Weekly Musing 4-5-15
He has risen…
The Left wages total war and then plays victim
Religious liberty is the terms of surrender the Right is requesting in the culture war. It is conservative America saying to the cultural and political elites, you have your gay marriage, your no-fault divorce, your obscene music and television, your indoctrinating public schools and your abortion-on-demand. May we please be allowed to not participate in these?
But no. Tolerance isn’t the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception.
Apparently Tolerance is out?!? The Culture War We’re in.
This culture war we’re in is slow and subtle. It’s not always as loud and as obvious as the counterculture was. The purpose of the counterculture was to shatter the dominant culture. Once that was done, the culture could be slowly cannibalized at will until the counterculture became the culture. And then it was no longer about freedom or free anything, those were the disruptive tools used to drive youth recruitment with a facade of anarchy, and it became about conformity and control. This culture of conformity and control is still being sold as ‘rebellious’ when it’s just the establishment. We no longer have a culture. We have a counterculture that occasionally masquerades as the culture. But it’s not over yet. A culture war destroys the culture of the other side because that is the source of its values. To completely destroy the other side, its values must be destroyed as an abstract, its organization must be destroyed to prevent those values from being conveyed and the individual’s own values must be destroyed, in that order. Destroying the values of every single individual is the most difficult part of this project. Destroying values as an abstract idea is the easiest. That’s why the left has made its greatest gains there.
Indiana’s Law Is Not the Return of Jim Crow The federal RFRA was passed in 1993, in response to a Supreme Court decision holding that Native Americans weren’t exempt from anti-drug laws barring the use of peyote, even for religious ceremonies.
In response, Congress passed a law barring the government from putting a burden on religious practice without a compelling state interest. If someone feels their religious rights have been violated, they can go to court and make their case. That’s it. Jim Crow laws forced people to discriminate. RFRA doesn’t force anybody to do anything. The original RFRA was a good and just law championed by then-representative Chuck Schumer and opposed by right-wing bogeyman Jesse Helms. It passed the Senate 97-3 and was signed by President Bill Clinton. In 1997, the Supreme Court held that RFRA was too broad and could not be applied to states. So, various state governments passed their own versions. Twenty states have close to the same version as the federal government’s, and a dozen more have similar rules in their constitutions.
These states include such anti-gay bastions as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois, where, as a state senator, Barack Obama voted in favor of the law. The law says nothing about gays and was most famously used to keep the Obama administration from forcing Hobby Lobby and nuns from paying for certain kinds of abortion-inducing birth control. “This big gay freak-out is purely notional,” according to legal writer Gabriel Malor (who is gay). “No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in 20 years of RFRAs nationwide.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416248/indianas-law-not-return-jim-crow-jonah-goldberg
Liberals against Religious Liberty in Indiana Indiana has adopted a state-level version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), thereby imposing a “strict scrutiny” legal standard when the state government or local powers pass laws that interfere with the free exercise of religion. For this, Governor Mike Pence and Indiana’s legislators have been denounced as gay-hating monsters, a claim that was never made about President Bill Clinton, who signed the federal RFRA, or about the people and powers of such liberal states as Connecticut, which is one of the 20 states with a RFRA. Another dozen or so states have constitutional provisions similar to those in RFRA. Indiana’s law is controversial for two possible reasons.
The first is political: Democrats, unhappily laboring under the largest Republican congressional majority since before the New Deal, are looking to pick fights over issues such as gay rights, abortion, and environmental regulation, believing that this will help their fund-raising and invigorate their demoralized partisans. The second reason might be more substantive: Indiana’s law, like some other state RFRAs (but unlike the federal statute, which has been interpreted in different ways by different courts), expressly states that it allows religious practice to be raised as a defense not only when the government is a party to the controversy but also in litigation undertaken by private parties under state law — including laws that prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. Which is to say, this is another skirmish in the endless battle of the Big Gay Wedding Cake. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416152/liberals-against-religious-liberty-indiana-editors
Just a Piece of Paper – Obama got his deal, but can he trust Iran to keep its word?
Any deal that preserves Iran’s current nuclear infrastructure and allows it to continue its progress toward becoming a nuclear power should be dead on arrival in Congress, in the British Parliament, in the Duma and just about any other important place. Obama is doing America and the world no favors if he assumes he can trust the mullahs.
It would be nice to believe the committee and others who have panned the agreement are wrong, but it would be foolish to presume so. Whether it ultimately makes Obama and Kerry worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize (which would be the president’s second) or secures for them places in the hall of global goats, their pictures hanging next to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, is something we are all going to have to wait to find out – if we live that long. On the other hand, that may just be how we find out we were wrong to have placed our trust in the Iranian despots because of signatures on a piece of paper rather than on concrete, verifiable actions.
Great White Hope: Why Some Dems Are Moving Right
Republicans are debating whether their path to the presidency in 2016 runs through the blue-collar Rust Belt states, or the demographically changing new South and Sunbelt states. For Democrats looking to retake the Senate, however, the formula is more clear-cut: Win back white working-class voters, or be consigned to a longer-term minority.
Most of the Senate battlegrounds run through the Midwest—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio—along with New Hampshire, which carries demographic similarities with those older, whiter Great Lakes states. To defeat the vulnerable Republican incumbents, Democrats have a challenging task ahead: Making inroads with blue-collar voters, who have been stubbornly resistant to the party’s agenda since Barack Obama’s time as president.
It’s no coincidence that Democrats are turning to candidates with biographies tailored to appeal to this constituency. Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth announced her candidacy Monday against Sen. Mark Kirk by touting her working-class upbringing and service in the military. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who represented a blue-collar district in the House, is the expected Democratic nominee against Sen. Rob Portman. Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, a populist who championed campaign-finance reform during his last Senate tenure, is eyeing a comeback against the businessman who defeated him in 2010. And former three-star Navy Admiral Joe Sestak, a former two-term congressman from the working-class Philadelphia suburbs, is an early front-runner to face a rematch against Sen. Pat Toomey.
A Democrats Perspective: America’s Hinge Moment – Presidential politics in 2016 will reflect the shifting reality of America.
Despite the upheaval Americans are experiencing, voting patterns in presidential elections have remained virtually unchanged for the past 25 years—with the majority of states voting the same way in the last six elections. That’s not unexpected, even at a time of great change, because elections, in fact, historically have served as lagging indicators—not leading ones—of the direction of the country. Rather than forecasting the future, election results help us make better sense of the past.
The current era in presidential politics has been defined by deep partisan divisions over the same issues and static voting behavior tied to race, ethnicity, gender, age and geography. Even though Democrats have won the popular vote in five out of the past six presidential elections, they have only once been able to get more than 51 percent of the vote.
Now, though, there are signs that the transformation is starting to pick up steam in our elections. Even though we have yet to feel the full impact at the ballot box we’re nearing a shift that will signal an inevitable political earthquake.
Years from now we are going to look back at this period of time and see it as a “hinge” moment, a term Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson used to describe a connection point that ties two historical periods in time, one before and one afterwards.
The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050
The religious profile of the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions, as well as by people switching faiths. Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion. If current trends continue, by 2050 …
The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.
Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.
The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.
In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population.
India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia.
In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.
Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.
These are among the global religious trends highlighted in new demographic projections by the Pew Research Center. The projections take into account the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.
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