Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

31 May 2010

Did Jane Norton Endorse Amendment 62? Yes!

By Ari

[From Ari Armstrong's blog:] UPDATE: Today [May 20] at 1:17 p.m., I received the following conclusive email from Cinamon Watson: "Jane supports the personhood amendment." I thank Watson and Norton's office for this forthright and definitive answer to my question. Of course, that does not explain how Norton's previously expressed views about exceptions in cases of rape and incest fit in with her endorsement of Amendment 62. What follows was written earlier today and provides the background of the story.

Okay, John Tomasic, now you may legitimately complain that Jane Norton's office is not responsive to my questions.

Does Jane Norton endorse the "personhood" measure, Amendment 62 on this year's state ballot?

It is a simple yes or no question, a question that Norton has so far refused to answer.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Norton is the presumed Republican frontrunner for U.S. Senate. Amendment 62 is the measure that would grant fertilized eggs full legal rights; I criticized it in February in a first and second article. I also coauthored a lengthy criticism of the measure in its 2008 form.

I already knew that Ken Buck and Dan Maes, underdog candidates for U.S. Senate and governor, respectively, endorsed personhood. They seem to really believe it's a good idea, and they have nothing to lose and religious right votes to pick up. But, given 73 percent of voters trounced the 2008 version of the measure, I was surprised to read that Norton and Scott McInnis, the frontrunners in the races, had also endorsed "personhood."

I first read the claim about the endorsements of Norton and McInnis on May 10 at ColoradoPols.com. Even though Colorado Pols cited a Grand Junction Daily Sentinel article about the endorsements, I did not see enough evidence to convince me at that time. In my Twitter post linking to that article, I stated, "I have not seen evidence of these alleged endorsements."

On May 11, the Colorado Independent, also citing the Sentinel, stated, "This year, the entire slate of Republican candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate are supporting the ['personhood'] amendment."

My dad Linn heard McInnis endorse the measure in person. So McInnis's endorsement is not in question. But, until today, I still did not have a good sense of whether Norton had endorsed it.

Here is what the May 10 Sentinel article by Charles Ashby states:

The last time the personhood amendment made the Colorado ballot in 2008, a number of anti-abortion Republican leaders either distanced themselves from it or outright opposed the idea because they said it went too far.

None of that seems to be the case with the 2010 version of the measure, political observers say.

As a result, all of the top-named GOP candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate have publicly supported the ballot question that would declare that life begins at conception. ...

[W[hile [Gualberto] Garcia Jones [director of Personhood Colorado] disagreed with arguments against the 2008 ballot question now just as much as he did then, he was surprised to learn it's winning support among such mainstream political candidates as Jane Norton and Ken Buck, who are running for U.S. Senate, and Dan Maes and Scott McInnis, who announced his support for the idea at a Western Colorado Conservative Alliance debate last week.


The article offers a particular event where McInnis endorsed the measure, but it offers no such detail about Norton. So I remained curious.

I called Cinamon Watson, a spokesperson for Norton, on May 17. Watson confirmed she was aware of the Sentinel story. I asked her whether it was true or false that Norton had endorsed "personhood." Watson said she would send me the answer via email.

By yesterday (May 19), I still had not heard back, so I called Watson again. "I will get it to you today," she said. I left her a voice mail near the end of the day. Today, after trying to reach Watson by her cell phone and at Norton's office, I finally received an email. Drum roll please...

Sorry this did not get to you yesterday:

"Jane believes that life begins at conception."


I had to wait three days for that?

The perceptive reader may notice that Watson did not, in fact, answer my question.

Thankfully, the good Mr. Ashby was more helpful. Late last night I sent Ashby an email asking him about the Norton endorsement.

Ashby referred me to Norton's web site:

The U. S. Constitution does not specifically speak about a right to an abortion. For decades, this important issue was left to the states to decide. In 1973, the U. S. Supreme Court, in the case of Roe v. Wade, ruled that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution included a right to privacy which, in turn, included a right to an abortion. While I believe this decision was wrongly decided and should be overturned, it is unfortunately the law of the land today. I would support a Constitutional Amendment to protect unborn human life and will strive to promote a culture of life where all life (including the elderly, children, disabled, ill, and the unborn) is valued and protected. While I believe there may be certain limited circumstances - rape, incest, and life of the mother - when exceptions are needed, I oppose abortion because I believe human life begins at conception. I will oppose all federal funding of abortion. I support the appointment of judges to federal courts, including the Supreme Court, who will strictly construe the U. S. Constitution and not manufacture new rights or remedies not specifically provided for by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution.


By my reading, that statement does not constitute an endorsement of Amendment 62. I think the "Constitutional Amendment" to which Norton refers likely is an unspecified federal measure. Further, Norton's exceptions for rape and incest clearly contradict the impact of Amendment 62, as Colorado Right to Life recognizes: "Republican Jane Norton has supported 'abortion exceptions' in the past (i.e. for rape & incest, which is from our perspective 'pro-abortion with exceptions')."

So what I think happened is that Ashby unintentionally misinterpreted the intended meaning of Norton's web page as the support for his claim that Norton endorsed "personhood." [Update: Ashby continues to think that his original reading of Norton's web page was the correct one. Regardless of whether Norton intended to endorse Amendment 62 on her web page, obviously now her endorsement of it is entirely clear.]

Ashby also unintentionally put Norton in a tight corner just before the state assembly, which is this Saturday.

Apparently Norton's strategy was to remain silent on Amendment 62 and respond with vague generalities in the hopes of appeasing both sides. Ashby's report upset the fence on which Norton was perched and made the world believe she had endorsed "personhood." The last thing Norton wants to do is take a definitive stand on the issue. If she now declares she does not, after all, endorse the measure, that will infuriate the religious right, which wields significant power in the GOP primaries. If she affirms that she does endorse it, that will open her up to hard-hitting attacks in the general election.

And so she continues to dodge the question.

At least Buck has the courage of his convictions on this score, though he is, by my lights, dead wrong.

I will send Watson the link to this article. If Norton sends me a more clarifying response, I will update this page accordingly. [Please see the update at the top of this article, which shows that Norton definitively endorses "personhood."]

This Norton conundrum does illustrate nicely the problems that continue to plague the Republican Party.

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28 May 2010

Chickens Come Home to Roost

By Diana Hsieh

Abortion Foes Capitalize on Health Law They Fought:

Abortion opponents fought passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul to the bitter end, and now that it's the law, they're using it to limit coverage by private insurers.

An obscure part of the law allows states to restrict abortion coverage by private plans operating in new insurance markets. Capitalizing on that language, abortion foes have succeeded in passing bans that, in some cases, go beyond federal statutes.

"We don't consider elective abortion to be health care, so we don't think it's a bad thing for fewer private insurance companies to cover it," said Mary Harned, attorney for Americans United for Life, a national organization that wrote a model law for the states.

Abortion rights supporters are dismayed.
Most of those abortion right supporters have only themselves to blame. They pushed hard for ObamaCare, using all kinds of tricks to overcome widespread public opposition. They could not have been honestly ignorant of the threat to abortion rights in ObamaCare, not given the contentious debates about it. Nor could they have been unaware that granting government unprecedented control over medicine would grant that same government unprecedented control over access to abortion too. And -- surprise, surprise -- governments are not always composed of staunch supporters of abortion rights.

Sadly, we told you so. Ari Armstrong wrote about this very problem in this blog post. My husband, writing for Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM) warned about abortion becoming a political football in this op-ed. As he says:
Government-controlled health insurance will mean politically-controlled medicine -- not only with respect to abortion but for health services in general. ObamaCare will turn medicine into a game of permanent political football, where the politically favored perpetually pound ordinary Americans without special "pull." Until we replace ObamaCare with free-market reforms, Americans had better get used to being the permanent tackling dummies for special-interest groups.
The chickens are coming home to roost. Abortion rights can only be respected when the government recognizes and protects all rights, particularly the rights of property and contract found only in free markets.

Remember: Christian fundamentalists will be more than happy to build their theocratic dictatorship on the socialist/fascist foundations laid by the progressives.

(H/T: Sascha.)

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25 May 2010

American Academy of Pediatrics Gives in to Ritual Torture: My Activism

By Gina Liggett

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an ages-old religious-tribal practice in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East in which the genitalia of young girls is butchered in a ritualized ceremony for the cultural purposes of "maintaining a girl's virtue" and enhancing marriageability. The practice is in fact the most egregious form of institutionalized and culturally-sanctioned sexual abuse of females existing today.

In a shocking acquiescence to the "cultural sensitivity" of immigrants from countries where FMG is routinely practiced, The American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its policy, "Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors", adding the suggestion that American doctors be given permission to perform a ceremonial "nick" on girls from these cultures if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full procedure.

This policy is full of contradictions, hypocrisy, rationalizations, and minimization of the savagery of FGM. On the one hand, the AAP stands opposed to the practice, yet in another sentence states:

These physicians emphasize the significance of a ceremonial ritual in the initiation of the girl or adolescent as a community member and advocate only pricking or incising the clitoral skin as sufficient to satisfy cultural requirements. This is no more of an alteration than ear piercing.
You have got to be kidding?! Ear-piercing is a benign cosmetic enhancement practiced world-wide voluntarily by women, men, and children alike. Female Genital Mutilation is sexual torture performed for the cultural purpose of dehumanizing and controlling females in the culture.

In another contradiction, the policy cites evidence that strict condemnation of the practice in Scandinavia actually eliminated it among the Somali immigrant population. But then the policy makes mere suppositions that giving in to what I call "little bit of sexual abuse" by a physician-performed "nick" might help ameliorate FGM.

Currently, offering a "ritual nick" is prohibited by US federal law. And a new law, "The Girls Protection Act," is being introduced in Congress by Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). The summary statement of this bills is as follows:
Girls Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5137) - Amends the federal criminal code to impose a fine or five-year prison term, or both, on any U.S. citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence who knowingly transports in foreign commerce a girl under the age of 18 for the purposes of female genital mutilation.
I have written the following letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics voicing my opposition to its policy. I have also written the American Nurses Association and will be contacting other health provider groups as well as supporting House Bill 5137 (long time since I've supported anything done in Washington).

Here is my letter. I encourage readers to advocate in their own way against this blatant and evil encroachment of Multiculturalism at the expense of individual rights.
Dear American Academy of Pediatrics,

Your revised policy, "Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors," is nothing more than a tacit endorsement of a barbaric social custom.

You cannot in one sentence denounce the practice, yet in another advocate a compromising "nick" without committing utter hypocrisy. You make nothing more than guesses about purported advantages of a "ritual nick," yet contradict yourself by citing evidence to the opposite that strictly prohibiting it can end the practice.

This compromise policy crosses a dangerous line: your policy in fact legitimates female genital mutilation--the widespread, culturally-sanctioned ritualized form of extreme sexual abuse of females. By offering the daughter of immigrants a "ritual nick"-- in other words "mini sexual abuse"---rationalizing that her parents won't take her overseas for more drastic mutilating torture, is the most spineless capitulation to multiculturalism that I've ever heard of.

Your preference for the minimizing term, "cutting," in place of the accurately descriptive term, "mutilation," in no way obliterates the facts of reality: the cultures where this practice occurs butcher their daughters' genitalia to dehumanize her sexuality, autonomy, individual rights, equality before the law, and the very integrity of her personhood.

Take a good look at your drawings of the four types of female genital mutilation and imagine the excruciating pain a married virgin must undergo when her husband rams his penis into a very small opening that has been sewn shut by build up of scar tissue. Would you want that for yourselves, you female physicians? For your own daughters? Your own patients?!

The following is the stand that the AAP and all other medical and nursing societies must take: female genital mutilation in any form whatsoever--including a "ritual nick"--is to be unequivocally, unambiguously and explicitly denounced. If a family intends to or has taken a girl overseas for the procedure, they should be reported to the legal authorities where child abuse is reported. Their parents should be reported to the police and department of immigration, and deported from this country.

We cannot compromise on fundamental principles of individual rights--anywhere, anytime, for any expedient reason. They are absolute.

Female genital mutilation must end in our lifetime. We must stand up to these cultures with the attitude, "what you are doing to your daughters is immoral, wrong, and will not in anyway be tolerated here in the land of the free." As care providers we can educate immigrant parents with a culturally-sensitive approach, but the principle itself is inviolable.

If I ever encounter a patient with a ritual nick performed here in this country, I myself will report the family to social services and immigration authorities, and I will report the physician to his or her Board of Medical Examiners and inform the media.

Please, I beg you, seriously reconsider revising again your policy on "Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors," and live up to your sacred oath as healers of the most vulnerable in society.

Sincerely,
Gina M. Liggett, RN, MPH
Denver, CO

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20 May 2010

Muhammad, or His Imposter

By Diana Hsieh

In honor of Draw Muhammad Day, I present this picture of Muhammad... or an impostor. At this point, I'm just not sure.



I traced the image from this Islamic illustration found in the Muhammad Image Archive.

You can find more drawings of Muhammad under the religion label on the blog of The Objective Standard.

I strongly encourage you to post your own drawing of Muhammad. Please, stand up for freedom of speech!

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19 May 2010

Time to Draw Mohammed

By Ari

[From Ari Armstrong's blog:] "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is May 20. I have already published my entry and explained my reasons for participating. I have also explained why critics of the campaign are full of hot air.

I am pleased that other prominent organizations also are promoting the campaign. Michael Moynihan is leading the charge at Reason, while Craig Biddle of The Objective Standard is also publishing drawings.

And yet some critics remain miffed about the effort.

Eboo Patel worries that college students who chalked images of Mohammed needlessly offended Muslim students who don't support violence. Patel writes, "Muslim Students Associations (MSA) on all three campuses [Northwestern, Illinois and Wisconsin] said they believed in free speech and were opposed to fringe groups who threaten violence, too."

Patel argues that attacking a "sacred cow" is not a good way to defend free speech. For example, making fun of a sick grandmother or a cancer patient, or using the "N" word, would also attack a sacred cow, but doing so obviously would be wrong.

Further, argues Patel, drawing Mohammed "intentionally and effectively marginalize a community" and hurts the Muslim students.

Shahed Amanullah argues that the death threats made against the South Park creators (who used images evoking Mohammed) are not representative of the Muslim community. With the "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign, "these Muslim-Americans are being subject to mass insult." Amanullah likens drawing Mohammed to drawing "vile stereotypes of blacks."

The arguments of Patel and Amanullah are entirely bogus.

The first critical point is that, while most Muslims (especially in America) do not make death threats or try to murder people for drawing Mohammed, a significant number of Muslims do exactly that. Let us review, shall we?

* Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Versus was met with Islamist rioting, death threats, and a fatwa by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

* The Danish cartoons of Mohammed also were met with widespread Islamist rioting, death threats, and acts of violence.

* Violent Islamists threatened to murder the creators of South Park.

* A violent Islamist planted a bomb in New York City, perhaps partly in response to South Park.

* A violent Islamist recently tried to burn down the house of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

* A violent Islamist recently broke into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

* A violent Islamist recently attacked Vilks at a university lecture for daring to show a controversial film. (See also the AP's account.)

* Violent Islamists have threatened to murder an organizer of the "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign.

Claims that the threats like those against the South Park creators are totally atypical and just the result of a couple of New York nut jobs are, put simply, lies. A frighteningly large portion of the Muslim community threatens, condones, or openly practices violence.

Let the majority of peaceful Muslims take a stand, denounce violence and threats of violence, denounce terrorist organizations, and strongly advocate individual rights and freedom of speech.

Are Muslim students at American universities all peace and light? Then let them openly and loudly condemn the Muslim student at the University of California, San Diego, who sympathized with the Nazis and Islamist terrorist organizations and called for the extermination of the Jews.

Moving on to tangential matters, I have already explained why drawing Mohammed is not like expressing racism or making fun of a sick grandmother or a cancer patient. Racism is inherently evil. Making fun of sick people is inherently wrong. But there is nothing inherently wrong about drawing Mohammed, the fact that some people take irrational offense to it notwithstanding.

Indeed, there is great moral virtue in drawing Mohammed in the current climate, for doing so offers some protection and moral support for those threatened by violence.

Moreover, religious beliefs are inherently ideological. One's race or illness is not derived from ideology. The primary purpose of freedom of expression is to protect ideological discussions. Do Muslims ever criticize other religions? Obviously. Likewise, "infidels" and Muslims alike properly have every right to criticize Islam, just as I have the right to criticize socialism, Christianity, etc. Drawing Mohammed can be a way to express views about that figure and the religion he developed. Muslims who condemn such drawings essentially are claiming that their ideology uniquely may not be criticized.

Contrary to Patel's claims, drawing Mohammed does not marginalize Muslims, but instead treats Muslims exactly the way that members of every other religion in America are treated. For example, South Park has relentlessly mocked Christianity. What Patel actually is demanding is special treatment of Muslims. But I refuse to marginalize Muslims by failing to subject them to the same level of criticism to which I subject Christians, socialists, and every other group with which I disagree.

What of the claims that drawing Mohammed hurts and insults Muslims? Well, what of them? If people are irrationally offended by some drawing, that's their problem.

Perhaps Muslims should work on expressing less outrage about drawings of Mohammed, and more outrage against Islamist violence and terrorism, Islamist abuses of women, Islamist mutilation of little girls, Islamist murders of homosexuals, Islamist censorship of speech and art, and Islamist oppression of Muslim peoples.

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18 May 2010

A Nick of Barbarism

By Diana Hsieh

Regarding the news that the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that doctors perform a ritual cut to the genitals of young girls to prevent them from being shipped overseas for full circumcision, Mark Steyn writes:

Last week, the American Association of Pediatricians noted that certain, ahem, "immigrant communities" were shipping their daughters overseas to undergo "female genital mutilation." So, in a spirit of multicultural compromise, they decided to amend their previous opposition to the practice: They're not (for the moment) advocating full-scale clitoridectomies, but they are suggesting federal and state laws be changed to permit them to give a "ritual nick" to young girls.

A few years back, I thought even fainthearted Western liberals might draw the line at "FGM." After all, it's a key pillar of institutional misogyny in Islam: Its entire purpose is to deny women sexual pleasure.

True, many of us hapless Western men find we deny women sexual pleasure without even trying, but we don't demand genital mutilation to guarantee it. On such slender distinctions does civilization rest.

Der Spiegel, an impeccably liberal magazine, summed up the remorseless Islamization of Europe in a recent headline: "How Much Allah Can The Old Continent Bear?" Well, what's wrong with a little Allah-lite? The AAP thinks you can hop on the Sharia express and only ride a couple of stops. In such ostensibly minor concessions, the "ritual nick" we're performing is on ourselves. Further cuts will follow.
(Via Amy Alkon.)

Steyn is right: this compromise can only lead to further accommodations of this barbaric practice. The problem is that the "ritual nick," even if innocuous in and of itself, grants the barbaric premise that Muslim parents have a right to mutilate their daughters in accordance with the dictates of Islam. Ultimately, the result of accepting that principle will be more female circumcisions, not fewer.

The danger of this attempted compromise reminds me of Ayn Rand's many sharp comments on the wrong of compromising one's principles and appeasing evil. Here's a taste:
It is only in regard to concretes or particulars, implementing a mutually accepted basic principle, that one may compromise. For instance, one may bargain with a buyer over the price one wants to receive for one's product, and agree on a sum somewhere between one's demand and his offer. The mutually accepted basic principle, in such case, is the principle of trade, namely: that the buyer must pay the seller for his product. But if one wanted to be paid and the alleged buyer wanted to obtain one's product for nothing, no compromise, agreement or discussion would be possible, only the total surrender of one or the other.

There can be no compromise between a property owner and a burglar; offering the burglar a single teaspoon of one's silverware would not be a compromise, but a total surrender--the recognition of his right to one's property. ("Doesn't Life Require Compromise?" in The Virtue of Selfishness)
And:
Do not confuse appeasement with tactfulness or generosity. Appeasement is not consideration for the feelings of others, it is consideration for and compliance with the unjust, irrational and evil feelings of others. It is a policy of exempting the emotions of others from moral judgment, and of willingness to sacrifice innocent, virtuous victims to the evil malice of such emotions. ("The Age of Envy" in Return of the Primitive)
And:
The three rules listed below are by no means exhaustive; they are merely the first leads to the understanding of a vast subject.

1. In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.

2. In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.

3. When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side. ("The Anatomy of Compromise" in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)
American Academy of Pediatrics has given the woman-hating Muslim fanatics a major victory... and I'm sure those Muslim fanatics know it.

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13 May 2010

The Soft-Spoken Genocidal Muslim at UCSD

By Diana Hsieh

This video -- particularly the last few seconds -- contains the most chilling exchange I've ever watched. It's David Horowitz drawing out a soft-spoken female student from UCSD... who also happens to be a Jew-hating, Hitler-admiring, lustfully genocidal Muslim.



She ought to be expelled from the university, as a threat to safety. No professor should be willing to have her in class, nor should any student be willing to sit in the same room as her.

If she's not a citizen, she ought to be expelled from the United States -- immediately -- as a threat to national security. If she is a citizen, she ought to be closely watched by the government for any sign of or association with terrorists, then charged and imprisoned accordingly. Anything less -- which is what I expect, sadly -- would be a shameful failure to defend America against its sworn enemies.

(Via Adam Mossoff, who said, "This girl is so soft-spoken about expressing her support of global genocide of Jews, it's like watching a clip from the Nuremburg trials in which the Nazis plainly described their atrocities as if this was no different to them from describing a trip to the beach (and it wasn't).")

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11 May 2010

Protect Families Protect Choices Versus Amendment 62

By Diana Hsieh

The Denver Daily News reports that the major opponents of Amendment 48 have rejoined forces to oppose the new "personhood" measure, Amendment 62. Here are a few highlights:

An opposition campaign was announced yesterday to a pro-life ballot question that would give human rights to embryos. Protect Families Protect Choices says it will begin an "aggressive" campaign against Amendment 62, which was qualified by the Secretary of State's office last month for the November 2010 ballot. ... The initiative would effectively ban abortion in the State of Colorado.

"Here we go again," said Leslie Durgin, lead organizer of the opposition campaign and vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. "Amendment 62 is bad policy, bad law and bad medicine."

Proponents of the initiative are confident that they will have better success this year. Keith Mason, co-founder of Personhood USA, points out that this year proponents have slashed the term "fertilization" from the ballot question, instead using the phrase "biological development." The amendment would read, "The term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." ...

Opponents do not believe the change in language will help Personhood supporters because it still "presents the same dangerous outcomes."

"In 2008, voters learned that the 'definition of a person' amendment was an overt attempt to insert religion into law," said Jeremy Shaver, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. We will fight once again to make sure Coloradans know the truth about Amendment 62."
The article contains some interesting statistics on likely voting patterns, but I think the "personhood" advocates are kidding themselves: Amendment 62 will go down in flames, just as Amendment 48 did. It's unfortunate that the battle needs to be fought again, but at least it's an opportunity to discuss the proper foundations of abortion rights. So ... "here we go again" is right.

You can find out more about "Protect Families Protect Choices" from its web site.

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07 May 2010

Multiculturalism: Islamist Stick Served on a Silver Platter

By Gina Liggett

For years Islamic thugs have threatened, intimidated or killed those who exercise the fundamental free speech rights that exist in Western culture. Witness Salman Rushdie, Theo Van Gogh, and most recently the creators of the spare-nobody satirical cartoon, "South Park," whose program was recently censored by a trembling network over an innocuous depiction of the prophet, Mohammed.

Islamists have gotten away with bullying the West not only by their own methods of persecution and murder, but by using a tool delivered on a silver platter by the West whom they long to destroy: the idea of multiculturalism.

What is multiculturalism? A dictionary definition is: "the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society, as a state or nation."

As a case in point, Australian Supreme Court Justice Spigelman is in a conflicted twist because there are no laws in Australia to address the very-Islamic practices of forced marriage (in which child brides are forced to marry older men) and honor killings (of women and girls for "crimes" like being raped or seeking a divorce).

Justice Spigelman said, "There is a fundamental conflict between a human rights approach to these matters, on the one hand, and the tolerance of cultural traditions, based on the assumption of an equality between cultures on the other hand...There is no way of avoiding the dilemma arising from this conflict of values."

The hell there isn't! Britain outlawed forced marriage in 2005. Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (which lobbied for the law), said "Multiculturalism does not mean accepting the unacceptable." Voila! Conflict gone!

If Justice Spigelman still can't give up the notion of "equality between cultures," let's put into concrete terms what the "tolerance of cultural traditions" might mean if forced marriage were permitted in a Western country. Take an example from Yemen. That tribal, Islamic country's most influential Muslim cleric called for massive protests against a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage to 17. The proposed law was drafted in response to the brutally forcible sex by a 23-year-old husband with his 13-year-old bride, who consequently bled to death.

The sheik Adbul-Majid al-Zindani said a ban on child brides "threatens our culture and society and spreads immorality."

Is this the kind of "equality between cultures" that Spigelman has in mind? According to some theories of the value of multiculturalism, the enslavement and rape of girls codified in a barbaric version of "marriage" would necessarily be permitted.

How about if "honor killings" were legalized in Australia out of respect for "cultural tradition"? Maybe there would be cases like a recent one in Turkey, where a two-day-old infant girl was murdered because her mother gave birth out of wedlock, considered a dishonor to the family. Even though predominantly-Muslim Turkey has been under pressure to curb honor-killings in its quest to join the European Union, it is a tradition still widely practiced, particularly in rural and poor areas.

Spigelman's "fundamental conflict" is this: he and other multiculturalists are unwilling to declare there are cultures objectively more conducive to human life than others. A secular Western society that protects the fundamental individual rights of its citizens is more human-life-enhancing than an atavistic, savage culture that represses, tortures and kills in the name of a religion.

The West has groveled to Islamic bullying over freedom of speech and other fundamental rights long enough. Just because Islam is the one religion that considers itself far above criticism or debate of any kind, doesn't mean that Western society should keep cowering in fear, as we have done since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979.

In the words of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, interviewed by CNN about the "South Park" issue: "as a society we have to take them on."

In addition to such bold freedom-of-speech challenges like "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day," we must also draw a permanent line in the sand: Western society will simply not allow violations of individual rights in the name of Islam or any other religion! Period!

The Islamist bully can just take his silver stick to the corner of the playground and "stick it"!

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04 May 2010

Muslims Threaten South Park

By Diana Hsieh

Crossposted from NoodleFood: Last Tuesday, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of the stellar book Infidel, published an excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the informal fatwa against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Here's why the supposed warning message posted by 20-year-old Muslim covert "Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee" was a fatwa:

There is a basic principle in Islamic scripture—unknown to most not-so-observant Muslims and most non-Muslims—called "commanding right and forbidding wrong." It obligates Muslim males to police behavior seen to be wrong and personally deal out the appropriate punishment as stated in scripture. In its mildest form, devout people give friendly advice to abstain from wrongdoing. Less mild is the practice whereby Afghan men feel empowered to beat women who are not veiled.

By publicizing the supposed sins of Messrs. Stone and Parker, Mr. Amrikee undoubtedly believes he is fulfilling his duty to command right and forbid wrong. His message is not just an opinion. It will appeal to like-minded individuals who, even though they are a minority, are a large and random enough group to carry out the divine punishment. The best illustration of this was demonstrated by the Somali man who broke into Mr. Westergaard's home in January carrying an axe and a knife.
So what can we do? Ms. Ali has some good suggestions for what we might do to stand up for freedom of speech:
One way of reducing the cost is to organize a solidarity campaign. The entertainment business, especially Hollywood, is one of the wealthiest and most powerful industries in the world. Following the example of Jon Stewart, who used the first segment of his April 22 show to defend "South Park," producers, actors, writers, musicians and other entertainers could lead such an effort.

Another idea is to do stories of Muhammad where his image is shown as much as possible. These stories do not have to be negative or insulting, they just need to spread the risk. The aim is to confront hypersensitive Muslims with more targets than they can possibly contend with.

Another important advantage of such a campaign is to accustom Muslims to the kind of treatment that the followers of other religions have long been used to. After the "South Park" episode in question there was no threatening response from Buddhists, Christians and Jews—to say nothing of Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand fans—all of whom had far more reason to be offended than Muslims.
Along these lines, Ari Armstrong has launched an Everybody Draw Mohammed campaign. I'll be posting my contribution sometime next week -- and I hope that you will do the same.

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