Promote humanity 1


By Tom Quiner

Abortion dehumanizes society.

Pornography dehumanizes society.

Increasingly, even political discourse is dehumanizing, vicious, and divisive.  It seems to me that the march of civilization should be in the direction of doing and saying things that make this world a more humane place.

Our march is slow.

Is Ann Coulter really advancing the cause of a humane world with rhetoric like this: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to The New York Times building.”  I agree with Ms. Coulter on most political issues.  I’m concerned that her style, her rhetoric does more harm than good.

Did liberals advance the cause of a humane world with signs at Bush rallies that said:  “Save Mother Earth, kill Bush.”

The time has come for civil discourse

Did the late Senator Edward Kennedy advance the cause of a humane world with his speech condemning Supreme Court nominee, Robert Bork, with these words: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy… President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.”

The answer in each of these cases is no.  Senator Kennedy’s rhetorical excesses, in particular, have poisoned judicial confirmation hearings to this very day.

I know ugliness and profanity are hip these days.  But intelligence is so much more interesting and effective.

Conservatives like me sometimes get fed up with liberals spouting what we feel are incoherent views.  And yet I know people with whom I disagree politically who are in the trenches helping people who need help.  I appreciate that.  I commend them.

Liberals are fond of saying that conservatives don’t care about people.  And yet I know conservatives in the trenches helping people who need help.  They’re not looking for attention, they’re just helping.  I appreciate that.  I commend them.

Abortion and pornography are two obvious dehumanizing poisons to our culture.  But so is our political discourse.

That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree.  It’s all in how we disagree.  When we disagree, let’s remember we’re disagreeing with people, and civility promotes the cause of humanity.

I’m certainly no saint, but I hope this blog makes the case for conservative causes with some intelligence and civility.

A triumph for political correctness 4


By Tom Quiner

The Supreme Court has decided:  Christian college students who wish to form a group sanctioned by Universities are not allowed to require that their members be Christian.  Even more, Christian groups may not require that their members abide by Christian principles.

All of this came about because of the court’s decision in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.  Read the background on the case on my earlier post titled “Political correctness vs. common sense” (https://quinersdiner.com/2010/04/).

The liberal block of the court was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy.  They determined that a Christian group acted inappropriately in demanding that their members refrain from sexual activity outside of marriage, and that sexual relations be confined to only heterosexual married couples.  Specifically, the court said that the Christian Legal Society overtly discriminated against prospective members on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.

College students have been denied the right of freedom of association, a ringing triumph for political correctness over common sense.  Here is what Justice Alito, joined by Justices Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, wrote in dissent:

Justice Alito's dissent

“The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’ United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 654–655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting). Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.

“The Hastings College of the Law, a state institution, permits student organizations to register with the law school and severely burdens speech by unregistered groups. Hastings currently has more than 60 registered groups and, in all its history, has denied registration to exactly one: the Christian Legal Society (CLS).  CLS claims that Hastings refused to register the group because the law school administration disapproves of the group’s viewpoint and thus violated the group’s free speech rights.

“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that today’s decision is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country. Our First Amendment reflects a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, 270 (1964). Even if the United States is the only Nation that shares this commitment to the same extent, I would not change our law to conform to the international norm. I fear that the Court’s decision marks a turn in that direction. Even those who find CLS’s views objectionable should be concerned about the way the group has been treated—by Hastings, the Court of Appeals, and now this Court. I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration.”

I discussed the issue with a law student enrolled at Duke University.  I told him that my concern was that individuals unfriendly to Christian groups would be emboldened to join those groups just to agitate and disrupt the group’s Christian mission.  He countered that no one would want to subject themselves to such an effort, that no one would want to associate with people with whom they had such profound disagreements.

What do you think?

Are there enough evangelical atheists on college campuses, for example, who would band together to try to hijack a Christian group on a college campus?

Am I being too sensitive?  Or are the forces of political correctness that motivated to disrupt Christian and other conservative groups?

Political Correctness vs. Common Sense Reply


Imagine you attend a public university.

You form a group that stands for something.  It might stand for Jesus. Maybe it’s equal rights or gay marriage or Israel’s right to exist.

It doesn’t matter what it is.  You seek members who embrace the same philosophical underpinnings as stated in your group’s charter.

You ask the university for the same resources it provides to every other group on campus, such as use of bulletin boards, meeting spaces, even access to funding.

They tell you no.

Why?  Because you refuse to allow voting members who don’t agree with your group’s charter.

Follow the logic here: A gay rights group would have to  allow Christians to vote who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

If you’re a Jewish rights group, you would have to let Nazis vote.

Democratic groups would have to allow Republicans vote.

If you’re in an African-American group, you would have to allow white supremists to vote

Does this make any sense?

Common sense has just been put to the test in the Supreme Court case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.  It was just argued on Monday.

Here’s the issue in a nutshell:  There is a group at the Hasting’s College of Law (at the University of California) called the Christian Legal Society (CLS). They exclude from full membership students who either advocate or engage in “unrepentant” sexual conduct “outside of marriage between one man and one woman.”

Anyone can attend their meetings regardless of their belief system.  However, you must subscribe to their belief system in order to be an officer or to be a voting member.

The college said that’s discrimination and refused to allow use of their bulletin boards, meeting spaces, and financial resources.

It’s weird.

Justice Scalia put it this way:  ”To require the Christian society to allow atheists not just to join, but to conduct Bible classes, that’s crazy.”

Yes, it is crazy.  But not to liberal judges like Justices Sotomayor or Stevens.  Sotomayor specifically views CLS actions as discrimination.

When the decision comes, it will be a split decision.  Will political correctness win or common sense?

I’m betting on common sense because the Supreme Court is pretty evenly split right now with Kennedy being the swing vote.

That will change, however, if President Obama ever gets a chance to replace any of the Constitution-based judges (Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Kennedy).

If that day comes, political correctness will become the law of the land and free speech shall wither.