This is a portmanteau post, filled with interesting things I read today, some of which come in neatly matched sets.
Opening today’s San Francisco Moronicle, the first thing I saw was that an illegal teen’s arrest is causing a stir in San Francisco’s halls of power. You see, San Francisco is a sanctuary city, and its official policy is to refuse to allow police to notify the federal government when arrestees prove to be illegal immigrants. As has happened before, one of those nice legal illegal immigrants is, in fact, a cold-blooded murderer. This particular 15 year old is accused of having held the two victims in place so that his compadres c0uld execute them. The hoo-ha is happening because someone in City government, disgusted by the legal travesty that encourages people like this to make themselves free of our cities and our country, reported the kid to the INS, which is now on the case. The liberals in the City ask “How dare a San Francisco employee help enforce federal immigration law?” My question, of course, is a little different: “Why doesn’t the fed withdraw every single penny of funding from sanctuary cities?” After all, I was raised to believe that he who pays the piper calls the tune.
As you’re thinking about the above travesty of law and justice (and the two dead kids executed in San Francisco), take a few minutes to read this American Thinker article about California’s self-immolation, a Democratic autodestruct sequence driven, in part, by the state’s embrace of illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants place a huge economic burden on California’s already over-taxed individuals and businesses.
The next Moronicle article that drew my eye was about the ongoing Prop. 8 trial taking place in San Francisco. As you recall, Prop. 8 reflected the will of California voters, who wanted to affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman. Prop. 8′s opponents are trying to prove that voters had impure thoughts when they cast their ballots, making the entire proposition an illegal exercise of unconstitutional prejudice. Prop. 8 backers are arguing that you can support traditional marriage (as President Obama has claimed to do), without harboring bad thoughts about the GLBT community.
As you think about the ramifications of that lawsuit, I’d like to introduce you to Chai R. Feldblum, who is President Obama’s nominee to the EEOC. She has a law professor at Georgetown, who really thinks that people’s brains should be purged of evil thoughts, especially evil religious thoughts:
Chai Feldblum, the Georgetown University law professor nominated by President Obama to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has written that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, that may negatively affect homosexual “equality.”
“Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people,” the Georgetown law professor argued.
Feldblum’s admittedly “radical” view is based on what she sees as a “zero-sum game” between religious freedom and the homosexual agenda, where “a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side.”
“For those who believe that a homosexual or bisexual orientation is not morally neutral, and that an individual who acts on his or her homosexual orientation is acting in a sinful or harmful manner (to himself or herself and to others), it is problematic when the government passes a law that gives such individuals equal access to all societal institutions,” Feldblum wrote.
“Conversely, for those who believe that any sexual orientation, including a homosexual or bisexual orientation, is morally neutral, and that an individual who acts on his or her homosexual or bisexual orientation acts in an honest and good manner, it is problematic when the government fails to pass laws providing equality to such individuals.”
Feldblum argues that in order for “gay rights” to triumph in this “zero-sum game,” the constitutional rights of all Americans should be placed on a “spectrum” so they can be balanced against legitimate government duties.
All beliefs should be equal, regardless of their source, Feldblum says. “A belief derived from a religious faith should be accorded no more weight—and no less weight—than a belief derived from a non-religious source.” According to Feldman, the source of a person’s belief – be it God, spiritual energy, or the five senses – “has no relevance.”
Feldblum does recognize that elements of the homosexual agenda may infringe on Americans’ religious liberties. However, Feldblum argues that society should “come down on the side” of homosexual equality at the expense of religious liberty. Because the conflict between the two is “irreconcilable,” religious liberty — which she also calls “belief liberty” — must be placed second to the “identity liberty” of homosexuals.
“And, in making the decision in this zero sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people,” she wrote.
I don’t think Harry Truman would have understood or appreciated Feldblum’s effort to quash religious freedom in the U.S. He was someone who was able to separate his acts from his prejudices in all the right ways. As I like to tell my children, he was a racist who integrated the American military; and an anti-Semite who helped create the State of Israel.
I believe all people should be treated equally under the law. I do not believe, though, that this means that religions should be wiped out, or that Americans should be subject to the thought-police so that their impure ideology is brought in line with the identity politics of the left. I believe most Americans are capable of being Harry Truman: that is, they can recognize that their own personal prejudices against a lifestyle, a skin color or a religion, cannot be elevated to legal doctrine. One of my problems with Islamists is that they’re no Harry Trumans. They want to do away with the rule of law and, instead, substitute their 6th Century desert theocratic code.
Moving on, at this weekend’s soccer games, the other moms and I were speaking about a gal who is quite possibly the worst teacher in middle school. She’s a lousy teacher, which is bad enough, but one can layer over that the fact that she is vindictive, mean-spirited and lazy. Everyone I know has vociferously complained about her to the school administration. And yet there is is. She’s too young to have tenure, so I asked, rhetorically, why don’t they just fire her? One mom’s answer told everything we need to know: “The union makes it impossible to fire people.”
At least one union leader, at least, is trying to make it so that the American Federation of Teachers is less of a tyrannical dictatorship holding children as hostage, and more of an institution aimed at helping to educate children. I don’t think Randi Weingarten is going to turn unions around, nor will she much change my opinion of unions. Historically, I think unions were necessary and important. In certain low-wage, low-skill, low-education fields (meat packing springs to mind), I still think they’re potentially useful. Overall, though, I have a deep dislike for unions that goes back to my dad’s years as a member of the various teachers’ unions controlling California public schools. The unions did minimal work helping to raise my Dad’s wage (he earned $21,000 annually in 1987, the year he retired), but were excellent at (1) kick-backs to administrators, who got great wages; (2) beginning what became the profound devaluation in the quality of California’s education; and (3) making sure that bad, insane and malevolent teachers were impossible fire.
Other unionized businesses are just as bad. Hospital worker unions make a certain amount of sense. The 24 hour a day nature of a hospital makes it easy to abuse nurses and other care givers. However, when I was a young college student who got a summer job in the virology lab (an interesting time, since AIDS was first appearing on the radar as a series of bizarre diseases in gay men), I took over for a secretary who was leaving on maternity leave. Although a secretary, she was unionized too, which explained why, despite disposing of old sandwiches in her file cabinet, and being incapable of getting her researcher bosses to the medical publishers (a primary part of her job description), she could not be fired. This was not for want of trying. It was simply that the unions had made it impossible to fire people like her. They’d also made it impossible to fire people like the nurse I had many years later who, the first night after I’d had major abdominal surgery, refused to give me any painkillers and isolated me from any other caregivers. Apparently I had said something that offended her. Sadly, this was not her first time playing this kind of sadistic game. But there she was, thanks to the unions.
On a more cheerful note, guns don’t kill people, guns rescue people from sinking cars.
And lastly, Steve Schippert highly recommends today’s Daily Briefing at Threats Watch, so I do too.
UPDATE: Please visit A Conservative Lesbian for a thoughtful take on the nexus between religious belief and gay rights. No knee jerk liberalism here; instead, a good analysis about religious freedom and minority rights.