Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Taking Down the Sign

It turns out that the atheist group which paid several thousand dollars to put up this billboard is ignominiously taking it down. A thorough search was unable to corroborate that Thomas Jefferson said anything close to what the billboard claims he said:
So, not only is there no evidence Jefferson ever said such a thing, but Mr.Gleason is incorrect in asserting that it nevertheless expresses his true feelings. Not only is there much evidence to the contrary, but only a complete historical illiterate could say that there's not one redeeming feature of Christianity. I think it safe to say that Jefferson would have been offended that such ignorance was imputed to him.

The atheist group that sponsored the sign is not only historically benighted they're also pusillanimous. Here's a test: Unless one is willing to put up a similar billboard saying the same about Islam they really shouldn't put up a sign derogating Christianity. It takes no courage to criticize people you know will do nothing more serious to you than pray for you. It does take courage, however, to broadcast the same message about a religion whose devotees will do all they can to cut off your head for saying it.

Moreover, is this the best that the Cosa Mesa atheists can do with $4000? How many meals would that money have provided in a soup kitchen? How many elderly could have their utility bills paid with that amount? How many vaccines could be purchased for destitute Africans? What good comes from spending the money on an effort to dispirit and discredit the very people who are actually doing these things?

HT: The Blaze

The Handy Hammer of Hate

The Washington Post takes note of how hate is being used by the left as a tool to censor legitimate debate in our public square. It's significant, I think, that this article, which is critical of the left, appeared in the Post which is one of the more liberal newspapers in the land. Here's the gist of it:
In the debates over gay marriage, "hate" is the ultimate conversation-stopper.

Some stories from recent months: A religion instructor at a midwestern state university explains in an e-mail to students the rational basis for Catholic teaching on homosexuality. He is denounced by a student for "hate speech" and is dismissed from his position. (He is later reinstated - for now.)

At another midwestern state university, a department chairman demurs from a student organizer's request that his department promote an upcoming "LGBTQ" film festival on campus; he is denounced to his university's chancellor, who indicates that his e-mail to the student warrants inquiry by a "Hate and Bias Incident Response Team."

On the west coast, a state law school moves to marginalize a Christian student group that requires its members to pledge they will conform to orthodox Christian doctrines on sexual morality. In the history of the school, no student group has ever been denied campus recognition. But this one is, and the U.S. Supreme Court lets the school get away with it.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a once-respected civil rights organization, publishes a "report" identifying a dozen or so "anti-gay hate groups," some for no apparent reason other than their vocal opposition to same-sex marriage. Other marriage advocacy groups are put on a watch list.

On a left-wing Web site, a petition drive succeeds in pressuring Apple to drop an "app" from its iTunes store for the Manhattan Declaration, an ecumenical Christian statement whose nearly half-million signers are united in defense of the right to life, the tradition of conjugal marriage between man and woman, and the principles of religious liberty. The offense? The app is a "hate fest." Fewer than 8,000 people petition for the app to go; more than five times as many petition Apple for its reinstatement, so far to no avail.

Finally, on "$#*! My Dad Says," a CBS sitcom watched by more than 10 million weekly viewers, an entire half-hour episode is devoted to a depiction of the disapproval of homosexuality as bigotry, a form of unreasoning intolerance that clings to the past with a coarse and mean-spirited judgmentalism. And this on a show whose title character is famously irascible and politically incorrect, but who in this instance turns out to be fashionably cuddly and up-to-date.

What's going on here? Clearly a determined effort is afoot, in cultural bastions controlled by the left, to anathematize traditional views of sexual morality, particularly opposition to same-sex marriage, as the expression of "hate" that cannot be tolerated in a decent civil society.

The argument over same-sex marriage must be brought to an end, and the debate considered settled. Defenders of traditional marriage must be likened to racists, as purveyors of irrational fear and loathing. Opposition to same-sex marriage must be treated just like support for now long-gone anti-miscegenation laws.
It is indeed one of the more charming habits of some liberals to label arguments or opinions they don't like a form of hatred. It would be a derisory tactic were it not for the fact that it so often works, at least with those who can't be bothered to examine such claims carefully.

Having proven itself in the past to be an effective expedient for winning debates and getting one's way, it receives frequent employment by commentators on the left. Simply accuse one's opponents of some form of bigotry, whether racial or sexual, and you effectively discredit and thus silence them without having to actually construct an intelligent argument. This is insidious because it stifles and derails the kind of open and honest discourse upon which a democratic society is nourished. But then, a lot of these folks aren't really interested in open and honest discourse, nor are they interested in a free and democratic society.