Category Archives: Life is Not a Bumper Sticker

Why Getting Upset Over “All Lives Matter” is Counterproductive

Saw this video … “What’s Wrong With Saying All Lives Matter?  Don’t They?”

Yes, they do.  The people who are saying it agree with you.

I do understand what “Black Lives Matter” is supposed to mean. And if it stopped there, with people marching in the streets, there wouldn’t really be a controversy.

But it doesn’t. This first came to light in Ferguson, MO in 2015 when this phrase made its way into the lexicon as known in every household. (A similar thing happened with Rodney King in LA in 1991. Rodney was not killed, and to his credit later famously asked “Why can’t we all just get along?”)

What happened in Ferguson?

Riots, vandalism, and fires. Multitude of minority-owned businesses destroyed. People getting shot in their cars. Cops being shot and killed just for being cops. And here’s the kicker — there was a serious attempt to justify all of this by the media, and by the more visible leaders in the BLM movement itself.  Law enforcement was told to stand down and let. it. happen. Media agreed.  Story after story about the violence being justified.  (The anger and the violence are two different things – but not according to the media narrative).

That’s when they lost people. “Black Lives Matter” turned into an excuse to lash out against innocent people. Coupled with the racist concept of “White Privilege”, it became an attack … on people … based on race.

You can’t get any more racist than that. If you don’t see the danger in justifying any form of racism – and they do want systemic justification here that legally treats one race different from another in an attempt to “correct” existing racism — you’re ignoring a time bomb.  (Or maybe you’re building it.)

It is argued that it’s NOT negative, and all that’s being asked is that it be acknowledged.  Here’s a hint. If your rhetoric causes large groups of white people to come together to  “denounce” their “White Privilege” – then you have made it a negative thing.  The sad thing here is that the next time any of these people run into someone who thinks they are inherently racist because they are white will not have any way of showing that their white privilege has been “denounced”.  They don’t get a denunciation card, or a tattoo on their forehead.  Their skin is white.  If anyone should be able to understand that kind of judgement, it should be black people.  (But that might bring us together, so we can’t have that.)  In other words, their religious ceremony here did nothing but make them feel better for a few minutes.

You cannot fight racism with racism. Racism is wrong not because of the race being discriminated against. Racism is wrong because it is inherently unfair to the individual person, like Chris Thomas.

Chris Thomas, being a law-abiding citizen, has very little chance of suffering the fate of a Rodney King, or a Michael Brown, or a George Floyd, precisely because of the way he has lived his life, the choices he has made — he is very unlikely to be engaged in an activity that is going to result in a summoning of law enforcement — UNLIKE the people I just mentioned. And if he does, say, get pulled over for speeding, he is probably innately aware, as are most of the rest of us, of how not to get your ass kicked by the police (which is a different topic than should the police be kicking your ass at all).  Chris Rock, like Candace Owens, was not wrong.

Now I acknowledge that because of racial stereotypes there could be a greater chance that, say, someone like Juan Williams might cross the street to avoid an unnecessary encounter with a young black man giving off certain social (in this case anti-social) signals. Signals I’d be willing to bet that Chris Thomas doesn’t give off. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

The blame for much of the misconceptions around this lay directly at the feet of the people in Chris Thomas’ profession. In this very piece he says he feels like black lives don’t matter because, (note the irony of where his information comes from) “it’s scary when I read headlines like this in a major newspaper:

‘Getting Killed by Police a Leading Cause for Young Black Men in America’

Which is at best misleading. And it’s coming from the media. You want to know what the leading cause of death is for young black men (late teens to late 20’s) is?

Homicide by other black men.  Not allowed to point that out without being excoriated as racist.  But it’s a fact, verifiable on the CDC’s website and other sources.

For black men in their mid to late 20’s, “Police Force” accounts for 3.4 percent. Which is high compared to other races.

The question is, why?

If you answer anything other than “racism”, you are immediately and widely scorned and excoriated.

But what if it isn’t?

The fact that you will also immediately get excoriated for merely asking the question (ask Candace Owens) points to the fact that the problem is not being taken seriously. Let’s put it another way. What if we’re trying to solve the wrong problem?

If we are, it will never get better, will it? And we DO want it to get better … right? Can we at least agree on that?

If your faucet is leaking, and you think it’s a bad gasket, but it’s really a crack in the valve, constantly replacing the gasket will not fix the problem.

If you are forbidden to ask “what if it isn’t the gasket?” you’re never going to get the root of the actual problem addressed.

Back to “why”, what if a disproportionately large number of young black men are involved in activities that warrant police involvement? Let’s just suppose that is true. (Because it is.) Let’s also suppose that the victims of the majority of the crimes being committed by these people are … other black people. Because they are. So the police are disproportionately being called to protect black people from young black men. If you increase encounters with the police among a certain demographic, the chances of a cop going rogue against people of that demographic (young black men) will be disproportionately higher. This is not rocket science.

So the next question you’re not allowed to ask, or if you do you cannot answer anything but “obviously, racism” is … why are a disproportionately high number of young black men involved in these activities?

If you can answer that question without just sticking to the “R” word, and really honestly discuss the social influences not only outside, but inside the black community – and the fact that there is such a thing as a “black community” rather than just a community is part of that problem — you can begin to address the problem.  There are a lot of black people who agree with me here, but they can’t say it without being alienated as an Uncle Tom House N*****.

And if you think the problem is the Police — who are coming to protect black people mainly from from young black men and your solution is to defund the police, may I humbly submit that you’re out of your damned mind.  Black Lives are not what matter to you – your addiction to virtue signalling is.

Until then, it’s 1) young black man gets killed by a police officer 2) Protests and riots ensue, aimed mainly at people who cannot address the core problem and further alienating them, and 3) Repeat.

That doesn’t lead anywhere good.

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Race and Science and Culture (Oh My!)

Over on the Hello Kitty of Bloggin, as Morgan puts it, a friend posted:

“The very concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis.” — Craig Venter, DNA sequencing pioneer.

I guess I don’t see race as a bad or good thing, so I scratch my head when I see stuff like this.

On its face, the statement has an absurdity to it. I’d heard it or something like it before, so I looked it up to see what they were trying to say. And there is SOME truth to it, when you look at it in a purely scientific (read: genetic purity) way. But there is more to the universe than science. And this oversimplification appears to be *trying* to do something good, though the effect comes off more like a poke in the eye, which isn’t helpful. So I took this as an opportunity to stop a few echoes with one stone.

What they’re basically saying is that there isn’t enough genetic difference to call people of different relatively subtle, at some level, yet relatively uniform physical characteristics to call us different subspecies – that we’re all basically the same when it comes to biological makeup and mental capacity. Which is true.

There’s speculation (probably true) that eventually there will be enough intermixing to where a lot of those differences are blended out in most areas of the world. Which will be fine by me, but I’ll have been dead for centuries by that time. Maybe millennia.

Now, we call a set of people of different relatively subtle, at some level, yet relatively uniform physical characteristics from the same basic genetic background a “race”, and this is not a useless distinction no matter what geneticists say.

The problem comes when we start pre-judging people based on those characteristics, say, on sight. Evolutionarily speaking, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. But biology isn’t fair, and culturally, we’ve developed this idea of fairness as important. Which is a GOOD thing. And this, at the core, is why racism is wrong. It’s fundamentally unfair to the person being judged. Regardless of the race of the person being judged. (There are people trying to define that last bit out of the word “racism”, but in doing so, they lose the moral core of why it is wrong in the first place.)

Different groups of us have evolved (and every one of them in the same way) to view humans who look drastically different with skepticism at a level much deeper than our intellects reside. It’s a defense mechanism. An instinctual reflex. This, like many of our other instincts, is something we have to teach out of our offspring — or to put it more correctly, to overrride this instinct — to be what we have come to know as “civilized”. That’s never going to stop. We will need to do this with each generation going forward. It won’t “evolve out” in a generation or two or five or fifty.

We will have to deal with this as a species.

Now this recognition of differences goes beyond physical appearance — and there are differences that register much more strongly than initial reaction to physical appearance. And this is the realm of culture.

A lot of the reason racial prejudices have persisted is — for essentially the same reason these physical differences evolved (genetic isolation of different populations of people), different cultures evolved along with them. And cultural similarities are very very important to how people get along with each other. It’s how we recognize, “hey, this person has basically the same beliefs I do, so I know what to expect from him. He’s not a danger to me” (mimicking this can also be the way sociopaths, even of the same race, gain people’s trust — but I digress). A population of people needs to be consistent enough so that the people in that population know what to expect from others. When we don’t know what to expect, our brains go into chaos mode and our defenses go up.

Here’s the cool thing. It turns out all of that cultural stuff … is software. And it can run in the brain of anyone from any race.

Therefore — there is no such thing as “White” culture or “Black” culture. THESE are the social constructs, far more than are the minor genetic differences that developed among genetically isolated populations that we call “race”. What we see as “race” is real categorical physical differences. What cultural characteristics we project onto those differences … if they’re calling *that* a social construct I’d agree.

I can pluck a baby from anywhere in the world, and raise him here in America and by the time he’s 8 everyone who actually engages with him will indentify him as an American. He will act in a manner that will reassure the people who interact with him that he is not a threat to them or the order of their lives. Depending on how he dresses and cuts his hair and the amount of hardware he has or doesn’t have sticking through his skin in various places, most people will pick up on that before they ever say a word to each other. Or I can raise him in France or any at least western country… same thing.

Contrary to popular belief in some circles … we have come a very VERY long way, especially in America. The [main] reason we see so much of it in America, and in some other western countries is because it is in these countries that we actually have significant racial diversity. So the issue gets pressed in these countries more than in others.  (The other reason is that there are certain political interests that benefit from cultivating cultural division.)

As I was saying earlier, fear of significant difference is an evolved response. I would speculate that … when it comes to race … we will all look much more similar as we intermix before that response evolves out of us — if it ever does — because that response is just a part of a much bigger evolved response — the general fear of the unknown, the uncertain. And at that point … the point will be moot.

Fortunately, we have culture, and if we can come to a point where just about everyone in our country, at least, is culturally similar enough so that we can act as a cohesive group of people. Remember, there is no such thing as white culture or black culture. Culture is not based on skin color. Culture is how we learn to act, and about shared idioms and traditions that glue us together, that help us relate to each other.

In this light, I cannot say I’m on the “diversity is what makes us great” bandwagon. It is not. Diversity is a symptom of greatness, not the cause. The greatness … comes from the culture.

And culture has no color.

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Time Doesn’t Exist – and other Sophist nonsense

So I sawtime this on Facebook.

It’s very deep, of course.

The argument goes like this:  Time doesn’t exist because the units we use to measure it can’t be found in nature. (They can, actually, we may get to that later).

But of course, this is absurd.  The same logic could be used to argue that distance doesn’t exist because centimeters are a social construct, or that mass doesn’t exist because grams are a social construct.

The fact that 3:02 PM on a Tuesday is just a social construct doesn’t mean that time doesn’t exist.  This is an important distinction.  Failing to make the distinction leads to all sorts of logical folly.

In a conversation with Severian a while back, we noted that sophists started this whole deal (or more accurately, perhaps, popularized and formalized it) where we confuse the words we use for things for the things themselves.

I commented on the photo, basically saying what I just wrote above, adding “trust me, time exists.”

To which my friend replied, “we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.”

Now I know he’s intelligent enough to understand what I’m saying and just wasn’t following at the time and was not interested in trying, so I just dropped it.  But it was clear he was stuck on the language of the photo posted and saw what the truth in it is — and went with the conclusion.  I wasn’t arguing the facts stated in the post.  I was arguing with the two conclusions, that 1) Time doesn’t exist, and 2) that time as a social construct makes us slaves to it.  Time, that is.  The thing that doesn’t exist.

My immediate thought was “we’ll have to agree to disagree”.  By “we’ll” I assume he means “we will”, which means starting at some point in time and going forward.  In time.  Which doesn’t exist.

If time doesn’t exist, then not only is there no future, there is no now.  And if there is no “now”, there is no “is”.  So I, who apparently do not exist in the first place, just “proved” that nothing exists.  Which is a tall order if you parse that sentence at all.

I recall a story from Zen Buddhism that basically went like so:

The master asks the student some koan (I forget what it was), and days later the student comes back and proudly answers that nothing exists.  The master then slaps him across the face and asks, “then what was that?”

Confusing language for reality gets us in a lot of trouble, quickly, especially when we start substituting reality for language — which is the direct opposite of what language does.  Reality is reality, language is the abstract.  It doesn’t mean reality is abstract.

It gets us into lots of trouble in all sorts of subject areas.  And politicians, the main consumers of sophistry, use this to great advantage, every day.

As far as the “slave” thing goes … the social construct of 3:02 PM on a Tuesday was created so we, who are by nature social beasts, can better cooperate with each other. If anything, we are slaves to our nature.  But that should come as no surprise.  Everything is.

More specifically, we are really slaves to agreements – but agreements are necessary for social behavior whether it’s “you must do this by such and such time or I will have you flogged” or “if you do this by such and such time I will pay you … something.”  The nature of the first “agreement”, of course, is coercive and immoral.

But if time doesn’t exist, then morality certainly doesn’t exist.  We can find no physical evidence of it in nature, right?  So who cares?  I digress.

The same thing is being done with gender right now.  In nature, humans are male or female (there are a few biological aberrations, but everyone by and large is one or the other).  Now, there are certain personality traits we associate more with one gender or another, and we have taken to some standardized ways of expressing ourselves accordingly.

But what have our modern sophists done?  They have taken these expressions, this “language”, and substituted them back into the reality of gender, claiming that gender is just a social construct.  But no, it is the expressions that are social constructs.  Gender remains what it always has been.  But the sophists insist that it is not.

What this boils down to is a war on society.  The assumption is that social constructs are arbitrary and therefore worthless.

But “worth” is also a social construct.

So I guess I can officially opt out of this conversation.

*note: 3:02 PM on a Tuesday does, in fact, exist.  It just had no name.  The name is an abstract.  The point in time is a reality.

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Church, State, Socialism, Society, and Laws

“Hey, I’m Good With Socialism”

This came from a Democrat co-worker who was unaware that anyone other than Hillary Clinton is running for the Democratic Party nomination.  When I told him that there was the Socialist pretending she’s not really a socialist, and the Socialist who at least admits he’s a socialist – he asked who the second one was, and I told him Bernie Sanders.  This is the same person who years ago asked me point blank, “Well, what’s wrong with Socialism?” (which I’ve feebly addressed before here and here.)

I gave him a one line answer which I’m sure he did not understand, and it was this: “It is incompatible with human nature.”

I am alarmed at the number of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers I see around this town.

But I was listening to Bill Whittle on one of his Stratosphere Lounge episodes this morning, and Bill did what we should be doing more of… he gave us an example everyone can understand.  And then my mind, as it tends to do, took that stick and ran with it

“The first lie of Communism is that if it’s a cold night out and we’re in the plains of North Dakota, and it’s thirty-five degrees below zero, and we hear bleating out in the barn, and it turns out that one of our cows is sick — [] that one of us will go out there at four o’clock in the morning in thirty degree below zero to take care of a cow that doesn’t belong to us. That we would, in fact, all pitch in and work for the collective as hard as we would work for ourselves. And it just ain’t so.” – Bill Whittle

Socialism is basically Communism Lite.

The idea of socialism is that if one of us does go out in the thirty degree below weather to take care of the farmer’s cow for a fee that the State gets to say how much of that fee that man gets to keep because somebody else didn’t get as big a fee for something he did for someone else, or because somebody else gets no fees for anything because he essentially does nothing — because it’s somehow not fair that they have less.

Capitalism is the idea that the man who goes out in the thirty below weather to take care of the farmer’s cow at 4:00 am will be paid a price he feels is worth his time and trouble — the caveat being that if the farmer is not willing to pay his price, the man does not get paid at all (nor does he have to go through the trouble). This encourages a negotiation — often unseen — where the farmer has incentive to pay what the vet would consider a fair price while the vet has an incentive to charge a price closer to what most farmers would consider fair.

In other words … it’s what people do naturally.

People also steal and maim and kill naturally. And these things are, of course, wrong. People are also naturally lazy and would like it of other people would just do the things they want done. Forcing people to do that is also wrong. And people love and empathize and help each other, and these things are, of course, right. And right and wrong are the concern of morality.

So what is morality, in general? C.S. Lewis broke it down like this:

“Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play.”

The first one is is that which we are concerned with enough that we institute Governments to enforce in a free society. The others are the realm of psychology and religious philosophy and practice — not that the first is not a concern of religion, it’s just the one that falls to the realm of the state.

But we need all three to make a society work, and the other two will necessarily inform some decisions in the realm of the first.

Harmonizing the things inside ones’ self is highly subjective, and the idea of what man was made for is also relatively subjective.  What the man taking care of the cow in thirty below weather does to make things right in himself — he may choose to do it for free if he feels that helping this man out is the right thing to do …. maybe to tidy and harmonize things within himself because he believes it is what he was made for. So who gets to decide these things? The simple answer is that it will either be the individual (or voluntary clusters of individuals) … or the state.  Leaving it to the individual is what we call “religious freedom”.

It is not the realm of the state to guide the soul. And while it is necessary for souls to guide the state in a free society, the soul, must in turn, be guided by something else. This is why, in the Preamble to our Constitution we have the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” .  By their creator.  Not by themselves.  Not by any human being.  And not by the state.  And it lays out the three basic rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness [a paraphrase of Adam Smith’s “Property”]

And it is why John Adams wrote to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The state needs guided souls.

But isn’t Socialism or Communism doing what Jesus said to do?

Well, no.  He would say to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’ s; and to God, the things that are God’ s. And Paul would say that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us.For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

But when the state takes control of this guidance, it imposes its will on the individual conscience – and rights and duties are thus defined by the state. This is totalitarianism.

When the individual (or groups of voluntary individuals — which is still up to each individual in the end) does it, we have the closest thing to a free society we can have. The freest society we could have, where everyone just does whatever they want, however, is anarchy – where might and deception ultimately trump all else. This is why we institute the state – to help ensure that people play nice.

This kind of society, a free society, can only work, however — when there is a sufficient measure of homogeneity of moral opinion among the population. And the best proven practices to foster a homogeneity in moral opinion would be religious institutions. And a society can have multiple religious institutions and remain a cohesive society depending on the degree to which those religious institutions are similar – including the degree to which those who do not necessarily formally subscribe to any of those institutions have similar moral outlooks. And this is because you necessarily need a large concensus on the things which the state is tasked to enforce in order for them to be viewed as just and moral among the general population.

When these moral ideas are hashed out by individuals with relatively homogeneous moral guides, you can have a relatively free society. If any those institutions are given authority over the laws of the state, you have a religious theocracy. It is no different if the state becomes the arbitor of morality. In effect, the state will have become The Church, and your separation is out the window.

Laws (in a free society) are expressions of a society’s shared morals. They express things that will and won’t be allowed and what we will do with people who people who do things that are expressly not allowed – what is considered bad behavior.

Now the more laws a society has, the less free it is. This does not mean we should have no laws. But it does mean, if we value liberty, that we should be judicious about creating new ones.

Good religious institutions will in general foster a more well behaved population insofar as the population makes use of them. But it is of course no guarantee that any individual, church-goer or not, will live up to that institution’s standards, much less that of the society in which it exists. There will always be bad actors.

This idea that outlawing bad behavior gets rid of it — this is the root of the constant clamoring for new laws.

Laws give us a legal framework for confronting bad actors. It doesn’t, in general, stop bad actors from acting. Knowing there are consequences — the confrontation — that’s a deterrent. And deterrents are good. But even they don’t stop it. What stops it is a person who is willing and able to stop it — and it helps a lot if he has the law behind him to support his actions.

Multiculturalism is a lie.

Diversity is not a virtue in and of itself. A certain amount of diversity is a symptom of a free and just society. But it is not the cause. People want to come live in a place where there is a free and just society. Where there is tyranny, people must be forced to stay. “Which way are the boats headed?” is a good indicator. But when a free and just society begins to adjust its rules more to accommodate anyone who comes than the people coming adjust their worldview to that of the society they have come to, that society is not long for this world. It will be taken advantage of by bad actors from both within and outside of that society, and both its freeness and justness will erode either toward anarchy, which leads to totalitarianism by the brutish, or to totalitarianism by the demagogues who will be brutish in their pride.

The various flavors of Marxism are the prideful theories of people who believe they know what’s is best for everyone. Not everyone agrees on what’s best for everyone, which is why it must always be applied at the point of a gun. In addition, their are very often used by demagogues to gain power for whatever reason they choose. They are seductive ideas on the surface. But as Bill’s example of the farmer’s cow on a cold North Dakota night, it is wholly incompatible with the reality of human nature.

nature /ˈnāCHər/ 2. the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.

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On Tolerance, Disapproval, Respect, Acceptance, and Living Your Own Damned Life

So I got into a bit of a kerfuffle over this post on HKB.

Not exactly a kerfuffle, since the guy involved is an old friend, a really good guy — who cares about his gay friends and his straight ones as well.  He wasn’t being combative, really.  I think he just really missed my point. Which is not surprising given the way the argument’s been framed for a decade.

Here it is:

“It is not enough for the Left to live and let live. You must change your mind. You must not hold disfavored views. You must be the right sort of person. If you’re not, you will be muzzled.”

This is what has me worried.  Not dudes lying with dudes and chicks lying with chicks.

read more here.

To which I added this:

If you say anything that can possibly be construed as being “meh” on the practicality of gay marriage (which was, in practical terms, already “legal”*) and just not agreeing with the route taken by the activists, people will assume you hate gays and want to keep them from being happy.

So you can’t even have a proper discussion about it. The discussion was bypassed because, Shut Up, and the bullying worked on 5 justices.

*I’ve asked several people in the past several years just what is it, in real terms, that gays are not being allowed to do? Can they have sex with each other and not be thrown in jail? Can they have a ceremony that is to everyone there a real wedding ceremony? Can they call themselves “married”? Can their friends and anyone who is sympathetic with them call them married? Are they not being served in restaurants? Can they not spend the night in motels and hotels? Are they being turned away from hospitals? Just what, exactly, is “illegal” about it? That they can’t get a “license” to do these things? Why the hell do they need a license? (Why the hell do *I* need a license for that matter?)

Hell, they could apparently even force people to bake them cakes and take pictures of them if those bakers and photographers had moral objections to participating in the event.

No, it has *ALWAYS* been, for the activists at least, about *forced* acceptance — NOT tolerance. Tolerance is, “meh, I don’t care.” Acceptance is, “yes, this is good and right.” What they’ve wanted all along is to force everyone to say “yes, this is good and right” by force of law.

This is what is wrong with it. Has nothing to do with the Bible, or what kinds of “marriage” arrangements have existed in various cultures throughout history. It’s about government coercion.

This was the wrong way to do it. They already effectively had what they SAID they wanted, which is tolerance, and even acceptance by a good chunk of the population.

Just to make sure we’re clear on what I’m saying and what I’m not saying… read my actual post again. Is my problem with gay people, or with leftists? I think I’m pretty clear on that.

But because of how the entire argument has been successfully framed by the leftists, people cannot separate criticism of the court decision, or apprehension on what is to come without assuming they hate gay people, or at the very least don’t care about them.  If you express sympathy for the majority of Americans and frankly, people in the world that Marriage is between people of opposite sexes and with very few exceptions in history — always has been… when it’s been demanded that they toss their worldview out the window to accommodate this one … you’re just a hater.

It bugged me more this time because it was a friend and you want your friends to at least understand your position.  It was pretty clear we were talking about two different things.

In the discussion he asked if I knew any gay people.  I do.  I think the assumption is that I had some sort of misconception that they were all combative and out to destroy society.  Again, because of the assumptions injected by the Lakoffian language strategy of the left.

So as I lay there thinking (I do that a lot.  It’s not good for your sleep habits) trying to come up with a way to break out of the assumptions that come with the language constraints that have been successfully imposed on the subject, I suddenly (thankfully) came up with a perfect example that was right under my nose, literally. I hadn’t thought of it because I don’t dwell on it. I don’t feel victimized by it.

Here’s the deal.

In our eyes, my wife and I have been married for 23 years. In my parents’ eyes, due to their religious beliefs, we’re not married at all. You see, she is a divorcee, and there was no annulment. They wouldn’t come to our wedding. I knew they wouldn’t before I even invited them, but I invited them anyway, telling them I completely understood if they did not want to come.

Now, they still have us out to the house. We visit. We talk. We have a good time. They don’t hate me. They don’t hate her. Matter of fact they love her. Dad made it a point to pull me aside several months ago and tell me so.

But … if we were to spend the night there, we would be asked to sleep in separate beds. Because in their eyes, we are not married. I understand and respect their beliefs. I do not demand, much less ask that they accommodate us. Similarly, they wouldn’t come visit us in our home because of our living arrangement. They disapprove. They don’t condone it. I respect their beliefs. I do not feel ill treated. I do not feel humiliated. I do not feel “lesser”. That is what tolerance and respect looks like.

You see, disapproval is not the same thing as hate. Tolerance does not mean acceptance. In this story there is love, tolerance, disapproval, and respect. They are not mutually exclusive. The leftists have purposely, in a very Orwellian 1984-ish New Speak way (in the real world it would be more like Lakoffian way) — mainly through the media have shaped the way we even talks about this by choosing the language with which we talk about these things – and people have gotten very confused.  It’s no accident.

Keep in mind I myself am not sitting here saying gays should or shouldn’t be married, or that they’re not married. What I’m saying is that this will not be enough for the leftists. They are out to destroy, and this was just one issue they have usurped to help get that done.

There are gay leftists. And there are straight leftists who will wear the mantle to help destroy people they don’t like — namely the good people who love everyone but do believe that certain behavior is wrong, or that marriage is only between men and women. After all, it’s not exactly a radical view.

Tolerance is a two-way street. My prediction is that it will only go one way. Or else.

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I Have a Right!

Education is a human right. Share if you agree.

So this came across my desktop yesterday.

I think my head is going to explode.

Oh yeah. It’s free. *If* you’re accepted. And that’s a big IF.

Even in Europe, you have to be put in an academic track school by about age 12 to hope to make it in to one of these colleges.

Since this “Free in Finland” word has gotten out, Finland has had to clarify that while tuition is free, you have to pay your own way for room and board. And hey, if education is a right, aren’t food and shelter yet more basic rights?

Why does Finland HATE students????! “Finland Starves Students – Leaves Them in the Cold!” That would be the community organizing headline from the Chicago school of politics.

All colleges in Germany have had “free” tuition since way way back in … October. Jury’s probably still out on how sustainable it is, or the effect it will have on the quality of education you can get. As it stands, America pretty much has a headlock on top universities in the world so maybe there’s something to this not-so-public approach.


I think the main difference between America and elsewhere has been that your education was something you were expected to get — so much so that state charters mandated that a certain size plot of land in every township be set aside for a school which would be funded by the community. But the attitude was that an education isn’t something that is given to you or provided to you — since we as a people have required that you get one from the beginning, we’ve considered it a duty of society to provide the opportunity – up to a point.

I’d argue that we don’t have to provide you an opportunity for a degree in “Gender Studies”.

occupy girl2

It’s not “your” car anyway, because you didn’t build that.

This provision of opportunity is there with the expectation that you will be obligated, if physically and mentally able, to go out and pull your own weight when it is said and done – and perhaps if you do well enough create something that will help others pull theirs. But to the people at “US Uncut”, it’s about “rights”, not “obligations”. “Rights” mean somebody OWEs *me*. “Obligations” are for chumps. Now feed me or I’ll cr*p on your car. It’s not really “your” car, anyway, because you didn’t build that. Oppressor!

We do have an over-emphasis on a college degree as a credential in our society. College is fine — you can get a great education if you want one, and you can get lots of financial help getting one if you need it and show an aptitude for it. And I think there is something to a Financial/Education complex where they rub each others’ backs. Universities cost 5x more than they did in 1985, but inflation has “only” cut they buying power of a dollar in half. I think Universities charge more because they can get it, and banks make the loans because they can make money off the interest. Kind of like what health insurance did to health care costs.

The whole “10x what ‘they’ charge banks” thing is just emotionally charged rhetoric that takes advantage of, as someone once put it, “the stupidity of the American voter”. Any amount banks get charged for loans to them is ultimately passed on to the consumer, and student loan rates aren’t out of line with most other loan rates.

I think Mike Rowe & his Mike Rowe Works is on to something. Degrees are overrated, and inflated – in grades, cost, and subject matter. There is lots of honorable, even decent-paying work out there that does not require a college degree, and it’s work that needs doing.

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Democracy and Oligarchy

I found this e-poster posted by one of my friends on Facebook today …

Bernie

Well … Bernie Sanders (I) should read Bernie Sanders (S) … he’s a self-avowed socialist.

Still, he’s sort of right here – but he’s using a little sleight of hand, and leaving out something very important.

We don’t really have a Democracy. Democracy would be bad, and our founders knew it. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. A Republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the result.

Still, we do have a Democratic Republic in that we do use Democracy as a tool for input into the system as long as what is decided doesn’t violate the inalienable rights of others (life, liberty, property being the big three).

And there is no question that for it to work a full discussion of the issues that affect us is necessary.

But that’s not what we get. The Daily Show and a news media that is 80% self-described progressive-liberal is what passes for “discussion” today. If we actually had real discussion no billionaire could “buy” an election by donations (they’d have to cheat the old-fashioned Tammany Hall way – actually, they kind of do, they’ve just made the ballot boxes easier to stuff).

voting patterns

Voter suppression used to be a problem back in the day when southern Democrats passed laws literally intended to keep black people from voting. Those days are over.

However, there is a reason one party fights just about every attempt to thwart voter fraud — and that tells me pretty much everything I need to know right there. They fight such laws because it makes it harder for them to cheat. And that is how voter suppression is done today. It’s not strict voting laws that suppress votes — it’s lax ones. Every fraudulent vote in effect negates the vote of a valid voter.

It also turns out that the people who “determine what we see, read, and hear” from the media to college campuses are largely sympathetic to Bernie’s worldview – and it ain’t capitalist fat cats trying to get rich — it’s generally socialist do-gooders trying to “make a difference”.  An Oligarchy isn’t necessarily wealthy people (though Oligarchs often do become wealthy because they have the power to take people’s stuff and rig the rules) … an Oligarchy is rule by a relatively small group of people.  They could be royalty, wealthy, family, educated-elite, corporate, religious, military … but since Bernie’s a Marxist, he wants The People to fixate on the rich and be jealous and outraged.  Because that’s the road to power when it comes to Marxism.

So while Bernie is partially right here, he’s leaving out a few things and he wants you to believe that the people who are keeping you down are his opponents.

By and large, they’re not. They’re his friends.

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Intellectual Dishonesty Display

Alinsky #4 is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

Hence a group like “LOLGOP”.

Well, I’m going to ridicule the ridicule.  Ran across this meme today …

dishonestyThe obvious question being begged here is … exactly who is saying that these kids aren’t people?  I’m pretty sure exactly nobody.  It’s a giant strawman.

And believing that a fertilized egg is a human being isn’t necessarily religious, though when arguing the “separation” angle our leftist friends insist that it is that and only that and therefore must it be excluded from public  debate.   But there are even atheists who believe it philosophically.  A compelling argument can (and often is) easily made that it is a human being without bringing God or Gaia into it.  So again … that’s a stupid “argument” for LOLGOP to make.  The other insult here is that they are suggesting that people only “pretend” to believe it — insinuating that they really have ulterior motives (likely along the lines of “oppressing” Sandra Fluke).

If you would post this meme, you’re going to have to stop pretending you have a shred of intellectual honesty.

—————
Update: another very similar dishonest gem:

embryosandrefugees

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You First

I tire of what has become a predictable, constant drumbeat of anti-Christian rhetoric.

The latest I’ve seen is this ironically self-righteous anti-Christian rant aimed mainly at the Christian right, making implicit accusations using worn stereotypes which do not fit most Christians, even right-leaning Christians.

“Jesus was a guy who was a peaceful, radical, nonviolent revolutionary, who hung around with lepers, hookers, and criminals, who never spoke English, was not an American citizen, a man who was anti-capitalism, anti-wealth, anti-public prayer (YES HE WAS Matthew 6:5), anti-death penalty but never once remotely anti-gay, didn’t mention abortion, didn’t mention premarital sex, a man who never justified torture, who never called the poor ‘lazy’, who never asked a leper for a co-pay, who never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, who was a long haired, brown skinned (that’s in revelations),homeless, middle eastern Jew? Of course, that’s only if you believe what’s actually IN the Bible.”

We know Jesus was peaceful and radical and revolutionary – generally in a non-violent way, though we do know he was capable of displaying anger and wrath

Matthew 21:11-13

[11] And the people said: This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth of Galilee. [12] And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves: [13] And he saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves .

I don’t think anyone has ever suggested he was an American citizen or spoke English, this is merely a telling sign that the poster has no clue what the Christian right really believes and doesn’t care — it’s merely a fictional foil to contrast themselves against … in public … to receive adulation … but more on that later.

Every Christian knows that Jesus loved and accepted everyone, but not everyone’s behavior. Mary Magdalene had been a prostitute, but she repented and followed Christ as a disciple. Disapproving of someone’s behavior is not the same thing as hate, modern progressive rhetoric aside. If we think Jesus approved of criminal and other immoral behavior, we’re ignoring his entire teaching. And Christians don’t disapprove of the diseased, they help them.

Jesus was NOT anti-capitalism

Matthew 20:1 ““For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a Denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.”

and while it is true he never “called the poor lazy” as a sweeping segment (nor do modern day American conservatives), he was definitely in favor of taking what you have been given and making more of it … which is pretty much the core of capitalism.

Matthew 25: 31-46
“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’… Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said…out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant…Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

“To every one who has, more will be given and he will grow rich” doesn’t sound anti-wealth to me at all.

Further, in Timothy 1:

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

That’s not anti-wealth, that’s just a caution to wealthy people that God … and his teachings … come ahead of wealth, and that wealth will not save you. It doesn’t say you can’t be wealthy.

Jesus was not anti public prayer. What he was against was praying in public motivated by the drawing of praise adulation to yourself. You know, much like what the people who are posting this nonsense are after (and certainly not to attack others on a personal level). The point was that prayer is between a person or people and God, not a show to be put on to display one’s holiness. This is not the same thing as being against any prayer in public. It’s the motive, not the act that he was talking about in Matthew 6:5.

As with many, many subjects, Jesus never really spoke about the death penalty. While he was probably against it in general, he wasn’t anti self-defense, and the Church itself says it is justifiable to defend human lives against unjust aggression.

Jesus never mentioned homosexuality explicitly. But no serious Bible scholar would say that he thought it was ok. And again, as with other things, it is the sin that is rejected, not the sinner. And if anything goes, why would St. Paul … in the Bible (1 Cor. 6:9-11)… talk of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, misersm drunkards, slanderers, and robbers not inheriting the Kingdom of God?

Again, this does not constitute hating people, it is a belief about what constitutes unacceptable behavior.

Absolutely, Jesus never justified torture. Of course, he never justified eating potatoes, either (look, scour that Bible — nothing about potatoes). Again, though, he never argued that it wasn’t justifiable to defend human lives against unjust aggression.

Jesus never asked a leper for a co-pay. Of course, the only overhead Jesus had was food and shelter.  He was God, too … remember what he could do with a few fishes and loaves and a jug of water.  I seem to remember a passage where he calmed a storm while they were out fishing as well.

Being God, he was able to heal by touch. And certainly Jesus would teach that we should help when we can, including in matters of health care. But he wouldn’t fight to force you to pay into a system that provided services he himself considered immoral, nor would he pay into such a system.

Again, among many other things, Jesus did not mention abortion. But,

Jeramiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” – no, the word “abortion” doesn’t appear there but it’s pretty clear.

Of course Jesus did not fight for tax cuts for the wealthy. Nor did he fight for tax increases for them or anyone else. Jesus taught that it was each of our personal reponsibility to care for those around us. Offloading that responsibility to the government was never mentioned. He said give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to give to God what is God’s. He was familiar with corrupt governments and the abuse of government authority by special interests.

Jesus has always been depicted as having long hair and as a travelling preacher without a proper home – Christians have never argued he wasn’t a “middle-eastern Jew”, and they have revered him as the Son of God and the founder of their faith … so that last “dig” is really bizarre.

okReferring to this and to what the graphic on the right instructs … if you really are against people speaking publicly about what they believe is right and wrong, I have one response for you.

You first.

 

 

 

 

* Thanks largely to On This Rock blog.  I was looking for a text version of the “John Fuglesang” quote to use in my response, and I stumbled upon Father John Hollowell’s excellent post.   I wanted to generalize it a bit to be a less Catholic-centric and add my own two cents, which is how we ended up with the above.

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Religious Liberty

This is going to be long. But it has to be. It’s not something that fits on a bumper sticker, and it is very important to get this straight.

I realize I risk being called a racist and a homophobe … but … ho-hum. By now I’m about numb to baseless accusations hurled thoughtlessly to avoid serious discussion.  They don’t know me.  Nor do they care if they are wrong.

Morgan points out that we’re all tired of arguing about gay people and we should be talking about other things instead, and I understand what he’s saying. But the reason we’re arguing over them is some of them (not all) and their advocates are pushing into areas that severely threaten religious freedom. When American culture gains a foothold in foreign countries, the Left wails about “hegemony”. “America” pushing her beliefs and culture on people who don’t want it.  But they apparently have no compunction over doing it here.

Certainly there are other, larger problems our country currently faces – but this one actually has something to do with who we are.

Because it’s not really about gay people.  It’s about religious liberty.

I’ve been reading the flame wars between people on both sides of the issue, and I’ve noticed that in general, we’re arguing about the wrong things.

People concerned with religious freedom are arguing what the Bible says and what it means (which even Christians have many disagreements about) with atheists and agnostics who don’t care (except to use Old Testament passages to beat Christians over the head with). And the pro-prosecution side calls up images of Jim Crow laws and the Negro Motorist Green Book, and lecturing Christians on what they “really” believe. I even read one person arguing that religious liberty ends at the Church door!  (Isn’t that pretty much what the Soviet Union said?)

So What’s This All About?

At this point, it’s pretty clear that a top-down state re-definition of “marriage” is coming. I believe this is wrong — because marriage doesn’t come from the state. But that ship has sailed. So today the fight is over religious liberty — specifically, the right to practice one’s religion without interference from the state.

The First Amendment states, among other things:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

That’s pretty clear. It’s even more clear when you realize that the first Colonists came over to secure religious freedom. There were state religions in Europe – that is certain Christian Churches had unelected official positions in government, and if you happened not to belong to that denomination, you could be required to support it or subject to rules made because of denomination’s official position. There was actually state-sponsored persecution of people of certain denominations because of their beliefs and practices. They came here to get away from that.

Today, there are at least four or five cases in different states where vendors have declined to provide their services for events which contradicted their religious beliefs. They were subsequently sued and lost for not providing equal accommodation to same-sex couples that they provide for heterosexual couples. They cite civil rights laws that compel businesses not to discriminate based on race or gender. The argument is that sexual orientation is in the same category as race or gender.

Civil Rights

Inevitably, when we find ourselves in the odd position of having to argue for religious freedom in a nation that has its roots deep in it and is based on liberty — the plight of blacks in the South gets brought up as an illustration why we can’t allow businesses to discriminate because of religious belief. It is the first civil right protected under the Bill of Rights.

It is said that the religious liberty argument was used to justify many white businesses not serving black would-be patrons. That argument was dismissed in the 1960’s, and therefore it is argued that such protests should be likewise dismissed today against participating in a same-sex wedding.

What we’re overlooking, here, is that the argument was dismissed because the protest was found to be lacking. Jim Crow laws and sitting blacks in the back of the bus and segregating drinking fountains and lunch counters were clearly more about spite and hate than anything else. Few, if any real religious convictions lay behind it. It does not follow that the same is true for same-sex marriages.

There is this logic “short circuit” that afflicts too many people when it comes to reasoning, and it’s been introduced mainly by those who seek to manipulate us by stopping us from thinking very deeply, or sometimes at all, about certain things. An example is the States Rights argument.  Slave states used the States Rights argument to argue that they had a right to keep their own slavery laws – that the Constitution didn’t give the Federal Government the authority to abolish slavery within their borders. They lost that argument. And today, hucksters have implanted the idea is that States Rights is an argument for slavery, and any use of the argument is clearly racist and should be dismissed.

But Wisconsin used the States Rights argument to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act, as they refused to deport runaway slaves back to their owners in slave states.  They were in violation of Federal Law in doing so.  But nothing could be more anti-slavery and non-racist than this act which used the same argument.  Few would say that Wisconsin was wrong.  And yet if you say “states’ rights” you’ll hear “racist!” before the last “s” is out of your mouth.

Regardless of what you think of it, it is absolutely no secret that Christianity and Islam, among other religions, have long-standing widespread beliefs that homosexuality is wrong. When a Christian declines to involve herself in an event she considers immoral, it’s no stretch at all that she’s not making it up, no matter what other Christians may think of it.

Jim Crow and the Plight of Southern Blacks

There is no disputing that the horrors blacks went through, especially in the south – were terrible and inexcusable. Quite a bit of the problem was fallout from a known birth defect our nation inherited from the European colonialism that spawned her. Our founders were well aware of the contradictions between a nation founded on Man’s inalienable rights and the slavery that existed long before and certainly at the time of the founding. Our founders included abolitionists, some of whom were actually slave holders themselves, born into it — and southern states whose economies were heavily based on it needed to be brought into the union in order to be strong enough to win the War of Independence. Still, it is clear in our founding documents that the desire was there in the 1780’s to end the practice, and while some effort was put into weakening the slave states’ positions, some of the compromises made it messy and it took 72 years and a bloody civil war to finally end it.

The scars are still with us today, but they are most likely better than they would have been had anti-discrimination laws Republicans had long sought had not been enacted in the 1960’s.

But just as the imperfect compromise in the beginning, the solution was also imperfect. There probably was no perfect solution. It essentially created a protected class, and in addition, infringed on our basic right to free association, and created the concept of a “public accommodation” — which was relatively well-defined but has basically been interpreted in later years by many as any business that is open to the public.

Laws are often imperfect and more often than not have unintended consequences. Though many of its cultural intentions were fulfilled, unintentional cultural fallout has created a class dependent on government aid and the political carpetbaggers who have taken advantage of this have fostered a culture of entitlement, resentment, and separatism. Several modern black leaders cite this as having much more to do with what is holding most blacks back today than actual racial discrimination. The left often argues that the Constitution is outdated. But they’ll never consider that the Civil Rights Act might be outdated or at least in need of some refinement.

But I Thought We Were Talking About Religious Liberty

Indeed, we are. We are because the Civil Rights Act is being used to argue against religious liberty, and to prosecute those who try to exercise it. That should raise some big red flags. And it does, in people who are serious about religious liberty.

The Civil Rights Act was an extreme move that used restriction of liberty to address an extreme problem.

Here’s the kinds of things blacks faced:

Racist laws, discriminatory social codes and segregated commercial facilities made road journeys a minefield of constant uncertainty and risk. The difficulties of travel for black Americans were such that, as Lester B. Granger of the National Urban League puts it, “so far as travel is concerned, Negroes are America’s last pioneers.” Businesses across the United States refused to serve African-Americans. Black travelers often had to carry buckets or portable toilets in the trunks of their cars because they were usually barred from bathrooms and rest areas in service stations and roadside stops. Diners and restaurants also rejected blacks, and even travel essentials such as gasoline could be unavailable because of discrimination at gas stations. To avoid such problems on long trips, African-Americans often packed meals and even containers of gasoline in their cars.The civil rights leader John Lewis has recalled how his family prepared for a trip in 1951:

There would be no restaurant for us to stop at until we were well out of the South, so we took our restaurant right in the car with us… Stopping for gas and to use the bathroom took careful planning. Uncle Otis had made this trip before, and he knew which places along the way offered “colored” bathrooms and which were better just to pass on by. Our map was marked and our route was planned that way, by the distances between service stations where it would be safe for us to stop.”

Finding accommodation was one of the greatest challenges faced by black travelers. Not only did many hotels, motels and boarding houses refuse to serve black customers, but thousands of towns across America declared themselves “sundown towns” which all non-whites had to leave by sunset.

If you’re going to force people to violate their consciences, you’d better at least demonstrate a compelling need — like on the scale of the one above.  What extreme hardship is placed on gays by protecting the religious liberty of a Christian or Muslim when they’re asked to engage in something they find to be morally wrong? Where are there laws that literally prohibit straights from serving gays? Where are gays being run out of shops, told to stand at lunch counters, run to the backs of buses simply because they are gay? Gays have many, many options for accommodation. The situation isn’t even close to the same. And subsequently, extreme measures that trample people’s right to practice their religion in their everyday lives are not needed, and shouldn’t be used. If current law makes it necessary to trample religious liberty, then the law needs to be modified.

Slavishness to bad precedence is being used today to trump one of our most sacred founding principles.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

The “Public Accommodation” clause in the 1964 Civil Rights Act spelled out the following:

  • hotels
  • motels
  • restaurants
  • movie theaters
  • stadiums
  • concert halls.

Now it’s being argued that any business “serving the public” is a “public accommodation”, so the Christian photographer and the Muslim Barber as one of the people I recently argued with are just “out of luck”. Because as a condition of their business license, they can’t discriminate.  The argument is “you chose serve the public”. Check your religious liberty at your front door.  If you photograph nude women, you have to photograph nude men. If you photograph heterosexual unions, you have to photograph homosexual unions.  If you cut mens’ hair, you must cut womens’ hair.

But here’s the rub. People don’t go into business to serve the public.  They go into business to make a living, in pursuit of happiness – as the term is properly understood. If you are required by law to get a business license to open a business, and that license requires that you, at times, must violate your religious beliefs, then it is a law that “prohibits the free exercise thereof”.

That says Unconstitutional to me.  If who we are is rooted in liberty, something needs to change.

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