The Indiana #RFRA, Memories Pizza, and the Left’s Fascist Orgasm

April 6, 2015

satire left tolerance liberal fascism

(Credit: Michael Ramirez)

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Richard Nixon (1970)

(Preface: I should clarify something from the start — I am not a religious person. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I haven’t been to a Mass for anything other than a wedding or funeral in over 35 years. While I respect the Church (and most other faiths) and the opinions of the faithful (Well, most of them), I feel no need or urge to go to church on Sundays or offer up my voice in prayer; the existence or not of God is not of great importance to me, though I don’t doubt that God exists in some form. Neither atheist nor agnostic, perhaps the best description for me is “apatheist.” I just don’t care.

What I do care about passionately, however, is the promise of the American Revolution, the political and social settlement represented in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the freedom of all decent people to live their lives as they see fit without fear of being picked on or persecuted for who they are. What I write below should be read in that context.)

What happened in Indiana over the last week was an utter, damnable disgrace, and a good portion of this nation should be ashamed of themselves for acting like a digital lynch mob.

How did this start? A bit over a week ago, the Indiana legislature passed a bill, similar to a federal act and laws in 19 other states, allowing defendants in lawsuits, including those brought by non-governmental actors, to offer religious belief as a defense when accused of discrimination. It was not a “safe harbor” or anything that precluded a suit or encouraged discrimination. A court still had to determine whether the professed religious defense was outweighed by a pressing state need. Its only purpose was to provide a possible shield to those who felt their religious beliefs were being trampled. (Further essential reading.)

The reaction to the bill made one wonder if Indiana hadn’t opened death camps for gays.

The hysteria generated by progressive reactionaries and other fools who I’m sure didn’t read the bill was appalling to behold. Monumental hypocrites such as Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook roundly denounced Indiana for bigotry against gays and for denying their rights… while Apple makes iPhones in Communist China and sells them in Iran, where gays are regularly murdered by the state for being gay. Other ignoramuses called for the NCAA basketball tournament to be moved from Indiana next year, or ran to the microphones to condemn Indiana while pretending their own state’s RFRA didn’t exist..

Eventually the pressure from the howling horde of progressive corporate execs, the MSM, and “activists” proved too much for the cowardly lions in the Indiana legislature and their jelly-spined governor, and they amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to gut its provisions. The mob had won, and the democratic will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives was left beaten and bleeding in a back alley. If that were the end of it, it would be bad enough.

But it wasn’t.

During the week of furor over Indiana’s RFRA, a “reporter” at ABC’s Channel 57 affiliate in Indiana,  Alyssa Marino, went looking for devout Christians mouth-breathing, hate-filled homophobes who would refuse service to homosexuals.

And she found them at Memories Pizza

You can read Scott Ott’s report on how the media created the Hell that was about to descend on the O’Connors, owners of “Memories.” But I want to point out one especially egregious example,  a tale of two headlines:

headlines

(h/t @TDelovely)

The top is the first headline to run over Marino’s story, and below is the “corrected” version. See the enormous difference between the two? The first claims the O’Connors declared a blanket denial of service to gays. Pretty despicable, right? The later limits that to catering a gay wedding. (And who would order pizza for a wedding, anyway?) But, here’s the kicker: Marino’s question to Crystal O’Connor was wholly hypothetical! There was no gay couple seeking pizza for their wedding. Marino has simply walked in and asked a question along the lines of “What would you do if…?” O’Connor then made the mistake of answering honestly: gays would be welcome to eat at the restaurant, presumably also to get takeout or delivery, but that her business would decline to cater a wedding because it would require them to participate in an activity that went against their Christian faith. Again, a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. The hypothetical gay couple could then go to another pizza parlor for catering, which would profit.

Simple, right?

No. This was the crime of “wrong thought,” and for that the O’Connors became vragi naroda, “enemies of the people.” Thanks to the media and the firestorm ignited on the Internet, Memories Pizza’s social media presence was attacked, and threats of violence, arson, and even death were received. It got so bad the O’Connors closed their shop and went into hiding. While through the efforts of Dana Loesch and her crew at The Blaze TV, the O’Connors more then recouped their losses (1), one has to ask: Did they really deserve this for simply holding an opinion not popular with our media and urban elites?

Of course not! What happened to Memories Pizza and to the Indiana government was disgusting: Thinking they had found their new Emmanuel Goldstein, the ignorant, reactionary Left began with a ritual Two Minutes Hate and ran with it until it became nearly a sexual ecstasy of rage. The state government was intimidated, a couple was left in fear for their lives, and the rights of people to freedom of conscience and freedom of association were torn apart in a political Bacchanalia.

There is a sickness in our body politic, one brought about by the authoritarian Left the late Senator Moynihan cited at the start of this article. One key component of the American settlement is the idea of political and religious tolerance, that we can all hold different beliefs –and we don’t have to like those beliefs or even each other– but not be punished for them. Our English forebears, Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, experienced just that sort of oppression and came to a New World to escape it. Later it was the Jews fleeing persecution in Europe; a letter from President Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island eloquently describes that idea:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

(…)

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Emphases added. Washington, I’m almost certain, would be nauseated by what happened this last week.

What the authoritarian Left is doing strikes at the heart of the American settlement by refusing to honor the “liberty of conscience” we have long made room for in this land. Remember the conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War era (and earlier wars), who refused to engage in combat because of religious objections? Then, the Left lionized them as heroes. Would they now be spat upon because they used religion as a defense? It was for moments like these, when the power of the State impinges on the deeply felt religious beliefs of people, whether in matters of war or simply participating in a wedding, that Congress passed nearly unanimously and President Clinton signed the federal RFRA, and the states followed with their own.

But the Left leaves no room for dissent, unless it is dissent they approve of. All others are not just disapproved of, but must be actively harassed and punished until they publicly recant and think right thoughts, like some Maoist “struggle session.”

I’m going to close with a long quote from attorney Kurt Schlichter, who served many years in the Army, including Kosovo, where he saw first hand what happened when the consensus of tolerance broke down:

Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.

Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.

Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.

That’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect to change the status quo for yourself and then expect those you victimize not to play by the new rules you have created. You cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind.

Read the whole thing.

The Left is discarding the rule of law for the rule of force, substituting the power of the mob for the “immunities of citizenship,” and while you may think it silly to compare America to Kosovo, it may also be that Col. Schlichter has simply reconnoitered farther down the road they want us to walk and seen where it ends.

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

And we should, still.

Footnote:
(1) Fair disclosure: I was one of the donors and was honored to do so.

RELATED: The Power Line podcast has an excellent discussion of the Indiana situation, and RFRAs in general, with law professor John Yoo.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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America, Islam, and democratic tolerance

June 20, 2011

There’s an interesting post by Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media on Governor Romney’s problem with religion. No, not his Mormonism, though some blockheads might want to make that a problem, but his inability, thanks to the shackles of political correctness, to articulate why Islam poses a problem in America. And it’s not just Romney’s problem, but one shared by most politicians.

In his essay, Roger discusses the principle of religious tolerance and why it does not work when Islam is added to the mix:

Religious tolerance is a nifty idea.  As a Catholic, I’m pleased it exists. But here’s the rub: tolerance only works when practiced by all parties to the social contract.  It’s one thing for a Unitarian and a Catholic to tolerate each other.  They have  some important doctrinal differences.  But they do not endeavor to kill or enslave one another on account of those differences.

The friction of difference works differently when you add Islam to the equation.  Why?  Because Islam does not — in principle as well as in practice  — acknowledge a legitimate sphere of operation for the secular as distinct from the sacred realm.  There is no “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” in Islam because Islam — that’s mainstream, garden-variety Islam, not just its wacko Wahhabist allotropes — regards everything as subordinate to the will of Allah.

Romney, like many well-meaning liberals, wants to regard Islam as a religious phenomenon.  The thought process goes something like this:

  1. We’re in favor of religious toleration.
  2. Islam is a religion.
  3. Ergo, we should tolerate Islam. (Q., isn’t it, e. demonstrandum?)

The problem with this syllogism is what it leaves out of account — namely, as McCarthy puts it, that Islam is a “totalitarian political program masquerading as a purely spiritual doctrine.”

As with all systems of belief in a liberal democratic regime, Islam deserves tolerance to the extent that it extends tolerance. That syllogism really should begin:

  1. We’re in favor of religious toleration for those religions that practice toleration.

And therein, as Shakespeare said, lies the rub. By misunderstanding the mutualism required for genuine tolerance, muddleheaded Westerners turn what originated as a pact into unilateral intellectual disarmament, refusing to think critically about Islam lest they be labelled “judgmental,” “intolerant,” or, worst of all, “Islamophobic.” And that in turn leaves us vulnerable to the cultural or  “civilizational jihad” that the Muslim Brotherhood is waging here and elsewhere through front organizations, the goal of which is the imposition of Sharia law on us all.

While I do sympathize with Romney’s plight (this is delicate, difficult ground for Americans to cover, and rightly so), particularly since he himself was slammed by religious bigotry in the last campaign, it is nonetheless essential for would-be American leaders to grasp, wrestle, and explain to the public then dangers of tolerating the intolerant. Seeing who does it best should be one of our criteria for choosing a nominee and future president.

PS: I urge you to read McCarthy’s article, linked above in the quote, but I disagree with his description of Islam as a political system “masquerading as a religion.” This is a misstatement; Islam is a religion, for it does what any religion does, arranging the relationship between Mankind and the Divine. It is, however, a religion that encompasses a totalitarian and aggressive political program. The distinction may seem minor or semantic, but I think it’s important, for to frame it as McCarthy does would be to ignore the spiritual appeal it has for those who find relief in submission to a higher authority.

PPS: And before anyone asks, no, I am not saying “ban Islam” or “deport all Muslims.” What I am calling for is an open, critical discussion of what Islam is and what its goals are, as opposed to the platitudes we’re fed by politicians and the media. And that includes challenging American Islamic leaders to defend what’s clearly in their scriptures.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Religious tolerance for me, but not for thee

November 6, 2010

Just another reminder that the principles of liberal democracy and Sharia law are not compatible: In New York, Muslims want to build a mosque near Ground Zero and most Americans, while hating the idea, agree they have the right to do it. Meanwhile, in Kuwait, Christians are denied permission to build churches:

A group of Christians has complained that Kuwait City’s Municipal Council is preventing them from getting land to build a church. “The Municipal Council is the big problem preventing us from getting land; not all of the members, just the Islamic fundamentalists,” said Archimandrite Boutros Gharib, head of the local Greek Catholic Church.

Recently the municipal council blocked an attempt by the Greek Catholic Church to acquire land in Mahboula, an area in the Ahmadi governorate south of Kuwait City. The request has been pending for several years.

A new church would reduce over-crowdedness in a villa currently used for worshiping, Fr Gharib said.

According to the Greek Catholic clergyman, both the government and the country’s leader, Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, have given their approval and blessing to the Church to have its property built. However, the Council has not followed suit. What is more, “The council did not give us any reason,” he added.

“We found the higher levels of government say yes and the lower levels of government say no,” said Rev Andrew Thompson, the Anglican chaplain to Kuwait, who stressed that religious fundamentalists controlled the municipality.

As Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch points out, and as the “fundamentalist” councilmen understand, Islamic law prohibits dhimmi (Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians) peoples from building new places of worship or even repairing the old ones. Yet, while while American Muslim groups complain if someone just speaks out against the building of a new mosque in the US, they say nothing about the far worse (and genuine) religious persecution practiced in Muslim lands. Indeed, Muhammad himself ordered that only Islam shall be practiced in the Arabian peninsula. I suppose the city councilors could argue that, hey, at least they’re allowing those dhimmi Christians to practice at all. Be grateful.

This isn’t an argument for tit-for-tat discrimination or, as some might put it, “they can build a mosque in New York when we can build a cathedral in Mecca.” To do so would be to abandon our own deeply held principles.

But neither can we ignore blatant hypocrisy and religious discrimination for the sake of an intellectually addled multiculturalism, regardless of how warm and fuzzy it makes us feel. Instead, it is incumbent on us to challenge and call out the advocates of Sharia in every case where their religious law, which they see as their duty to impose on us, conflicts with the basic human freedoms Western civilization holds dear.

If we don’t we may eventually find ourselves in the same unhappy state as the Greek Catholics of Kuwait.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Darn those intolerant conservatives!

August 31, 2010

Excerpt of the day from Bill Kristol:

So evangelical Christian Sarah Palin spent Friday night with (mostly) observant Jews, along with various Christians, including some Amish. Then on Saturday she spoke at a rally hosted by a Mormon who went out of his way in his remarks to refer to the important role of “churches, synagogues and mosques” in American life.

Early Monday morning, as it happened, I received an e-mail from (Catholic convert) Newt Gingrich from Rome, asking for contact information for a (Jewish) scholar whose book on certain (not very religious) enlightenment thinkers he was reading.

Can’t you just feel the seething wingnut bigotry and neanderthal hatred? I’m sure Keith Olbermann is readying a trenchant special comment declaring… well, someone… the Worst Person in the World, even now.

(Crossposted to Sister Toldjah)