Archive for March, 2014

No, this is not a post from The Onion. Back when Supreme Court Justice Kennedy was appointed and confirmed to the Court, he was considered to be a conservative, siding often with the Court’s conservative wing. So far as I know, his general politics and policies have not changed. However, because of the shifting of the court to the more conservative side in terms of who has been appointed since him, Kennedy is now considered to be in the middle, the swing vote for whom lawyers try to tailor their arguments directly.

I think the same is true with Ann Coulter. When I was in college, she was among the most conservative crazies that we laughed at. In Family Guy there was an episode a few years ago where the area between Ann Coulter’s legs was used as a refrigerator at FOX “News.” I still have a clip of her on my computer saying that Canada is lucky the US doesn’t just roll over one day and crush it. She’s written several books, including, The Church of Liberalism: Godless and How to Talk to a Liberal (if You Must). So far as I know, she’s as conservative and crazy as she’s always been.

But, she’s not conservative enough for many on World Net Daily. She’s been supplanted by even more conservative and more crazy. That was the theme (or my interpretation of the theme) of Joseph Farah’s column (he’s the founder of WND) two weeks ago: “The Late Great Ann Coulter.”

To be sure, he still features her column (“Because agreement with me is not a requirement for being a WND commentator.”) But, there’s been a falling out:

While claiming to “love” the tea-party activists “out there in America,” she denigrates some unnamed organizations that are getting rich fighting “establishment Republicans.”

The solution to all of America’s problems, according to Ann Coulter, lies in electing Republicans – any and all Republicans. It doesn’t matter where they stand on the issues. It doesn’t matter how effective they have been in office. It doesn’t matter if they have betrayed those who elected them or the Constitution.

… I started to see some warning signs that Coulter was losing her principled edge just three years later in 2009, when she led a vicious public assault against “birthers,” as liberals and Democrats dubbed those who asked very tough questions about Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility for the White House – questions that have still never been answered, by the way. WND’s reporting staff did not escape her scathing barbs.

That did not stop me from inviting her to be a keynote speaker at WND’s 2010 “Taking America Back” national conference in Miami – nor did her anti-birther positioning prevent her from accepting the gig.

But then she crossed a bridge too far, forcing me to disinvite her.

She accepted a keynote speaking invitation from GOProud, the organization that claims to be made up of conservative Republicans who are homosexuals. In fact, the group supports some of the most radical social ideas this side of Van Jones and Bill Ayers. The event was called, appropriately, “HOMOCON.” And that’s really what GOProud has always been about – conning “conservatives” into believing they are part of the movement to preserve the foundations of American liberty and self-government.

He goes on, including more about the falling out over GOProud, but I think you get the idea. Many of the 257 comments agree with Farah.

I guess this is a symptom of the increasing polarization of American politics. I think it’s right up there with the probable fact that Ronald Reagan, whom most Republicans pay homage – especially Tea Partiers – could not get elected by today’s Republican party. It’s unfortunate when one looks upon Ann Coulter and considers her among the more reasonable vocal conservative Republicans.

I didn’t think this would be Yet Another Series on the blog, but, that’s what happens when you have a mindset stuck in a rut. In the first one, back in August 2013, I wrote about a psychology professor who had offered an extra credit assignment to wear a gay pride ribbon and see what kind of stigma they faced. She was persecuted for the extra credit assignment but eventually cleared of all wrong-doing allegations.

The latest version is on WND as a four-paragraph snippet headlined as, “S.C. Lawmakers: Penalize Colleges Over ‘Gay’ Books.” The idea is that, these days, most colleges give an assigned book over the summer to all incoming freshmen who then have to discuss it as part of a class they all have to take. And, two South Carolina schools – College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate (USC) – assigned books with homosexual themes. The former was Alison Bechdel’s book Fun Home (growing up with a closeted gay dad, and discovering she’s a lesbian), and the latter was Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio.

Conservative legislators (is that redundant in South Carolina?) weren’t happy, and the budget-writting committee in the House approved a plan that would cut $52,000 and $17,142, respectively, from each school’s budget in retaliation.

So much for free speech. So much for freedom of expression. So much for academic freedom. So much for OPENING YOUR EYES.

I guess you know where I stand on this. And let’s say that you’re totally against The Gay. You’d like to live in Uganda where gays are locked up for life so that you don’t have to confront The Icky. Does that mean you shouldn’t know about it? Does that mean that you can’t express that opinion in the class after you’ve read the book? Does that mean that you shouldn’t at least passively get told the other side’s perspective? Isn’t that what college is all about?

I guess not, at least as far as some South Carolina Legislators are concerned. Oh, and of course, WND commenters. From the rantings of “Fred Ricardo” (“LGBTchildren commit suicide because homosexuality is a mental
disease.”) to the conspiracy of “HopalongCassidy” (“Promoting the gay agenda is part of the communist philosophy to destroy the moral fabric of a nation and replace God with government dependence.”) to the completely-missing-the-point of “Sorceress” (“Universities are not supposed to disseminate propaganda. While many philosophies and ideas may be discussed in appropriate forums. the idea that the university can force its students to embrace a particular lifestyle is abhorrent.”), I didn’t see any comment other than likely the one that was censored (oye — a censored comment on an article about censorship?) that supported the university or college.

Remember when the world ended on February 22, 2014? I do. I slept in. Otherwise, I was home, and it was like any other weekend day. But, according to a small group of adherents to old-school-style Norse mythology (Odin, Thor, etc.), Ragnarök was supposed to happen – a series of events that would lead to the end of the world.

Didn’t happen. But, it got some main-stream press, and WND did one of their two-paragraph snippets, entitled, “According to Norse Mythology, World Ends Saturday.”

A hackneyed response by atheists, when asked by a Christian why they don’t believe in “God” (the implication clearly being the Judeo-Christian deity), is “Which god?” And then going on to explain that the person who asked the question is almost as much an atheist as the person responding, the atheist just believes in one less god than the asker.

I personally have yet to use this line, but I’ve yet to really be in a situation where it’s relevant or would come up. And I tend to classify myself more as an apathetic atheistic agnostic rather than an atheist, but I’m digressing.

The point, as you might have guessed, is that most of us roll our eyes at the modern-day Norse believers (though I still need to see Thor 2 — that Chris Helmsworth is dreamy), concluding quickly that it’s silly superstition and mythology. And yet, somehow, Christianity gets a free pass from most of us. And, there is an inherent irony and display of cognitive dissonance whenever any religious person laughs at another.

One need look no further than the first of the 38 comments, by “John C” who wrote: “Yeah, anyone who believes in Valhalla and Ragnarok won’t need a sweater where they are going.” As in they’re going to the Christian version of Hell. Because they believe in Valhalla and Ragnarök instead of a 900-year-old man fitting two of every animal into a boat and managing it for a year or so while a vengeful deity full of love drowns everyone and everything by covering the planet with water.

“Well, when you put it that way …”

A short post about a WND snippet: “Couple Face Prison After Sons’ Prayer Deaths.” It’s a sad, sad story that didn’t have to happen, and this is the second child that this couple, Herbert and Catherine Schaible, has let die of a completely curable ailment, just because they think their religion says you can’t use the new-fangled invention called “modern medicine.”

I would consider that a particularly extreme version of religiosity, but World Net Daily tends to cater to that extreme. This is why I was pleasantly surprised that 10 of the 13 comments – and the five most highly rated comments – were against the couple, in support of seeking medical care. As “steadfast” started with their comment: “Gods people are to have faith, faith enough to utilize the health care and life saving ministries of doctors when needed.”

While the world watched in the past month as Uganda passed a “Jail the Gays” law, another quagmire was brewing closer to home for United States-ians. The Great Desert State of Arizona had a legislature that passed a bill that would have made it legal for any business to discriminate based on perceived or actual sexual orientation of a customer (okay, Arizona is actually nicknamed “The Grand Canyon State” and, alternatively, “The Copper State”). And, while World Net Daily has remained mum on Uganda, it was very vocal about Arizona:

So, very very briefly, the bill was passed by the legislature, and during the entire process and after passage, it was condemned as a step backwards in civil rights, literally making it condoned and protected, by law, to discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation. Business leaders and political leaders reacted, as did protestors. Vehemently.

Protests Against Arizona SB1062

Protests Against Arizona SB1062

Mayors across the state urged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill saying, among other things, it would be bad for business. As referenced above, the NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl out of Arizona. Apple, U-Haul, and other businesses said in no uncertain hints that they were against the bill and would consider re-locating if it was signed into law. Meanwhile, the state’s two federal Senators said she should veto it (including the entire John McCain family), and three of the Republicans who passed the bill in the legislature within days turned and told Gov. Brewer that they thought she should veto it. As did Mitt Romney and even Newt Gingrich. The Governor, who – make no mistake – is not a friend of the homosexual community or its allies and is very, very conservative, nonetheless, after several days, veto the bill. Probably because of this:

Arizona Gov. Brewer Afraid of Arizona Boycott (©The Miami Herald)

Arizona Gov. Brewer Afraid of Arizona Boycott (©The Miami Herald)

And so now we have finger-pointing. But real quick before that, here’s a Time article on the subject in case you want another source on the issue. And, as a consequence, similar bills that were pending in the legislatures of several other states, including Georgia and Mississippi, have been put on hold as a direct result of Gov. Brewer’s veto.

In a Tale of Two Headlines, World Net Daily is decidedly the latter, spinning this as anti-religious-freedom. Of course, setting up the false dichotomy of there can either be religious freedom or LGBT equality.

Tale of Two Headlines - Spin on Gov. Brewer's Veto of SB1062 that Would Legalize Discrimination

Tale of Two Headlines – Spin on Gov. Brewer’s Veto of SB1062 that Would Legalize Discrimination

The idea on the conservative, religious “right” is, as I said above, a false-dichotomy: They think that if they have to “accept” same-sex rights, if they cannot discriminate based on an actual or perceived sexual orientation because their Big Sky God (may his beard ever be a-flowing) supposedly thinks that The Gay is bad based on a book written 1500-4000 years ago (roughly speaking), then their own freedoms are being trampled upon. And Good Christian bakers may soon be forced to make penis cakes (no, I’m not joking, some actually think this).

In response to some of these WND stories, we have a plethora of comments, the kind you’d expect from an über-right-wing source:

  • “Joseph Miller”: “These republicans that are urging the veto of the religious freedom act are COWARDS and traitors to all REAL Americans. Pitting a mans freedom against losing the Super Bowl. Pathetic and abismal. Publish these republicans names so we know who to throw out if office!”
  • “sophia”: “Super bowl is more important than religious freedom and freedom to control one’s private business? Super bowl can go elsewhere if they wish, I’d rather fight for freedom from government more. They’s already usurped too much!”
  • “ratamacue76”: “This isn’t about equality, this is about intentionally targeting businesses due to the owner’s beliefs in order for forced affirmation of a same-gender fetish while simultaneously violating the first amendment rights of the business owners to create legal precedent.”
  • “skipgainer”: “What about the civil rights of these business owners to serve who they wish to serve. This is the flip side of civil rights that nobody wants to address. When you force someone to do something they do not want to do you are stripping them of their civil rights, that is the real truth!”
  • “Rachael N. Jacobs”: “Jan Brewer just sold her soul to satan. She failed to protect God’s people from the evil LBGT slaughter of Christian and conservative businesses, and violated the Freedom of Association section of the First Amendment. Shame on you, Jan, for caving to political ungodliness! May God have no mercy on your soul.”
  • “bewaretheprophetwhoseeksprofit”: “God will not be mocked. He will denounce those who denounce Him.”

You get the idea. Now, in fairness, I’ll repeat what I said before on this blog: I think that if you know a business, such as a cake-making bakery, is owned by anti-gay bigots, and you want a wedding cake for your same-sex nuptials, you probably shouldn’t go there anyway. As a public business and public accommodation, it is bound by public accommodation laws, but still, why go there if you think they might spit in the buttercream?

But let’s change the scenario. Replace “cake-making bakery” with “Christian hospital, which is the only hospital within a 3-hour drive.” And replace “want a wedding cake for your same-sex nuptials” with “need an emergency appendectomy.” Shouldn’t that hospital be required to accommodate you regardless of their “sincerely held religious beliefs?”

Or, let’s do what I’ve done before on this blog and just replace “gay” or “same-sex” with “black” or “inter-racial.” Suddenly, it becomes much more distasteful to admit that, yes, we want to discriminate against someone just because they’re black, or we don’t believe in inter-racial marriage, therefore we won’t bake you a cake, or let you visit your spouse’s bedside in the hospital.

I think that’s enough said. There are sure to be more posts on this on WND, especially as the weekend commentators start going at it, but I don’t plan to address it again on this blog unless there’s something really really crazy that’s said.