Stealth gay marriage bill introduced by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-FL 31)

Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-FL 31)

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) in an email to supporters states, “Deceptively named by its Democrat sponsor [Senator] Eleanor Sobel the ‘Families First’ bill, it at first glance appears to be creating a mere domestic partnership like the others in Florida that would usually include hospital visitation and burial rights. But then after getting deeper into the fine print of the monster 30 page bill, it is discovered that it is brazenly proposing an exact mirror of the every aspect of both Federal and Florida marriage laws allowing for gays and lesbians to enter an arrangement that is both ‘treated as marriage’ and which is not just the ‘substantial equivalent’ of marriage but audaciously attempt’s to be an exact equal to marriage.”

Senator Sobel has a long history with the GLBT community in Florida. The Sun-Herald reported in 2008, “Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl, the first openly-gay member of the Commission, today endorsed Democratic State Senate candidate Eleanor Sobel for the open seat in District 31. Sobel, a member of the Broward School Board, has long been an ally of the GLBT community.”

“I’m excited to accept Commissioner Keechl’s endorsement,” Sobel said. “I have a long history of working with Broward’s gay and lesbian community, and Ken’s support underscores that.” Sobel and Keechl are pictured above (photo courtesy of the Sun-Herald).

Pages 19-21 of the bill SB-196 reads “Any privilege, right, or benefit granted…by marriage… is granted on equivalent terms… to an individual who is or was in a domestic partnership…”

“Therefore SB-196 is not a domestic partnership but an attempt to create a full blown civil union – or an alternative gay marriage. This bill is in direct violation of the Article I, Section 27, the Florida Marriage Protection Act, which was enacted by 62% of Floridians as Amendment 2 on the ballot in 2008 and is therefore blatantly unconstitutional on its face,” notes the FFPC.

The full text of the bill may be read here. There are currently no co-sponsors of the Senate bill.

Representative Mark S. Pafford (D-FL 86)

The companion bill in the Florida House is HB 259. HB 259 was introduced by Representative Mark S. Pafford (D-FL 86) and is co-sponsored by state Representatives Berman (D- FL 90) , Clarke-Reed (D- FL 92),  Cruz (D-FL 62), Danish (D-Fl 63), Edwards (D-FL 98), Fullwood (D-FL 13), Jones (D-FL 14), McGhee (D-FL 117), Moskowitz (D-FL 97), Rader (D-FL 81), Rangel (D-FL 43), Rouson (D-FL 70), Saunders (D-FL 49), Slosberg (D-FL 91), Stark (D-FL 104) and Stewart (D-FL 47).

Efforts are underway to create domestic partnership registries across the state of Florida. Wikipedia lists the following Florida cities with domestic partnership registries:

  • Broward County (Fort Lauderdale): Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Clearwater: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Gainesville: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Key West: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Kissimmee: Employees of the city. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Leon County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Miami Beach: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Miami-Dade County: Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. The cities of Miami and South Miami also grant additional benefits to domestic partners registered in Miami-Dade County.
  • Monroe County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. County employment benefits only.
  • Orange County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Orlando: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Palm Beach County: Residents of the county or at least one partner employed by the county. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Pinellas County: Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Sarasota: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples. City employment benefits only.
  • City of St. Cloud: Employees of the city. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of St. Petersburg: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Tampa: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of Tavares: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • Volusia County: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.
  • City of West Palm Beach: No residency requirement. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

NOTE: Senator Sobel and all of the Florida House sponsors of HB 259 represent one of these communities.

SB 196, if passed, will then allow those listed on domestic partnership registries to be considered as legally “married” in Florida. The bill would have taken effect on July 1, 2013. However, HB 259 died in Civil Justice Subcommittee.

Rubio Introduces Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a group of senators to introduce the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). If enacted, this legislation would give states the authority they need to properly enforce laws requiring a parent to be notified before their minor daughter receives an abortion.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Bob Corker (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deborah Fischer (R-NE), Charles Grassley (R-IA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), David Vitter (R-LA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). A House version of the bill is being sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

Many states have adopted parental notification laws to protect minors and the rights of parents. These laws, however, are easily and often circumvented due to differing abortion laws in neighboring states. There is currently no federal framework in place to prevent a minor from traveling across state lines to undergo an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. CIANA would prohibit the act of transporting a minor to obtaining an abortion if this action evades the parental involvement law in her home state. In addition, it would require abortion providers to notify a parent of an out-of-state minor before performing an abortion.

Senator Marco Rubio: “With the rights of parents and the safety of our nation’s daughters at risk, Congress must take action to prevent underage abortions by giving states the federal backing necessary to enforce their parental involvement laws. These laws allow teenagers to receive the advice and guidance of a loved one before undergoing a procedure for which they may not be medically or emotionally prepared. Under current law, minors are subject to the exploitation and safety risks that often come from an overzealous interstate abortion industry.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: “Senator Rubio is a strong advocate on behalf of American families, and I am proud to join him and several of my colleagues in introducing this important legislation.  As parents, we are responsible for our children and parental involvement is almost always required before a child can receive medical treatment, and it should also be required when their minor daughter is taken across state lines for an abortion. I believe that every life has worth, and I will continue to push for legislation that protects innocent life.”

Senator Orrin Hatch: “Senator Rubio and I have brought this bill to the table again because the parents in this nation should be permitted to guide and help their children make decisions, particularly one as profound and life-changing as choosing to have an abortion.  We’ve taken into consideration appropriate exceptions and safeguards, and we feel that this is legislation the vast majority of Americans can agree on. This bill is a legitimate, constitutional way for Congress to address this issue and help protect children and support parents.”

Senator Roy Blunt: “I’m proud to support Senator Rubio’s important legislation, which will help protect America’s children and provide more consistency regarding critical parental notification nationwide. By empowering states to enforce their laws, this bill will rightly safeguard against children making a drastic and life-changing decision without their parents’ involvement.”

Senator John Boozman: “We need to promote an appreciation for the family and for all human life. As a father I understand the importance of being involved in the lives of teenagers. This legislation arms parents with the right to stop teen abortions.  Parents need to do what is best for their children and they need to be aware of decisions they make.”

Senator Richard Burr: “I am proud to support this common sense bill which protects the rights of parents to be informed and involved in the serious life and death decisions involving their child.”

Senator Saxby Chambliss: “As a pro-life American and a father, I believe parents have every right to be involved in the health and medical decisions of their minor children. I am pleased to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring this legislation.”

Senator Charles Grassley: “This initiative values the role of parents in our society, to guide and protect their children.  The legislation is needed to support state notification laws and to prevent individuals from circumventing them, so that parents have a say in medical decisions for their children.”

Senator James Inhofe: “It is important that the Senate act to protect the young women of our country and ensure parents are involved when their children are making decisions that can lead to serious health complications and regret later in life. I have long been a staunch supporter of family values and protecting the sanctity of life, and this bill takes a positive step in promoting both. I am proud to stand by Sen. Rubio and my fellow colleagues as we continue to implement pro-life legislation in the Senate.”

Senator Mike Johanns: “Abortions can have long-term physical and psychological repercussions. Parents need to be prepared to help their children and counsel them on alternative choices, instead of being kept in the dark until it is too late.”

Senator Jim Risch: “I am pro-life and always have been.  CIANA ensures parents are involved when their child is seeking to undergo a medical procedure.  When schools can’t even give a student an aspirin without a parent’s permission, a doctor should never be allowed to perform an abortion on a minor child without at least notifying the parents.”

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the bill’s House sponsor added, “I’m pleased to have the support of my Congressional colleagues in re-introducing this commonsense legislation. This bill will protect parents’ rights to be involved in decisions relating to their minor children. There are many health and safety risks associated with abortions and it is our duty to protect minors from exploitation from the abortion industry. This bill is the right step in protecting parental rights and ensuring that young girls have a safer, healthier, and brighter future.”

Display of Ten Commandments Upheld by Federal Court

Gainesville, FL – A federal district court has dismissed the ACLU’s six-year-old challenge against a Ten Commandments monument in Dixie County, Florida. As part of the court-ordered dismissal, the ACLU will now have to pay court costs caused by its failed lawsuit.

The controversy began in late 2006, when a private citizen was granted permission to place a privately owned, six-ton monument of the Ten Commandments atop the Dixie County Courthouse steps, pursuant to a policy that allowed similar expression by all citizens. The ACLU filed a lawsuit claiming that the monument was unconstitutional because it offended “John Doe,” an anonymous 75-year-old ACLU member from North Carolina. Liberty Counsel defended the county and challenged the ACLU’s standing to bring suit on behalf of a member who lives hundreds of miles away. Initially, however, the district court held that the ACLU had standing, and ordered the removal of the monument.

Liberty Counsel quickly appealed that decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In August 2012, that court reversed, finding John Doe’s testimony and his asserted intention of someday buying property in Dixie County not credible. The appellate court remanded the case back to the district court to resolve various unexplained inconsistencies in John Doe’s testimony.

Back before the district court, the ACLU vigorously opposed Liberty Counsel’s efforts to take John Doe’s deposition, but the court ordered John Doe to be deposed so that he could account for the inconsistencies in his prior testimony. Rather than provide that explanation, the ACLU has now admitted that John Doe does not plan to buy property in Dixie County and that, therefore, the ACLU lacks standing. The court has entered a final dismissal. The ACLU will have to pay Liberty Counsel $1,300.00 for court costs, on top of more than $2,300.00 it was forced to pay after the appeal.

The private Ten Commandments monument will remain undisturbed.

Liberty Counsel Senior Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet said, “The ACLU got caught with its hands in the constitutional cookie jar. Its prolonged campaign against the good citizens of Dixie County has come to a screeching halt. In getting kicked out of court, the ACLU has learned that it cannot impose its San Francisco values upon a small town in Florida, using a phantom member from North Carolina.”

ABOUT LIBERTY COUNSEL:

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

Recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, Liberty Counsel is funded by tax-deductible donations from concerned individuals, churches and organizations.

Florida Catholics and Senator Rubio respond to Pope’s retirement

Catholics across the state of Florida are reacting to the unexpected announcement of Pope Benedict XVI retirement. As the world appears to devolve into godlessness as Pat Buchanan noted, the world now awaits the white smoke billowing from the Vatican.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocese of Venice, issued the following statement regarding resignation of the Holy Father:

The Holy Father’s announcement that he will be resigning on February 28 was a surprise for Catholics around the world. Pope Benedict XVI has been a loyal and active Shepherd for his years as Successor of St. Peter. The Holy Father cited reasons of health and age for his decision. The Diocese of Venice in Florida joins all in continued prayer for the Holy Father. It is my wish to express gratitude for Pope Benedict’s remarkable ministry as the Successor of St. Peter. It is no coincidence that the Holy Father concluded his statement assuring the Church that he will devote his remaining years to “serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.” His writings and teachings have called Catholics to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and to help those in need. Particularly during this time, I ask all Catholics in the Diocese of Venice in Florida to join me in prayer for Pope Benedict XVI and for the College of Cardinals as they prepare to convene, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to elect the next Successor of St. Peter.

Senator Marco Rubio stated, “Pope Benedict XVI displayed the qualities of an excellent leader and a true man of God by putting the interests of the Vatican and the Catholic Church over his own papacy. Since becoming Pope in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has served the Church honorably, particularly through his work promoting charity across the globe. I wish him well in the future and, as a Catholic, I thank him for his service to God and the Church. I also look with optimism toward the future of the Catholic Church as it prepares to welcome a new leader and as it continues to spread God’s message of faith, hope and love to all the corners of the world.”

While Catholics await the announcement of a new Pope, others are attacking Pope Benedict XVI for his stand on traditional marriage. Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo in their New York Times column write, “Saying he had examined his conscience ‘before God,’ Benedict said he felt that he was not up to the challenge of guiding the world’s one billion Catholics. That task will fall to his successor, who will have to contend not only with a Roman Catholic Church marred by the sexual abuse crisis, but also with an increasingly secular Europe and the spread of Protestant evangelical movements in the United States, Latin America and Africa.”

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Ruth Pollard in her column “Palestinian Catholics Wary Of Pope Benedict’s Resignation” reports:

He is viewed as the Pope who helped improve relations between the Vatican and Israel, while also providing open support for the recognition of a Palestinian state. As the news of Pope Benedict’s retirement spread, Palestinian Catholics expressed their shock at his decision and their fears that it may reduce the authority of the church and the next Pope.

“We want the representative of the Holy See to be supportive of the marginalised, of the downtrodden and in this case, the Palestinians who are living under a brutal Israeli occupation,” said Zoughbi Zoughbi, the director of the Wi’am Palestinian Centre for Conflict Resolution.

“Anyone who comes into this position [of pope] has the responsibility of correcting injustices in all four corners of the world,” Mr Zoughbi said as he sat with friends in a café in Bethlehem.

Fertility (Dis)Figure(d) – A view from an American woman in Paris

Column by Nidra Poller (February 2013) an American journalist living in Paris, France. She is reporting on the movement in France to question where it is as a culture.

Fertility (Dis)Figure(d)

Un enfant quand je veux si je veux… The battle cry of the feminists marching for freedom from fertility—“a baby when I want one if I want one”—was ringing out in the streets of Paris when I came to live here in 1972. After lagging behind the United States, where the diaphragm + spermicide had been available to married women since the 1940s and oral contraception since 1957, France caught up with The Pill in 1967 and legalized abortion in 1975, championed by Auschwitz survivor and then Health Minister Simone Veil. The process has gone forward on all fronts, with generalized use of fail-proof methods, unfettered access to abortion when fail-proof fails, reimbursement across the board including, just recently, 100% free contraceptive pills for women 15 to 18.

Contraception and abortion alone could not bring about the desired transformation of the female condition. They were the technology. The metaphysics was what has become known as “gender studies.” In the early days of Women’s Liberation it was makeshift ideology peddled in volumes of look-alike fiction and non-fiction best sellers shouting that maternity was a drag, femininity a hype, sexual differences induced by cynical manipulation, love and marriage an extension of the military industrial complex, and men were chauvinist pigs. No more pink for girls and blue for boys. Sexually marked toys were not abandoned but switched: cars and trucks for girls, dolls and tea sets for boys. Women wanted, or were told they wanted, something called equality.

The harbingers of this “sexual revolution” were, more often than not, closet lesbians. Later we not only discovered that they were lesbians telling heterosexual women to kick their men in the balls and out of their lives, they were also playing stereotypical sexual roles in private, some as simpering mistresses to others more macho than any man could be.

In the space of one generation we went from the prohibition of pre-marital sex to promiscuity for all. The stakes were high for a young woman in the 50s. Sleeping around or, oh horrors, getting pregnant killed her chances of a good marriage… only way to climb the social ladder. Unmarried women could not be fitted for a diaphragm. There was no place to make love decently. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin in 1952, female students under 21 were not allowed to live off campus. We were quartered in dorms, with 10 PM curfews. The lower classes and a dissolute bohemian minority did what they wanted and dealt with the consequences as best they could. Decent women waited to discover the pleasures or disappointments of conjugal life. Twenty years later, a young man with nothing to offer and nothing to lose, would mumble his momentary itch; if the chick dared to decline, he’d toss off a whiny “what’s the matter, you got hangups?” before shuffling off to another.

Teenage girls rushed to lose their virginity before getting their first bra. The boys they slept with had a pressing need for freedom. Don’t cramp my style, don’t try to hold on to me, I’m not into commitment. A girl who, for whatever reason, didn’t solve the fertility problem by taking The Pill was too much of a bother. Women were supposed to be liberated… meaning, available 24/24 with no strings attached. Somehow Women’s Liberation turned out to be an emergency exit for men, inclined to run out on their responsibilities and give in to their more shiftless instincts.

Well- educated, professionally accomplished, financially independent women made babies with a male friend or part time lover, with the clear understanding that the woman would assume 100% of the responsibility for raising and providing for the child. Looking back, it’s almost laughable to see how feminine they were! Liberated from drudgery they voluntarily opted for impossible burdens. A woman’s work is never done. Marriage was spurned or diluted by up-front adultery. Lovers and mistresses joined the family for dinner, children’s birthday parties, and family vacations. Wives and husbands moved in and out, and it was no more dramatic than changing seasons.

None of this nullifies the undeniable improvements in the lives of women, our chances for fulfillment in love, marriage, maternity, and a wide range of professions. No longer on the outside looking in, we can see for ourselves how the working world is organized, how power is won and exercised, how many seemingly fascinating jobs are less interesting than, for instance, taking care of babies. Today, young women deserve our help in re-examining the past to reconceive the equilibrium between biology and choice. They have heard enough about what was acquired. What about the losses?

Fertility is formidable. Connecting unbridled fertility to irresistible sexual pleasure is a work of genius. Is it true that primitive people did not make the connection between making love and making babies? Everything has been arranged to make young fertile men and women forget it… until it’s too late. The consequences are enormous. Mouths to feed, and a lifetime of responsibility. Women, until just recently, could be left holding the bag… unless the man voluntarily took his share of the burden and attendant joys. At the same time, women took the blame for sterility. In the understandable wish to get beyond all of that primitive stuff we have, of course, created new problems.

While reassuring women that the advantages of oral contraception outweigh the dangers, the French Health Ministry has issued warnings about 3rd and 4th generation contraceptives after a young woman suffered a debilitating stroke. But these dramatic risks are the visible peak of a throbbing ache that has never been addressed. Women who cannot bear the changes induced by oral contraceptives may be a minority but those who are uncomfortable with the effects associated with artificial hormonal activity are probably a silent majority. How does the body regain the intelligence of reproduction when it has been silenced for years by oral contraception or IUDs?

Fertility is a daunting challenge, a stunning competitor that interferes with our short and long term plans. It should not be treated as an enemy. Granted, we need some control over this magnificent life force that doesn’t exactly go with our current lifestyle. But if we smash it, suppress it, rough it up, and fail to honor it we wake up one day with a problem that few futurists imagined: drastic population decline. Just as a family can wither away and disappear in a few generations, a nation can lose its bid for posterity. We find ourselves with advanced societies collapsing on an upended age pyramid while the under-25 majority of retrograde populations are out in the streets throwing rocks and firebombs or drugging themselves on heroin and despair.

And then there is AIDS. Super safe birth control that theoretically allows for super carefree pleasure notwithstanding, the clumsy old condom was brought back into service.

Once and for all defined as progress, women’s liberation is stubbornly entrenched. Thinking women, happy to be involved in board meetings, business travel, financial transactions, and research projects, have pocketed the progress and ignored the twisted paths that take us away from our destination. The fine arts and literature, seemingly locked into the hysterical phase, do little to help women conserve or recover the delicate skills that help us nurture the masculinity of men. Women have used more clout to get the right to drive buses, work on automobile assembly lines and now, in the US, go into combat than to improve the balance between work, maternity, and child care.

We keep getting hit with the downside of our miracle solutions. For example, the two-for-one baby boom. I am not qualified to say whether the proliferation of twins is due to post-contraception sterility, pre-menopausal maternity or new techniques of assisted procreation, but it is troubling when every third stroller you pass on the street is a double. First, contraception has to be 99.9% reliable for women at the peak of fertility, then medical genius has to compensate for damaged fertility… there is a time for everything but who knows what time it is?

Un enfant quand je veux comme je veux. The motor of Progress must not idle. Having established the religion of free love, liberated women from the disgusting femininity-maternity couplet, placed abortion on the same level of noblesse as procreation, demanded parity everywhere from floor sweepers to CEOs, purified language of the despicable undifferentiated masculine collective, the battalions of Progress are back on the front lines and their battle cry is “A child when I want how I want.” Are homosexuals the latter day saints of love marriage and procreation? The issue of same-sex marriage is currently debated in the French legislature. Debate is a euphemism for the arrogant steamroller of the left wing majority, reveling in a no holds barred shouting match against the opposition. Deaf to the outcry of a huge segment of the population, indifferent to reasoned argument, secure in the certainty that President Hollande will not put the question to a popular referendum, the majority is having a ball.

The bill, in an inimitable French lace formulation, is called “mariage pour tous [marriage for everyone]. It actually means “marriage for no one,” in that the institution will be gutted and the shell decorated with garlands of flowers. Lurking behind this mariage nouveau is a devious plan for “procreation without biological borders.” With imperial disdain, a government, elected with a modest majority is dismantling the basic building block of society. Long stretches of the proceedings at the National Assembly are broadcast live on our equivalent of C-Span. Dozens of mini-Robespierres grab the microphone as if it were a whip and lash out at the Opposition, accused of homophobia, retrogradia, and obstruction of the wheels of History. Following the lead of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, whose corn rows are meant to be an argument in themselves, deputies alternate revolutionary thunder with cooing over kitschy homosexual weddings with all the trimmings and heartfelt pleas for the children (hundreds? thousands? who knows?) who will finally bathe in the crowning glory of marriage for their homoparents.

Indulgent media visit the happy homes of happy homosexuals with their happy broods. No complaints from these child soldiers. Daddy plus Daddy makes a house a home. And aren’t two mothers better than one? Who are the dastardly reactionaries that would deprive innocent children of the dignity of married homoparenthood? How dare they insinuate that same sex parents are not as good if not better than heterosexuals? Who are they to say that marriage is the union of a man and a woman intending to make a family? Homosexuals deserve the same rights to marry and found a family as heterosexuals!

The opposition claims “mariage pour tous” is a Trojan horse: procreation-booster rights will inevitably follow the same-sex marriage & adoption bill. In fact, MAP (medically assisted procreation) for lesbian partners, included in an earlier draft of the bill, was withdrawn due to opposition within the majority party and the French electorate. It will eventually be tacked on to a family affairs bill initially promised for March, now postponed to October, pending—but not depending on—the recommendations of the Bioethical commission. Opposition deputies predict that males will demand and obtain, on the grounds of equality, legalization of surrogate motherhood. The majority cries Foul! You don’t want same-sex marriage so you drag in unrelated issues. False, shouts the opposition, and the memorandum shows what’s up your sleeve. For some reason the Justice Minister issued a memorandum last week notifying consular officials that recourse to surrogate motherhood– a criminal offense under French law– is not in and of itself grounds for refusal to naturalize the child.

Once these fait accompli children are brought to France, the father(s) will demand official filiation. Does the wish to have children–against the implacable laws of nature–justify cheating? Other subterfuges are detailed in a chuckling article in Le Monde.1 One member of a lesbian union hides all evidence of her partner during the adoption procedure. Then the two women raise the adopted child together… until they separate. The once-hidden partner now fears her ties to the child might be broken. Karim was the odd man out when his partner Yann fertilized a Ukrainian woman, but today they live happily with their five year-old twins in a remote village where friendly neighbors are satisfied to learn that that both men are “papas d’intention” [daddies by intention] of the children born via a “maman de naissance” [birth mommy]. Yann doesn’t like the term “maman porteuse” [carrying mommy]; it sounds too industrial. He says there’s nothing inspiring about the biological bond. “The act itself is shabby– masturbating into a test tube–and the consequences are a monstrosity.” I assume he means the pregnancy.
Members of the left wing parliamentary majority, infuriated by the Trojan horse argument of the opposition, cannot in fact justify the same-sex marriage juggernaut without the hidden procreative project. Back in 1999, their predecessors promised that the PACS [contract of civil solidarity], tailored to the needs of homosexuals, was the last and final stage. No marriage, no adoption, no procreation, no filiation. Of 142,738 contracts signed in 2012, 3,680 were male-male, 3,064 female-female, and 135,994 male-female. Did homosexuals shun the PACS because it was beneath them or because they weren’t really interested in forming more perfect unions? And what if a tiny minority of a tiny minority will actually take advantage of same-sex marriage? How can that justify the slapdash, sloppy, ill-considered, unjustified dismantling of marriage and filiation?

Can the impossibility of making children without a male and a female participant be solved by same-sex marriage, MAP, and surrogate motherhood? Isn’t it a way of forcing the children born under these circumstances to perpetuate the myth of homoparenthood? Neither our respect for homosexual friends and family nor individual examples of wonderful children raised by same-sex partners can resolve this dilemma. The question is what shall society encourage, allow, condone, facilitate, tolerate, forbid or punish.

The idea that a child needs a mother and a father is suddenly labeled reactionary! One might as well burn all the world’s literature and retool humanity into heartless robots. Who can deny the suffering of a child who loses a mother or a father by illness, accident, abandonment or divorce? Proponents of mariage pour tous claim the opposition is motivated by base prejudice against equality in marriage, while they stubbornly deny the inequality imposed on the children brought into the world via this misconception. An infant doesn’t need to be cradled against a mother’s breast and held in strong male arms? The orchestration of contrasting male-female sensations–muscles, odor, voice, rhythm, mentality– is a vital need for children. It has nothing to do with socially-imposed stereotypes; it is a corollary of the ineluctable reality that reproduction is only possible when a female ovule is fertilized by male sperm.

Advocates of same-sex marriage portray homosexuals as innocent victims of discrimination; there is nothing intrinsically distressing about their biologically sterile sexuality. Evil lies in the eyes of the beholder. End the social disapproval, costume homosexuals in bridal attire, and let them get on with their normal lives. The reality is far more complex. Honest acceptance of homosexuals does not exclude a guts rejection of their sexuality. In your face lurid gay pride, smoldering hostility to heterosexuals, coteries and rainbow flag nationalism can’t be ignored. The slogan on a banner carried in a Mariage pour Tous demonstration — “Une paire de meres est mieux qu’un père de merde” [a pair of mothers is better than a shitty father]—reminds us of the 70s: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” When homosexuality was a disgrace, many hid their shame in heterosexual marriage; when coming out was in style, homosexuality was worn as a badge of honor. Many of the children raised in same-sex households today were born of heterosexual marriages that ended when one of the partners discovered his or her homosexuality. Children should not be dragged like rag dolls into these complications.

At a time when half the children born in France are technically out of wedlock, why would homosexuals be dying to get married? Why not create an institution that is truly adapted to their difference? No. If we don’t give them our marriage and turn ourselves into fish farms to provide them with progeny, we’re selfish reactionaries. Same-sex marriage, we are promised, will subtract nothing from marriage; it is the simple addition of one unjustly excluded category of citizens to the existing cohort. Though the opposition doesn’t have the votes to defeat the mariage pour tous bill, the National Assembly debate has the merit of casting light on its hidden consequences. The “simple” addition of same-sex unions nullifies marriage, makes spaghetti of filiation, axes the patronym, betrays the biological facts of procreation by deleting their representation in law and language, and dumps centuries of continuity into muddy confusion. The nation is sterilized. Justice Minister Taubira pours an acid smile on opposition deputies who object to some 200 radiations of the words (and the concept) “father and mother” from the Code Civil. Voyons, messieurs, it’s replaced by “parents.”(“Parents” means parents or relatives.) And what’s wrong with replacing “mari” and “femme” by the unisex “époux.”

The government and its majority are now spelling opposition “o-b-s-t-r-u-c-t-i-o-n.” No one must stand in the way of the forward march of History. Or should it be called Itstory?

We have reached the endpoint of a package of social changes that began in the sixties. Instead of reexamining the premises and consequences, today’s activists want to take us over the cliff. Before we can help our homosexual citizens, we have to ask ourselves why the femininity decried in women is acceptable when parodied by men. Why men were male chauvinist pigs but macho women can simultaneously be husbands to their female partners and mothers to “their” children. Why is everything organized so that young women at the most propitious time for childbearing use overwhelming contraception while women in their forties and same sex partners resort to every possible stratagem to have children?

And how can we maintain the prohibition against incest when Johnny Appleseed donors are spreading their sperm to the winds with no return address?

ABOUT NIDRA POLLER:

Nidra Poller is an American writer and translator who has lived in Paris since 1972. She has contributed to English-language publications such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review, FrontPage Magazine, and The New York Sun.

Poller has been described as a novelist, author of illustrated books for youth, and also a translator, notably of the philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas. Her writings include observations on society and politics, including the Muhammad al-Durrah incident and the Ilan Halimi trial.

Rubio Tweets “There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus”

Senator Marco Rubio took offense at the Times cover title “The Republican Savior”. In response he tweeted “There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus”.

rubio time magazine cover

The TIME magazine column “Immigrant Son” by Michael Grunwald notes, “But while Rubio is a child of immigrants, he’s also a child of the conservative movement, an ambitious ideologue and former political operative who speaks partisan Republican with the fluency of a native. (Romney, by contrast, spoke it as a second language.) Like Paul Ryan, a potential 2016 rival, he’s part of a new generation of lean and hungry conservatives who grew up in the anti-government Reagan era and entered politics after the scorched-earth Gingrich revolution. Bipartisan compromise is not usually his thing.” To read the entire TIME magazine story click here.

There are questions being raised about the future of America and the role partisan politics plays in creating a country divided. At a recent TEA Party Sarasota meeting one member stated, “the political parties were merely two squads on the same team”. Big government, more regulation and higher taxes have been embraced by both Republicans and Democrats. This has led to crushing debt, unfettered spending and more government control.

Can any one politician actually make a different when the party system works against any change or reform?

We will see if Rubio will remain independent in his actions or will become part of his party’s leadership. Will political power trump his moral compass as he becomes the “new voice” of the Republican party?

Early civilizations were well aware of the danger of pride and power and knew that this could destroy kings and empires if not held in check. And thus a philosophy was developed by the very wise Greco-Roman philosophers (lovers of truth) in order to help their rulers and themselves to be vigilant about their behavior, lest they destroy themselves by pride. And thus when any great general (be it an emperor-to-be, a war general, or any victor of a great battle) was honored by a great manifestation such as a triumphal entry into his city-state, a slave (a lowly of lowlies) would ride in the chariot with him and whisper in his ear that he should remember that “he is not a god, but a mortal human being”.

A lesson that all politicians must learn?

Media double standard fails women and democracy

By , President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

This past election cycle, the mainstream media promoted the idea that the GOP engages in a “war on women.” Prominent women in the Democratic Party were able to take to the airways –often unchallenged – and spin the Republican positions on social issues as old-fashioned, sexist attitudes reminiscence of the 1950s. With the 2012 election a distant memory – the danger is real: sexploitation has reared its ugly head. The alleged culprit is a Democratic senator, and the legacy press couldn’t be more silent.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is embroiled in scandal. But if you read the New York Times or watch “NBC Nightly News,” you would never know it. Reports began surfacing last November from new media outlets – led by the Daily Caller – the New Jersey senator was allegedly engaging in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, courtesy of the transportation and resort hospitality of a major campaign donor. The original Daily Caller investigation included an interview with two women from the Dominican Republic who told DC “they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”

Given the fact that these young ladies are engaged in an activity regarded as the ultimate degradation of women – and a sitting U.S. senator has been accused of taking advantage of their circumstances – it’s safe to say the old guard press would have been all over this story if the perpetrator were a Republican – leaving no stone un-turned to find the “Dirty Laundry” – as Sen. Menendez gets whitewashed in the spin cycle.  Enter the new media outlets – turning the tide, agitating the establishment and hanging them out to dry.

The evidence against Menendez began mounting last week as it was revealed that another woman had come forward. The non-partisan government watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) received an email from another young girl from the Dominican Republic, claiming she had slept with the New Jersey Democrat. All the more troubling is that her alleged sexual encounters began when she was only sixteen years old.

Where is the outrage from women’s rights groups? Where are the demands for answers from the 16 female Democrats serving alongside Menendez in the Senate? Why do the mainstream media remain silent over the accusations?

In America one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So when serious allegations surface, especially when they come from more than one source, the press has an obligation to investigate the matter. In a Sunday, January 27th interview on ABC’s “This Week,” not one question was asked of Menendez about the prostitutes’ allegations, despite the fact that two days earlier it had become public that the FBI was investigating the senator’s alleged misconduct. The sources are credible enough for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but apparently not for the old guard press.

Menendez’s reputed fondness for hookers is only part of the story not being covered. Last week the senator’s contributor involved in this scandal had his office raided by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Florida ophthalmologist   Salomon Melgen has been flying Menendez down to the Dominican Republic, providing the luxury accommodations and supposedly supplying the ladies of the night. The raid on Melgen’s office apparently jarred the memory of the New Jersey senator who ponied up nearly $59,000 to reimburse the Florida doctor for travel expenses incurred in 2009.

If the emails, FBI investigation and government raids aren’t enough red flags for the press, an investigation by the new media publication The Washington Free Beacon uncovered last November that Dr. Melgen owes over $11 million to the IRS. Melgen’s support for Menendez began during the 1990s when he was a congressman. Since Dr. Melgen’s troubles with the IRS began – his contributions to the New Jersey Democrat have dramatically increased.

Coincidence? Or a prominent political donor seeking favors? Unless the question is asked, we won’t know the answer.

Since the FBI investigation became public, a few local newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Miami have taken an interest. But a “Google search” of the scandal links only to new media outlets. The three broadcasts networks have wiped the scandal under the rug and the New York Times has apparently decided the story doesn’t fit their motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Safe to say that if Sen. Menendez had an “R” next to his name this story would lead network broadcasts and frequent the front-page of the “paper of record.” But when you are a Democrat the legacy media and women’s rights group tend to bury their head in the sand – justice and journalism doesn’t fit their agenda.

Jason Stverak is the President of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

Catholic Bishops file amicus brief in support of Defense of Marriage Act

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on January 29, 2013 filed amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which confirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

DOMA was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996 and defines marriage for federal and inter-state recognition purposes. Proposition 8 is a state constitutional amendment approved by the citizens of California in 2008. Both laws are challenged because they define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman.

Urging the Court to uphold DOMA the USCCB brief in United States v. Windsor says that “there is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex.” The brief also states that “as defined by courts ‘sexual orientation’ is not a classification that should trigger heightened scrutiny,” such as race or ethnicity would.

It added that “civil recognition of same-sex relationships is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition—quite the opposite is true. Nor can the treatment of such relationships as marriages be said to be implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.”

USCCB argued that previous Supreme Court decisions “describing marriage as a fundamental right plainly contemplate the union of one man and one woman.”

The USCCB also cautioned that a decision invalidating DOMA “would have adverse consequences in other areas of law.”

In a separate brief filed in Hollingsworth v Perry urging the Court to uphold Proposition 8, the USCCB states that there are many reasons why the state may reasonably support and encourage marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, as distinguished from other relationships. Government support for marriage, so understood, is “recognizing the unique capacity of opposite-sex couples to procreate” and “the unique value to children of being raised by their mother and father together.”

The USCCB brief states that “[T]he People of California could reasonably conclude that a home with a mother and a father is the optimal environment for raising children, an ideal that Proposition 8 encourages and promotes. Given both the unique capacity for reproduction and unique value of homes with a mother and father, it is reasonable for a State to treat the union of one man and one woman as having a public value that is absent from other intimate interpersonal relationships.”

The USCCB brief adds that “While this Court has held that laws forbidding private, consensual, homosexual conduct between adults lack a rational basis, it does not follow that the government has a constitutional duty to encourage or endorse such conduct. Thus, governments may legitimately decide to further the interests of opposite-sex unions only. Similarly, minimum standards of rationality under the Constitution do not require adopting the lower court’s incoherent definition of ‘marriage’ as merely a ‘committed lifelong relationship,’ which is wildly over-inclusive, empties the term of its meaning, and leads to absurd results.”

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, is not an historical relic, but a vital and foundational institution of civil society today,” the USCCB brief states. “The government interests in continuing to encourage and support it are not merely legitimate, but compelling. No other institution joins together persons with the natural ability to have children, to assure that those children are properly cared for. No other institution ensures that children will at least have the opportunity of being raised by their mother and father together. Societal ills that flow from the dissolution of marriage and family would not be addressed—indeed, they would only be aggravated—were the government to fail to reinforce the union of one man and one woman with the unique encouragement and support it deserves.”

The USCCB brief also notes that “Proposition 8 is not rendered invalid because some of its supporters were informed by religious or moral considerations. Many, if not most, of the significant social and political movements in our Nation’s history were based on precisely such considerations.Moreover, the argument to redefine marriage to include the union of persons of the same sex is similarly based on a combination of religious and moral considerations (albeit ones that are, in our view, flawed).As is well established in this Court’s precedent, the coincidence of law and morality, or law and religious teaching, does not detract from the rationality of a law.”

USCCB notes that a judicial decision invalidating Proposition 8’s definition of marriage would have adverse consequences in other areas of law.

“[R]edefining marriage—particularly as a matter of constitutional law, rather than legislative process—not only threatens principles of federalism and separation of powers, but would have a widespread adverse impact on other constitutional rights, such as the freedoms of religion, conscience, speech, and association.Affirmance of the judgment below would create an engine of conflict in this area, embroiling this Court and lower courts in a series of otherwise avoidable disputes—pitting constitutional right squarely against constitutional right—for years to come.

Kids Need Both Mom and Dad, Says Gay Man

The benefits of intact biological families were emphasized on a “Building a Marriage Culture” panel at the National Review Institute’s 2013 Summit, “The Future of Conservatism.” One of the panelists, Doug Mainwaring, spoke of his personal experience as a gay man who came to realize that his own children need both a mother and a father.

“For a long time I thought, if I could just find the right partner, we could raise my kids together, but it became increasingly apparent to me, even if I found somebody else exactly like me, who loved my kids as much as I do, there would still be a gaping hole in their lives because they need a mom,” Mainwaring, co-founder of National Capital Tea Party Patriots, said.

Mainwaring is now living with his ex-wife so they can co-parent their two teenaged sons.

“I don’t want to see children being engineered for same-sex couples where there is either a mom missing or a dad missing,” Mainwaring explained. “Somebody needs to stand up for the rights and needs of children in an age when the selfishness of adults seems to be trumping those rights.”

Read the rest at The Christian Post

What the Boy Scouts can learn about Gays in Leadership Positions from the Catholic Church and Penn State

Raynard Jackson a president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm, wrote in his Black Press USA column Boy Scouts Shouldn’t Become ‘Gay Scouts’:

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that Boy Scouts, and all private organizations, have the constitutionally protected right under the First Amendment of freedom of association to set membership standards. In 2004, the BSA adopted a new policy statement, including the following as a “Youth Leadership” policy:

“Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting’s values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position.”

The Boy Scouts of America are reported to be reconsidering their position on gays becoming scout leaders.

What can the Boy Scouts of America learn from others who have put gays into leadership positions? Perhaps the experiences of the Catholic Church and Penn State University are two case studies that will predict what could happen.

BishopAccountability.org, an “online archive established by lay Catholics,” reports that over 3,000 civil lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic church, some of these cases have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements with multiple claimants.

In 1998 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas paid $30.9 million to twelve victims of one priest ($44.1 million in present-day terms). From 2003 to 2009 nine other major settlements involving over 375 cases with 1551 claimants/victims, resulted in payments of over $1.1 billion. The Associated Press estimated the settlements of sex abuse cases from 1950 to 2007 totaled more than $2 billion. BishopAccountability.org puts the figure at more than $3 billion in 2012. Addressing “a flood of abuse claims” five dioceses (Tucson, Arizona; Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Davenport, Iowa, and San Diego) got bankruptcy protection. Eight Catholic dioceses have declared bankruptcy due to sex abuse cases from 2004-2011.

Penn State University (PSU) had a similar experience with Jerry Sandusky. The Sandusky scandal had far-reaching outcomes for the university. The report of an independent investigation commissioned by the PSU board and conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh and his law firm stated that Spanier and Paterno, along with Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz, had known about allegations of child abuse on Sandusky’s part as early as 1998, and were complicit in failing to disclose them.

In so doing, Freeh stated that the most senior leaders at Penn State showed a “total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims” for 14 years and “empowered” Jerry Sandusky to continue his abuse.

On July 23, 2012 the NCAA imposed sweeping penalties on Penn State—among the most severe ever imposed on an NCAA member school—including a fine of $60 million, a four-year postseason ban and vacating of all victories from 1998–2011. In doing so, NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that the sanctions were levied “not to be just punitive, but to make sure the university establishes an athletic culture and daily mindset in which football will never again be placed ahead of education, nurturing and protecting young people.” The Big Ten Conference subsequently imposed an additional $13 million fine. Spanier, Curley and Schultz have since been brought up on criminal charges for their role in the cover-up.

In addition 40 scholarships were stripped from Penn State University in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

Sandusky was a pederast, as were all of the Catholic priests involved in the abuse of young boys. All pederasts are gay according to Liberty University Visiting Professor of Law Judith Reisman, who said that “post the ‘landmark’ Lawrence v. Texas decision in 2003, paraphrasing Justice Antonin Scalia, everything goes.” Professor Reisman said, “Following Alfred Kinsey ‘sexologists’ began to occupy our schools, so that educated professionals have largely been trained to be a form of sexual anarchists.”

“Although the stupidity of advocating harmless amoral sexuality overwhelms us daily, our arrogant ‘educated’ populations say morality has no place in our sexual lives,” Reisman said. “Just as AIDS is a natural outgrowth of amoral sexual education and media, so too is child sexual abuse. We are breeding a new human character and child sexual abuse is increasingly part of that character.”

Department of Homeland Security states AR-15 Rifles “Suitable for Personal Defense”

A hat tip to Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins for pointing this out.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a “Personal Defense Weapons” Solicitation number HSCEMS-12-R-00011. The solicitation is for AR-15 rifles for Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

Part C of the solicitation states, “DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.” [My emphasis]

Hawkins reports:

According to New York state Senator Greg Ball (R), the Department of Homeland Security is seeking 7,000 self-defense weapons–all of which are AR-15 variants.

These are the very weapons Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Joe Manchin (D-WV), have been telling us nobody needs for self-defense. Apparently, DHS disagrees.

As I wrote on January 14th, a “Personal Defense Weapons Solicitation” was circulated within DHS describing an AR-15 variant as “suitable for personal defense.” Now, 7,000 such weapons are being sought.

DHS is also seeking 30 round magazines for use with all the rifles.

Florida Family Policy Council Publishes List of Bad Bills

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) won a major victory in Jacksonville last year when a sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance was soundly defeated. The FFPC is now focusing on bills being introduced by the Florida legislature during the 2013 session. According to the FFPC website, “The Florida Family Policy Council is committed to strengthening marriage and family structures, protecting innocent human life and defending our religious liberties. One of the ways we influence culture in these areas is by engaging our elected officials in Tallahassee.”

The FFPC website lists the following bills as “bad”:

HB 139 by Rep. Pafford SB 166 by Sen. Sobel

This bill would authorize domestic partnerships in Florida. For more information on these bills, click here for the House version and here for the Senate version.

HB 247 by Rep. Randolph SB 340 by Sen. Rich

These bills would add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the list of protected classes in Florida’s Civil Rights Act. It would prohibit employers with more than 15 employees from discriminating in their hiring practices against persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.  For more information on these bills, click here for the House version and here for the Senate version.

HJR 353 by Rep. Clemens SJR 1028 by Sen. Bullard

These bills would allow the medicinal use of cannabis in Florida. For more information on this bill, click here.

HB 487 by Rep. Fresen SB 710 by Sen. Bogdanoff

These bills would authorize “destination casinos” with full scale gambling in Florida. For more information on these bills, click here for the House version and here for the Senate version.

HB 563 by Rep. Gonzalez SB 1016 by Sen. Garcia

These bills create a new pari-mutuel in Florida called the Breeders Cup Permanent Meet. For more information on these bills, click here.

The FFPC Legislative Agenda page states:

We are looking to build on the successes of last session on protecting life in Florida. This year, we are promoting legislation that will prohibit abortions during the third trimester or after a baby is viable unless the abortion is required to save the life of the mother or to prevent severe and irreversible impairment of the mother. It would also grant the same rights to an infant born alive during an attempted abortion that any natural born infant would have and requires physicians to do all in his power to preserve the life and health of that baby.

We are also supporting legislation that would empower school board[s] to authorize student led prayers at non-compulsory assemblies.

We will be opposing legislation that would allow full-scale destination casinos in Florida. The casino industry has invested millions into this effort to dramatically expand the scope of gambling that is available in our state. The Florida Family Policy Council continues to stand against the expansion of gambling in Florida.

We also will be working against legislation that would create domestic partnerships in Florida.

To see the entire FFPC legislative list of good and bad bills click here.

Are We Witnessing The Global Failure of the Ethical Life?

C. S. Lewis once remarked, “No one knows how bad he is until he has truly tried to be good.”

According to William Lane Craig, author of Reasonable Faith, “The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard made the same point. Kierkegaard thought of life as lived on three levels:

  1. The most basic level is the aesthetic stage, in which life is lived selfishly for the pleasure it affords. Life so lived ultimately issues in boredom and ennui.
  2. The next higher plane is the ethical stage, in which one lives according to strict moral standards. But this life results ultimately in despair because one cannot live up to the standard of the moral good.
  3. Only on the highest plane, the religious stage, is authentic existence truly to be found. Kierkegaard rightly saw that it is the failure of the ethical life that propels one to the religious plane.”

Does government without God lead to despair? Are people becoming desperate?

There are signs that individuals are acting out across America and around the world. The headlines are filled with efforts by politicians trying to impose strict ethical standards on people who live their lives based upon selfish pleasures. Is government hindering, and in some cases blocking, citizens from moving beyond the aesthetic and ethical stages to the religious plane?

After debating the existence of God with Louise Anthony, Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Craig wrote, “Anthony confessed that one of the drawbacks of the atheism she had come to embrace is that under atheism there is no redemption. Think of that! One’s sin and guilt are truly indelible. Nothing can undo what has been done and restore your innocence. But the Christian message is a message of redemption.”

Are there some in our government who believe that those who cling to their religion as somehow less worthy?

Craig writes, “Today so many people think of right and wrong, not as matters of fact, but as matters of taste.”

Craig quotes American Philosopher Richard Taylor, author of Ethics, Faith, and Reason , who wrote, The idea of . . . moral obligation is clear enough, provided that reference to some lawmaker higher . . . than those of the state is understood. In other words, our moral obligations can . . . be understood as those that are imposed by God. . . . But what if this higher-than-human lawgiver is no longer taken into account? Does the concept of a moral obligation . . . still make sense?

Taylor goes on to say:

The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, without noticing that in casting God aside they have also abolished the meaningfulness of right and wrong as well.

Read more.

This is the basis of the great debate taking place in America, Europe, the Middle East and across the globe. Are we seeing the failure of the ethical life? What is the next stage: the aesthetic or religious? Do we evolve or devolve?

White House Petition Declares Catholic Church a “Hate Group”

Zach N from Atlanta, GA is listed as the creator of a White House petition begun on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012. The petition states:

“In his annual Christmas address to the College of Cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI, the global leader of the Roman Catholic Church, demeaned and belittled homosexual people around the world. Using hateful language and discriminatory remarks, the Pope painted a portrait in which gay people are second-class global citizens. Pope Benedict said that gay people starting families are threatening to society, and that gay parents objectify and take away the dignity of children. The Pope also implied that gay families are sub-human, as they are not dignified in the eyes of God.

Upon these remarks, the Roman Catholic Church fits the definition of a hate group as defined by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.”

Matt Smith, President of the Catholic Advocate in an email states, “This petition is truly shocking, and it’s an attack against ALL people of faith, not just Catholics! That’s why I’m so urgently asking you to stand with Catholic Advocate today and help us launch an all-out campaign against the Obama Administrations hateful, secular agenda.”

According to NewsMaxWorld.com, “Pope Benedict said on Sunday that Roman Catholic leaders must have the courage to stand up to attacks by ‘intolerant agnosticism‘ prevalent in many countries.”

“Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs,” added Pope Benedict.

Watchdog Wire has sent an email to both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League asking if they define the Catholic Church as a “hate group” based upon its position on gays and gay marriage. Replies will be posted as an update when received.

UPDATE 1/7/2013:

According to Penny Weaver, from the Public Affairs office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the SPLC only monitors “’Radical traditionalist’ Catholics, who may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America, subscribe to an ideology that is rejected by the Vatican and some 70 million mainstream American Catholics. Many of their leaders have been condemned and even excommunicated by the official church.” Weaver stated the SPLC, “[Does] not [monitor] the mainstream Catholic Church.”

ADL: Roman Catholic Church is Not a Hate Group

New York, NY, January 4, 2013 … In response to an online petition calling on the Obama Administration to label the Roman Catholic Church as “a hate group” for its conservative views on marriage, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the petition as an “outrageous and offensive conceit,” adding, “It was irresponsible for the promoter of this petition to use our name.”

The petition, titled “Officially recognize the Roman Catholic Church as a hate group” and posted to the whitehouse.gov web site on December 25, claimed that Pope Benedict XVI “demeaned and belittled homosexual people around the world” in his annual Christmas address to the College of Cardinals.  It asserted that the Catholic Church “fits the definition of a hate group as defined by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.”

“The claims made in this petition to the White House are abhorrent, and the notion that the Catholic Church could be defined as a hate group is an outrageous and offensive conceit,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “While one may agree or disagree with the Church’s position on homosexuality and marriage, any attempt to label the entire faith as a hate group is illegitimate and unacceptable.  It was irresponsible for the promoter of this petition to use our name.”

An Atheist and Muslim Debate: Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil?

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and a self-professed atheist, agreed to an Al Jazeera interview with Mehdi Hasan, a Muslim journalist. The interview is highly enlightening. This may be the first time Dawkins has been interviewed by a journalist who is faithful to the second largest religion in the world – Islam.

While this begins as an interview it turns into more of an interrogation and at times a debate between Dawkins, with Hasan taking the position of a theist.

According to Al Jazeera, “Fanaticism, fundamentalism, superstition and ignorance. Religion is getting a bad press these days. Much of the conflict in the world, from the Middle East to Nigeria and Myanmar, is often blamed on religion.”

“But how are things from a different perspective? Defenders of religion claim Adolf Hitler was an atheist. Communism under Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao Zedong banned religion, but also massacred millions. And science brought incredible and amazing advances, but also pollution and the atomic bomb,” notes Al Jazeera.

During the interview Hasan notes that religion like science can be used for good or evil. Both Dawkins and Hasan agree that politics has a lot to do with how both are perceived and used. Has science become a religion to those like Dawkins?

During the interview Dawkins and Hasan discuss the existence of a mono-theistic God. Dr. William Lane Craig, noted Christian apologist and author of Reasonable Faith, lays out detailed arguments that God does exist in his column “The New Atheism and Five Arguments for God“. Dr. Craig’s moral argument for a God, for example, takes the following form:

  • If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  • Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  • Therefore, God exists.

It is in times of great suffering and turmoil that individuals turn to religion. Many believe we are in those times and religion may be the only thing that will provide us with comfort and salvation. What do you think?