Friday, 11/6/15

  1. This question totally needs to be asked
  2. Houston referendum post mortem
  3. Marvelous and quick daily read
  4. Marriage in post-Protestant America
  5. Krauthammer finds an acorn

1

A potpourri of disclaimers: I admire the heck out of Dr. Ben Carson. I was a conscientious objector in the Vietnam era and emptied bedpans in Peoria for two years and low pay when my draft number came up. 45 years later, and conscientious objection aside, I think the nation is embroiled in too many wars of choice even by the standards of those who think War Is The Answer. Finally, I agree that there be no religious test for public office.

Still, it seems legitimate to ask a man auditioning for the role of Commander in Chief of all U.S. armed forces: How can you simultaneously adhere to the Seventh Day Adventist tradition and command lethal action against the nation’s enemies?

2

Wednesday brought news that a controversial anti-discrimination Ordinance had been rescinded by referendum voters in Houston. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, the defeat probably was the result of (a) slight overreach on the substance of the law, and (b) extreme overreach by the defenders of the ordinance in initial court skirmishes.

The substantive overreach was the addition of “gender identity,” which opened the door to the iconic “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” signs (don’t laugh, left: you’ve got your stupid yellow equal sign on navy field; go read your Jonathan Haidt).

The court overreach was a scorched-earth subpoena from the City’s lawyers for copies of sermons and other speeches given by five pastors and religious leaders who spoke out against the ordinance. It’s nice to know that in Texas, jackboots are still detested, and in that sense, Rod Dreher calling this a victory for religious freedom is warranted (if an oblique backlash against anti-religious tyranny can be such a victory).

For my money, though, the best argument against such ordinances is echoed by this snippet (emphasis added):

“The mayor has never been able to produce a shred of evidence that’s credible of any need for this ordinance, other than everybody else is doing it,” said Dave Welch, the executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council.

Sadly, it doesn’t fit neatly on a sign, let alone a 3″x 3″ bumper sticker.

Most bullshitty short post-mortem?:

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, reflecting the predominate theme of the anti-Ordinance campaign, said:

The voters clearly understand that this proposition was never about equality – that is already the law. It was about allowing men to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms …

That may have been the possibility or even probability that drove much negative vote, but that’s not what the ordinance was “about.”

Wave-of-the-corporate-dominated-future award goes the Mayor Annise Parker (emphasis added):

Unfortunately, I fear that this will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming, global city.  And I absolutely fear that there will be a direct economic backlash as a result of this.

Bluff and bluster aside, Tim Cook isn’t going to stop shipping iPhones to Houston, and if we rise up en masse, they may just have to hold the Superbowl and NCAA Tournaments someplace like China, where human rights are so fastidiously protected that Tim Cook happily operates there.

Ryan Anderson says we can beat the Tim Cooks and Cummins Engines and Eli Lillys:

Conservatives can win when they refuse to be bullied by elites into silence. Making the public argument against bad policy and in support of good policy can win the day. It just did.

Against one-sided media coverage, big business lobbying, and various elites expressing their support for the ordinance—a grassroots coalition of ordinary citizens were able to explain why sexual orientation and gender identity laws are bad policy.

This needs to continue, both in Houston and across the country. For as Ed Feulner was fond of reminding people, in politics there are no permanent defeats because there are no permanent victories. Sexual orientation and gender identity laws are being pushed across the nation, at the federal, state and local levels. They are unnecessary and divisive and must be resisted.

Some people suggest the best Americans can hope for is passage of these laws with some religious exemptions and accommodations. But Houston shows us a better way. Don’t enact bad policy that you’d need to exempt yourself from in the first place.

3

Why, oh why, knowing in the back of my mind that it existed, did I not add Seth Godin’s blog to Feedly until last week?

4

There is no longer a Protestant theology of marriage that can account for life-long God-given togetherness. Of the high purposes of marriage I recently read: “Marriage . . . is intended to protect the creation and nurturing of mutual trust and love as one foundation of human community.” It is one of the “social structures that enhances social trust.” Not much about becoming “one flesh” in that version, especially since the statement was written to account for gay relations as well.

(Russell Saltzman)

Thank God for the robust view of marriage in the Orthodox Betrothal and Crowning Services.

5

In a world of competing priorities, I’ve demoted spectating GOP pre-Presidential preening pretty far, and didn’t watch the most recent debate. I also don’t read Charles Krauthammer all that often any more. But if this accurately reflects the debate question, his response is right on the money:

[I]t was Carl Quintanilla who demonstrated just how unmoored liberal delusions about conservatives have become. He asked Ben Carson how, as an opponent of same-sex marriage, he could remain on the board of a company that is known for its generous treatment of gay employees. Quintanilla seemed genuinely unable to fathom that one can oppose the most radical change in the structure of marriage in human history — as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all did just a few years ago — without wanting to see gay people persecuted and denied decent treatment by their employers.

Any questions? Jeez!

Krauthammer’s column laments GOP overreach and squandering of the great gift of blatantly biased debate moderation. That seems about right, too.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.