Dehumanizing

“If you ladies leave my island, if you survive basic training, you will be a weapon.  You will be a minister of death, praying for war.  But until that day, you are pukes.  You are the lowest form of life on Earth.  You are not even human f*cking beings.  You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian sh#t!”

        —R. Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket

 

Imagine, if you will, a 24-year-old single mom, with her five-year-old in the car, being assaulted by a man who repeatedly shoves her to the ground.  Imagine she’s berated with a flood of curseword-laden epithets.  Imagine she’s dragged around by her feet until her dress rides up over her head.  Imagine, then, her tearful, angry, frightened, and, yes, f-bomb-laced report to the police officer at the scene gets recorded.

Does this sound funny to you?  Is it even remotely entertaining?

Well, it was to CNN anchor Carol Costello, who last week broadcast the audio with this gleefully grinning introduction (just watch her face in the video embedded in the linked story):

“This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across.  Well, come across in a long time . . . Sit back, and enjoy.”

Best.  Audio.  Ever.  Enjoy.

That’s her introto audio about an assault of a single mother (she later repeated the “best minute and a half of audio” remark via Twitter).  Following the audio, Costello returned to the screen, still smugly grinning, and confided that a lengthy expletive bleep was her “favorite part.”  She closed by telling viewers:

“You can thank me later.”

Wow.

Not that it matters, but did I mention that the young single mother in question was Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin?

Actually, it does matter, because it turns out that just three months earlier, Costello posted an op-ed at CNN.com demonstrating that she, in fact, knows better.  Boldly piling onto the Ray Rice assault story that by then was already nearly six months old, Costello—rightly, I might add—got all over Rice and the NFL and condemned the cowardice involved any time a man assaults a woman.  I mean, that’s bad when a man assaults a woman, right?

Unless that woman is the daughter of a much-reviled star of your political enemy, apparently.

After a week of being blasted for her callous display—and it’s worth noting that CNN never even suspended her, much less fire her—Costello finally apologized.

Via Twitter.

She refuses to apologize on the air, and you know she hasn’t had the guts or decency to call Bristol and apologize personally.

Classy.

Ms. Costello herself has been a victim of a violent assault.  She—taking her at her word—knows what that’s about.  When the victim is Janay Rice, or herself, she knows that’s a heinous, despicable act.  Why, then, is it hilarious when the victim is Bristol Palin?

The answer, I’m afraid, says a great deal about the very dark place to which we’ve allowed ourselves to slip: Carol Costello does not view Bristol Palin or anyone else associated with the political Right as a human being.

[As an aside, I don’t think anyone knows what Bristol’s political views are, if she has any, and she’s never run for office or held herself out as a pundit.  In this instance we’re talking pure guilt-by-association]

This is where we are now, kids.  We’ve reached the point where those with whom we disagree—and their children—are no longer human beings, and therefore any mishap, epithet, or mistreatment that may befall them—or that we, ourselves, may cast upon them—is not only OK, it’s the height of entertainment.  And this is what then allows us to take joy in the physical abuse of someone on the other side.  Or publicly equate someone with barnyard excrement just because we disagree with them.  Or mock the fact that a political opponent is confined to a wheelchair.

I’ll confess this is not confined to to the Progressive Left, although I submit you’ll find more examples of it on that side of the discussion.  This is running through our society, and it’s a direct result of us allowing ourselves to slip into a culture of dehumanization and death.

TheCollegeFix.com reports that a growing number of students on college campuses not only support unlimited abortion on demand, they support “post-birth abortion.”  And for those of you who have previously ridiculed the slippery slope argument against abortion, I want you to pay attention:  some of these students favor killing children up to age five.

Five years old.

That’s not a sperm or egg.  That’s not a zygote or embryo.  That’s not a fetus. That’s not even an infant or a toddler.  That’s a kindergartener.

The argument these people make is that—supposedly—human beings don’t become “self-aware” until age five, and until they reach that stage of development, they’re not fully human.  Therefore, it is not society’s place to substitute its moral judgment for that of the mother.  Having reduced the child to sub-human status in their minds, they then view it as OK to kill the child as a matter of convenience.

Once this mindset takes hold, there is almost no limit to the depravity it will permit.  The Holocaust was not possible without the Nazis first being able to reduce Jews, in popular thinking, to less-than-human status.  Slavery was not possible—or at least could not have been sustained from as long as it was—on these shores without a prevailing mindset that African blacks were not human beings; indeed, the argument that blacks are human beings was the most powerful intellectual tool in eliminating the practice.  Today’s Islamists would not be beheading unbelievers and apostates without the same kind of thinking.

This is a dangerous place we’re heading.  We’ve become all-too comfortable with casting people into the pit of the sub-human, or watching others do it and being OK with it as long as it’s not us.  We should be profoundly, viscerally, uncomfortable with the abuse of another (whatever our political differences), or with the killing of a four year old child (or any child).

That we’re increasingly not is very, very disturbing.

The Curious Case Of Cliven Bundy

 

Take another shot of courage

Wonder why the right words never come

You just get numb

            —The Eagles, Tequila Sunrise

 

I’m going to be a little controversial today.

You may have seen the recent standoff between Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management.  Bundy has for years grazed his cattle on what is ostensibly federally-owned land and refused to pay the per-head fee for doing so after the land was officially closed off to protect an endangered tortoise (how closing the land only then to re-open it for a fee protects the tortoise escapes me).  Recently his ranch was surrounded by armed federal agents, his cattle were confiscated and some of them killed under circumstances that have yet to be explained fully.  Only after scores of armed private citizens came to Bundy’s aid did the government back down and give his cattle back (what was left of them, anyway).

Last week Bundy was back in the news, this time for comments he made about blacks.  Discussing his recollection of driving past a government housing project in North Las Vegas, Bundy said:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro . . . in front of that government house door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do.  They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do.  They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.  And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?  They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.  And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?  They didn’t get no more freedom.  They got less freedom.”

[And then of course there’s the part that CNN, the New York Times, and the rest of the media edited out:  “They got less family life, and their happiness—you could see it on their faces—they wasn’t happy sitting on that concrete sidewalk”  The media also didn’t report his preceding comments on the Watts riots: “People are not happy, people thinking they don’t have their freedoms, they didn’t have these things and they didn’t have them.  We’ve progressed quite a bit from that day until now, and we sure don’t want to go back.  We sure don’t want the colored people to go back to that point.”  But I digress . . .]

Tea Party types who had come to Bundy’s defense quickly ran for cover, denouncing Bundy’s statements (as edited by the media) as racist.

I’m not so sure.

Mr. Bundy’s choice of words certainly leaves something to be desired (although I seem to have missed the memo that “Negro” and “colored” were no longer just antiquated but were now considered racist and offensive—maybe someone should inform the United Negro College Fund and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), but let’s bear in mind this man is a rancher, not a professional orator.  And if we’ll calm down a second, step back and examine what he actually said, maybe—just maybe—we’ll see that he has something of a point.

First, Bundy was not advocating slavery, nor was he stating affirmatively that blacks were in fact better off as slaves. He did not attribute his observations to some imagined inherent racial inferiority, and he did not blame blacks themselves for their situation.  He was posing a rhetorical question—“I’ve often wondered . . .”—not stating an opinion, and while his comments are stated in terms that are obviously too global, I think they can be understood as a clumsy attempt to use hyperbole to illustrate something about the black condition, particularly as it relates to poor blacks.

Consider the following:

No one can deny that housing projects exist.  And while not all blacks live in government housing, they in fact occupy the projects in grossly disproportionate numbers.  According to HUD, although blacks make up just 13% of the population, 48% of government-subsidized households are black.  While we’re on the subject of government subsidies, note that 40% of welfare recipients and 24% of food stamp recipients are black.   There is nothing racist in this observation, it’s simply the statistical fact: relative to their proportion of the population, blacks receive more government subsidy assistance than the population as a whole.

Bundy said that the people he observed in the projects had nothing to do.  This is not shocking: if you’re in a government housing project, you are most likely poor, and there is a disproportionate likelihood that you are unemployed.  This is particularly so if you’re black.  Black unemployment in fact has long exceeded the national average by a wide margin.  As of last month, “official” unemployment among blacks was 12.8%, roughly double the national rate of 6.9%, and considerably worse than it was prior to LBJ and the Left’s “war on poverty.”  Bundy referred more specifically to young blacks having nothing to do; unemployment among blacks 16 to 19 currently sits at 30.9%, four-and-a-half times the national average.  These figures obviously have a direct effect on poverty, which impacts 27% of the total black population.  Again, this is not a racist statement; if you are black, particularly a young black, statistically there is a much higher chance that you are unemployed, poor, living in government housing, and receiving some form of welfare.

That’s not racist.  That’s just a fact.

Bundy then remarked that blacks—again, his context was his observation of poor blacks in government housing—abort their babies and put their young men in jail.  Well, do they?  Black babies are aborted at a rate of 41 per 1000 women.  That’s more than double the national average of 18, and by some estimates over 13 million black babies have been aborted since Roe, the equivalent of eliminating 30% of the entire current U.S. black population.  This is exactly as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger envisioned it, as she expressly intended her organization’s abortion function as a means of racial cleansing.  Blacks also make up nearly half of the total U.S. prison population, and 1 in 3 black men can expect to serve prison time during their lives.  We can debate whether blacks themselves put those black men in jail; the cause isn’t as important here as the statistical fact itself that a disproportionate number of blacks are incarcerated.

Carrying the domestic analysis further, while the rate is dropping, teen pregnancy among black girls remains more than double that of whites.  72% of black children live in single parent households.  And blacks are wildly more likely than whites to be the victim of violent crime, almost always at the hands of another black.

So to recap, blacks in the U.S. are significantly disproportionately likely to:

  • Be poor
  • Be unemployed
  • Receive government subsidies
  • Be impacted by abortion or teen pregnancy
  • Grow up in a single parent home
  • Spend time in jail
  • Be the victim of violent crime

There is nothing racist about making the observation; these are simply the statistical facts of the black condition.  I think we can all agree that these are not good things, and there is almost surely a relationship between them.  And this, I think, was the essence of the point Bundy was trying—however inartfully—to make: that blacks would be better off with meaningful jobs that allowed them to get off government assistance and out of government housing, and with that maybe improve the other aspects of their domestic circumstances.

But let’s assume for a second that Bundy’s statements in fact are racist.  Why does that—as the media and Left have been trying to claim—render all the substantive points and questions raised by his standoff with the BLM illegitimate?  If someone is a racist does that mean that they are a crackpot and wrong an all issues, all the time, under all circumstances?

To be sure, Bundy’s substantive case against the BLM has problems.  He has in fact—he freely admits this—not paid the grazing fee, to the tune of over $1 million.  Although his argument that in the charter creating the State of Nevada the United States obligated itself to sell all federal land back in 1864 has some facial appeal, in context it has issues:

Sec. 10.  Five percent of subsequent sales of public lands by United States to be paid to state for public roads and irrigation.  And be it further enacted, That five percentum of the proceeds of the sales of all public lands lying within said state, which shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said state into the Union . . . shall be paid to the said state[.]”

Bundy and his supporters point to the language “which shall be sold by the United States” to argue that the federal government had a duty to sell all federal holdings.  And that is a fair reading.  The problem is, the word “shall” has been frequently misused in legislation in this country, up to and including the Constitution itself.  The title of Section 10 refers to “subsequent sales,” and this suggests that the “which shall be sold” language was really intended simply to refer to those lands that the United States sells if it sells them, rather than imposing an affirmative obligation to do so.  Even so, legitimate questions remain:

  • Why does the federal government still own more than 80% of all land in the State of Nevada?
  • If it’s federal land, and therefore publicly owned, why isn’t it open to all without a fee?
  • Why is Senator Harry Reid, who is supposed to represent the people of the State of Nevada (actually he’s supposed to represent the State itself, but the 17th Amendment killed that) vocally taking the side of the federal government against one of his own constituents?
  • Why does the BLM need to show up with helicopters and dozens of armed agents (including snipers) carrying military style weapons to collect a bill?
  • And while we’re on the subject, why are so many non-military federal agencies (EPA, NOAA, U.S. Postal Service, Department of Education) arming themselves?

Racism or no, what we do see here is more overkill from a federal government out of control.

Rush Is Wrong—But He’s Not Alone

 
Will you recognize me?
Call my name, or walk on by?
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down
—Simple Minds, Don’t You (Forget About Me)
 
WARNING:  THIS ARTICLE HAS A FRANK DISCUSSION ABOUT SEX AND SEXUAL PRACTICES.  READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Let me say it right up front, so there’s no mistaking where I’m coming from:
Rush is wrong on this, and he should put the shovel down before he buries the movement.
Last week, Rush was discussing the Obamacare contraception mandate, when he turned his attention to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who was granted a special hearing audience by Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to testify about Georgetown’s (a nominally Catholic university) policy on contraception.  According to Ms. Fluke, she and her fellow students pay as much as $1,000 a year for contraception, because Georgetown’s student insurance plan doesn’t cover it.  She later characterized her statements as “speaking about the healthcare we need.”
Apparently someone needs healthcare, if the ad warnings about the effects of that little blue pill lasting longer than 4 hours are to be believed.
The legitimate point Rush was trying to make here is what the hell are they doing at Georgetown that they need $1,000 a year for birth control?!?!  Just by way of example, at  condomdepot.com—which offers free shipping, by the way—you can order a case of 1,000 Durex condoms for $325.  Which really begs the question just how much sex Ms. Fluke and her fellow students are having that birth control is costing them over $1,000 a year?  Assuming that, as cost-conscious students, they are using the most economical method available for this “healthcare” upon which they insist, at $0.33 apiece this condom option would require the use of 3,076 condoms in the course of a year to get to an annual cost of $1,000.  That’s just under 8.5 condoms . . . every . . . single . . . day. 
I don’t know about you, but I’m comfortable enough in my own skin to admit that I’m simply not that kind of an—er—athlete.
Of course, neither are they, which either tells us that Ms. Fluke lied to Congress when she testified that she and her classmates are spending upwards of $1,000 a year on birth control “healthcare,” or—more likely—her point isn’t really about the cost, but about her ability to make someone else pay for her to be able to have sex in the way she wants to have it (i.e., with a more expensive and presumably more convenient birth control mechanism than the most cost-effective one available).  THIS is the point Rush was trying to make.
Unfortunately, Rush let his zeal for entertainment hyperbole get the better of him, and in the process of making this point he called Ms. Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.”  And he was wrong, wrong, wrong to do so, and he has since apologized.  Let me repeat, so we’re perfectly clear:
Rush Limbaugh was wrong to call Ms. Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.”
Frankly, I hate it when he does things like that, because he diminishes his otherwise legitimate message, and hurts the cause.  There’s no place in public debate for that kind of vulgar name-calling, and Rush has been rightly called out all over the Leftist media, by the Democrats in Congress, and by the White House for it.  And I have now called him out for it in this space.
Now, having said that . . .
I have a challenge for some of you on the Left (and I know there are a few of you who actually read this space).  Many of you are simply beyond any help, and I accept that.  You’re too naïve, or too ideologically blinded (or both) to be turned.  I get it.  But I also know there are some of you who are intelligent, basically rational—albeit perhaps misguided—adults who disagree with me on some things, and it’s really you I’m addressing.
I want you to show the intellectual honesty and the temerity to stand up and acknowledge the double standard that’s at play here.
Rusty, what are you talking about?
Where were all these self-righteous defenders of civility in political discourse on June 10, 2009, when David Letterman went on national television and accused Sarah Palin of looking like a “slutty flight attendant”?  Huh?  Worse, Letterman went on to drag Governor Palin’s 14 year old daughter Willow into the muck, guffawing that during a Yankees game she was “knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”  That’s not funny, and it’s not cute, but somehow it was all OK, because his crass remarks were directed at a conservative woman (who, by the way, hadn’t gone to Capitol Hill to make her sexual habits an issue, unlike Ms. Fluke). 
What if, say, Dennis Miller did a monologue bit suggesting that one of the Obama girls was knocked up by Russell Simmons in a White House bathroom during one of the Obamas’ lavish Hollywood fundraising parties?  Jay Carney, probably Obama himself, the women of The View, and the Leftist media in general would have an anyeurism, and you know it.  Yet, Letterman’s comments met with little more than the chirping of crickets.
Where were all the name-calling police May 24, 2010, when MSNBC’s Ed Schultz called conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham a “right wing slut?”  Actually, the truth is since only about 12 people ever even see Schultz’ show, it’s likely that no one who matters heard him do it, but the point remains if we’re going to say it’s uncivil to call someone a slut in the course of public political discussion, where were the objectors this time?  To the contrary, Barbara Walters went on The View and blew it off, joking that co-host Joy Behar has called her a slut on the show. 
Oh, I guess it’s all OK, then. 
Where were these people on June 18, 2008, when The Slate’s Troy Patterson, after raving about Michele Obama’s sleeveless dress during an appearance on The View, then in almost the next sentence referred to The View’s conservative co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s one-sleeve cocktail dress during the very same episode was “tread[ing] a fine line between merely inappropriate and plainly sluttish”?
Where were these people November 21, 2011, when Michele Bachmann was introduced on the Jimmy Fallon Show, with Fallon’s house band, The Roots playing a song called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch”?     Although the band only played the chorus, the song’s lyrics refer to a woman as a “slut trash can bitch,” a fact presumably known to the band and others “in” on the “joke.”
Classy.
In fairness, NBC issued a belated apology, and the drummer claimed it was “tongue in cheek”—kind of like Larry Doyle after-the-fact hiding behind the “it’s satire, don’t you have a sense of humor” defense after his vulgar belittling of Catholics. 
 
I am in wholehearted agreement that there is no place for the crassness and vulgarity of calling Ms. Fluke a slut, and you on the Left are right to condemn Rush for doing that.  But you can’t have it both ways, and your indignation becomes disingenuous when you are repeatedly and totally silent—if not egging them on, like Barbara Walters—when the target is a conservative woman.
So I challenge you on the Left to speak up, or at least be open about the hypocrisy and double-standard we’re applying when it comes to calling women on the Left a “slut” vs. women on the Right.

The Last Prejudice

 
Woltz:             Let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is! Johnny Fontane will never get that movie! I don’t care how many dago guinea wop greaseball goombahs come out of the woodwork! 
Hagen:            I’m German-Irish.
Woltz:             Well, let me tell you something, my kraut-mick friend, I’m gonna make so much trouble for you, you won t know what hit you! 
—John Marley as Jack Woltz and Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen in The Godfather
 
There’s a reason I don’t read The Huffington Post, and I almost missed this one as a result. 
It seems that last week THP ran a piece by Larry Doyle entitled “The Jesus-Eating Cult of Rick Santorum.”  As if the title itself weren’t disgusting enough, in the piece Doyle accuses Catholics of cannibalism, terrorism, and institutionalized pedophilia, and accuses Pope Benedict XVI of being a “‘former’ Nazi” (internal quotation marks Doyle’s).  Doyle further extrapolates from Santorum’s open connection to the Church a secret plan to “supplant Christianity as our official national religion”—indeed, twice in the piece Doyle purports to draw a distinction between “Christians” and Catholics.  I suppose he has license to do this because he’s a former Catholic himself.
Taken to task for his remarks, Doyle issued what was expressly a non-apology, and attempted to cloak himself under the banner of “satire” that is somehow directed to Rick Santorum’s candidacy.  Apparently, we’re already supposed to know that Doyle is a former writer for The Simpsons (I didn’t—shame on me), and that we should therefore automatically understand that anything he pens is both inherently funny and intended to be construed as satire.  He then challenged us to look up what “satire” is.
Well, I did:
sat·ire (săʹtīŕ) n.  1.a.  A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.
Hm.
The first element of “satire” is that it is an attack on human vice or folly.  What human vice or folly, exactly, is Doyle attacking with Catholics?  Is reception of the Holy Eucharist a vice or folly that should be held up to ridicule?  And if so, what, exactly, does that have to do with Rick Santorum’s campaign for President?
Rusty, what about the Crusades and the Inquisition?
Presumably, Doyle’s vague attacks on “bloody jihads” and “reigns of terror” are intended to refer to the Crusades and the Inquisitions, to which I respond:  what about them?  The Crusades ended about 800 years ago, and in any event were expeditions of liberation after Muslim armies overran the Holy Land.  The Inquisitions were programs intended to root out heresy—not unlike the witch trials carried out by Protestants in the Colonies in the 17th Century; shall we go after the Anglicans and Presbyterians, too?—and while in some instances the inquisitors occasionally regrettably resorted to torture, that practice was common in all tribunals of the time.  In point of fact, contrary to popular belief very few were actually tortured and killed during the Inquisitions; that is not to excuse the practice, but to explain that the actual scale of the abuses is invariably blown far out of proportion from reality.  And again, for all intents and purposes, the Inquisitions ended hundreds of years ago.  Neither the Crusades nor the Inquisitions have anything to do with Rick Santorum’s Presidential campaign, nor are they even currently relevant.  If the purpose of “satire” is typically to prompt a change in the behavior being ridiculed, what possible purpose is served by Doyle dragging back up practices that have already long ago ended?
What about the priest sex-abuse scandal?
Again, what about it?  Some in the Church, particularly in the U.S., have had some obvious failings, and the Church as an organization has in some cases not taken appropriate measures to deal with these issues.  The fact that some people in the Church have fallen down—however seriously or regrettably—is no basis to condemn the institution or its teachings.  But again, more to the point, Doyle’s raising of the issue has nothing to do with Rick Santorum or the body of Catholics as a whole; would he have all 70-some million U.S. Catholics fired from their jobs because a handful of priests committed the sin of pedophilia?  If the sex-abuse scandal somehow disqualifies Catholics from public office, I suppose Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry should resign right now—come to think of it, that IS a good idea.
The second element of “satire” is that it employs irony, derision (laughing in scorn), or wit (cleverly amusing).  In short, it is a means of drawing attention to a shortcoming by poking fun at it.  But what’s funny (or witty, ironic, or derisive) about accusing present-day Catholics of participating in “centuries” of “bloody jihads”?  What’s amusing about claiming that the Catholic Mass is a “barbaric ritual” in which a “black-robed cleric” (false, by the way; I have NEVER seen a priest celebrate Mass in black robes, and I can only assume that as a former altar boy Doyle knows better, meaning he’s deliberately mischaracterized the Mass to create a false impression that it is some sort of Satanic ritual) “casts a spell.”  Where is the wit in falsely accusing the Pope of being a Nazi—not as in “you’re an overly strict disciplinarian,” but literally “you were an active member of Adolph Hitler’s National Socialist Party back in Germany”?  Doyle’s commentary is littered with deliberate falsehoods, and is in no sense humorous or clever to anyone other than those who think Bill Maher is funny and that covering the Virgin Mary in feces is “art”—it’s just mean and spiteful.
Doyle has deliberately taken out of context statements Santorum has made on the campaign trail, and used them as a springboard to spew virulently anti-Catholic nonsense.  Doyle pretends to be chastising Santorum for his commentary on President Obama pursuing a “false theology,” as though Senator Santorum was unfairly demeaning Obama’s religious faith.  But when you hear what Santorum actually said in context—as he has repeatedly explained—it is painfully clear that he was not talking about religion, but worldview.  That is what he meant when he said “not a theology based on the Bible”; he wasn’t saying Obama’s religion was non-Biblical (it isn’t, but that’s another discussion).  Santorum was qualifying his own use of the term “theology” to say that as he was using it in that context, he didn’t mean “religion” in a deity worship sense, but in a blind ideology sense.
Of course, facts don’t matter when it comes to Catholic-bashing, and somehow Doyle gets away with it.  Can you imagine the reaction from the Anti-Defamation League if you published a similar work trashing Judaism?  How many riots and murders would CAIR and other Muslim organizations sponsor—better yet, how many Imams would issue fatwas against your life—if you published a piece like Doyle’s trashing Islam?  So where are the Presidential apologies and calls to cool down the rhetoric?  Where’s the indignation from the Leftist media?  Where are the civil rights lawsuits from the ACLU?  You publish a piece ridiculing the beliefs and practices of other religious groups, and you’re a bigot and a racist.  But you do it to the Catholics, and well, we just don’t have a sense of humor.
I am not one of those who thinks a candidate’s faith is off-limits; anything that informs how one thinks and views the world is fair game in a Presidential race, particularly when you’ve put your faith out front as Santorum has.  In that sense, if issues like abortion and same-sex relations are important to you, Santorum’s Catholicism is relevant, because it gives insight into how he is likely to think about those issues.  Likewise, if national security is your issue, then Barack Obama’s long-time attendance with a pastor prone to spewing “God d#mn America” and blaming the U.S. for 9/11 is germane to understanding how he might react to foreign conflict issues as President. 
You want to criticize Rick Santorum and say his views as a Catholic on abortion are wrong and therefore you can’t support him for President, fine.  But if Doyle’s piece is to be understood as legitimate political satire, where’s his political point?  He doesn’t have one. Doyle’s caustic ridiculing of the faith of 70 million Americans—the largest religious denomination in the U.S., comprising roughly a quarter of the population—makes no substantive political point, and it serves no constructive purpose. 
It is nothing more than a vile perpetuation of the last acceptable prejudice. 

Liberal Censorship

 
“What’s new, Buenos Aires?  Your nation, which a few years ago had the second largest gold reserves in the world, is bankrupt!  A country which grew up and grew rich on beef is rationing it!  La Prensa, one of the few newspapers which dares to oppose Peronism, has been silenced.  And so have all other reasonable voices!  I’ll tell you what’s new, Buenos Aires!”
—Che, in “She’s a Diamond” from Evita
FoxNews.com is reporting that a 15 year old Wisconsin high school student was censored and threatened by the school district superintendent over an op-ed piece in the school paper. 
It seems that Brandon Wegner was asked to participate in a point-counterpoint discussion of an issue of current political significance.  The problem for young Mr. Wegner was he had the “against” side on the paper’s choice of topics:
Gay adoption.
The point-counterpoint format is a common angle for a newspaper to take in its editorials, particularly a newspaper legitimately interested in balanced coverage.  One would think that, in a school newspaper that is faculty-supervised and—I expect—written as part of a journalism class, running pieces like this is an excellent educational exercise.  But, as you can already guess, with this particular topic, Mr. Wegner was basically screwed from the get-go.
You can check the piece out for yourself here.  Wegner offered a spirited argument of his case against gay adoption, citing not only Biblical authority, but studies and statistics.  Another student took the “for” side, and likewise offered an enthusiastic case.  By any measure, the collective piece was a decent example of the open debate that is exactly what a point-counterpoint op-ed is supposed to be.
Then all hell broke loose.
Predictably, a gay couple whose child attends the high school bitched.  The school immediately apologized, not for the choice of subject matter, and not for the piece as a whole, but that Wegner had had the audacity actually to take the “against” side of the issue.  The school’s apology called Wegner’s opinion “a form of bullying and disrespect.”
Apparently, “vigorous debate,” like “bipartisanship,” means “you must agree with me.”
But it gets worse.  After falling all over themselves to apologize, the district dragged Mr. Wegner down to the superintendent’s office—not the principal’s office, but the head of the whole freaking school district—where apparently he was berated for hours over his supposed violation of the school’s bullying policy.  He was asked to sign an apology saying he regretted writing the piece—he refused.  He was then threatened with suspension, and called “one of the most ignorant kids” for standing up for his beliefs.
Let me repeat that.
A school district superintendent took a 15 year old kid he disagreed with, tried to coerce him into recanting, threatened to suspend him, and berated him over his “ignorance.” 
Maybe next time he’ll take on Mike Gundy.    
I’m not here today to take sides on the substantive issue of gay adoption, although you can probably guess what I think.  The thing that’s of importance here is the school district’s—and the superintendent’s in particular—conduct, which should be reprehensible to any reasonable person, regardless of your view on the political subject.
Let’s start with the fact that this kid was asked to write this piece, and to take the side of the opposition.  He didn’t hack into the school’s website and unilaterally spew his message over the Internet.  He didn’t commandeer the school’s P.A. system and lecture a captive audience over the loudspeakers.  He didn’t spray paint anti-gay slurs on the school’s front door.  He was asked to take one side of a controversial issue for an op-ed piece in the school paper—a paper that, I think it’s reasonable to presume, is subject to some editorial controls and faculty reviews before being published.  Now, you could reasonably question the judgment of selecting such a polarizing topic for debate in a high school paper.  But once the topic was selected, if there was a problem with the content of his article, why does there seem to be no hammer coming down on the faculty member(s) who let the thing be published?
In police work, it’s called “entrapment”—luring a person into committing an offense by inviting them to do so, then charging them with that very offense you encouraged them to commit.
Second, Wegner didn’t threaten anybody.  He didn’t use foul language or hateful epithets like f*gg*t or qu**r.  He did quote the Bible, and Heaven forbid anyone do that.  You may not like to hear homosexual practices referred to as detestable or an “abomination,”—and I’m not here to argue over the authority or divine inspiration of either the Old or New Testaments—but those are the words the book of Leviticus uses in most English translations I’ve been able to find.
Third, there’s this pesky problem of the First Amendment, which applies to State organizations via the Fourteenth Amendment.  This means it extends to public schools, which Justice Abe Fortas wrote in Tinker v. Des Moines ICSD, “may not be enclaves of totalitarianism.”  I recognize that First Amendment rights are somewhat limited for school newspapers, where legitimate parochial concerns may permit some censorship in order to further the educational aims of the school; but that would have entitled the school to reject the topic or pull the piece, not berate and threaten the kid for writing it.  Further, there’s a big difference between censorship due to content—we don’t, for example, have to permit a high school journalist to drop f-bombs all through his article—and censorship due to the expression of an opinion on a political issue.  Political speech is the very essence of what the First Amendment is designed to protect.
There can be no doubt that this has absolutely everything to do with the substance of Mr. Wegner’s opinion—namely, that he opposes gay adoption.  But the Left—and particularly the gay lobby—isn’t capable of rational discourse on these sorts of issues.  They say they’re all about diversity and inclusion, but the tent’s never broad enough to cover anyone who disagrees with them.  Speech is free, but only as long as you agree with them.  I have a buddy who’s holding his breath waiting for the ACLU to show up to defend Mr. Wegner—to the contrary, I half expect them to mount a public campaign to pressure local police to arrest Mr. Wegner on hate crime charges. 
Like the tired cries of racism we hear from the likes of Maxine Waters any time she doesn’t get her way, it’s empty and childish to accuse people of bullying and hate speech every time they disagree with you.  I know you on the Left don’t like it, but the fact of the matter is there are a substantial number of people—in most states, significant, if not overwhelming majorities—who disagree with you on this issue.  I’m not suggesting you have to change your view, but you don’t just get to say “I’m right, you’re a bully/bigot/racist/hatemonger, debate over, you shut up.” 
American discourse doesn’t work that way.