Ideological clashes over particular laws, policies and programs often go far deeper. Those with opposing views of what is desirable for the future also tend to differ equally sharply as to what the reality of the present is. In other words, they envision two very different worlds.
A small but revealing example was a recent New York Times criticism of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs for not contributing to charity as much as the New York Times writer thought he should. The media in general are full of praise for business people and their companies for giving away substantial amounts of their wealth. Indeed, that is one of the few things for which many in the media praise businesses and the wealthy.
An appeals court has ruled in favor of a South Dakota pro-life statute requiring abortionists to inform a woman 24 hours before an abortion that she has “an existing relationship” with her unborn baby, and that the procedure will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
In the same decision, however, reported Reuters News Service, the “8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a provision in the 2005 law that would require the doctor to tell the woman about an increased risk of suicide after an abortion — with the court saying the link was unproven and may not exist.”
One dissenting judge, Raymond Gruender, argued that the “risk of suicide” provision should have been upheld, writing that “even the evidence relied upon by Planned Parenthood acknowledges a significant, known statistical correlation between abortion and suicide.” Noting that Planned Parenthood had not challenged the suicide findings, Gruender wrote that the “well-documented statistical correlation is sufficient to support the required disclosure that abortion presents an ‘increased risk’ of suicide, as that term is used in the relevant medical literature.”
“Gulags, concentration camps, torture centers — indeed, wars of aggression and domination — are not simply the creation of a few leaders at the top,” observes Chris Floyd. “They require the willing participation of multitudes of people, at every level.”
The easiest way to secure such “willing participation,” of course, is to make it pay — something the Central Intelligence Agency, with the unwilling participation of American taxpayers, did to great effect in its program of prisoner renditions. Detainees picked up anywhere in the world were, for the modest price of $4,900 an hour, flown to countries ruled by brutal regimes to be tortured until they confessed to crimes or provided evidence against others. Those who have tried to challenge their treatment in court have been denied justice because the government always invokes “state secrets.” The Washington Post estimates that the CIA “paid tens of millions of dollars to use private planes in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks to transport detainees and its own personnel.”
Now, however, an obscure billing dispute between aircraft companies has revealed the details, including the $4,900-an-hour price tag, of the rendition flights; and the picture it paints is not at all flattering to anyone involved.
Access to Scripture has gotten easier for millions of people all over the world with the introduction of a “smart phone” application with Bible translations in more than 500 languages. An organization called Faith Comes by Hearing released the app for iPhones and other mobile devices a little over a year ago, and in late August announced that the number of languages available on the app as well as the group’s website increased from around 200 languages to over 550. The goal of the Christian ministry, part of the Digital Bible Project, is to extend the influence of the Christian Scriptures — in both text and audio format — to every corner of the earth.
The group’s website noted that the Digital Bible Project is “the world’s largest, standardized, digital resource of Bible text and audio,b” explaining that it currently holds word-for-word Audio New Testaments in 565 languages, “with a goal of having 2,000 such recordings by 2016. Current estimates show this will represent a potential outreach to 97% of the world’s population.”
Higher education is getting "Curioser and curioser!" as Alice said in Wonderland. Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, is now asking prospective students about their sexual orientations and "gender identities," the Chicago Sun-Times reported recently. "Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) community?" is now among the questions asked students applying for admission to the college in the fall of 2012. No one is required to answer the question, the school says, though a "Yes" makes the applicant eligible for a scholarship worth a third of the cost of tuition. About 60 percent of the 3.300 students at the private liberal arts college are on scholarships of one sort or another, school officials said.
The school says the question and the scholarship advance the promotion of diversity at the college. "We took this step in an effort to better serve each of our students as a unique person," Elmhurst President S. Alan Ray said in a press release. "It also allows us to live out our commitments to cultural diversity, social justice, mutual respect among all persons, and the dignity of every individual. These are among the core values of this institution. They provide the foundation for all of our academic, student and community programs."
The massive granite monument to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King has risen on the National Mall and the reviews are in: King looks like an angry black-Asian dictator about to administer a beating to everyone in his path. And that view comes from King supporters and professional black activists.
Their complaints are many; one of the main concerns of even leftist blacks is that a Chinese communist sculptor, who adores communist mass-murderer Mao Zedong, created the effigy of King.
President Bill Clinton signed into law the legislation authorizing the King Memorial. The $120 million memorial has been 15 years in the making. It sits on four acres on the National Mall between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials and features a 30-foot tall King. The head alone weighs 46 tons, and some of the blocks of granite used to construct the behemoth weigh 55 tons.
The Ohio School Athletic Association seems to be taking the non-constitutional maxim of “separation of Church and state” a bit too far. The Association, along with one of its referees decided to penalize the Louisville High School football team’s receiver for making a gesture to heaven, and is now facing harsh criticism as a result of that decision.
The team defended the gesture for which they were penalized by explaining that it was intended to commemorate a friend of theirs who had been killed a week earlier. The Blaze reports:
After scoring what would have been the game’s winning touchdown — putting the team up 26-24 — Alex Schooley, along with his teammate Gavin Lovejoy, pointed their fingers toward the sky in a commemorative gesture for their friend, Dom Wilgus, 16, who was killed in a car accident the week earlier. It so happened Schooley had also been pallbearer at Wilgus’ funeral that very morning.
In some of the most incendiary, irrational rhetoric yet from the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Rep. Andre Carson (left) of Indiana has said members of the conservative Tea Party want to murder blacks.
Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, is one of the most important Muslim religious holidays. As a celebration of that holiday, 3,000 Muslims went to Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York. When staff at the park insisted that women who rode rides at the park could not wear the hijab — the traditional head covering that the majority of Muslim women are enjoined to use — the result was a brawl that required police from nine different agencies to converge on the park and restore peace. About 100 officers were required to handle the disturbance that involved 30 to 40 people, 13 of whom were arrested by the police.
Playland Amusement Park was not attempting to offend Muslims, park officials explained. The park has had three accidents on its rides in the last seven years. Two children and a park employee were killed as a result of these accidents. As a result of that, Playland Amusement Park adopted some relatively stringent rules regarding passengers on its rides. These rules are on Playland’s website and state that all items and clothing must be appropriately secured while on a ride. Jackets/sweaters must be worn properly and not around the waist while on the ride. The rides forbid backpacks, purses or head gear of any kind.