Should we discriminate on the basis of religious orientation? 1


By Tom Quiner

The answer is yes if you’re the University of Illinois.

They fired Kenneth Howell who teaches Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought.  His sin?  He expressed Catholic thought on the subject of homosexuality.  Here is his fire-able quote:

Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY.  In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.

A student labeled the professor’s response as “hate speech” and the professor was, of course, fired.  Here is what the offended student said:

Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing.  That homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another. The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.

It appears, though, that the student is perfectly fine with ostracizing someone of a different religious orientation.

It appears that it is fine to discourage independent thought if it is Catholic thought.

It appears that firing a Catholic professor for expressing his views contributes to the public discourse.

This is an example of political correctness run amuck.

Professor Howell evidently never brow-beat students to believe his way:

My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches.  I have always made it very, very clear to my students they are never required to believe what I’m teaching and they’ll never be judged on that.

Imagine for a moment that the unemployed professor had instead said that he believed the Catholic Church’s position is wrong.  Had he only done that, he would:

• Be revered by academia.

• Be employed.

In the gay marriage debate that rages, supporters ask how can anyone be hurt if people who love each other are allowed to marry, even if they are the same gender?  After all, it’s a simple matter of equal rights. Right?

A few quick reactions:

• There never was any discrimination in our marriage laws.  After all, the laws were consistent regardless of one’s sexual orientation.  Someone with same-sex orientation was free to marry someone of the opposite gender, just as someone with opposite-sex orientation was prevented from marrying someone of the same gender.  Marriage was simply a matter of definition, a definition molded over several millennia based on a premise of protecting children and mothers.  Gay marriage advocates want to base marriage on the “relationship” instead of the children.

• There are going to be thousands and thousand of victims in the battle to normalize gay unions.  Professor Howell is an obvious example.  Interestingly, the mainstream media, with the exception of Fox News and the Huffington Post, have been conspicuously uninterested in this story of anti-Catholic bigotry.  But it won’t be the last example of people losing their jobs at the altar of political correctness.  Imagine Christian school teachers in states where gay marriage is the law of the land, who dare to state to students that in their eyes, marriage is only between a man and a woman.  Their state says otherwise.  Marriage is in the eyes of the state.  Your job may depend on publicly denying your Christian faith that states marriage is between a man and a woman.

Those who lose their job as a result of the redefinition of marriage certainly won’t feel that there are no victims to this act of social re-engineering.

Even gay icon, Elton John, doesn’t feel there’s a need for gay marriage:

Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage.  I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.

I am no different than you.  I know people I very much care about who have same-sex leanings.  Some of them agree with Elton John that gay marriage isn’t needed, and some very much do believe in gay marriage.

If you disagree on gay marriage, that certainly doesn’t make you a homophobe.

Nonetheless, be aware that you may be putting your job in jeopardy.

***

The YouTube video above is an interesting discussion on the subject of gay marriage between Larry King, Dennis Prager, and Perez Hilton.

Rational reasons to believe in God 2


By Tom Quiner

St. Anselm

Did Anselm of Cantebury prove God's existence?

It’s the biggest question of our life.  Does God exist?  If He does, it changes everything.

Some people drift away from a belief in God as they get older, just as some draw closer to Him.  Why do some draw away from Him?  I suppose there are many reasons.  Here are a few:

1. Belief in God seems irrational (atheism).

2. God’s existence is unlikely (agnosticism).

3. Disinterest.

4. Fear of accountability.  If God is real, the way we live our life matters more than ever, and we may have to make changes in it.

Where do you fall?

Let me dwell on #1 for a minute.

God reveals Himself to us through reason, through the natural world.  If you tend to be left-brained, that is, analytical and logical, you may find the “ontological” argument for God’s existence of interest. This approach uses reason and intuition alone to prove the existence of an all-powerful Creator.

The originator of this ontological argument is St. Anselm, the Archibishop of Cantebury in the 10th and 11th centuries.  He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Pope Clement XI because of the significance of his contributions to the study of theology.

His unique argument follows.  Dwell on it a few minutes:

1. That than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought.
2. If that than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought, it exists in reality.
3. Therefore, that than which nothing greater can be thought exists in reality.

Here is a paraphrased version of his argument from Wikipedia:

1. If I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable, then I can think of no being greater.
1a. If it is false that I can think of no being greater, it is false I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable.
2. Being is greater than not being.
3. If the being I am thinking of does not exist, then it is false that I can think of no being greater.
4. If the being I am thinking of does not exist, then it is false that I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable.

Conclusion: If I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable, then I am thinking of a being that exists.

An interesting philosophical puzzle, isn’t it?  What do you think about St. Anselm’s proof?

Are there any flaws in his reasoning?

Why voters are cynical 1


By Tom Quiner

Voters hate to be manipulated.

The faux commercial above is funny because it smacks of some truth.  Take the current budget debate. Nine days ago, the Congressional Budget Office made a dire prediction:  America is going to experience long term red ink like we haven’t seen since World War II.  We have a growing crisis.  So what is our leadership in Congress doing about it?

Nothing.  They refuse to pass a budget.  Rather than presenting the usual five year fiscal blueprint, the House passed a non-binding one year budget “resolution.”

Even Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, David Broder, who is no conservative, is stunned by the depth of the Democrats’ chutzpa.  He describe it this way:

For all the publicity that goes to earmarks and other spending gimmicks, this was a far worst dereliction of duty. And the cynicism of the maneuver just made it worse.

Speaker Pelosi, no stranger to chutzpa, said Democrat’s dereliction of duty was “another step in restoring fiscal responsiblity.”

Do you remember how these same people railed (with justification) against President’s Bush’s profligacy?  Now they are not only spending us into an abyss from which we may never extricate ourselves, they are refusing to step up to the plate and present a responsible budget.

Republican Paul Ryan is one politician who has stepped up to the plate and presented a responsible budget proposal (ignored by Democrats).  Here is what he said of Democrats’ budget resolution:

“This is not a budget. The measure fails to meet the most basic, commonly understood objectives of any budget. It does not set congressional priorities; it does not align overall spending, tax, deficit and debt levels; and it does nothing to address the runaway spending of federal entitlement programs.”

Honest differences of opinions exist between the two parties on various issues. Nothing wrong with that. That’s politics.  That’s America.  But Democrat’s refusal to present a budget isn’t honorable.  It’s called political cowardice.  And it breeds nothing but cynicism.

Liberal judges limit conservative “diversity” Reply


By Tom Quiner

Conservative "diversity" doesn't count

Conservative "diversity" doesn't count

How often have you heard liberals invoke the word “diversity?”

In the context of liberal-speak, diversity is automatically considered to be good.  The University of Oregon says it this way:

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.  It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.  It is understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

I mention “diversity” in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez, which I wrote about on June 29th  (A Triumph for Political Correctness).

Professor John Inazu

Professor John Inazu

Duke law professor, John Inazu, had an interesting take on the Court’s decision. Although he agreed with me that it was the wrong decision, he disagreed as to why.  He said the court should have supported the Christian Legal Society (CLS) in the name of diversity.

That’s exactly what an appellate court did 36 years ago in a similar case.  It weighed whether a student group “so far beyond the pale of the wider community’s values” that “university facilities [should] not be used by the group to flaunt its credo.”

In the name of diversity, the court back then ruled that Gay Students Organization of the University of New Hampshire should enjoy the right of free association.

In the recent Supreme Court decision, a similar standard applied.  The CLS embraced a philosophy far beyond the pale of the wider communities’ values, namely that sexual relations should be confined to a man and a woman within the confines of marriage.  Such a radical notion!

Alas, diversity is only applicable if it applies to liberal groups.

Professor Inazu wisely opined:

Christian student groups ought to be able to exclude non-Christians. Groups that object to homosexual conduct ought to be able to exclude those who disagree. Groups of Democrats ought to be able to exclude Republicans. Groups of environmentalists ought to be able to exclude people who don’t care about the environment. That leaves us with diversity.

Over at Yale Law School, professor Stephen Carter put it this way:

Professor Stephen Carter

Professor Stephen Carter

Democracy needs diversity because democracy advances through dissent, difference and dialogue.

Professor Inazu leaves us with a dire warning:

Expression presupposes existence. And the court’s decision doesn’t silence CLS – it destroys it.