It’s possible, of course, that Bob FitzSimmonds doesn’t know what a common slang word for a part of the female anatomy means (he’s now claiming to have confused it with “twaddle”), although it’s hard to believe – even if he is “an old white guy who needs to get out more.”
If he and his supporters have any sense at all, though, they will stop trying to “explain.” When people try to “explain” to those whom they have just offended not only why they should not be offended, but how their being offended is actually an unfair attack on themselves, it does not go well. (Just ask Virginia State Senator Steve Martin. Actually, don’t ask him, because he still doesn’t get it.)
The administrators at Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.
Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and “parental rights” movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his “authority.” Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.
Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their “protracted patterns of sin.” Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of “leadership” from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these “leaders,” these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a “basic strength.” The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to “get out of control.” The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.
What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.
When has a man been so well regarded in our nation’s history that we made him President without a popular vote by the people?
George Washington was that man.
He was chosen by 69 electors to be our first President.
The attributes that commended him for such an historic appointment should be the measure of our elected representatives today.
Parson Mason Weems told a story, demonstrating Washington’s honesty – that George had confessed the truth to his father that he had chopped down a cherry tree. This act of contrition was a fable. Not true at all. In truth, in 1743, when George was 11, his father, Augustine, died. George did, however, concern himself with building character. Before his 16th birthday, George compiled 110 “rules of civility and decent behavior in company and conversation.”
The first rule was that “every action done in Company, ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present.” Continue reading →
We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is? . . . I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry. Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. . . . I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”
Russell Crowe as Noah, the 600-year old shipbuilder of the Ark
During previews of the upcoming blockbuster movie, “Noah,” starring Australian actor, Russell Crowe, as that grand biblical figure, inspired by his creator to build a huge wooden Ark that saved some few righteous persons and pairs of animals drawn from everywhere on earth, you could hear some saying, sotto voce, “that’s how it must have been.”
I’ll see this marvelous movie but I know it’s a parable – not an historical account.
Recently, in Petersburg, Kentucky, Ken Ham, also from Australia, and the director of the “Creation Museum,” debated whether the flood described in Genesis was a myth. He insists it’s not a myth and he knows this because the Bible tells him so.
Mr. Ham mistakenly invokes a biblical text for its “science” rather than its ethical and spiritual wisdom. This is not new. Continue reading →
Update: As expected, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has filed a motion to withdraw the state’s brief in defense of Nevada’s ban on same sex marriage. A statement from Republican Governor Brian Sandoval’s office says “based upon the advice of the Attorney General’s office and their interpretation of relevant case law, it has become clear that this case is no longer defensible in court.” The only remaining party willing to defend the amendment is now the “Coalition for the Protection of Marriage,” the third party intervenor responsible for putting it on the ballot in 2002. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry that such an intervenor does not have standing to appeal, it’s likely that a Ninth Circuit ruling in favor of the couples seeking to overturn the ban will be the end of the line for the so-called “Protection of Marriage Initiative.” The plaintiffs are seeking an expedited hearing.
Now, can we finally put to rest the notion that our Attorney General is “out there on a limb by himself,” per Mr. Marshall?
(Originally published January 27, 2014) Over the weekend there were two more developments toward the ultimate demise of anti-marriage state measures like Virginia’s Marshall-Newman Amendment.
Those wailing over one of the consequences of the recent election, the change in Virginia’s position on the Marshall-Newman amendment, would have us believe that there would be no one else defending it in court. But of course that wasn’t true. District court Judge Arenda Wright Allen’s order for the oral arguments in Bostic v. Rainey that took place Tuesday shows that the time allotted to defenders of the amendment was double the time allotted to the plaintiffs seeking to overturn it. In addition, attorneys for proponents of the amendment were provided by the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund), a well-funded legal “ministry” that claims to win nearly 80% of its court cases. The problem faced by amendment proponents was not a lack of competent legal counsel. The problem was the lack of a constitutionally permissible justification for walling off a class of people from the fundamental right of marriage, based only on their orientation.
An argument from religion, or tradition, or one based on moral disapproval of gay people, or a wish to discourage gay people from existing, simply won’t survive scrutiny; those days are over. What the proponents of such bans have to show is that there is an important state interest that justifies treating people who want to marry a partner of the same sex differently from people who want to marry a partner of a different sex. And the argument they’ve settled on is the idea that “children do better with a mom and a dad.” You can see the talking point prominently displayed on the signs of protesters outside the courthouse; it was also expected to do the heavy lifting inside. As VFF’s Victoria Cobb put it, the proponent’s attorneys argued that “the government’s interest in marriage is in the upbringing of children by a mother and a father.”
The obvious problem with this argument is that the social science research and the professional medical and child welfare associations say that it’s not true: Children raised by two parents of the same sex actually do as well, or better in some cases, than children raised by two opposite sex parents.
Following what Del. Randy Minchew (R-10) describes as a “Lazarus Play,” a bill intended to hold elected officials to tighter ethical controls is headed for a committee vote Friday morning. – Leesburg Today
I wonder if Dems who blog up here all the time and complain will give Delegate Minchew some credit for keeping the bill alive — and for our Loudoun Board for supporting it too. There were positive comments about the bill at last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting – The Naked Truth
Credit where credit is due. Del. Minchew’s bill to close the Delgaudio Loophole in state law that allows elected officials to abuse public resources just because they’re “part-time” in the eyes of the law is back for a vote in the House of Delegates. This is a good thing, and credit to the Delegates who helped make this happen, including Del. Minchew.
That being said, it is well worth observing two disturbing implications of this “Lazarus Play.”
Why should our state legislators in the General Assembly get any gifts at all?
Don’t we pay them enough already?
If we don’t pay them enough, then we should raise their salaries, if we think they deserve more, but, otherwise, they shouldn’t get any gifts from high-paid lobbyists and independent operators seeking legislative or executive branch “favors.”
Former Governor Bob McDonnell plainly couldn’t afford to serve as Governor, given his “unconscionable” credit card debt, and certainly not without private gifts to cover his expenses.
Legislators and executives who can’t afford to serve without betraying the public’s trust may not “serve” at all. Continue reading →