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Liberals DO NOT believe in Freedom For All

This past week end, I spent a lot of time outside working on my landscaping.  The long, hard winter of 2014/2015 looks to be over.  And I would just like to say thank you to Global Warming advocates who are still at a loss as to why this planets climate has not lived up to the desert like conditions promised.

I guess global warming equals record cold temperatures and record snow fall.  Well if that is what global warming is, then I will jump on board because I love living in New England and I sure don’t want another Alaska type winter to befall us.  Note the sarcasm.  But I digress.

While working in my yard this past week end, I got to see some of what makes America great.  The freedom of people to be who they want to be.  I saw people walking in shorts and tank tops. Mind you, although it is warm, to me it is far from tank top weather.

I saw folks riding their motorcycles, big ones and small ones.  Some had flags on the back.

Some were the noisy type.  Some were the fast type.  And some were the big, touring grandparent type. I saw folks taking their convertibles out for a week end joy ride probably for the first time this year.  I saw and heard the younger set with all their windows down and music blaring.  Yes, we can hear you a half mile away and you are going to kill your ears by playing music that loud. But at least in most communities, those young people have the freedom to play their music in their car as loud as they want.

And there it is.  The freedom.  I saw people enjoying their freedom.  Nobody telling them they could not walk in a tank top yet.  Nobody passing a law preventing motorcycles from being ridden at this time of year.  No overreaching ordinances telling young people that in order to be legal others cannot hear your music outside of your car at all.

Now this part of the article is for all of my Liberal friends and haters out there.  This is where I point out how hypocritical you are.  Lets take gay rights for example.  Now this is America.  As some would say, ‘Murica.  And this is the land of the free.  Which, you on the left say, means that gays have the right to live as they please.  They have a right to live in peace.  They have a right to love who they please.  They have the right to have a life just like a straight person.  To which many other Americans would agree. But then you turn the tables on everyone else.  You want laws dictating how others act and react around you.  You wish to stifle or take away the freedom and rights of others just to fit your own selfish desires.  You say you want to be free, but you want big government to dictate how we all live and interact with each other.

It would be like telling the person on the fast motorcycle that he is not allowed to go 65 mph on the highway while allowing cars to do that speed.  In other words, you are not asking for freedom.  You are asking for special privileges.  Privileges in which the rest of the population is not able to avail themselves of.  You are asking to separate the people in to classes and groups. Some classes and some groups get more freedom than others.

That kind of thought is straight out of the pages of the novel Animal Farm.  In this novel there is a passage that says, “some animals are more equal than others” which means some animals are not equal at all.

This is the same thought process used to own and keep slaves.  Blacks were not thought of as being equal to whites.  Now gays want to say that straights are not equal to gays.  And thus a straight person has no right to admonish gays in any way.  However, when you ask the question of gays should they be forced to make a T-Shirt for a Muslim that says “gays are infidels and must die” the fast and quick answer is no way.

Well if you have the right to tell a straight person they must make you a t-shirt that says “being gay is fab” then the Muslim has the right to tell the gay person to make him a t-shirt of his choosing. But in order to get around this, gays would say that what the Muslim wants is hate speech.  So you want to create a law that stops hate speech.  Even though, in this country, the Muslim is free to say what he pleases just like you and I.  But you wish to live your life of freedom by taking the rights of others away simply because you don’t like it.

This is not an issue with Muslims.  I need to say it because some of you out there would point out Muslims should not have a right to say what they say.  To which I reply with a query.  Why?  Sure I find a lot of what they say offensive.  But does that give me the right to deny his free speech rights simply because I don’t agree or like his speech? Does this mean that gays should censor straights because they don’t like the fact that some straights don’t agree with homosexuality?  Does it mean that we force the motorcycle to go only 55 instead of 65 because they are not wrapped in a steal cage?

Who decides who gets special rights and who gets their rights denied?  The point is when you deny someone their rights, you are most likely starting down that slippery road process of denying your own rights.  And frankly that makes us all less free.  And less freedom has no place in ‘Murica.

The American Dream Is For Dreamers

Over 230 years ago, a group of men had a dream.  They dreamed of a nation of free people.  A nation that existed solely to allow its citizens to live out their own dreams on their own terms with their own God given talent and grit.

They dreamed of a people free from the fear of government oppression.  A people free from tyranny from within and from without.  They dreamed of a people that could not be stopped from achieving greatness.

They dreamed long and hard.  They dreamed of that nation morning, noon and night.  They shared their dream with others who had the same dream.

They would talk about their dream in back allies, in local pubs, in living rooms, in town halls, in their churches, in the streets.

It was a dream that would not die.  It would not relent.  It would burn itself into their very being.  They woke with a burning desire to fulfill this dream every single day of their lives.  They went to bed every single night hoping God would allow them to wake so they could pursue that dream.

It was a dream that was real in their eyes, in their minds and in their hearts.  It was a dream that would lead them to war.  It was a dream that they knew would not become reality easily.  It was an elusive dream but it was an achievable dream.

So these men, these dreamers set out to fulfill their dream.  They fought, they bled and some even died before they could realize that dream for themselves.  But it was not a selfish dream.  It was a dream they believed would become reality even if they would not live to see it.

They dreamed for their children.  They dreamed for their grand-children.  They dreamed for their posterity.  They believed in the dream so much that they would willingly lay down their life if in doing so it would bring that dream to fruition.

It was a truly selfless dream.  A dream to be free.

That dream is still alive today.  That dream that those men fought and even died for became a reality.  That dream became the United States of America.

That same dream is still alive today.  Although it may seem that fewer than ever share that dream.  That thought would be wrong.

Today we are still a bunch of dreamers.  But we are now a strong nation of many dreamers.  More dreamers than those who first had the dream.

Today we dream the same as they dreamed centuries ago.  We dream about freedom.  We dream about pursuing our own happiness.  We dream of little of not government interference.  We dream not only for ourselves but for our children, our grand-children.  We dream for our posterity.

Today, the United States of America still attracts dreamers from all over the world.  They come here in boats, in planes, in cars, even by foot.  The people of the world have had the same dream and they heard the call.  They heard the dreamers call.  They heard the dreamers call from America.  They come to answer the call.

They sometimes risk their very lives to make that dream come true.  They do not dream only for themselves, but for their family, their children, their grand-children and their posterity.

This is a nation of dreamers.  All that we have accomplished that history will consider to be great came at first as a dream.

The great industrialists of the 19th  century dreamed of a nation that was fully modern and full of promise.  The great minds of the 20th century dreamed of fast cars and landing on the moon.

The great minds of the 21st century dream of an intelligent world full of smart devices that help man dream even bigger.

Yes, we are a nation that still dreams.  Yet in no ones dreams is their room or a place for an oppressive government.  There is no dream about sliding backwards.  There is no dream about having someone else take care of us.

Indeed, that would be a nightmare.

Instead we dream of being free to pursue our own dreams.  And we dream of even better days for our children, our grand-children and even our posterity.

That is the American way.  That is the American Dream.  That is the dream we are still willing to lay down our lives for so that others may keep that dream.

That is the American dream.  And that dream is not dead.  It is very much alive.  It is still very vibrant.  And that is what drives others from around the world to risk everything they have to come here.

Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream.  It was a dream of freedom for all.  That has always been the true American dream.

And that is my dream.

Is it yours, too?

Freedom of Disassociation: Indiana Edition by STEVEN HORWITZ

“Revulsion is not an argument; and some of yesterday’s repugnances are today calmly accepted — though, one must add, not always for the better. In crucial cases, however, repugnance is the emotional expression of deep wisdom, beyond reason’s power fully to articulate it.” — Leon Kass

First, let me say how happy I am to have my column back at the Freeman. I look forward to being here every other week alongside Sandy Ikeda and Sarah Skwire.

If you’ve spent any time on the Internet in the last couple of weeks, you’ve found it abuzz with opinions on Indiana and gay rights. The passage of the state’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has generated all kinds of commentary from both left and right, and most of it is misguided or overwrought.

I’d like to offer a few of my own thoughts on these matters, which, I think, add up to a call for both tolerance and freedom of association — as well as a rejection of repugnance as the basis for public policy.

Tolerance lies at the core of the libertarian worldview. Living peacefully with each other means accepting our differences and allowing others to engage in behavior that we might dislike but that does not harm third parties. “Anything that’s peaceful” is our lodestar, as Leonard Read often reminded us. Such tolerance does not require that we associate with people we disagree with, only that we leave them in peace. And this idea cuts to the core of the debate in Indiana.

If, like me, you think that gays and lesbians are not doing anything harmful to anyone, and that they should be treated just like other human beings, you might call the behavior of those who refuse to, for example, provide photography services at a same-sex marriage “intolerant.” Perhaps it is, but those who have such views are not engaged in any attempt to prevent gays and lesbians from getting married — or anything else — by refusing to provide them with a service. They are, in fact, tolerating them, but also refusing to associate with them.

Tolerance does not mandate association.

Any idea of tolerance that mandates association will quickly get us into trouble. If, for example, you object to those who refuse to sell their products or services to gays and lesbians because homosexuality runs counter to their deeply held beliefs, would it not be a far worse form of intolerance to make it illegal for them to act on their religious beliefs? After all, your side is willing implicitly (or explicitly) to back its intolerance of religious convictions with coercion — you know, guns, fines, and prisons — while the other side’s intolerance involves only the simple and peaceful refusal to sell.

To repeat: those who refuse to sell are not preventing people from behaving peacefully; those who would make the refusal to sell illegal are.

If, like me, you are bothered by the behavior of those who won’t deal with gays or lesbians, you shouldn’t make matters worse by using state power to engage in true intolerance. Instead, demonstrate how much you really care about tolerance by using persuasion and disassociation to change the behavior you find intolerant.

To see how real tolerance, persuasion, and disassociation in civil society can work, consider this story from Texas. A narrow-minded store clerk objects to a mom letting her little girl wear a boy’s suit. Mom’s friends hear the story and then give the store bad reviews online. (And unlike the small, Christian-owned pizzeria in Indiana, no one threatened the owners or threatened to burn down the store, both of which would be crossing the line that separates real tolerance from coercion.) The store pulls its Facebook page after people leave critical comments. Mom was not actually “denied service,” because she immediately declared she wouldn’t patronize the store due to the clerk’s attitude.

What didn’t happen?

No one sued, used violence, called the police, or said, “there ought to be a law.” People used words, reputation, and the power of exit to persuade others of who was right and who was wrong. This is how it should work. We don’t need a law. The mom had choices and exercised them, and the clerk and store paid a price for indulging their views on gender stereotypes. This is peaceful conflict resolution involving the rights of expression, exit, and disassociation — no need to get the state involved. Tolerance, after all, does not mean we have to like everything everyone else does. It only means we can’t and shouldn’t stop them from doing anything that’s peaceful.

Too often, we try to make laws on the basis of our mere dislike for others’ behavior. As a favorite Internet meme of mine says, “Everything I like should be mandatory and everything I don’t like should be banned.” This sort of reaction to our repugnance at the behavior of others is a real danger to liberal societies.

Whether it involves outlawing peaceful behavior, forced association, or state-sponsored discrimination, using repugnance as the basis for enacting laws is itself repugnant. What we end up with, after all, is poisonous discourse and a social order that is increasingly coarse and uncivil.

Why are people threatening the owners of a small pizza shop in Indiana who, hypothetically, said they would peacefully refuse to cater a same-sex wedding? What underlies such threats is the belief that repugnance (in whatever form it takes) justifies coercion. That belief also helps explain why others are so vehemently opposed to giving same-sex couples legal equality. Whether it’s repugnance at people’s religious beliefs or repugnance at the thought of two people of the same sex being married, such an emotion does not suffice to trump fundamental freedoms.

Sacrificing fundamental constitutional rights and our commitment to equality before the law isn’t worth the warm glow of an ephemeral “victory.” The trade-off is simply too steep — as is the slippery slope it could put us on.

About Steven Horwitz

Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Micro-foundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective, now in paperback.

I Was WRONG About Same-Sex Marriage [+video]

John Zmirak

John Zmirak

John Zmirak is the author of Gay Totalitarianism and the Coming Persecution of Christians: Hatred of the Gospel is boiling over into the vilification of Christians. State violence won’t be far behind, history teaches.

Zmirak writes:

President Obama, and each of the Clintons, has made a public statement parallel to my own on this volatile topic, so I stand in illustrious company as I say it: I wish to reverse my previous public statements on same-sex marriage.

The progress of law, the statements and actions of gay advocates, and the movement of public opinion have rendered my old views repugnant to me, and I now I offer a full and public retraction. Thanks to the hard work of Apple, Walmart, and the national media, I have changed my mind on same sex marriage.

I now oppose it.

Read more.

Listen to Zmirak explain why he was wrong:

RELATED VIDEO: Hitler Reacts To Denied #GayWeddingCake by Steven Crowder

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Maine: Lacrosse coach loses job for criticizing Islam

Freedom of speech, you say? Increasingly not, in the United States: those who dare notice jihad violence and Islamic supremacism are vilified, marginalized, and defamed. When Scott Lees was fired, was truth a criterion? Apparently not. “Facebook post on Muslims costs Fryeburg coach his job,” by Daymond Steer, Conway Daily Sun, March 24, 2015 (thanks to all who sent this in):

FRYEBURG – After four years at the helm of Fryeburg Academy’s boys lacrosse team, Scott Lees of Conway said he was forced by academy officials to resign as head coach after sharing on Facebook an open letter to President Barack Obama that was unflattering to Muslims.

The letter, written by “An American Citizen,” was about Obama’s speech given in Cairo in 2009. In that speech and in another made last month, the president said Islam has long been a part of American history.

In the first part of the letter, it wonders whether anyone has have ever seen a Muslim hospital or heard a Muslim orchestra. The writer goes on to charge that Muslims “are still the largest traffickers in human slavery,” that they were allied with Adolf Hitler in World War II and that they were either pleased with or silent on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The writer adds that the Barbary pirates were Muslims.

“I just thought it was an interesting article,” said Lees, who added he’s a politically minded independent conservative. “I thought it was an interesting letter to President Obama and his current administration who are not paying attention to Israel and focusing on Iran.”

Lees, 48, shared the letter on his personal Facebook page on March 17. Two days later, he was handing in his resignation as Fryeburg Academy’s lacrosse coach. He said that although he was supposed to meet with Head of Schools Erin Mayo and Dean Charlie Tryder on March 19, Athletic Director Sue Thurston told him a decision to fire him had already been made.

According to Lees, a property manager who is married and has two children, said he did not want a firing to go on his record. He asked Thurston if they would consider a letter of resignation.

“I’ve never been fired in my life,” said Lees, who also coaches hockey locally. “I’ve been coaching kids since 1992.”

Mayo said the season will start on time. She said Thurston is looking for coaches and Thurston will provide updates as they become available.

“We’ve got a great team,” said Mayo.

The decision on an interim coach could be made as soon as today, Thurston said.

Regarding the letter that led to his departure as coach, Lees said a friend had emailed it to him, and he posted it to see what people would say. Lees — who has since removed it from his Facebook page — said he did not comment on the letter online and that he meant no disrespect to anyone.

Lees said the post didn’t get much response. No students “liked” the post though it was liked by four adults, one of whom commented on it. “It’s not like it went viral,” said Lees. “It’s not like everyone and their brother saw it.”

But according to Mayo Fryeburg Academy has “a number” of Muslim students as well as students of numerous other faiths.

“We prize each young person we enroll as an individual, and we prize the diversity that they bring,” said Mayo, who pointed to the school’s mission statement, which says that “the Academy believes that a strong school community provides the best conditions for learning and growth. Therefore, we strive to create a supportive school environment that promotes respect, tolerance, and cooperation, and prepares students for responsible citizenship.”

Mayo said the school’s teachers, coaches and other staff need to live up to the mission statement.

Lees said he is not a bigot. In fact, he said that two years ago he invited a former Fryeburg student from New York City named Mohammed Islam to stay at his house for nine days. At the time, Islam had a court date in the area for a minor offense.

“If I had a problem with people who are Muslim, then why would I have allowed a Muslim to stay in my home?” asked Lees.

In a phone interview, Islam, who now attends Drexel University in Pennsylvania, confirmed that his former coach had opened his home to him.

“I never saw him as a bigot,” said Islam, who played under Lees for three years.

When asked of the posting, Islam said he spoke to Lees about it. He didn’t think it should have cost Lees his coaching job. Islam said Lees seems to take issue with Obama’s handling of the Middle East.

“I don’t agree with Scott’s opinion, but that doesn’t make him a bigot,” said Islam….

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Is Liberty Now A Thing Of The Past?

Many say that America is now the land of the free and home of the brave in concept only. It is getting more difficult to argue with that assessment. When Indiana governor, Mike Pence initially signed into law a religious liberty bill I was pleased and thought highly of the Hoosier State leader.  Unfortunately, after a hot air blow back from the usual progressive suspects, a proposal to amend changes to the bill was brought forth by the governor. So basically, certain individuals and anti- Christian groups don’t approve of Christians exercising their religious beliefs in the operation of their businesses. Even NASCAR went to nutsville, making some idiotic proclamation about welcoming homosexuals to their events. NASCAR’S little statement was nothing more than phony grand-standing event to make brownie points with anti-Christians zealots.

No-one advocates not allowing homosexuals to be prevented from being treated with the same respect due anyone else. By the way, for you anything goes promoters, the personal life choice of an individual or group does not supersede the right of another to operate according to his or her religious beliefs.  It is about time that homosexuals and their progressive supporters grow up and stop trying to bully people who don’t think and believe as they do.  I know that many homosexuals, just like liberals, progressives, dedicated Muslims, etc. are not stupid.  So let’s cut to the chase.  You people and groups want to fundamentally change America into a land void of the Christian values she was founded upon, including virtue and traditional family values. It is you liberals, homosexuals, dedicated Muslims and progressives who truly discriminate against sovereign individuals who don’t believe, act or think like you do.

If a homosexual, transvestite, or lesbian wants to walk into any bakery in America, they can purchase a cake. But Christians who actually believe the word of God concerning unnatural lifestyles may not want to sale a cake for that purpose.  It is not about discrimination against anyone. What is going on is homo-intimidation of those who believe in and operate according to a different lifestyle standard.

The Bible states that certain things are an abomination to God, including men laying with men in a sexual manner, also adultery and fornication. The last time I checked (and I really did check) American Christians are being forced to celebrate unnatural sexual activities. But a funny thing occurred to me. Adulterers are not filing into bakeries and demanding adultery cakes, or fornication cakes for fornicators. There are a great number of non-Christian specialty bakeries willing to oblige, just not a Christian bakery.

Besides, if I were not a Christian and homosexual who wanted to purchase a cake that reflects something totally non-Christian, I would try to force a Christian bakery to take my business. To try and bully others just to force them to serve your cause is not justice, nor is it morally correct. The so-called tolerance of the unnatural sexual practitioners always harp about is a crock of you know what.

It was a shame that governor Pence folded under pressure from people who do not believe in religious liberty. The left is hoping that those they oppose will give up their beliefs and cow-tow to their outrageous demands. Such actions exhibited by governor Pence is indicative of part of the reason why our republic turned mob rule democracy is in mortal danger of collapsing from within. If we are not willing to stand for what we believe or know to be right, our nation will end up falling for anything and suffer the consequences.

“We the People” can no longer afford to give in or give out because it may be a bit of uncomfortable persecution from the bigoted progressives. The more of our unalienable rights we allow to be trampled upon just to get along to go along, the more difficult it will be to simply live in the United States. The progressives, liberals and unnatural sexual practitioners will never stop complaining about others who don’t walk in lockstep with them.  For example the legions of homosexual supporters and other leftists who threatened the lives of pizzeria owners in Walktertown, Indiana because they are Christians who would not cater a homosexual wedding.  I thank God for the even greater numbers of Americans, both gay and straight, who showed with monetary support and words of encouragement for the pizzeria owners who only expressed their faith.

My fellow Americans, let’s remember the worthy words of the Revolutionary War her Thomas Paine. “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

Wake up America and avoid certain doom, let us together resume our nation’s destiny of greatness.

God Bless America and May America Bless God.

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Obama’s Attacks on Religion in America

Americans tend to take the liberties spelled out in the Bill of Rights for granted. This is especially true of freedom of religion in which the First Amendment protects “the free exercise thereof” while at the same time prohibiting “an establishment of religion” to ensure that neither a state nor the federal government can stipulate a specific religion as the “official” one.

The earliest Americans came here to avoid persecution for their beliefs and created a nation in which tolerance of other faiths was an established virtue.

All of the major religions of the world condemn homosexuality and prohibit same-sex marriage. While homosexuality has gained a measure of tolerance in America many if not most Americans do not accept same-sex marriage as a “right” that can be found in the U.S. Constitution.

In the March 9 edition of the National Review, one news item noted that “The sheer brazenness of President Obama’s dissembling on gay marriage—confirmed by David Axelrod in a new book—might gall even the most hard-bitten of cynics.”

“Obama, Axelrod writes, ‘was in favor of same-sex marriages during the first presidential campaign, even as (he) publicly said he only supported civil unions, not full marriages’, but he could not admit as much for fear of losing black churchgoers. Thus it was confirmed that the ‘change’ candidate had fallen back on a ‘sacred’ religious belief he claimed to be representing, in furtherance of a policy that he now openly describes as a ‘civil right.’ There is a word for this sort of conduct. But it is not ‘hope’.”

The word is “liar”, but after six years of Obama, anyone paying any attention knows that he lies routinely and constantly no matter what the topic may be.

He lied repeatedly to secure support for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. Passed into law by Democratic Party votes—no Republicans voted for it—the so-called contraceptive mandate has created many problems for Christians and others who are pro-life. In a similar fashion, many people of faith oppose same-sex marriage.

Cover - Religious Freedom in AmericaA new book, “Religious Freedom in America: Constitutional Roots and Contemporary Challenges”, edited by Allen D. Hertzke of the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, calls religion “an exceedingly messy area of constitutional law…because the boundaries of religion, state, and society are complex and ever shifting.”

For most Americans there is no shift in their view of marriage as a sacred rite exclusively between a man and woman. One can read the Old and New Testaments from start to finish and find no justification for same-sex marriage. From its earliest days civilization throughout the world has never deemed same-sex marriage lawful, but Americans are being told by its courts that the Constitution does.

The Founders who wrote the Constitution would be astonished to learn this.

As Mary Nussbaum wrote in the Summer 2009 edition of Dissent, “Government plays a key role in all three aspects of marriage. It confers and administers benefits. It seems, at least, to operate as an agent of recognition or the granting of dignity. And it forms alliances with religious bodies.”

“Clergy are always among those entitled to perform legally binding marriages. Religions may refuse to marry people who are eligible for state marriage and they may also agree to marry people who are ineligible for state marriage. But much of the officially sanctioned marrying currently done in the United States is done on religious premises by religious personnel. What they are solemnizing (when there is a license granted by the state) is, however, not only a religious ritual, but also a public rite of passage, the entry into a privileged civic status.” (Emphasis added)

When the Defense of Marriage Act was being debated, Sen. Richard Byrd (D-WVA) said:

“[T]hroughout the annals of human experience, in dozens of civilizations and cultures of varying value systems, humanity has discovered that the permanent relationship between men and women is a keystone to the stability, strength, and health of human society—a relationship worthy of legal recognition and judicial protection.” (Emphasis added)

That is what’s at stake. Homosexuals have been offered “civil unions” granting them access to the government benefits that “marriage” provides, but they have regarded this as stigmatizing and degrading. They have insisted that society change and, for most who hold a strong religious faith, that is impossible for the reasons stated by Sen. Byrd.

AA - catholic-weddingMs. Nussbaum concludes saying, “The future of marriage looks, in one way, a lot like its past. People will continue to unite, form families, have children, and, sometimes, split up. What the Constitution dictates, however, is that whatever the state decides to do in this area will be done on a basis of equality. Government cannot exclude any group of citizens from the civil benefits or the expressive dignities of marriage without a compelling public interest.”

So, the 14th Amendment that guarantees the “equal protection of the law” will encompass the demand that citizens of the same sex can marry even if religions and those who see this as a threat to a well-ordered society disagree.

Religions in America, many of whom administer charities, maintain colleges and universities, and serve people of all faiths have encountered a world of problems following the passage of ObamaCare. They are also being challenged in schools and academia, and being told that any form of public prayer is unacceptable.

Here are just a few examples:

  • In 2006, Boston’s Catholic Charities shut down its historical adoption program after the State of Massachusetts refused their “conscience accommodation” in its licensing requirements. The same year, Morristown, New York began prosecuting Amish home-builders for code violations.
  • In 2009, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission ruled that Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina violated discrimination laws by not offering birth control in its health plan coverage. A family court in Laconia, New Hampshire ordered a Christian mother to stop home schooling her daughter because she “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith.”
  • In 2010, the Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C., shut down its foster care program because of mandates that violated church teaching. The following year three Illinois diocese adoption and foster care programs were shut down.
  • In 2011 Alabama law made it illegal for churches to serve undocumented immigrants, including baptisms, hearing confessions, anointing the sick, giving marriage counseling and providing Sunday school, Bible studies, or even providing Alcoholics Anonymous a place to meet.
  • In 2012 through 2014, facing huge fines for violating religious principles, more than 300 religious institutions and businesses filed lawsuits against the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate.

As Hertzke noted, “A key measure of a free society, in sum, is the extent to which people are not forced to choose between sacred duties and citizenship privileges or obligations. This is what makes religious freedom foundational to the American constitutional order.”

In 1993 Congress seemed to have agreed. It passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which states that “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a restrictive means of furthering” a “compelling government interest.” It was signed into law by President Clinton. Four years later, the Supreme Court struck down its core in Boerne v. Flores. It ruled that RFRA was unconstitutional when applied to state and local governments, but upheld it when applied to the federal government.

Issues such as ObamaCare’s contraception mandate and same-sex marriage raise vital questions about individual religious faith and the government’s right to determine societal standards.

The question of whether religion in America is losing the battle for historical and traditional moral standards is one that affects people of faith and the society as a whole.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

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Pope Francis: “You can’t make a toy out of the religions of others…In freedom of expression there are limits”

The Pope is speaking generally of religions here, but clearly he is only talking about one religion, and not his own. For those who insult the Pope’s religion, and there are many, have no reason to “expect a punch” from believers, and the Pope must be aware of that. Moreover, in these remarks he flatly contradicts himself. He says: “Everyone has not only the freedom and the right but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good … we have the right to have this freedom openly without offending.” “Without offending”?

So the freedom, right and obligation to say what one thinks for the common good ends wherever someone else takes offense? But what if the offense is unreasonable or unwarranted? Is the fact that some people get offended to the point of murderous rage over a handful of cartoons really sufficient reason to curtail the freedom, right and obligation of others to say what they think for the common good? Then any tyrant can silence his critics by claiming that he is offended, and we will be ruled over, and indeed tyrannized, by the perpetually offended. And that is pretty much the situation we are heading toward these days.

“After Paris attacks, Pope speaks out against insulting religions,” by Philip Pullella, Reuters, January 15, 2015:

(Reuters) – Pope Francis, speaking of last week’s deadly attacks by Islamist militants in Paris, has defended freedom of expression, but said it was wrong to provoke others by insulting their religion and that one could “expect” a reaction to such abuse.

“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters on Thursday, aboard a plane taking him from Sri Lanka to the Philippines to start the second leg off his Asian tour.

Francis, who has condemned the Paris attacks, was asked about the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

“I think both freedom of religion and freedom of expression are both fundamental human rights,” he said, adding that he was talking specifically about the Paris killings.

“Everyone has not only the freedom and the right but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good … we have the right to have this freedom openly without offending,” he said.

To illustrate his point, he turned to an aide and said: “It is true that you must not react violently, but although we are good friends if (he) says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch, it’s normal.

“You can’t make a toy out of the religions of others,” he added. “These people provoke and then (something can happen). In freedom of expression there are limits.”

Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence that began with a shooting attack on the political weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions.

Referring to past religious wars, such as the Crusades sanctioned by the Catholic Church against Islam, the Pope said:

“Let’s consider our own history. How many wars of religion have we had? Even we were sinners but you can’t kill in the name of God. That is an aberration.”…

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The Deadly Paris Terror Attack and the Myth of Religion

“Another attack in the name of religion,” I heard someone say after the vicious and vile Wednesday assault on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo. And there is a huge problem with “religion.” But it’s not what you think.

Question: When the Nazis, Stalinists, Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path or the Weathermen committed violence, did we lament, “Another attack in the name of ideology”? Did we hear “Ideology is the problem”? That would be about as helpful as going to a doctor with a dreadful illness and, upon asking him what the problem is, his responding “Your state of health.”

Like ideology, religion is a category, not a creed. As with states of health, which occupy a continuum from excellent to awful, they both contain the good, the bad and the ugly. But modern man, not wanting to place an onus on a faith or seem a “religious” chauvinist, is a bad physician who refuses to name the disease or the cure. So depending on how he is emotionally disposed, we may hear utterances such as “Children need some religion” or “Religion breeds violence.” Ancient Aztec children had “religion,” and they learned well how to sacrifice thousands of innocents a year to Quetzalcoatl on bloody altars. And Amish children have “religion,” and peace and charity define them.

Conservatives exhibit this problem as well. So many will say “Islam is not a religion; it’s a destructive all-encompassing ideology,” or some variation thereof. They treat “religion,” that broad category, as if it’s good by definition. Not that this isn’t understandable. Raised in a relativistic and pluralistic (and these two qualities have a bearing on one another) society, they want to get along with their neighbors; so they tacitly accept an unwritten agreement stating “I won’t say my religion is better than yours if you don’t say yours is better than mine. We’ll just be even-steven!” The trouble is that this solves nothing — and its implications are more dangerous than jihad.

Starting out simply, note that most of the “religions” man has known were more in the nature of the Aztecs’ bloody faith than what we generally embrace today. But many will assert that this is the point: can’t we say all our mainstream faiths are “good,” practically speaking? Can’t we just omit from their category any “religion” not considered good? Well, we can say and do many things, but ideas have consequences. And a civilization with a corrupted philosophical foundation will not long stand.

Consider another question: what makes some ideologies better than others? It’s that they espouse different values. But what of “religions”?

They also espouse different values.

(And not all values are virtues.)

Thus, not all “religions” can be morally equal unless all values are so. This is important to understand. Every time we treat “religions” as if they are all morally equal, every time we spread that idea explicitly or implicitly — no matter how good our intentions — we’re transmitting the notion that all values are equal. And consider what follows from this: if all values are equal, how can peace be better than jihad?

How could respect for life be better than disdain for it?

How could Western law be better than Sharia law?

How could the Sisters of Charity be better than ISIS?

Of course, this means all ideologies would have to be equal as well, from Nazism to Marxism to conservatism to liberalism to libertarianism. Upon embracing relativism, you have no sound intellectual foundation from which to critique or combat anything (though you can certainly fake one without blinking, as relativism deems deception no worse than sincerity).

Why does this matter? Because this relativism has robbed us of an intellectual argument for defending Western civilization (“How could it be better than any other?” asks Professor Larebil). It is the philosophical fifth column that has opened the door to destructive, unassimilable foreign elements via multiculturalism. As to this, multiculturalism states that all cultures are morally equal. But it’s as with “religion” and ideology: since different cultures espouse different values, not all cultures could be morally equal unless all values were so. It is pure and utter nonsense, a phenomenon of modern times, but, of course, moderns in the main believe it. In fact, the Barna Group research company reported in 2002 in “Americans Are Most Likely to Base Truth on Feelings” that only six percent of teenagers believe “moral truth is absolute.” But it’s an apple that has fallen not far from the burning tree and just a little closer to Perdition — only 22 percent of adults believe in moral absolutes, Barna found, and I think that figure is generous. And this baby philosophy of relativism, my friends, as I’ve been telling you for years and years and years, is why we’re collapsing.

Now let’s return to something mentioned earlier: the criticism of Islam for not being a “religion” but a whole system for living. This misses the point that your “religion,” if true, is supposed to be a whole system for living. And this also brings me to why I have religiously placed “religion” in quotation marks.

This distinction between “religious” and “secular” is largely a false one.

There is only one distinction that truly matters: the true and the untrue.

“Secular” and “religious,” especially in the sense we use them, are relatively modern terms. There was a time when beliefs were not “secular” or “religious” — or even liberal or conservative, or right or left — but simply true or untrue.

And this is the only perspective that makes sense. Think about it: if God exists, is it significant that we call recognition of this reality “religious” or that it’s true? If communism is essentially false, is it significant that we call recognition of that reality “secular” or that it’s untrue? There is only Truth and everything else — and everything else, no matter how you dress it up linguistically, is nothing at all.

In a way, pusillanimous moderns are much like pious Muslims. Muslim theology entertains the curious notion of “dual truth,” the idea that what may be true “religiously” may not be true in nature. This silliness was rejected by Western thinkers in the Middle Ages; now, however, something smacking of it has been embraced by their descendants, who may say things such as “A little ‘religion’ is okay, as long as you don’t go overboard.” Or they may compartmentalize faith, thinking it must be left outside the government-building door or even relegate it to one hour a week of “worship services,” as if it’s mere recreation or an unhealthful indulgence only to be taken in moderation. But if your faith is the Truth — if it reflects the will of the Creator of the Universe — you have an obligation to govern yourself, and infuse your every institution, with it. And if it be a lie, it belongs nowhere but the bowels of Hell.

Of course, if, like most Americans, we believe everything is relative, then none of this matters. Then tolerance and intolerance, multiculturalism and cultural chauvinism, charity and barbarity, the “religious” and the “secular” are all equal. And then those darkly clad men with AK-47s in Paris on Wednesday couldn’t really have been “wrong.” They just had a different perspective.

If we don’t really believe this, then it’s time to grow up. It’s time to understand that if everything is relative, then what we say is relative, too, and thus meaningless. So let’s talk about what is meaningful. We can start by accepting that culture isn’t bad, but there are better and worse cultures. “Religion” isn’t bad, but there is bad “religion.” And tolerance, correctly defined as the abiding of perceived negatives, isn’t bad — except when those perceived negatives are objectively negative and, instead of just being tolerated, could actually be wiped out. Willful tolerance of evil is evil itself.

The Muslims have bad “religion.” We have bad philosophy. Both our civilizations believe in things that are untrue. It’s the “tolerant” meeting the intolerable, a match made in Hell — and poised to create exactly that on Earth.

EDITORS NOTE: Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

When presidents say Islam is a religion of peace, “the average American thinks this is crap”

It is good to see that this discussion took place at all, as usually it is foreclosed with charges that even to broach it is “Islamophobic.” But as usual, it was held on a quite superficial level, with Michael Gerson throwing out knee-jerk moral equivalence arguments that don’t appear to have been addressed adequately. Neither Gerson nor Abrams appear to have gotten into the actual teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah, and without that, discussions like these will always whirl around in the ether with attempts to compare the virulence of various atrocities and acts of violence, and get nowhere.

“Should Presidents Call Islam a ‘Religion of Peace?’ Two George W. Bush Officials Debate,” by Napp Nazworth, Christian Post, November 21, 2014:

MIAMI BEACH — Two former George W. Bush administration officials, Elliot Abrams and Michael Gerson, debated Monday whether it is appropriate for presidents to call Islam a religion of peace.

What is authentic Islam? Is ISIS an authentic form of Islam, or is it not? I think it’s very important that the United States government shut-up about that question,” Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, declared at the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Faith Angle Forum.

It used to annoy me enormously when President [George W.] Bush, for whom I was working, would say, ‘Islam is a religion of peace,’” continued Abrams, who served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser.

Abrams was speaking on a panel, “Religious Conflict and the Future of the Middle East,” with Shadi Hamid, a fellow with the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

The “real response” to Bush, and later President Barack Obama, declaring the Islam is a religion of peace, he said, should be “where is their theology degree from?”

“For American government officials to be telling Muslims, ‘I know real Islam’ … is ridiculous,” he added. “… It would be an outrage about Judaism and Christianity as well. … For government officials who are 99 percent Christians to be trying to find what is authentic in Islam seems to me to be a fool’s errand.”

Abrams’ comments came during the question and answer session and were not part of his prepared remarks. The whole session lasted about three hours and he made similar remarks later in the session in response to another reporter’s question.

When presidents say Islam is a religion of peace, “the average American thinks this is crap,” he said, because the average American reasons that “the only people doing the beheadings are Muslims, so don’t tell me it’s all wonderful.”

It would be better, Abrams continued, for political leaders to ask, “is there something in Islam that has led some Muslims to behave in a way we consider to be terrible? And what’s the debate within Islam?” Because, “that’s a real description of a real problem,” but, “saying ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ isn’t [realistic].”

After those remarks, Gerson asked for the floor to offer a different point of view.

“We do praise Christianity as a religion of peace on Christmas, we do praise Judaism as a religion of courage on Hanukah and other things. We praise Islam. And every president from now on will praise Islam on religious holidays because their are millions of peaceful citizens who hold this view,” he said.

Gerson was a speechwriter for Bush and may have helped craft the statements that Abrams found objectionable. He now works as a columnist for The Washington Post.

Presidential statements about Islam as a peaceful religion is not only proper due to the many peaceful Muslims who are American citizens, Gerson continued, it is also “theologically sophisticated” because presidents should promote the cause of those who hold values consistent with democratic governance, and this is not unique to Islam.

“Every religious tradition,” he said, “has forces of tribalism and violence in its history, background and theology; and, every religious tradition has sources of respect for the other. And you emphasize, as a political leader, one at the expense of the other in the cause of democracy.

“That is a great American tradition that we have done with every religious tradition that comes to the United States — include them as part of a natural enterprise and praise them for their strongly held religious views, and emphasize those portions that are most compatible with those ideals.”

Abrams countered that Islam is different due to its relationship to terrorists. By calling Islam a “religion of peace” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Abrams said, Bush was “basically lying about the problem,” because, … the terrorists “view themselves as good Muslims.”

“How is that exclusively a problem with Islam?” Gerson responded, then mentioned other religious groups, such as Christians in Nigeria, who commit violence in the name of their faith.

Where?

Part of the role of political leaders, Gerson reiterated, is to acknowledge the parts of every religious tradition that “encourage respect for the other.”

Abrams conceded Gerson’s point but maintained that presidents are not doing that when they call Islam a religion of peace because the presidential statements lack the nuance of Gerson’s argument.

“I think you’re being much more sophisticated than the political statements that have been made, which are blanket statements that say, ‘this has nothing to do with Islam,’” he told Gerson.

“Well, it does have something to do with Islam … even if it is a perversion of it, it has something to do with it, and the sophistication of that statement I think would be interesting to hear from a political leader, but we have not had that.”

A similar debate between actor Ben Affleck and comedian Bill Maher recently gained national attention. Affleck accused Maher of being “gross,” “disgusting” and “racist” for claiming that most Muslims are unsupportive of Democratic norms.

That debate, however, saw both sides paint Islam with broad brushes. The Faith Angle Forum panel, on the other hand, highlighted the complicatedness of the religion and politics issues within Islam and especially in the Middle East.

“It was nice to see Ben Affleck defend Muslims,” said Hamid, an American Muslim, during his prepared remarks. “It was well intentioned and a lot of us were cheering him on because no one defends Muslims in the public sphere. At the same time, Ben Affleck’s analysis was a bit superficial. … I do think Islam is distinctive in how it relates to politics but I don’t think that is necessarily good or bad, I think it just is.”

Freedom OF Religion, Not Freedom FROM Religion

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution do not abandon religion, they embrace it. They do not, however, require that Americans believe in God, nor punish them for failing to do so.

Central to the liberties enshrined in these documents is the belief that they come from a higher power and America exists because of that belief. Without it there would have been no America. There are those among us who insist that, as a nation, we abandon faith in God and, if we do, America will cease to be a power for good in the world.

First-Amendment-Religious-Freedom-610x400When Thomas Jefferson presented the Declaration to those who would pledge their lives and their sacred honor to achieve independence from England John Adams asked that it include the words “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” after the phrase “all men are created equal” and Benjamin Franklin agreed, suggesting that “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” be added as well.” In their 2004 book, “Under God” by Toby Mac and Michael Tait, said “The changes demonstrated Congress’s strong reliance upon God—as delegates added the words “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions.”

Aware of the dangers inherent in a state religion, the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” followed by freedom of speech, the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance.” There is no state religion in America, but reflecting the values that created it, its leaders have always acknowledged a greater power than government, the belief in God.

There would be no America if the Pilgrims who established Plymouth, Massachusetts had not left England in the quest for their right to worship as they wished, reflecting the Protestant Reformation. Another early settlement, Jamestown, was a business venture by investors to obtain wealth. Jamestown failed and Plymouth is with us today.

I am not a religious person per se, but I do believe in God. Always have and always will. I don’t insist that anyone else has to and neither do our founding documents. They do, however, acknowledge God and sought His protection to create a new nation; a republic with clearly stated protections for all its citizens.

There are, however, those who insist that any reference to God be removed from public documents and recognition. The leader among them is the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their most recent lawsuit is against the U.S. Treasury Department claiming they are discriminating against non-believers by including the phrase “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency. Their claim is that the government is prohibited from endorsing religion over non-religion.

“In God We Trust” on U.S. coins was first approved by Congress during the Civil War in 1864. In 1956, Congress passed a resolution to recognize the words officially as the national motto, replacing the de facto phrase, “E Pluribus Unum” and it has appeared on U.S. currency since 1957.

The Foundation’s intention is to make any acknowledgement of God illegal by any public institution. If that is true, then we might was well tear up the Declaration and Constitution. Atheists are not content to not believe in God, they insist that everyone else not believe as well. That is a form of tyranny we must not permit to exist in America.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation specializes in lawsuits to advance what it calls the separation of church and state, but this principle is enshrined in the Constitution along with the right to freely exercise one’s faith. Its lawsuits are designed to destroy religion in America. In 2012 the Foundation had total contributions of $2,726,316. Nearly 90% was devoted to its attack on the freedom of religion.

In 2013, the Huffington Post reported that in the past six years the Foundation’s paid membership had increased 130 percent. It was estimated at “nearly 20,000” members. Its co-president, Laurie Gaylor, said that recent high-profile legal victories had increased the foundation’s popularity.

There is still strong support in Congress for the freedom of religion. In 1993 it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act aimed at preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. It was signed into law by President Clinton. In 1997 the Supreme Court found that it was unconstitutional if applied to states, ruling that it was not a proper exercise of Congress’s enforcement power. It does, however, still apply to the federal government. In response, some states passed their own religious freedom restoration acts.

The Act was recently cited by the Supreme Court that ruled that closely held companies may be exempted from a government requirement to include contraceptives in employee health insurance coverage if it contravenes their belief in the sanctity of life.

There are millions more Americans who belong to various religious faiths and who believe that America must protect their right to exercise their faith. A relatively small Freedom From Religion Foundation will continue to use the courts to impose their atheistic views on any public institution. They must be resisted if America is to remain a citadel to the world as a place where people of faith can live together and exercise the tolerance that the atheists will not.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

DOJ: Terrorists now control terrorist investigations, no-religious profiling!

I receive all Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) newsletters. Today ISNA sent out a newsletter pertaining to their petitioning the Department of Justice (DOJ) to no longer consider religion in their investigations.

What does this mean? It means Islamic based terrorist supporters such as ISNA and CAIR continue to control Islamic terrorist investigations by our top investigative agencies.

Whether on 9/11, at Ft. Hood, the Trolley Square Mall Murders, the Boston Marathon bombing and a dozen other murderous attacks by Islamic terrorists in the name of Islam have soiled our beautiful country with the blood of thousands of Americans through their hate and violence. Hate and violence is Islam.

As a former U.S. Federal Agent my hands would be tied if I were investigating for instance the Ft. Hood murders by a Muslim named Major Malik Hasan. Although Hasan shouted throughout his court hearings he acted in the name of Islam, I would not be able to report this in my investigation.

U.S. Federal Agents cannot protect our country from Islamic based terrorist attacks if they have to ignore and omit the name of Islam in their investigations.

One need only look around the world at the violence and wars being fought. Islamic murderers are killing innocent people around the world as they have done for 1400 years.

During the ‘Mapping Sharia Project‘ and on my own research I have been to over 250 mosques in America. They are putting out violent material in over 75% of the 2300 mosques scattered across our country. This is just one example of what is put out from Brooklyn, NY at the mosque bookstore of Imam Siraj Wahhaj. He is often called by Congress to provide their opening prayers!

Read below what ISNA put out today.

From ISNA: 22 Jan 2014…ISNA Cautiously Hopeful on New DOJ Position on Racial Profiling:

(PLAINFIELD, IN, 1/20/14)The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said it is cautiously hopeful with the recent announcement from U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that it will revise its policies of profiling to include prohibiting agents from considering religion in their investigations.

“The Quran says, ‘God commands justice and fair dealing…’ (16:90),” says ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid. “On the occasion of the holiday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who dreamed one day that ‘people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’ we are cautiously hopeful that the Justice Department’s new policy will put this into practice by ending racial and religious profiling.”

In 2012, ISNA was among 35 organizations to send a joint letter to the Senate Subcommittee in support of the hearing to “End Racial Profiling in America.”

SEE: Senate Holds Hearing to Discuss “Ending Racial Profiling in America

ISNA previously submitted testimony for the Subcommittee’s hearing on the issue of broad-based discrimination against American Muslims the year before.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.

I urge every American to call law enforcement agencies assigned to DOJ and demand they return to protecting innocent Americans and stop standing up for Islamic terror supporters like CAIR and ISNA.  Call your Senators and Congressmen.  You do not have to be nice and respectful to them as many conservative action leaders urge you to do.  These people work for you…the American citizen.  They do not work for non profit IRS sponsored Islamic organizations.

Scream at the top of your lungs demanding they protect America and our children’s future.  If you don’t, no one will.

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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?