts state law. Mr. Newsom knew very well that he had no legal authority to supersede state law and issue marriage licenses. He did so nonetheless.

Mr. Newsom believed that to deny marriage licenses to gay couples was a denial of equal protection. But as San Francisco Mayor he had no authority to either write or interpret state law. After issuing several thousand licenses, the California Supreme Court ordered the mayor to stop, and declared the previously issued licenses to be void.

Having clearly violated state law, what punishment did Mr. Newsom face? No fines. No imprisonment. Instead, he went on to become Lieutenant Governor of California. When cities across the country declare that they are "sanctuary" cities, in violation of federal immigration laws, do those mayors and city council members in those sanctuary cities face fines and imprisonment? Of course not.

Admittedly, Mr. Newsom did stop issuing the marriage licenses to gay couples when ordered to do so. So he did not face contempt charges. But he knowingly violated state law with no negative consequences. It seems to this writer that one faces less risk when the violation of the law is on behalf of leftist causes. So tomorrow we will see if Ms. Davis gets a slap on the wrist only or is dealt with more harshly.

In declaring a constitutional right to gay marriage, Justice Kennedy wrote: "Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned."

In dissent, Justice Roberts wrote: "The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to "advocate" and "teach" their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to "exercise" religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses."