Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Are secular leftists on campus interested in discussing different viewpoints?

A few stories that lead me to think that they are not.

First, Campus Reform writes:

A female student was threatened by feminist and LGBT organizations at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington after she invited them to attend a pro-life event.

Madison Marston sent personal email invitations to UNCW’s National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), PRIDE, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association (WSSA), to extend an invitation to Ratio Christi’s “Abortion and Human Equality: A Pro Life Defense of the Unborn” discussion. The three organizations collectively declined while threatening Marston for sending the invitation.

“Each of the leaders of PRIDE, NARAL and WSSA ask that you no longer contact us directly,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform said. “As a student organization, your events are on the CAIC calendar, part of Hawk e-News, and disseminated in a variety of other ways, which is sufficient for us to be aware of them. We do not need, nor want, these invitations. If you continue to attempt to contact any of us, we will take further action.”

In the email, the organizations said they already had a separate event scheduled for that same date but also said they will not participate in any debates with the Christian apologetics organization as they do not share the same beliefs when it comes to abortion and LGBT issues.

“As such, we have no desire to debate them with you or your organization,” the organizations said in the email.

[…]“We have no desire to attend any event sponsored by your organization and its narrow beliefs steeped in religious bigotry and intolerance.”

[…]Ratio Christi’s event, scheduled for Feb., 26, will host Adams, an outspoken conservative professor at UNCW, “to present a scientific and philosophical argument on the topic of abortion,” according to the event’s press release obtained by Campus Reform.

The free event has a Q&A portion concluding Adams’ talk, during which Marston, a biology and chemistry major, was hoping the other student organizations could participate.

“I had naively thought UNCW’s pro-choice student organizations would jump at any and every opportunity to participate in events on the topic of abortion,” Marston told Campus Reform in an interview. “Or at least, I thought they would be somewhat interested in having a platform to defend their views. If they believe so strongly that abortion is a woman’s right—why are they afraid to defend their belief?”

[…]UNCW’s College Democrats also declined the invitation to attend the event as “our party’s views do not align with the views of the speaker.”

I think the pro-abortion folks, the LGBT folks and the Democrats are not so much interested in debate as they are in coercing anyone who disagrees with them.

Next article is from Fox News.

They write:

Students at Acalanes High School were given a handout with LGBT terminology – including words like pan-sexual, demi-boy and gray gender.

Teenagers at a California high school were publicly shamed for disagreeing with speakers allowed to push an LGBT agenda during an English class, according to several upset parents.

The Queer Straight Alliance at Acalanes High School, in Lafayette, lectured students in several ninth-grade English classes on Jan. 29 about LGBT issues, according to Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing the parents.

During the class, the students, ages 14 and 15, were instructed to stand in a circle. Then, they were grilled about their personal beliefs and their parents’ beliefs on homosexuality, PJI alleges.

“The QSA had students step forward to demonstrate whether they believed that being gay was a choice and whether their parents would be accepting if they came out as gay,” PJI attorney Matthew McReynolds said. “Students who did not step forward were ridiculed and humiliated.”

PJI is a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases. They are representing several families who had children in the freshman classes — some of whom also are angry because there was no parental notification of the LGBT lecture.

“Singling out students for ridicule based on their moral or political beliefs is a Marxist tactic that should have no place in the United States of America,” Dacus said.

Yes, and Christian parents are paying for it by force – there is no school choice. You are forced to pay for this, whether you use it or not.

And finally, an essay on the bullying of Christians and conservatives that happens in schools, from ISI Review.

Excerpt:

“The new intolerance” is shorthand for the chilled public atmosphere in which religious believers now operate. Many people of faith face unique burdens that would have been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago: burdens of ostracism, of losing the good opinion of their neighbors, of being trash-talked in the public square. Some even face the loss of livelihood or the constant threat and reality of litigation; for a primer, see the hounding last spring of Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich for his donation years earlier on behalf of traditional marriage.

Although this new intolerance has begun to attract attention and debate, the connection between that phenomenon and the rise in unbelief among twenty-somethings remains to be explored. And the scrutiny is overdue. It is well known, and well documented by social science, that many students, not only in America but all over, lose their religion in college. The interesting question is why.

[…]Students, like any other human beings, cannot help being sensitive to atmospherics. Let’s think again of the new force that drives a CEO out of his post for having donated to defend traditional marriage. If the new intolerance can penalize an “alpha” like him so dramatically, how much more menacing must it be to people just starting out, whose futures and livelihoods depend so heavily on the opinion of their peers?

[…]It’s time to air the idea that college students do not stay out of church or synagogue because their education leads them to enlightened conclusions about the big questions. No, the more likely dynamic is that thanks to the new intolerance, the social and other costs of being a known believer in the public square mount by the year—and students take note. Hence intimidation on the quad, multiplied over many years and campuses, is an unseen engine of secularization.

This intimidation didn’t work on me, but I have met Christian women who were very sensitive to peer approval when they got to college. They went from Bible verse memorization to shacking up to abortion to divorce. They started to drift because of the peer-shaming and the professor-shaming, and then it is cemented by the repeated experiences of binge-drinking, hooking up and shacking up. The repeated experience of putting aside God and moral boundaries in order to have fun forms a new worldview at a deep level, and it continues as they age.

Even if they come back to the Christian faith at a superficial (emotional, devotional) level, the underlying worldview is hard to fix. Attempts to re-orient them towards an effective Christian life that addresses the real problems that Christians are facing today in the culture will not be accepted. The self-centered life-plan that was formed in college remains intact, with just a veneer of piety on top to justify it when it’s called into question.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , ,

Can we trust Democrats to take national security and foreign policy seriously?

First part of the clip is here on The Weekly Standard:

Q I just want to go back to your statement about the extremists want to incite a religious war against Islam and they failed. There have been a lot of questions raised about why you have chosen not to associate yourself with the language that was used by the French President when he said we’re at war with radical Islam, and instead you have chosen a formulation where you say you want to capture individuals who commit violence based on their warped view of Islam. Is the reason you don’t want to call it “radical Islam” or use the word “war” because you’re afraid of playing into the extremists’ desires to incite a religious war on Islam? Is that the reason you’ve gone to great lengths to come up with this different formulation?

MR. EARNEST: Well, Mara, there certainly — it does seem clear that these terrorists — let’s call them what they are — these terrorists are individuals who would like to cloak themselves in the veil of a particular religion. But based on the fact that the religious leaders of that religion have roundly condemned their actions, those religious leaders have indicated that their actions are entirely inconsistent with Islam. I think the fact that the majority of victims of terror attacks that are carried out by al Qaeda and adherents to their particular brand of violence, that the majority of them are Muslim I think is a pretty clear indication that this is not a matter of the world being at war with Islam. The world and the United States — as we’ve discussed before in the context of ISIL — is at war with these individuals, these violent extremists who carry out these acts of terror and try to justify it by invoking this religion.

Q Right. But the leader of France, your ally in this effort, has put a name on this ideology, which he calls “radical Islam.” You have bent over backwards to not ever say that. There must be a reason.

MR. EARNEST: I think the reason is twofold. One is I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification that they have cited that I think is completely illegitimate, right? That they have invoked Islam to try to justify their attacks.

Transcript for the second part of the clip is from Fox News:

MACCALLUM: You know, every time we see this exchange, it seems like the answer is so tortured like it’s so difficult to say what everybody around the world seems to feel so clearly it is and what the leaders have said in Canada and Australia and Paris where they have felt it so potently and personally. They’ve all said quite clearly that the battle is against Islamic extremism. Why is it so hard to say?

HARF: Well, it’s not hard to say, but it’s not the only kind of extremism we face. I would recommend to folks looking at this administration’s counterterrorism record, I would remind people that more terrorists who claim to — to do acts of violence in the name of Islam has been taken off the battlefield in this administration than under any previous one because of our counterterrorism operations and our efforts that we put in place.

But that’s not the only way that you counter this kind of extremism. Much of it Islamic, you’re absolutely right, but some of it not. So we’re gonna focus on all the different kinds of extremism with a heavy focus on people who do this in the name of Islam, we would say falsely in the name of Islam, but there are other forms of extremism.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this —

HARF: — that are also important.

MACCALLUM: — tell me, what other forms of extremism are particularly troubling and compelling to you right now?

HARF: Well, look, there are people out there who want to kill other people in the name of a variety of causes. Of course, Martha, we are most focused on people doing this in the name of Islam. As we’ve talked about with ISIL, part of our strategy to counter this extremism is to have other moderate Muslim voices to stand up and say, they don’t represent our religion. They speak for their religion more than we do certainly, and we need those voices to stand up in addition to all the other efforts we’re undertaking.

MACCALLUM: All right. I just think a lot of other countries probably listen to the way we’re talking about this and scratch their heads and wonder why it’s so hard to spit it out in a lot of these — these conversations.

Mike McCaul — Chairman Mike McCaul said we — we don’t see a lead agency. There’s no line item in the budget. There are no metrics to measure success. I don’t think we have a strategy. We don’t have a common definition for what this is. And, you know, obviously he’s a critic, but there are people even former administration officials who say we’ve been working on this for a long time but we — we’re not sure whether or not we’re getting anywhere.

HARF: Well, I think when you hear the president who’s talked about our counterterrorism operations, as has people liked John Brennan, the director of the CIA,  the director of National Intelligence, they very clearly said that we have had some success against Al Qaeda core, naming specific leaders we’ve taken off the battlefield, against AQAP, naming specific leaders we’ve taken off the battlefield. But more broadly speaking, it’s bigger than that.

So, talking about how you counter this extremist narrative, that’s a tougher challenge but it’s one we’re committed to certainly, and I think other countries around the world look at the U.S. and the success we have had and how aggressive we have been and they know how committed we are to it.

MACCALLUM: But I think the world is looking for a leader, you know, someone in the van of Winston Churchill or FDR who says, “Look, we know what we’re facing here. This is a global war. This is, you know, girls taken by Boko Haram. This is 132 students massacred in Pakistan. This is people who are going out for coffee in Australia. This is people who were come — just showing up for work in Paris.”

And there’s a common thread here of radical Islamic extremism and until President Obama or John Kerry or someone else in their position stands up and says, “Look, we know we’re facing a global threat of radical Islamic extremism. We must band together and we must fight it.” That’s what everybody is longing to hear, it appears, Marie. Where is that message?

HARF: Well, I — I — I think all of these leaders have made very clear the serious threats we face. If you look at the president’s speech at West Point, if you look at the things Secretary Kerry has said. It’s not as easy as — as defining at the way you just did. We have to look at each threat individually. All of those threats you just mentioned are from different groups and different places.

We voted for left-wing ideologues and they are going to get us killed because they are afraid to offend our enemies. God help us all.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Marquette University suspends professor for defending student who opposes gay marriage

Cheryl Abatte, Marquette University

Cheryl Abatte, Marquette University

Here’s the back story from Fox News.

Excerpt:

Students who oppose gay marriage are homophobic, according to an audio recording of a Marquette University instructor who went on to say that gay right issues cannot be discussed in class because it might offend homosexuals.

I reached out to the 20-year-old student at the center of this outrageous episode and the story he tells should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks religious schools are safe havens for open discourse.

The story was first reported on a blog run by a Marquette University professor and was picked up by the good folks over at The College Fix.

The young man, who asked not to be identified, explained what happened when his ethics instructor, Cheryl Abbate, led a conversation in “Theory of Ethics” class about applying philosophical theories to modern political controversies. There were a list of issues on the board – gay rights, gun rights, and the death penalty.

“We had a discussion on all of them – except gay rights,” the student told me. “She erased that line from the board and said, ‘We all agree on this.’”

Well, as it so happened – the student did not agree with instructor Abbate.

So after class he approached the instructor and told her he thought they should have discussed the issue of gay rights. He also recorded their conversation — without her permission.

I’ll cut to the bottom line of that conversation:

“Are you saying if I don’t agree with gays not being allowed to get married that I’m homophobic?” the student asked.

“I’m saying it would come off as a homophobic comment in this class,” the teacher replied.

[…]“You can have whatever opinions you want but I will tell you right now – in this class homophobic comments, racist comments, sexist comments will not be tolerated,” she said. ‘If you don’t like it, you are more than free to drop this class.”

So the student dropped the class.

That was reported in November, here’s the latest from the Washington Times about a professor who blogged about the incident.

Excerpt:

Marquette University professor John McAdams has been suspended from teaching and banned from campus after blogging about another professor who supposedly shut down opposing views to gay marriage in her ethics class.

In November, Mr. McAdams, who runs the Marquette Warrior blog, wrote a post critical of a philosophy instructor, Cheryl Abbate. Ms. Abbate reportedly told a student in her class that his views against pro-gay policies weren’t welcome in the classroom setting because he could offend students who are gay.

Mr. McAdams accused Ms. Abbate of stifling the student’s free speech rights that professors have a duty to protect.

On Tuesday he received a letter from Dean Richard Holz saying the Marquette Warrior is under investigation and he is suspended from all faculty activities indefinitely.

You can read the professor’s response on his blog.

And let this be a reminder to you not to study anything where these leftist ideology-only professors are teaching. The woman who told the student to agree with her or drop the class was speaking in a mandatory philosophy class. That’s why I keep cautioning people against non-STEM fields. This is where the leftists congregate because non-STEM fields like English are insulated from reality. STEM areas are too difficult for people like Cheryl Abatte to infiltrate, because STEM fields require work and the work is bounded by reality. If you choose a STEM program, you can keep your own worldview, learn practical real-world skills, and get a real job doing real work afterwards. Computer science, petroleum engineering, nursing – or go to a vocational school.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Read Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom” online for free

I want to recommend that you read a book that is available online for free.

The author  is a psychiatrist in a British hospital that deals with a lot of criminals and victims of crime. So he gets to see the worldview of the “underclass” up close, and to understand how the policies of the compassionate secular left are really working at the street level. The theme of the book is that the left advances policies in order to feel good about themselves, even though the policies actually hurt the poor and vulnerable far more than they help them. And the solution of the elites is more of the same.

The whole book is available ONLINE for free! From City Journal!

Table of Contents

The Knife Went In 5
Goodbye, Cruel World 15
Reader, She Married Him–Alas 26
Tough Love 36
It Hurts, Therefore I Am 48
Festivity, and Menace 58
We Don’t Want No Education 68
Uncouth Chic 78
The Heart of a Heartless World 89
There’s No Damned Merit in It 102
Choosing to Fail 114
Free to Choose 124
What Is Poverty? 134
Do Sties Make Pigs? 144
Lost in the Ghetto 155
And Dying Thus Around Us Every Day 167
The Rush from Judgment 181
What Causes Crime? 195
How Criminologists Foster Crime 208
Policemen in Wonderland 221
Zero Intolerance 233
Seeing Is Not Believing 244

Lots more essays are here, all from City Journal.

My favorite passage

The only bad thing about reading it online is that you miss one of the best quotes from the introduction. But I’ll type it out for you.

The disastrous pattern of human relationships that exists in the underclass is also becoming common higher up the social scale. With increasing frequency I am consulted by nurses, who for the most part come from and were themselves traditionally members of (at least after Florence Nightingale) the respectable lower middle class, who have illegitimate children by men who first abuse and then abandon them. This abuse and later abandonment is usually all too predictable from the man’s previous history and character; but the nurses who have been treated in this way say they refrained from making a judgment about him because it is wrong to make judgments. But if they do not make a judgment about the man with whom they are going to live and by whom they are going to have a child, about what are they ever going to make a judgment?

“It just didn’t work out,” they say, the “it” in question being the relationship that they conceive of having an existence independent of the two people who form it, and that exerts an influence on their on their lives rather like an astral projection. Life is fate.

This is something I run into myself. I think that young people today prefer moral relativists as mates, because they are afraid of being judged and rejected by people who are too serious about religion and morality. The problem is that if you choose someone who doesn’t take religion and morality seriously, then you can’t rely on them to behave morally and exercise spiritual leadership when raising children. And being sexually involved with someone who doesn’t take morality seriously causes a lot of damage.

An excerpt

Here’s one of my favorite passages from “Tough Love”, in which he describes how easily he can detect whether a particular man has violent tendencies on sight, whereas female victims of domestic violence – and even the hospital nurses – will not recognize the same signs.

All the more surprising is it to me, therefore, that the nurses perceive things differently. They do not see a man’s violence in his face, his gestures, his deportment, and his bodily adornments, even though they have the same experience of the patients as I. They hear the same stories, they see the same signs, but they do not make the same judgments. What’s more, they seem never to learn; for experience—like chance, in the famous dictum of Louis Pasteur—favors only the mind prepared. And when I guess at a glance that a man is an inveterate wife beater (I use the term “wife” loosely), they are appalled at the harshness of my judgment, even when it proves right once more.

This is not a matter of merely theoretical interest to the nurses, for many of them in their private lives have themselves been the compliant victims of violent men. For example, the lover of one of the senior nurses, an attractive and lively young woman, recently held her at gunpoint and threatened her with death, after having repeatedly blacked her eye during the previous months. I met him once when he came looking for her in the hospital: he was just the kind of ferocious young egotist to whom I would give a wide berth in the broadest daylight.

Why are the nurses so reluctant to come to the most inescapable of conclusions? Their training tells them, quite rightly, that it is their duty to care for everyone without regard for personal merit or deserts; but for them, there is no difference between suspending judgment for certain restricted purposes and making no judgment at all in any circumstances whatsoever. It is as if they were more afraid of passing an adverse verdict on someone than of getting a punch in the face—a likely enough consequence, incidentally, of their failure of discernment. Since it is scarcely possible to recognize a wife beater without inwardly condemning him, it is safer not to recognize him as one in the first place.

This failure of recognition is almost universal among my violently abused women patients, but its function for them is somewhat different from what it is for the nurses. The nurses need to retain a certain positive regard for their patients in order to do their job. But for the abused women, the failure to perceive in advance the violence of their chosen men serves to absolve them of all responsibility for whatever happens thereafter, allowing them to think of themselves as victims alone rather than the victims and accomplices they are. Moreover, it licenses them to obey their impulses and whims, allowing them to suppose that sexual attractiveness is the measure of all things and that prudence in the selection of a male companion is neither possible nor desirable.

Often, their imprudence would be laughable, were it not tragic: many times in my ward I’ve watched liaisons form between an abused female patient and an abusing male patient within half an hour of their striking up an acquaintance. By now, I can often predict the formation of such a liaison—and predict that it will as certainly end in violence as that the sun will rise tomorrow.

At first, of course, my female patients deny that the violence of their men was foreseeable. But when I ask them whether they think I would have recognized it in advance, the great majority—nine out of ten—reply, yes, of course. And when asked how they think I would have done so, they enumerate precisely the factors that would have led me to that conclusion. So their blindness is willful.

Go read the rest!

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pastor Franklin Graham tells Obama: Islam “is a false religion”

When a pastor does the right thing, I have to feature it.

This is from CNS News.

Excerpt:

Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world renowned evangelical pastor Billy Graham, said that President Barack Obama was “fundamentally mistaken” about radical Islam; questioned why peaceful Muslims do not collectively condemn jihadist terrorism; and argued that Islam “is a false religion” and that “it is impossible for a false religion to be a true religion of peace.”

Rev. Franklin Graham also cited examples from a speech he recently gave outside the White House, decrying the actions of followers of a “peaceful religion” who practice “female circumcision,” hijacking, kidnapping, “honor” killings, and decapitation.

Rev. Graham commended President Obama for sending some U.S. troops to fight the Islamic State but, citing Obama’s Sept. 24  speech at the United Nations where the president said “Islam teaches peace,” the reverend said, “I also believe our president is completely and fundamentally mistaken about the intolerant and violent nature of hardened Islamic followers.”

“For Muslims, peace comes only through submission to Islam,” said Rev. Graham in his November commentary for Decision magazine,  published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  “When they speak of peace, they mean submission to their religion. Worldwide, tens of thousands of men, women and children have been slaughtered in the name of Allah, under the bloody flag of Islam.”

Persecution of minorities:

Rev. Graham noted the case of Pastor Saeed Abedeni, an Iranian American who is in prison in Iran “simply because of his Christian faith, beaten and tortured for the sake of Christ by the hostile Islamic regime.”

Executions:

“Mr. President, followers of a peaceful religion do not cut off the heads of innocent people in the barbaric fashion the world has watched recently,” Rev. Graham had said over the loudspeakers, addressing the president and the White House.

Kidnapping and sex-trafficking:

“Mr. President, believers in a peaceful religion do not kidnap 300 young schoolgirls as Boko Haram did in northeastern Nigeria in April and reportedly [sell] them to men to be sex slaves,” he said.  “Mr. President, no peaceful religion would tolerate, let alone practice, female circumcision, require a woman to have her husband’s permission to leave her home and take up employment, and restrict her ability to receive justice in the case of sex crimes.”

“Honor” killings:

Rev. Graham continued, “Mr. President, a peaceful religion would not condone and allow a father to drown a daughter in a swimming pool in front of the family in the name of family honor because she might have stayed out late in the evening with her boyfriend.  Mr. President, why haven’t the 3.5 million Muslims in North America rejected this gross, barbaric and despicable behavior by their fellow Muslims on American soil?”

And there is no widespread outrage among Western muslims over these actions:

Rev. Graham went on to note that the “terrible acts” he cited had not been carried out by “peaceful Muslims, but by radical extremists,” but he questioned why many, “if not most” of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world have not condemned these violent acts. If a so-called Christian commits an act of terrorism, mainstream Christians “quickly and unanimously rise together to condemn it,” he said.

I don’t think Franklin Graham is right 100% of the time, and I don’t agree with him 100% of the time. But it takes balls of steel to say things like this in today’s politically correct culture. Got to tip my hat to him. But then again, he’s not running for office, so he can say what he really thinks. And I have to say I agree that the examples of behavior by Muslims are outrageous and immoral. And I think a lot of non-Christians are going to agree with Graham, too.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

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