Saturday, 26 March 2011
Talk radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh has repeated for years his belief that as a political party, the Democrats feel entitled to power. When they are denied it by the results of an election, they react as though they are the victims of a grave injustice, thereby at liberty to engage in whatever tactic is necessary to retrieve what is rightfully theirs. Beginning with the Wisconsin walkout and now embodied in the temper tantrum of Indiana Democrats, the self-professed Doctor of Democracy has once again been proven right.
Statehouse walkouts are not without precedent. In fact, they are a reasonably common occurrence. But they are largely symbolic gestures - an attempt to demonstrate the minority's outraged disapproval of the majority's agenda. Seldom do they go on for days, and until now, never have they been legitimate attempts to undermine the entire democratic process by grinding the operation of government to a halt.
Yet that is exactly what the Wisconsin Democrats attempted, and what their Indiana counterparts are still shamefully perpetrating. What is taking place in the Indiana Statehouse is far from a mere regional or petty statewide issue; it is a direct assault on the democratic process that deserves national attention and collective, bipartisan scorn. For while the Wisconsin constitution allowed the Republicans a procedural recourse to rectify the stalemate (something they employed when it became apparent the Democrats could not be lured back by compromise), Indiana Republicans have no such option.
For those who may be unaware, Indiana Statehouse Democrats staged a walkout a month ago to deny the large Republican majority the ability to enact legislation opposed by public and private union bosses - specifically right-to-work and public education reform laws. The Democrat caucus fled across state lines to Illinois (where else?), and have been holed up in a hotel demanding concession after concession to earn their return. But even after capitulating to their juvenile fit and pulling the right-to-work law off the table, Republican leaders have been unsuccessful in luring the Democrats back to work.
Indiana House Speaker, Republican Brian Bosma, acknowledged as much when he lamented, "We can't do the Madison shuffle that Wisconsin legislators were able to accomplish." The consequence of that reality? Given that Indiana has a part-time legislature, the stalemate will most likely cease only when the session adjourns and Governor Mitch Daniels calls the Assembly back into special session to pass a budget and new redistricting maps - the only items the legislature is required by law to pass. This special session may give Republicans some wiggle room, but the likelihood is that the Democrat temper-tantrum will have killed the passage of virtually every bill introduced this year.
There's a phrase for what is occurring in Indiana; it's called the "tyranny of the minority." In Federalist #10, James Madison warned against the tyranny of the majority by proposing that a republican form of representative democracy would best protect the rights of the minority. What he apparently didn't count on was that in an effort to appease their union masters, the minority would one day use those protections to obliterate the democratic process. And that is precisely what is unfolding.
It's telling that the phrase "tyranny of the minority" has been employed in recent years by Democrat apologists angry at the Republican Party's use of the filibuster to stall Democrat-sponsored legislation. Watching Republicans require a supermajority of 60 Senators to pass some of Barack Obama's most controversial policies (thereby slowing his left-wing revolution of government), Democrat consultant Peter Fenn thundered, "This is the tyranny of the minority...This acceptance of a supermajority to get anything done in America has gotten way out of hand...There is a place for a supermajority: impeachment, eviction of members, veto overrides, votes on treaties and constitutional amendments. But we should not have such requirements for the regular conduct of legislative business, especially at times like these, when action is required to move the country forward."
One must wonder where Mr. Fenn and his counterparts are now. After all, while both parties' overuse of the filibuster to obstruct legislation is a fair topic of conversation, it pales in comparison to the unseemly tactic of a group of lawmakers who hold representative democracy itself hostage by refusing to show up for work. Because while a filibuster is levied to obtain critical changes and adjustments to pending legislation, these walkouts are a brazen attempt to thwart the will of the people expressed in an election.
As Bosma explained, "We've offered a number of concessions on substitutive matters on issues of concern to the Democrats. What we have not agreed to do is to meet their demand to remove issues for the remainder of the legislative session in both chambers, which is their continued demand, that these issues just go away, really nullifying the election results of November 2."
And that's why reasonable and fair minded individuals from around the country and from both sides of the aisle should be outraged at this stunt. The dangerous precedent being set here is that whatever party loses the election should just flee the state to prevent the winners from passing any laws. This un-statesmanlike chicanery annihilates the very republican form of government our Constitution guarantees.
In his article, Fenn complained, "We have seen the rapid evolution of a nation that covets the concept of majority rule to one where the tyranny of the minority threatens to paralyze the country." Indeed it does. Nothing less than the democratic process is at stake. And ironically, it's the group of folks who euphemistically and now wholly inappropriately refer to themselves as the Democratic Party who have the gun to its head.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Professing Muslim Representative Keith Ellison (D, MN) has taken full advantage of the recent Congressional hearings on the radicalization of Islam to market himself as a prophet of tolerance amongst an embittered and ignorant mass of bigots. But for those paying attention, Ellison's current avalanche of public appearances has demonstrated not only a dangerous naiveté about the threat posed by radicals within his own faith, but has also unintentionally provided the best arguments in favor of the very hearings he condemns as intolerant.
Take Ellison's own testimony before the Congressional panel assembled by Representative Peter King (R, NY). Emotional from the opening sentence, Ellison referenced the number of Muslim Americans who died on September 11th before concluding with the anecdotal, yet heroic story of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a Muslim American who lost his life that terrible day as a first responder.
Squeezing tears from his eyes and with voice cracking, Ellison lectured, "Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans. His life should not be defined as a member of an ethnic group or a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow citizens."
Agreed. And it will be, thanks in no small part to the hearings Mr. Ellison found so objectionable. Yes, though Hamdani's heroism had already been chronicled in the New York Times and permanently enshrined in the Patriot Act (a part of the story Keith Ellison curiously omitted in his testimony), it is now forever preserved in the Congressional record as a result of these very hearings.
And that, despite the left's allegations of a bigoted, xenophobic witch hunt, is precisely the motivation behind having such inquiries. There is no questioning the fact that a great many Muslims living in the United States appreciate the blessings of Western society rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic. To them, their allegiance to the Islamic faith does not compel them to war against non Muslim cultures. But only fools would fail to acknowledge the cancerous strand of Islam taught and propagated around the world by radical clerics and Imams hell-bent on the destruction of Israel and the West.
While acknowledging its presence, Ellison blames this phenomenon on radical fanatics who take the Koran out of context. "They're not getting it from the Koran," he told Bill Maher. When Maher - an equal opportunity antagonist of organized religion - countered by asking where these fanatics were finding their mad inspiration, Ellison explained, "Like any ideologue, they will take things out of context to do what they want to do. If you listen to terrorist rhetoric, Bill, what they do is they cite politics, they cite political grievances. They don't really use too much religion."
Fair enough. Of course, the problem in Ellison's defense is that unlike other world religions, Islam is simultaneously a political and religious order. Sharia Law stands in stark contrast to the concept of separation of church and state. After all, the Prophet Mohammed didn't have much success as a preacher. Only when he became a warrior and turned to subjugation and conquest did he see any substantial growth in Islamic conversions.
The question then of whether Keith Ellison, Mohammed Salman Hamdani and other Muslims who preach religious pluralism are the true followers of the Koran, or whether the true disciples of Mohammed are those radical clerics who preach the message of supremacy and domination is a matter of some debate. But the importance that distinguishing between the two groups has on our national security is not.
Because those who use Islam as an impetus for mass murder, the ones who would kill us if we do not adhere to their ideology, are the real bigots. And they are so committed to their crusade that they are willing to murder people of their own faith - people like Hamdani and yes, even Keith Ellison - if they stand in their way.
That is what the King hearings were meant to illuminate. And it's why we need more of them, asking whether we have a problem in this country (as they do in Europe and around the globe) with the infiltration of radical Islamic teachings into American mosques and Muslim communities.
Given that the killers of Mohammed Salman Hamdani - the 9/11 hijackers - attended and drew inspiration from such mosques right here under our noses, that seems like a question anyone crying over Hamdani's tragic death should be demanding, not obstructing an answer to.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Saturday, 12 March 2011
In a recent on-air debate I had with homosexual activist attorney Andrea Ritchie, I asked her whether, in her estimation, the demands being made by the homosexual lobby could peacefully coincide in our society with traditional, Biblical morality. After stating her opinion that there is no homosexual or transgender agenda, she explained that her understanding of Jesus' teachings was that we were to love and accept everyone.
When I responded by challenging that those of us who oppose the dangerous lifestyle of homosexuality do so out of a sense of love, she reminded me that when confronted with the woman caught in adultery (another form of sexual indiscretion), Jesus warned only those who are without sin should cast the first stone. Tellingly, she decided to drop the period right in the middle of Jesus' sentence. Conveniently missing from Ms. Ritchie's defense was what Jesus went on to lovingly say to the prostitute: "Go and sin no more."
And that was the heart of my question - is it possible for our society to satisfy the cries of "civil rights" for those practicing various forms of recreational sex while still providing for the rights of Christians to proclaim to those individuals, "go and sin no more?"
Though intentionally elusive and non-committal, her response contained enough substantive morsels to deduce the real answer: the two can coexist so long as Christians capitulate by neutering Scripture and accepting sin.
This is the painful reality that our society can continue to ignore, but that will continue pressing uncomfortably against us until we acknowledge its nagging presence. Our culture is being confronted with the choice of whether we will continue to protect the rights of conscience for Christians and other like-minded religious people, or if we will forsake those protections and instead create a right of sexual chaos where moral disapproval of any consensual sexual activity is forbidden. We simply can't have both.
As evidence of this truth, consider a recent ruling from the United Kingdom's High Court. At issue was the foster care parenting rights not of practicing homosexuals, but of practicing Christians. Eunice and Owen Johns had applied to become foster parents, but were denied that right because of their religious conviction that homosexuality was deviant and immoral behavior.
The High Court saw this belief as discriminatory against homosexuals and thus deemed the Johns' home an improper environment for raising children. This is the danger in elevating behavior to the status of identity. By confusing homosexuality as who a person is rather than what a person does, moral disapproval of that behavior is removed from the concept of free opinion and placed in the category of condemnable hate.
The great irony, of course, is that by protecting practicing homosexuals from such discrimination, the High Court codified and condoned discrimination against practicing Christians. While they acknowledged the European Convention granted individuals a right to conscience and religion, the judges decided the degree to which Christianity is protected can be "qualified."
Got that? Religious rights now become "qualified" in order to allow for an unencumbered and unrestricted sexual license. Despite being built upon the framework of Western-Christian thought dating back to leading legal authorities, like the Scripturally devout Sir William Blackstone, the UK High Court exhibited no hesitation in choosing sides in this titanic struggle between the rights of conscience and the push for sexual anarchy.
They ruled, "While as between the protected rights concerning religion and sexual orientation there is no hierarchy of rights, there may, as this case shows, be a tension between equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation. Where this is so...the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and the Statutory Guidance indicate that it must be taken into account and in this limited sense the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence."
Sexual progressives 1, Christians 0.
Though we've seen this imminent face-off between the demands of the aggressive sexual anarchists of the left and Christian rights of conscience brewing for some time - an Indianapolis cookie store threatened with eviction for declining to participate in a homosexual celebration, a New Mexico photography business fined for declining to take pictures of a homosexual "ring ceremony," San Diego doctors taken to court for not providing a lesbian couple with in vitro fertilization, evangelical dating site eHarmony.com bullied by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office into creating and operating a site for homosexuals - this UK ruling is the most alarming development to date.
It indicates the uncompromisingly hostile position the left is taking towards traditional morality: one will win, the other will lose. The fate of our civilization depends upon the right outcome.
Saturday, 05 March 2011
It's more than a feeling. Events that have unfolded the last several months have convinced me that this will be the generation that brings an end to the practice of legalized abortion in the United States. Historically speaking, our escape from this draconian and barbaric ritual of child killing was inevitable. Ours is a country that has always been engaged in a perpetual struggle to live up to the eternal truths of our founding creed: that all men are endowed by God with inalienable rights.
In the dark moments of our past, we have experienced the betrayal of those timeless principles by the self-serving interests of a few. The same moral confusion that once paved the infamous Trail of Tears, supported the slave auction block and inspired the angry lynch mobs, now leads some to believe that they can choose to exterminate small, unplanned or inconvenient children.
So what convinces me that we are arriving at our most recent point of deliverance? Several factors do. First, we are finally beginning to address the real issue of whether the infant in the womb is human or not. This has always been the only question that matters.
During oral arguments in the 1973 landmark case of Roe v. Wade, Justice Potter Stewart demonstrated as much. He asked Attorney Sarah Weddington who was arguing for abortion rights, "If it were established that an unborn fetus is a person, you would have an almost impossible case here, would you not?" Weddington audibly laughed as she was forced to acknowledge, "I would have a very difficult case." Stewart pushed further by positing, "This would be the equivalent to after the child was born...if the mother thought it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed. Isn't that correct?" Weddington sheepishly granted, "That's correct."
This shocking exchange is what prompted the author of the seminal Roe ruling, Harry Blackmun, to write in the majority opinion, "[If the] suggestion of personhood is established, the case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."
Yet despite this being the critical linchpin holding the heinous premise of abortion rights together, we have spent years in the wilderness debating ultrasound laws, parental consent forms and taxpayer subsidies - a confused approach that has yielded a 38 year holocaust in the name of convenience. This finally is beginning to dawn on our elected leaders. At a press conference last month, U.S. Representative Trent Franks stated bluntly, "Ladies and gentlemen, if abortion really does kill a baby, then in this, the seat of freedom, we are living in the midst of the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity." That conclusion may be difficult for our American pride to admit, but it illuminates a painful truth that can refocus our attention where it should be: our national commitment to defending the inalienable rights of all men.
In addition to this cultural reawakening, recent events have lifted the veil on the macabre realities of the abortion world. The horrific stories that emerged from late-term abortionist Kermitt Gosnell's clinic a few months ago may have shocked the conscience of average Americans. But what was most frightening was that leading "pro-choice" advocates could offer little more than a condemnation of Gosnell's sanitation policies. After all, the actual practice of mutilating children with scissors is a "procedure" they consider legitimate. Looking at the images of severed body parts in jars, sane Americans realized there was something amiss far more than just a poor janitorial staff.
Then came the recent billboard wars in New York City. After a pro-life group put up an ad featuring a little black girl beneath the bold words, "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb," abortion rights activists came unglued. While they predictably railed against the campaign as an attack on family planning, astute citizens recognized what they were not doing was denying the truth of the billboard's message. And there's a reason for that: three out of every five black children in New York City are killed by abortionists.
This systemic refusal to deal in facts is all we should expect from a movement whose standard bearer is Planned Parenthood. Multiple hidden camera stings have revealed the unbridled deceit that characterizes the organization, further driving a wedge between the abortion crowd and Americans of conscience. After being caught flagrantly thwarting the law to conceal abusive prostitution rings, statutory rape violations and an underage sex slave operation, Planned Parenthood's leadership didn't demand immediate internal investigations to clean up their act. No, they mused about suing Lila Rose and her organization Live Action Films who exposed them.
All this trickery, misdirection, obfuscation and corruption within the so-called "pro-choice" movement are causing an increasingly large number of Americans to reassess their position on the issue. That, coupled with a reinvigorated pro-life movement infused with a youthful energy and a refocused approach that addresses humanness rather than politics, convinces me that the day is fast approaching when our society finds the moral courage to end the killing.
When we do, our generation will have made its most influential contribution to America's 222 year old pursuit of a more perfect union.