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Progressive Left Orders Churches to Pay for Abortions

Posted by V the K at 12:26 pm - October 22, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

The Progressive left is really driving hard on the Subjugation of Church to State this month.

  1. Houston’s Lesbian Mayor subpoenas ministers to turn over their sermons, speeches, and other communications so her lawyers can examine them for criticism of her policies.
  2. City of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho threatens Christian ministers with jail and fines if they refuse to perform gay weddings.
  3. State of California orders churches to pay for abortions.

California’s Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.

At the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the DMHC concluded that a 40-year-old state law requiring health plans to cover “basic health services” had been misinterpreted all these decades. Every plan in the state was immediately ordered, effective August 22, to cover elective abortion. California had not even applied this test to its own state employee health plans (which covered only “medically necessary” abortions). But this novel reading was nevertheless quietly imposed on every plan in the state by fiat.

So much for that “Freedom of Religion” thing those white male slaveowners wrote on that silly document “over a hundred years ago.”

Salon: Christianity = “Killing Queers”

Posted by V the K at 1:57 pm - July 20, 2014.
Filed under: Gay Culture,War on Christians

OK, so, throughout my life, I have attended well over a thousand Christian Services. I’ve attended churches in the Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Seventh-Day Adventist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, non-Denominational, and LDS denominations. I have attended churches in eight states, four countries, and two continents. Never, ever… in any of those services… has any religious authority exerted that it is a Christian Imperative to murder or abuse gay people.

Yet, according to the progressive left Salon website, that’s exactly what Christianity is all about.

The Bible’s clobber verses may be open to interpretation, but the fact that those verses have caused centuries of suffering is not. For much of American history, the common term for queer was the biblical “sodomite,” implying that gays are so offensive to God that they pose a threat to society as a whole. Thanks to Christian missionaries, African and Latin American queers also have now lived for centuries now under the threat of violent death. As progressive Anglican Gay Clark Jennings observes, “There is no getting around the Bible when searching for the origins of the homophobia that is rampant in many African cultures. What’s more, Europeans and North Americans bear much of the historical responsibility for this sad state of affairs.”

No, Salon, the fact is, lots of Christians support gays and lots of Secular Atheists hate them. Hatred … and I mean real hatred of gay people not legitimate disagreement with the gay left agenda but real visceral hatred … has nothing to do with Christianity, and everything to do with the fact that some people find hypersexualized gay people obnoxious and buttsecks disgusting.

Canadian Gays Seek to Bar Christians from Practicing Law

Posted by V the K at 7:12 am - June 2, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

Up North in America’s Hat, gay activist groups are pressuring the Government to effectively deny Christians the right to practice law; the first step to barring Christians from participation in the political and economic life of the country.

On April 24th, the law society of Canada’s largest province voted against admitting among their ranks graduates of Trinity Western University, for the sole reason that the school’s community covenant, which students (and teachers) voluntarily sign upon admission or hiring, reserves sexual intimacy for heterosexual marriage. Nova Scotia followed suit, wording their rejection as approval on the condition that TWU change its community covenant or allow students to opt out.

If allowed to stand, this effectively makes devout Christians who do not believe in gay marriage second class Canadian citizens; effectively enacting dhimmitude on anyone who doesn’t forsake their religious conscience in favor of the State.

Communist China is somewhat less subtle in their efforts to eliminate Christianity; the Government is actively demolishing churches.

To the Progressive Socialist Totalitarian Left, Christianity is a threat to the primacy of the State. The Totalitarian Left believes the Authority of the State must be absolute, because the left can control all the apparatuses of the State and impose their moral beliefs on the population. For example, the belief that unborn children can be sacrificed in the name of personal convenience and the sick and elderly can be sacrificed to save the State money. Christianity, on the other hand, teaches that there is a Higher Moral Authority than the State; and that the conscience of the individual… not the Collective Will as embodied in the State and its organs.

It isn’t necessarily because of Gay Marriage, per se, but Gay Marriage is a cudgel that the left can use against Christianity; forcing Christians to bow to the State (e.g. being forced to participate in gay weddings as bakers, photographers, and florists). The ultimate goal is to eradicate Christianity and its tenet that each individual has a conscience and a moral imperative.

On the left, the State *is* the Church.

Gay Marriage Extremists Launch Intimidation Campaign Against Pro-Gay Marriage Professor

Douglas Laycock is a law professor at the University of Virginia, a supporter of gay marriage, but also a supporter of religious liberty. Therefore, he is now the target of an intimidation and harassment campaign from the intolerant gay left.

An outfit called GetEQUAL (led by its co-director Heather Cronk) has launched a national e-mail campaign attacking Laycock for his role in shoring up the legal arguments of those who support what it calls “religious bigotry.”

GetEQUAL has also recruited a University of Virginia law student (Greg Lewis) and an alum (Stephanie Montenegro) to send an open letter to Laycock asking him to consider the “real-world consequences that [his] work is having.” And they have submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking e-mails between Laycock and various right-wing and religious liberty groups.

Laycock has apparently committed the unforgivable Thoughtcrime of valuing religious liberty and freedom over the oh-so-delicate feelings of … I’m just going to say it… pansies. (Not used as a pejorative against their sexuality, but against their mewling, whiny, complete lack of emotional strength.)

I think it would be really constructive for him to hear how his work is being used to hurt the LGBTQ community. I don’t think he has any ill intent. I think he’s very thoughtful and moderate, and willing to hear both sides. But I think that everyone really has a lot to learn.

The Gay Leftist Thought Police are just echoing the anti-freedom of conscience attitude of Washington Post Columnist Johnathan Capehart.

[T]olerance, no, is not – it should not be a two-way street. It’s a one-way street. You cannot say to someone that who you are is wrong, an abomination, is horrible, get a room, and all of those other things that people said about Michael Sam, and not be forced — not forced, but not be made to understand that what you’re saying and what you’re doing is wrong.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech… except when gay people’s feelings are hurt.”- The 1st Amendment as construed in the Age of Obama.

Because they weren’t getting enough attention …

Posted by V the K at 1:40 pm - May 22, 2014.
Filed under: Religion (General),War on Christians

… the only belief system in America that sues to force the Government to impose it on everyone else is getting its own TV channel.

A New Jersey-based atheist group is starting the first on-demand TV channel dedicated to godlessness.

The Atheists claim their channel is necessary because — I am not making this up — Hollywood and the major media are too pro-Christian and the Atheists intend their channel as counter-programming against the endless championing of Christian morality on other news and entertainment networks.
Yup.
I am thinking of the potential programs for this station.
  • Those Foolish Believers: Panel show on which all religion is mocked and ridiculed, except Islam, of course.
  • Cross-Country: Reality Show: A group of atheist lawyers travel small town America looking for public displays of the cross and filing lawsuits to have them removed.
  • Circle Jerk – News and Information: Richard Dawkins and a panel of Atheists discuss news of the day while congratulating each other on their lack of belief.
  • It’s a Void and Meaningless Existence, Charlie Brown – Special Holiday Program in Honor of Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s Birthday
  • The Smug Sense of Superiority Hour – with special guest Bill Maher
  • And of course… there will be wholesome, atheist-style, family programming

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Religious Liberty Horrifying to Rachel Maddow/MSDNC

Posted by V the K at 10:24 pm - May 17, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

For Rachel Maddow and the rest of MSDNC’s dwindling audience of fanatical leftists, the thought of a country in which Christians cannot be forced to service gay weddings or pay for other people’s abortions is just too awful to contemplate.

Writing on Maddow’s blog, MSDNC “Producer” Steve Benen expresses Birdemic-level shock and terror at the thought of Christian’s having religious liberty.

First up from the God Machine this week is a U.S. Senate candidate who seemed to suggest that religious beliefs can be applied so broadly, they can justify lawbreaking on a rather grand scale.

 “(Nebraska Senate candidate) Ben Sasse believes that our right to the free exercise of religion is co-equal to our right to life,” the candidate’s campaign materials explain. “This is not a negotiable issue. Government cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances.”

Right, Christians want religious liberty protected so we can all go out and break the law. And he provides an utterly ridiculous Straw Man to support his point.

“Indeed, under Sasse’s formulation, a person who believes that they violate their religious beliefs if they are late to church could ignore the speed limit, traffic lights, and stop signs if obeying traffic laws would cause them to miss just one minute of their church’s Sunday service.”

For the secular left, one of the sweetest gifts of the Obama Regime has been the Government forcing Christians to bow and bend before the Power of the Almighty State.

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SunTrust Bank Joins Gay Left Hate Campaign Against Christian Benham Brothers

Posted by V the K at 4:31 pm - May 16, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

In punishment for their adherence to their religious conscience and for causing offense to the hatred-filled bigots of the gay left, SunTrust bank abruptly severed its business relationship with the Benham Brothers.

SunTrust Banks is cutting ties with would-be reality stars David and Jason Benham after liberal activists attacked them for their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

The move comes just a week after HGTV announced it was canceling a planned home renovation show hosted by the brothers.

“If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it,” said Jason Benham on Friday.

As the Washington Post’s Johnathan Capehart says, there is no requirement for the progressive left to be tolerant of the Christian Right; who must be re-educated so that their views conform.

[T]olerance, no, is not – it should not be a two-way street. It’s a one-way street. You cannot say to someone that who you are is wrong, an abomination, is horrible, get a room, and all of those other things that people said about Michael Sam, and not be forced — not forced, but not be made to understand that what you’re saying and what you’re doing is wrong.

 

Update: SunTrust Bank may be backing down. Not because of tolerance for liberty or freedom of conscience; but because someone figured out that Christian-Bashing isn’t a good PR strategy for a bank located in the South.

 

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Parades for Some, Closets for Others

Posted by V the K at 6:34 pm - May 11, 2014.
Filed under: Media Bias,War on Christians

This… (Except with Michael Sam instead of Jason Collins but basically the same point).

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Remember When Leftists Used to Make Fun of Christians for Being Narrow-Minded and Intolerant?

Posted by V the K at 1:32 pm - May 11, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

In a Socialist society, helping the poor just isn’t as important as holding politically correct mindthoughts.

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Gay Left Bullies HGTV to Keep Christians Off the Air

Posted by V the K at 8:04 pm - May 7, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

As I have warned repeatedly, now that the Gay Left knows that bullying works, they are only going to get more obnoxious.

A smear campaign was just started by the website rightwingwatch.org which labels the Benham Brothers as Christian extremists. The article is very misleading as it blends the actions of David and Jason Benham, with their father, Flip Benham. As you read the article, you are assuming that most of the things they list were done or said by the Benham Brothers, when in fact, most were done or said decades ago by their father.

The new show by HGTV, called “Flip It Forward”, will have nothing to do with homosexuality, or abortion. It will be a show about flipping houses and helping out families in need. It sounds a lot like discrimination. It seems that the opposition to the show is all about discriminating against the Benham Brothers, not because of the content of the show, or what is being done in the show, but rather, because of the Benham Brothers personal beliefs.

The smears, bullying, and temper tantrums succeeded. HGTV pulled the plug.
 

Why Do They Have to Go and Do This?

Posted by V the K at 4:45 pm - April 18, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

Why do the Militant Atheist Theophobes feel compelled to ruin every Christian holiday? There is definitely more going on here than simply not being convinced of the existence of a deity. There are plenty of things I don’t believe in … unicorns, leprechauns, vampires, the ObamaCare enrollment figures  … but I don’t make a fetish of constantly and loudly reminding people that I don’t believe in them. (Except for that last one, and it’s more a hobby than a fetish). Nor do I feel compelled to attack obsessively those who do. (Ditto).

So, anyway, the intolerant Theophobes at the Freedom From Religion Foundation insisted on posting this sign during Easter Week in the State Capitol of Wisconsin; because the thought of Christians celebrating a very important holiday without anti-Christians jeering at them was just… intolerable.

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As some very wise guys once said, “Logic and reason aren’t enough: You also have to be a dick to everyone who doesn’t think like you.”

LGBTQ Readying to Force Christians to Bend to Their Power… Again

So, this transgendered person enrolls in a Christian college, and now demands that the Christian college change its ways to accommodate her/him.

 A male-to-female transgender student has filed a discrimination complaint against his Christian university, claiming the school must allow him to live in men’s dormitories regardless of its theological principles.

Hey, if Christians who consider abortions murder of the unborn can be forced to pay for abortions, if Christians opposed to bgay marriage can be forced to participate in gay marriage ceremonies, then Christians can be forced to violate their principles to accommodate the feelings of transgenderoids as well.

Under Obama, the First Amendment has been effectively rewritten: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, unless homosexuals demand otherwise.”

Another Brill Tweet

 

Obama Regime Ready to Deport Christian Family

Posted by V the K at 11:02 pm - March 3, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

Is it credible that we have room in this country for 12 million illegal border jumpers, but not for one Christian family that just wants to homeschool their kids? Because that is the position of the Obama Administration.

If you want to jump the border and sign up for welfare, housing, free college educations, Obamacare, and Obamaphones, then welcome aboard. But if you’re a Christian family that wants to come to the United State to escape Nazi-Era laws against educating your kids in the manner of your choosing… don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Silly Leftist Outrage Over Christian Comment Forces Coach to Resign

Posted by V the K at 8:47 am - February 18, 2014.
Filed under: War on Christians

A University of Connecticut assistant football coach has been compelled to resign after stating that “Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle.”

Jones’ comments prompted university president Susan Herbst to issue a statement to the Courant, saying staff members at the public university must not take sides on the theological front.

“It should go without saying that our employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students,” she said. “This applies to work-related activity anywhere on or off campus, including on the football field.”

In other words, “Keep your shameful religion in the closet where it belongs, Christer.” Does anyone doubt for a moment he would have not have lost his job if he had said “Christians suck?”

And the whole notion that a public employee speaking affirmatively about his faith is tantamount to the State establishing a religion is another bit of secularist insaniy; no one anywhere has ever been forced to change their religion because they saw a creche on a courthouse lawn.

The coach is African-American, but his race was no defense against the “micro-aggression” of professing his faith openly. So, in the courts of political correctness,  anti-Christian trumps African-American. The left loathes it when Christian athletes profess their faith openly. Look at what happened to Tim Tebow.

Note: UConn is also where the feminists got all upset because they thought the new husky logo was too rapey.

Leftist Panel Bashes Christianity, Reiterates Hackneyed Cliches

A panel of left-wing groups (including the Human Rights Campaign) meeting in Washington DC declared that religious liberty is a threat to the leftist social agenda, and must be stopped at all costs.

The audience received a similar narrative of religious beliefs functioning as a Trojan horse for discrimination from ACLU senior counsel Eunice Rho, who denounced attempts to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act in various states.

“These are very dangerous because they can allow religion to be used to harm others,” Rho said.

You see, religion, like all else in a progressive, secular society, exists only to serve the needs of the State.

And, of course, what left-wing panel would be complete without the hackneyed recitation of grievances and tiresome cliches.

“People [are] using the term ‘liberty’ when they really mean ‘my liberty, your slavery,’” the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said during the discussion. Gaddy compared Christian florists who don’t want to provide service for gay weddings to employers who posted “whites only” signs in their windows.

Yeah, the Jim Crow persecution of blacks is precisely and equally identical to gays having to go across the street to a different baker to get a wedding cake because… feelings!

And if you open a business, you give up your Constitutional Rights to Free Speech, Free Association, and the Free Exercise of Religion. So sayeth the left.

About that Fox News interview…

If you know a lot of leftists, as I do, chances are you’ve encountered a link to this interview of Reza Aslan by Lauren Green at some point in the past two days or so.  They see the interview as an example of the evil of Fox News.  They claim it illustrates the bias of the network, and that it illustrates how “smart” the author is and how he “totally pwns the interviewer’s assumptions.”

I watched the interview, and I encourage you to do the same, but my main reaction to their claims about it is to think:  Excuse me?  Did we even watch the same interview?  I believe neither the interviewer nor the guest came off particularly well in this exchange.

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Lauren Green comes across as someone who likely hasn’t read the book, but who has read many reviews of the book, and is trying to provoke a response from the author. Reza Aslan, though, comes across as the ultimate disingenuous academic who says, “I am just a historian, I have no agenda whatsoever.”  He keeps reiterating that he is an academic with a PhD, as though that is an adequate defense against bias.  Green could have done a more skillful job challenging his assumptions or his arguments; her questions only serve to make him defensive, and so the interview doesn’t appear to accomplish much for either party.

Nevertheless, I didn’t view the interview as a complete failure for Fox News.  Quite to the contrary, I thought it illustrated that there is more journalistic spirit alive at Fox News than at most of the mainstream press outlets who have interviewed the author or reported on the book.  Why do I say that?  Because, the other morning I had to endure this NPR interview with the same author of the same book, and I heard a lot of claims by Aslan about his book, and his beliefs, but no one challenged those claims or tried to interrogate Aslan’s motivations for writing the book that he wrote.  The NPR interview was so concerned with helping him make his points, that it could have just as easily come from the public relations office of his publisher.

Not surprisingly, the other day NPR’s website featured this story entitled “Reza Aslan Hearts NPR”: “Author and religious scholar Reza Aslan is one of those people who’s at NPR West so often that he blurs the line between guest and employee. We always joke with our regulars that they should have a punch card, and when it’s full, they get their own cubicle.”  Even less surprisingly, today NPR has this sympathetic story about the reaction on the left to the Fox News  interview.

When you compare NPR’s very sympathetic pieces helping Aslan promote both his book and his talking points, with Lauren Green’s somewhat awkward attempt to interrogate him, though, it’s pretty clear to me which “news” outlet is more interested in informing its viewers and letting them decide for themselves.   Green’s interview told us much more about Aslan than NPR’s pieces: it showed us something of his character, it introduced us to some of the controversies surrounding the book, and it raised the question of his worldview and its influence on his writing.

And as it turns out, there is a lot of reason for controversy, as Pamela Geller Robert Spencer points out in her his own detailed post about the controversy (hat tip: Pamela Geller).   Geller Spencer writes:

I don’t care about his scholarly credentials. Even if everything he had said about his degrees had been true, it would confer on his book no presumption of accuracy or truth. I am constantly assailed for lacking scholarly credentials, but as it happens, when it comes to writing about religion I have exactly the same credentials as Aslan, a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in Religious Studies. His other two degrees are in other fields.

But anyway, it doesn’t matter: there are plenty of fools with degrees, and plenty of geniuses without them. My work, and Aslan’s, stands or falls on its merits, not on the number of degrees we have. Aslan’s pulling rank on Lauren Green and starting to reel off (inaccurately) his degrees was a sign of insecurity: it implied that he didn’t think his book could stand on its merits, and had to be accepted because he had a lot of degrees. And indeed, his book doesn’t stand on its merits.

I encourage you to be sure to read Geller’s Spencer’s whole post.

To my mind, the reaction on the left tells us more about their fondness for credentials and their disdain for Fox News than anything else;  that the same people who view this interview as an instance of intolerable bias think nothing of the swill served up regularly by NPR and MSNBC should tell us all we need to know.

Misadventures in Multicultural Studies Indoctrination

Jeff’s post the other day about the questionable workshop at Brown University came to mind recently when I saw a very far-left Facebook friend link to this article by a professor named Warren Blumenfeld who had just retired from a position as a professor of education at Iowa State University.  The article contains the professor’s reflections and gives voice to both his lamentations and his indignity about those students who took his class who were not won over to his worldview and who had the temerity to announce that fact in their final papers.

The course was entitled “Multicultural Foundations in Schools and Society,” and Blumenfeld describes it in the following terms:

I base the course on a number of key concepts and assumptions, including how issues of power, privilege, and domination within the United States center on inequitable social divisions regarding race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sex, gender identity, sexual identity, religion, nationality, linguistic background, physical and mental ability/disability, and age. I address how issues around social identities impact generally on life outcomes, and specifically on educational outcomes. Virtually all students registered for this course, which is mandatory for students registered in the Teacher Education program, are pre-service teachers.

In other words, this is a required course in “multicultural studies” indoctrination.  If the course were voluntary, it would be a slightly different situation, but as a required course, it amounts to an example of the sort of thing that conservatives can easily point to as illustrating the left-wing biases of academia.

Professor Blumenfeld is particularly alarmed by the case of two female students who tell him quite boldly that the course has not changed their socially conservative Christian worldview:

On a final course paper, one student wrote that, while she enjoyed the course, and she felt that both myself and my graduate assistant — who had come out to the class earlier as lesbian — were very knowledgeable and good professors with great senses of humor, nonetheless, she felt obliged to inform us that we are still going to Hell for being so-called “practicing homosexuals.” Another student two years later wrote on her course paper that homosexuality and transgenderism are sins in the same category as stealing and murder. This student not only reiterated that I will travel to Hell if I continued to act on my same-sex desires, but she went further in amplifying the first student’s proclamations by self-righteously insisting that I will not receive an invitation to enter Heaven if I do not accept Jesus as my personal savior since I am a Jew, regardless of my sexual behavior. Anyone who doubts this, she concluded, “Only death will tell!”

Now while we might question the wisdom of both students in advertising the heresy represented by their beliefs so boldly in a graded assignment,  I think we might also be heartened by their courage in being true to their faith, even if we do not agree with all of the particulars of their worldview.

The professor, however, is shocked and appalled, and the rest of the essay is his attempt to reconcile–through reference to one leftist theory and tract after another–what he calls “our campus environment, one that emboldens some students to notify their professor and graduate assistant that their final destination will be the depths of Hell.”  Notice his word choice, there.  The problem is with the “campus environment” which “emboldens some students.”  It seems like a foreign idea to this professor to think that a university could be a place for the free and open exchange of ideas, especially those ideas that are unpopular.  I trust we will not find him quoting Voltaire or Jefferson anytime soon.

No, instead what we get is a description of and a reflection on a course that sounds like it could have been lifted straight from  the pages of Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, albeit with a more contemporary reading list.  While the professor uses the (more…)

Social Psychology, Politics, and Disgust

I saw this item at Reason.com the other day.  It’s a short piece reflecting on a video of a speech by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talking about how one’s “sensitivity to disgust” is supposedly some sort of predictor of one’s political views.  I haven’t watched the whole video yet, but the speech was given at the Museum of Sex in New York City, so some amount of its content seems designed to appeal to the audience that would be attending a speech in that location.

Jim Epstein at Reason.com summarizes the key points of the speech as follows:

“Morality isn’t just about stealing and killing and honesty, it’s often about menstruation, and food, and who you are having sex with, and how you handle corpses,” says NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who is author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics.

Haidt argues that our concern over these victimless behaviors is rooted in our biology. Humans evolved to feel disgusted by anything that when consumed makes us sick. That sense of disgust then expanded “to become a guardian of the social order.”

This impulse is at the core of the culture war. Those who have a low sensitivity to disgust tend to be liberals or libertarians; those who are easily disgusted tend to be conservative.

The full video of the speech is available at the above link.

My reaction to all this is that it 1). depends on how one defines conservative, and 2). it depends on what kinds of things one labels or considers to be examples of disgust.

With respect to point 1)., I think that a large portion of the conservative coalition is rather heavily libertarian-leaning, and it just makes more sense for us to identify as conservative and vote for Republicans because  the Libertarian party seems doomed to remain a fringe party, at least as long as that party’s leadership continues to endorse an isolationist or head-in-the-sand approach to foreign policy.  Now while it may be the case that many traditional “social conservatives” have a “high sensitivity to disgust” with respect to issues of sex, I’m not even convinced that that is as widely the case as Haidt’s remarks suggest.  I’ve heard socially-conservative Christian ministers talk about sex in ways that show they may have a better understanding of the variety of human sexual experience than many academics who claim to be experts on the subject.

On the other hand, with respect to point 2)., I can find many, many examples of “disgust” fueling the attitudes of liberals and leftists.  One could begin by looking at their intense hatred of Sarah Palin and anyone like her.  Some of that hatred, I would argue, was fueled by a disgust at the lives of anyone who doesn’t live the life of a modern liberal in a major coastal city.

Most modern liberals are disgusted by hunting, by the people who shop at Wal-Mart, by the petroleum industry, by the food industry, by the military, by evangelical Christians, and by the reality of life in small-town, rural America.  James Taranto and British Philosopher Roger Scruton call it “oikophobia”: it is a worldview which accepts or excuses the transgressions of select special-interest groups or of non-western cultures, while it judges the familiar by a harsh standard and condemns them with expressions of disgust at the nature of their lives.

Hearing Obama on Lincoln’s Birthday

Presidents’ Day is this coming Monday, but Lincoln’s birthday was this past Tuesday, February 12th.  I was traveling that day, and had the misfortune of being subjected to hearing most of the State of the Union address as I completed the last leg of that day’s journey.

As Dan and others have pointed out many times in the past, Obama is fond of comparing himself to Republican Presidents, especially Lincoln and Reagan.  Perhaps it is because both Lincoln and Reagan were associated with the state of Illinois: Reagan was born there, grew up there, and went to college there, and although Lincoln didn’t move to Illinois until his 21st year, he is most associated with the state where he became a country lawyer, served in the state legislature, and represented a district in the House of Representatives.

Or perhaps Obama compares himself to Republicans because he doesn’t want to remind the public that his political views place him to the left of Clinton, Carter, and Johnson, or, for that matter, far, far to the left of Kennedy.  Perhaps he simply wants to preserve the narrative about his alleged “post-partisanship” and thinks that comparing himself to Republican Presidents is one way to keep pulling the wool over the public’s eyes in that regard.

Whatever the reason, hearing him speak on Lincoln’s birthday only reminded me, once again, how far Obama falls from Lincoln’s historic presidency (despite Steven Spielberg’s and Tony Kushner’s attempts to draw such a parallel through their recent film).   Not only was the speech the usual melange of the same tiresome platitudes we’ve been hearing from him over the last five years, as both Bruce and Jeff have pointed out here, it was also full of his usual partisan talking points, as he placed blame on Republicans wherever he could, and he rationalized future power-grabs by the Executive branch.

In the context of Lincoln’s birthday, though, I am less interested in the SOTU, and more interested in what Obama said on January 21st of this year.  Until Bruce posted the entirety of Washington’s second inaugural last month, the second inaugural address I was most familiar with was Lincoln’s.  I had read about FDR’s second inaugural address, but never felt moved to read it in its entirety, and have generally had just passing interest in the speeches delivered on the second inaugurals of the presidents who were re-elected in my lifetime.  But Lincoln’s second inaugural address is anthologized in textbooks alongside the Gettysburg Address, and I have read both many times.  They are both lessons in brevity, resolve and humility.

Consider, for instance, the way that Lincoln discusses the issue of slavery and the conflict between the North and the South in his second inaugural address:

Both [sides] read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

These are not the words of a proud and arrogant man.  These are the words of a man who is troubled by the horrible conflict which has engulfed his nation and who prays for its speedy resolution, even as he fears the terrible price that both sides in the conflict still have to pay.  Lincoln’s words are even more powerful in that way that they echo, perhaps unintentionally, one of Jefferson’s most striking passages from his Notes on the State of Virginia:

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