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

28 December 2012

Romance Between an Atheist and a Believer: Sunday on Philosophy in Action Radio

By Diana Hsieh

On the next episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on romance between an atheist and a believer. I thought that might be of interest.

The question is:

Can a romance between an atheist and a religious believer work? What are the major obstacles? Should the atheist attend church or church socials with his spouse? Should they have a religious wedding ceremony? Should they send their children to religious schools? Do the particular beliefs – or strength of beliefs – of the religious person matter?
Interested? I hope so!

This episode of internet radio airs on Sunday morning, 30 December 2012, at 8 PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET. The full show will cover the good in American culture, romance between an atheist and a believer, the limits of humor, and more. Be sure to check out the full slate of questions.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat.

Again, if you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted in the archive: Radio Archive: 30 December 2012.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning, but if you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later!

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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05 December 2012

Moral Luck: Dissertation Preview: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

I've not been blogging much lately because I'm super-busy preparing my dissertation for publication. If you'd like to know what that's all about, I talked about it on Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.

In the 2 December 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed moral luck, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

Is 'moral luck' a self-contradictory term? What does it mean? Does it exist?
My Answer, In Brief: Moral luck is a philosophical puzzle about the extent of a person’s responsibility for his actions, their outcomes, and his character—given the pervasive influence of luck. It’s a puzzle that can be solved—as I did in my soon-to-be-published dissertation—with an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Ethics, Justice, Luck, Moral Luck, Philosophy Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread. A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on moral luck, parental support of adult children, guaranteed pensions for government employees, right to die, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 2 December 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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04 December 2012

Right to Die: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 2 December 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed right to die, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

Is there a right to die and/or a right to be killed? Does a person have a right to die? If so, under what conditions? Moreover, does a person unable to kill himself (due to illness) have a right to be killed by a willing person?
My Answer, In Brief: A person has a right to take his own life, but the law should take steps to ensure that any suicide is done voluntarily by a competent person.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Death, Ethics, Law, Suicide Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread. A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on moral luck, parental support of adult children, guaranteed pensions for government employees, right to die, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 2 December 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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30 November 2012

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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29 November 2012

Right to Die: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on right to die that might be of interest. The question is:

Is there a right to die and/or a right to be killed? Does a person have a right to die? If so, under what conditions? Moreover, does a person unable to kill himself (due to illness) have a right to be killed by a willing person?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Radio: Moral Luck, Adult Children, Promised Pensions, and More
  • When: Sunday, 2 December 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
The full show will cover moral luck, parental support of adult children, guaranteed pensions for government employees, right to die, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 2 December 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 2 December 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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19 November 2012

Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends

By Diana Hsieh

From College Humor: Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends:



In response, the straight men of America yell, "OH NOES!"

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16 November 2012

The Deadly Effects of Abortion Bans

By Diana Hsieh

Hospital Death in Ireland Renews Fight Over Abortion:

The woman, Savita Halappanavar, 31, a dentist who lived near Galway, was 17 weeks pregnant when she sought treatment at University Hospital Galway on Oct. 21, complaining of severe back pain.

Dr. Halappanavar was informed by senior hospital physicians that she was having a miscarriage and that her fetus had no chance of survival. However, despite repeated pleas for an abortion, she was told that it would be illegal while the fetus's heart was still beating, her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, said.

It was not until Oct. 24 that the heartbeat ceased and the remains of the fetus were surgically removed. But Dr. Halappanavar contracted a bacterial blood disease, septicemia. She was admitted to intensive care but never recovered, dying on Oct. 28.

Mr. Halappanavar, in an interview with The Irish Times from his home in India, said his wife was told after one request, "This is a Catholic country."
On Facebook, I've seen some advocates of abortion bans claim that her death cannot be definitively proved to have been caused by the failure of the doctors to abort her dying fetus. That's true, but utterly beside the point.

Very little in medicine is cut and dried. The human body is immensely complex, and doctors mostly deal in probabilities, not certainties. That's part of why it's so important for each person -- guided by the advice of her doctors -- to make her own decisions about her medical care.

People differ in their values, and hence, in the risks they're willing to accept or not. For a person to be free to live her own life requires that she be free to decide what risks to take with her own body and health -- without interference from the government.

For the government to dictate or outlaw certain kinds of medical treatments means subjecting people to risks contrary to their own best judgment of their own interests. That's a violation of their rights, plain and simple. That's true for all medical care, including abortion.

That's why laws banning abortion violate rights, even when they allow for exceptions to save the life of the mother. All pregnancy is risky: the maternal death rate in the United States is 16 out of 100,000. Many women are unwilling to undergo that risk, not to mention all the other complications and risks of pregnancy -- and rightly so. Because the embryo/fetus is not a person with the right to life, a woman has the right to decide, based purely on her judgment of her own best interests, that she's not willing to bear the risks of pregnancy, and hence, to terminate her pregnancy.

In contrast, under laws that permit abortion only to save the life of the mother, doctors would be constantly subject to second-guessing by police, prosecutors, and courts -- and perhaps, subject to very serious criminal charges for murder or manslaughter. That's why women die under abortion bans, regardless of provisions that permit doctors to act to save the the woman's life. The doctor cannot afford to be blind to the risk to his own life and liberty of performing an abortion, even to save a woman's life.

The advocates of abortion bans seek to evade the consequences of their own policies when confronted by these kinds of cases by claiming that the woman might have died anyway, even if she'd been able to terminate the pregnancy. That might be true, but that should have been her decision to make. Instead, she was preventing from acting based on her own best judgment in service of her life. That's a major violation of her fundamental rights.

Ultimately, as Savita Halappanavar's husband said, "It was all in their hands, and they just let her go. How can you let a young woman go to save a baby who will die anyway?"

I've said it before and I'll say it again: opposition to abortion rights is not "pro-life."

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14 November 2012

The 2012 Election Results: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 11 November 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed the 2012 election results, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

What should we think of the results of the 2012 election? Many free-market advocates are despairing over the election results, particularly the re-election of President Obama. They claim that America has sunk to a new low in re-electing an openly socialistic and egalitarian hater of America. Do you think that such despair is warranted? Also, how can intellectuals, activists, and others effectively promote individual rights over the next four years?
My Answer, In Brief: Advocates of free markets need to stop despairing and start thinking about how to make progress over the next four years.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Alcohol/Drugs, America, Apocalypticism, Democratic Party, Elections, Gay Marriage, Immigration, Politics, Republican Party, Rights Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread. A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on the 2012 election results, explaining a break-up, keeping contact with questionable family, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 11 November 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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13 November 2012

Colorado Supreme Court on to Answer Questions on Campaign Finance

By Diana Hsieh

This press release from the Center for Competitive Politics -- Colorado Supreme Court to Rule on Federal Judge's Questions -- is awesome, awesome news for the Coalition for Secular Government's challenge to Colorado's campaign finance laws.

In an order received today, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to a US District Court judge's request to "provide clear guidance... as to the scope and meaning" of four unclear provisions of Colorado's campaign finance laws that are the subject of litigation under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

The request was made by Senior Judge John L. Kane of the United States Court for the District of Colorado in connection with a case brought by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) on behalf of the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG). Allen Dickerson, CCP's Legal Director, said today he is "pleased that Colorado's highest court will provide a definitive interpretation of key provisions in Colorado's campaign finance laws and address the important constitutional issues raised in this case."

The lawsuit challenges whether Colorado can force small educational groups to register with the state before expressing an opinion on or publishing an analysis of a ballot question. Because of vague state laws, confusion as to what constitutes political speech and what is covered under a press exemption, and a refusal by the state to abide by a federal court order, CSG has found it nearly impossible to carry out the activities of a small non-profit group without fear of running afoul of complex Colorado campaign finance laws.

Judge Kane asked the Colorado high court for the interpretation because the "lawsuit raises First Amendment challenges to several provisions of Colorado campaign finance law that remain undefined by the Colorado Constitution, Article XXVIII's implementing legislation, or case law from Colorado courts."

Judge Kane certified four questions, which the Colorado Supreme Court has now agreed to answer. The questions are as follows:
1. Is the policy paper published by the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG) in 2010 "express advocacy" under Art. XXVIII, S 2(8)(a) of the Colorado Constitution?

2. If the policy paper is express advocacy, does it qualify for the press exemption found at Art. XXVIII, S 2(8)(b)?

3. Is the policy paper a "written or broadcast communication" under S 1-45- 103(12)(b)(II)(B), C.R.S.? If not, did it become a "written or broadcast communication" when it was posted to CSG's blog or Facebook page?

4. In light of Sampson v. Buescher, 625 F.3d 1247 (10th Cir. 2010), what is the monetary trigger for Issue Committee status under Art. XXVIII S 2(10)(a)(II) of the Colorado Constitution?

A copy of the court order is available here. The case, over which Judge Kane presides, is Coalition for Secular Government v. Gessler, No. 12-cv-1708. The plaintiff's brief to the Colorado Supreme Court is due December 3, 2012.

Once again, I cannot properly express my gratitude to Allen Dickerson and the rest of the staff at the Center for Competitive Politics for this legal challenge to Colorado's campaign finance laws.

I'm not just grateful for the hope that I'll never have to file campaign finance reports again -- nor even for the hope of striking a solid blow for free speech in Colorado. I'm grateful because my participation in this case has enabled me to see that the rule of law, while not perfect, is a robust institution in America. As a result, I've become far more optimistic about the future over the past few months. I don't share the post-election "Doom and Death Camps" so prevalent among advocates of free markets, for reasons that I explained in Sunday's Radio Show. I'm glad of that, and I'm proud of that.

So if you'd like to assist in the efforts of the Center for Competitive Politics, you can donate here.

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09 November 2012

The 2012 Election Results: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on the 2012 election results that might be of interest. The question is:

What should we think of the results of the 2012 election? Many free-market advocates are despairing over the election results, particularly the re-election of President Obama. They claim that America has sunk to a new low in re-electing an openly socialistic and egalitarian hater of America. Do you think that such despair is warranted? Also, many free-market advocates urge us to work harder in spreading the message of individual rights, including via "education" campaigns. Do you think that such efforts will be effective?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: Election Results, Default Ideas, Break-Ups, and More
  • When: Sunday, 11 November 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
The full show will cover the 2012 election results, adopting ideas by default, explaining a break-up, keeping contact with questionable family, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 11 November 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 11 November 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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08 November 2012

Link-O-Rama: Election

By Diana Hsieh

  • If Republicans Want to Win, They Must Embrace Individual Rights: Ari Armstrong is right: the GOP was seriously hurt in this election -- and justly so -- by its opposition to abortion rights, immigration, and gay rights. I would add that Romney's support of state-level socialized medicine, strong regulations, the welfare state, and other economic rights-violations didn't make him a credible candidate on economic liberty.
  • Election Results: Amendment 65 - Campaign Finance Limits: Alas, Colorado's toothless pro-campaign-finance amendment passed handily. I think that's because most people don't understand that campaign finance laws destroy free speech. They just think that big money corrupts politics.
  • Slate: The Victory for Gay Marriage Was Bigger Than You Realized: Take note, GOP. Embrace gay rights, or continue to sit at home and cry.
  • Colorado's "Personhood" Candidates Take a Beating by Ari Armstrong: "As I've been pointing out for some time, Colorado demographically tends to be the type of place where people want government out of wallets and out of our bedrooms. Unfortunately, the Republican Party in this state is dominated by a religious right that wants to outlaw all abortion and discriminate against gays--and that explains to a large degree why Democrats now control the entire state government, again."

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02 November 2012

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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31 October 2012

Discrimination Against Gays: Your Right to Be Wrong

By Diana Hsieh

From the blog of The Objective Standard: Gay Marriage: The Right to Voluntary Contract, Not to Coercive "Contract:

New York has properly legalized gay marriage. Melisa Erwin and Jennie McCarthy have improperly filed an anti-discrimination complaint under New York law to force a private business to host gay weddings.

The targets of the complaint, Robert and Cynthia Gifford, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm and opponents of gay marriage, refused to host Erwin and McCarthy's wedding, citing religious freedom as justification.

Every individual has a right to live by his own moral standards, even irrational ones, so long as his actions don't violate the rights of others. But this issue is not primarily about freedom of religion and conscience; rather, it is about freedom of association and contract.

Erwin and McCarthy claim that Liberty Ridge is in violation of NY law, which forbids a business that serves the public to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But the inalienable rights of gays to forge a marriage contract does not include the right to force others to do business with them. It is just as wrong for Erwin and McCarthy to impose their values on the Giffords by forcing them to host gay weddings as it was for the government to impose the Giffords' standards on gays by legally banning gay marriage.
That's completely right, and there's more in the rest of the post.

As it happens, I discussed the political right to discriminate in the 23 January 2011 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. The question was:
In the essay "Racism" in The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand mentions that public institutions and government agencies should not discriminate against or on behalf of individuals. In her talk of private property, however, she says that government should not attempt to prevent private racism in private establishments and that a man's rights are not violated by a private individual's refusal to deal with him. My question is: How are his rights not violated if the owner discriminates against him?
My Answer, In Brief: A person's rights are not violated because someone else doesn't want anything to do with him – even if his reasons are vicious.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:
Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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29 October 2012

Anti-Abortion Rationalizations

By Diana Hsieh

Opponents of abortion have been busy evading the real-life horrors of their goals. Recently, we had Tod Akin denying that rape victims will become pregnant -- and now we have Illinois representative Joe Walsh claiming that pregnancy can never threaten the life of a woman:

Abortion bans don't need exceptions for the life of the mother because of "modern technology and science," Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said Thursday.

"With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance" of an abortion necessary to save the life of the mother, Walsh said after a debate with Tammy Duckworth, his Democratic opponent, according to the Chicago Tribune. "... There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing."
That's complete bull, and anyone who isn't informed enough or honest enough to deal with the well-known dangers of abortion bans has no business in politics.

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26 October 2012

How Would a Rape Exception Work?

By Diana Hsieh

This blog post -- Pro-Life People: How Would a Rape Exception Work? -- raises some really interesting questions about how a law that banned rape except in rare cases, such as rape or life of the mother, would work in practice:

If efforts to criminalize abortion succeeded, would it be a medical, legal, or theological authority that would make the determination as to whether a woman qualified to have the banned procedure? If I was raped, would I have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, or might a preponderance of the evidence standard suffice? Would I make my case to a doctor? A judge? A police officer? An ethics committee?

And on what basis would the appointed entity make the decision? The embrace by many politicians of an exception for the life but not the health of the patient would presumably require legislation that would then leave authorities in the position to determine, for example, whether a delay in beginning cancer treatment would be considered a threat to my life or merely a risk to my health.
There's more, but as the author concludes:
No politician or pundit should get away with claiming he supports any "exception" without facing the obvious follow-up question: “How would it work?”

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24 October 2012

Circumcision Versus Female Genital Mutilation: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

Note: Due to a lack of time, I didn't answer this question last Sunday, as planned. I'll answer it on this Sunday, and I've updated the announcement below with the relevant information.

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on circumcision versus female genital mutilation that might be of interest. The question is:

Is circumcision on par with female genital mutilation? Many people decry female genital mutilation, but they regard circumcision as the right of parents. Is that wrong?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: Anarchism, Government, Circumcision, and More
  • When: Sunday, 28 October 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
The full show will cover federal versus state and local government, parenting via empty threats, circumcision versus female genital mutilation, reasons for everything, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 28 October 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 28 October 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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22 October 2012

Science Versus Religion

By Diana Hsieh



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18 October 2012

Free Speech -- Or Maybe Not

By Diana Hsieh


I'm sure that's exactly what the Founders had in mind in ratifying the First Amendment! Or maybe not.

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17 October 2012

Two Wrongs, No Right: Scott DesJarlais

By Diana Hsieh

Oh my: Scott DesJarlais, Pro-Life Republican Congressman And Doctor, Pressured Mistress Patient To Get Abortion:

A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post.

The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.

DesJarlais, who was provided a copy of the transcript by HuffPost, did not deny its contents, but in a statement released through his campaign characterized it as just another sordid detail dredged up by the opposition. "Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation's problems, yet it appears my opponents are choosing to once again engage in the same gutter politics that CBS news called the dirtiest in the nation just 2 years ago."
Amazingly, that's not even the worst of what he did. The details -- and the transcript -- are here.

Scott DesJarlais is no different than many other hypocritical advocates of banning abortion. Such people never see any valid reasons for abortion whatsoever -- until they happen to face some circumstance in which a baby would be inconvenient. Then they avail themselves of that choice which they seek to deny for others, usually without that affecting their efforts to ban abortion one iota.

Such hypocrisy is infuriating.

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15 October 2012

Lies Straight from the Pit of Hell

By Diana Hsieh

Wow: U.S. House science committee member calls evolution, Big Bang theory 'lies straight from the pit of hell':

Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are "lies straight from the pit of hell" meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.

The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman's banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell.

Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats. He sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

"God's word is true," Broun said, according to a video posted on the church's website. "I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days. Those beliefs are held by fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation accounts in the Bible to be literally true.
It's not surprising that this [unprintable term] is a politician, but it's scary that he's a doctor.

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10 October 2012

Politics Corrupts Money

By Diana Hsieh

Dirty MoneyIn this blog post for The Objective Standard, Ari Armstrong explains that money doesn't corrupt politics, as advocates of campaign finance laws claim. Instead, politics corrupts money: "Although the source of money is virtuous because it is production, money is corrupted when it is used to buy political favors." Indeed, and such political favors can only be bought in a mixed economy in which some people's rights may be violated for the right price.

So if you think that campaign finance laws can keep politics pure, think again... and go read the whole post!

Be sure to consider what he says about Colorado's Amendment 65:

Amendment 65 is a futile attempt by the left to solve the problems created by leftist policies. As I argued in my debate with Gordon, the censorship of political speech that Amendment 65 advocates will not solve the problem of influence peddling; it will only make that problem worse. As I pointed out, under Amendment 65, the proposed censorship laws would themselves be crafted by the influence peddlers.

Demanding that the foxes guard the henhouse is not wise politics: it's a power-grab by the foxes and their allies in the henhouse.

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08 October 2012

Questions for the Colorado Supreme Court in CSG's Lawsuit

By Diana Hsieh

On October 2nd, the Center for Competitive Politics posted a press release about the questions that Judge Kane is sending to the Colorado Supreme Court for CSG's campaign finance lawsuit. It's very interesting news, because until very recently, I didn't even know that this could be part of the legal process. (Look, it's federalism in action! Nifty!)

CONTACT: Sarah Lee, Communications Director, 770.598.7961

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A federal judge today issued an order seeking clarification by the Colorado Supreme Court of the state's campaign finance laws. Senior Judge John L. Kane of the United States Court for the District of Colorado asked the state Supreme Court to "provide clear guidance... as to the scope and meaning" of provisions that have been challenged under the First Amendment to the US Constitution

Judge Kane's order was made in connection with a case brought by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) on behalf of the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG). The case, over which Judge Kane presides, is Coalition for Secular Government v. Gessler, No. 12-cv-1708.

The judge's order noted that the "lawsuit raises First Amendment challenges to several provisions of Colorado campaign finance law that remain undefined by the Colorado Constitution, Article XXVIII's implementing legislation, or caselaw from Colorado courts."

CSG alleges that, even though it plans to raise no more than $3,500--nearly all of which will go toward updating and disseminating a public policy paper--the state constitution appears to demand that CSG register as an issue committee if its papers take a position on ballot measures. Such registration would force CSG to maintain several new types of records, file periodic reports, turn over the names and addresses of contributors who donate as little as $20 toward financing the policy paper, and risk substantial fines should it err in its public filings.

Judge Kane certified four questions. These include:
  • Does the Colorado Constitution treat money spent on a policy paper, including one that suggests how the reader should vote on a ballot initiative, as the equivalent of money spent on political ads?
  • Does the state constitution entitle policy papers distributed over the internet to be treated in the same way as newspaper and magazine editorials for purposes of campaign finance law?
  • In light of a federal decision declaring certain groups too small to be regulated by the state of Colorado, what is the monetary trigger for an issue committee under the state constitution? Is it the roughly-$1,000 mentioned in the federal opinion? The $3,500 contemplated by CSG? The $200 mentioned in the constitution itself? Or another number altogether?
While the Colorado Supreme Court is not required to answer Judge Kane's questions, doing so would provide some welcome guidance on these important questions.

"For years, organizations in Colorado have been unsure how to comply with Colorado's campaign finance rules, or have been subject to politically-motivated complaints for making minor errors," CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson said. "Some choose not to speak at all in the face of this situation. The Colorado Supreme Court now has the option of bringing a measure of predictability to some of the state constitution's more difficult provisions."

Judge Kane's order, which includes a brief description of the case, may be found here.
Here are the four questions certified in their technical language:
1. Is the policy paper published by the Coalition for Secular Government (CSG) in 2010 "express advocacy" under Art. XXVIII, S 2(8)(a) of the Colorado Constitution?

2. If the policy paper is express advocacy, does it qualify for the press exemption found at Art. XXVIII, S 2(8)(b)?

3. Is the policy paper a "written or broadcast communication" under S 1-45-103(12)(b)(II)(B), C.R.S.? If not, did it become a "written or broadcast communication" when it was posted to CSG's blog or Facebook page?

4. In light of Sampson v. Buescher, 625 F.3d 1247 (10th Cir. 2010), what is the monetary trigger for Issue Committee status under Art. XXVIII S2(10)(a)(II) of the Colorado Constitution?
I'll be very interested to see how the Colorado Supreme Court rules on these questions -- and then what Judge Kane says about that. I'm excited by the prospect of at least clarifying Colorado campaign finance law, let alone striking down some of its most burdensome elements.

Also, I'll have some news about the forthcoming updates to Ari Armstrong's and my 2010 paper -- The "Personhood" Movement Is Anti-Life -- soon. Although "personhood" won't be on the ballot in Colorado due insufficient signatures, the movement has grown dramatically in influence over the past year, as seen in the GOP primary. Hence, Ari and I are determined to update the policy paper to reflect that.

Alas, my being so sick last week blew apart our plans. We've made a new plan, and it's a better plan, I think. You can expect some announcements about that later this week. Just know that, once again, we will need your support to make it happen!

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04 October 2012

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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03 October 2012

Philosophy in Action Radio Tonight: Cancelled

By Diana Hsieh

I have to cancel tonight's planned broadcast for the Presidential Debate. I'd still like to host the drinking game in the text chat, but I can't broadcast due to being really damn sick. The gory details are here.

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A Religious Wedding for an Atheist Groom: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 30 September 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed a religious wedding for an atheist groom, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

Should an atheist refuse to have a religious wedding? I'm an atheist, but my fiancée is a not-terribly-devout Christian. My parents – and her parents too – are Christian. Everyone wants and expects us to have a religious wedding, but I don't want that. My future wife would be willing to have a secular wedding, but she prefers a religious one. Mostly, she doesn't want to argue with her parents over it. Should I insist on a secular wedding? Or should I just let this one go? What's the harm, either way?
My Answer, In Brief: For an atheist to agree to a religious wedding under pressure from family means risking his character, his marriage, and his family relations. Don't do it!

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Atheism, Communication, Compromise, Family, Honesty, Independence, In-Laws, Integrity, Marriage, Religion, Wedding A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on greed in the NFL dispute with referees, a religious wedding for an atheist groom, preventing information overload, food safety in a free society, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 30 September 2012. Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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Preview: Philosophy in Action Radio: The First Presidential Debate

By Diana Hsieh

In tonight's episode of Philosophy in Action Talk Radio, I'll comment on the first presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. I'll be silent during the debate itself, but then I'll comment on what was said -- for better or worse -- during the commercial breaks. During the debate itself, we'll have a drinking game in the text chat.

Warning: This broadcast format is experimental, and it might be a total disaster. I make no promises! Also, be sure to show up on time, as otherwise I'll end up talking over the debate itself.

I'm sure that some issues of church-state separation will come up during the debate.

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh
  • What: Philosophy in Action Talk Radio: The First Presidential Debate
  • When: Wednesday, 3 October 2012, 6 pm PT / 7 pm MT / 8 pm CT / 9 pm ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

What will the two major presidential candidates – Mitt Romney and Barack Obama – have to say about their principles and plans if elected? Listen to philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh comment on the live debate during its commercial breaks – and join the drinking game in the text chat!

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can call the show with your questions and experiences, as well as post comments and questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: 3 October 2012: The First Presidential Debate.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us tonight!

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02 October 2012

Ari Armstrong: Free Speech Versus Amendment 65

By Diana Hsieh

Ari Armstrong published an excellent op-ed in Sunday's Denver Post against the campaign finance measure on Colorado's ballot, Amendment 65. The whole op-ed is worth reading, but I particularly enjoyed his argument that restrictions on campaign spending are restrictions on speech. He writes:

Voters must observe that limiting campaign spending means limiting spending on speech.

You have no right of free speech if you cannot spend your resources how you want on speech. With the possible exception of shouting over panhandlers on a street corner, every form of speech requires the expenditure of resources.

To write for an audience, you need computers, Internet connections, copy machines, books, or newspapers. To speak, you need microphones, podcasts, film equipment, radio signals, or television transmissions. Spending money on speech is part of speaking. Controlling spending on speech is controlling speech itself.

Yes! That's exactly why free speech depends on property rights -- and the "dictators of the proletariat" understood that. The Soviet Union didn't ban the free press directly in its early years: it simply nationalized all printing presses.

Ari then observes:

The very idea that government should attempt, through force, to "level the playing field" in the realm of communication and ideas is pernicious. It is the government's proper job to protect each individual's right to speak freely, whether alone or as part of a group, not to forcibly silence some voices so that others face less competition.

Certainly, I've felt that heavy burden in speaking against Colorado's "personhood" amendments in 2008 and 2010, as I described in detail in my December 2011 testimony. No advocate of campaign finance regulations has ever directly addressed the huge contradiction between their stated goals with campaign finance regulations and my experience as an ordinary citizen attempting to speak out. It's infuriating.

In addition to this excellent op-ed, Ari gave this short speech on Amendment 65 at a local forum on the election:



Ari deserves the thanks of every Colorado resident for his work advocating our rights to speak freely!

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29 September 2012

A Religious Wedding for an Atheist Groom: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on a religious wedding for an atheist groom that might be of interest. The question is:

Should an atheist refuse to have a religious wedding? I'm an atheist, but my fiancée is a not-terribly-devout Christian. My parents – and her parents too – are Christian. Everyone wants and expects us to have a religious wedding, but I don't want that. My future wife would be willing to have a secular wedding, but she prefers a religious one. Mostly, she doesn't want to argue with her parents over it. Should I insist on a secular wedding? Or should I just let this one go? What's the harm, either way?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: NFL Referees, Religious Weddings, Food Safety, and More
  • When: Sunday, 30 September 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
The full show will cover greed in the NFL dispute with referees, a religious wedding for an atheist groom, preventing information overload, food safety in a free society, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 30 September 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 30 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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24 September 2012

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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20 September 2012

Friday: CSG in Federal Court

By Diana Hsieh

The Coalition for Secular Government's case challenging Colorado's campaign finance laws will be heard in Federal Court tomorrow. The courtroom is open to the public. So if you'd like to attend, you're welcome to do so.

The case will start at 9:30 am, and it will likely last the day. It will be held in the Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse (901 19th St. in Denver). It's being heard by Judge Kane in Room A802.

I'm really excited by the potential of this case. I'm a bit nervous too, as I've never testified in court before. Happily, my job is simple: I just need to tell the truth about CSG, and leave the heavy lifting of the legal arguments to my fabulous attorney from the Center for Competitive Politics.

Update: Never mind! The trial has been postponed for complicated (but good) reasons that I'll explain later.

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19 September 2012

Prayers of Atheists: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 9 September 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed prayers of atheists, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

Is it wrong for an atheist to pray? I used to be a Christian, but I've not believed in God for many years. However, I still pray when I'm under stress, even though I know that it doesn't accomplish anything. What's the harm in praying to a non-existent being?
My Answer, In Brief: It is wrong for an atheist to pray: it's degrading to your integrity, and it's poor thinking.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:


Tags: Atheism, Epistemology, Integrity, Prayer, Psycho-Epistemology

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on fear of rape, conflicts between family members, prayers of atheists, bans on smoking, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 9 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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18 September 2012

Personhood 2012: Ballot or No Ballot?

By Diana Hsieh

According to Colorado's Secretary of State, the proposed "personhood" amendment won't make the 2012 ballot due to lack of signatures -- and that decision is final. The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado secretary of state's office said Tuesday the proposed anti-abortion "personhood" amendment will not be on the 2012 ballot — no matter the outcome of proponents' planned legal action to prove they collected enough voter signatures.

The ballot certification deadline was Monday. Even if a judge rules personhood sponsors' petition was sufficient, the measure would have to wait for the 2014 general election, secretary of state spokesman Andrew Cole told The Post Tuesday.
However, that's not the end of the story. Personhood USA takes a different view:
Personhood USA founder Keith Mason said Tuesday supporters have a 30-day window to take legal action challenging Secretary of State Scott Gessler's Aug. 29 determination that the Personhood Amendment failed to make the ballot — falling short by 3,859 signatures.

Petitioners collected 82,246 valid signatures of the 86,105 required, according to state officials. "We have until Sept. 28 to file our lawsuit. And the more we look, line by line, the more confident we are we have enough signatures," Mason said. "We have recovered thousands of signatures."
Personhood USA seems serious in their desire to make a legal challenge, as seen in this September 14th email to supporters:
We need your help! Last month we told you that volunteers worked tirelessly to collect over 112,000 signatures to get the Personhood Amendment on the ballot in Colorado. But the Secretary of State in Colorado has denied our request by claiming that we are 3,700 signatures short of qualifying for the ballot. This a purely political act, as many of the signatures discarded were actually valid signatures!

We must file a court challenge within 30 days, and we fully intend to do so. But we need your financial help! In order to continue our fight for the unborn and protect all innocent life we need to raise over $50,000 to combat the political machine in Colorado. ...
They might win that legal challenge -- or they might lose it. Basically, right now nobody knows whether "personhood" will be on the ballot in 2012 or not.

That's hugely frustrating for me. All plans to update Ari Armstrong's and my 2010 policy paper The "Personhood" Movement Is Anti-Life are up in the air until this matter is resolved. Right now, I'm not sure what kind of revisions we'll want to make, because we may want to talk about the new language of the 2012 ballot measure or not.

Also, I don't know whether I'll want to raise money for those revisions or not, as I did in 2010. I'm not willing to slog through the burdens and risks of reporting again, as would be required if "personhood" makes the ballot, unless, that is, the court rules in our favor next week. In that case, I won't have to report, even if "personhood" is on the ballot. That would be awesome.

Gah! The uncertainty is just killing me. These matters will be resolved soon, I know, but time is running short!

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14 September 2012

Blue Laws: Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer a question on blue laws that might be of interest. The question is:

Do "blue laws" violate rights? Many communities have "blue laws" – such as prohibitions on selling liquor, or even cars or other goods, on Sundays. Are these laws violations of the separation of church and state?
Interested? I hope so! Here's what you need to listen to the live broadcast:
The full show will cover judging people struggling with temptations, judging others when flawed, chivalry as a virtue, blue laws, and more. You can review all the questions for this episode here: Q&A Radio: 16 September 2012.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 16 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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12 September 2012

Fear of Rape: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 9 September 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed fear of rape, and I thought it might be of interest, given that the matter has been hotly debated in the atheist community. The question was:

Should men be sensitive to women's fears of being raped? Recently, I became aware of an ongoing debate among the online atheist community regarding proper conduct of men toward women they do not know. In a June 2011 video reporting on a conference, "Skepchik" Rebecca Watson talked about her experience of being asked to the room of a strange man in an elevator at 4 am. That invitation made her very uncomfortable, and she thought it was very wrong to so sexualize her. Her comments created a firestorm of controversy. Do you think that men need to be sensitive to women's fears about being raped? Should women have such fears around unknown men?
My Answer, In Brief: When dealing with strangers, a person should always be aware of the context, so as to avoid seeming to be threatening to the other person. Moreover, men need to take some extra care in dealing with women they won't know. That's because women are more physically vulnerable than men, and because prominent women are often subject to threatening sexual harassment.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:


Tags: Atheism, Communication, Crime, Dating, Ethics, Feminism, Harassment, Rape, Respect, Rights, Sexism, Violence

Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on fear of rape, conflicts between family members, prayers of atheists, bans on smoking, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 9 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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10 September 2012

Dr. Eric Daniels on Progress in American History

By Diana Hsieh

In Wednesday evening's episode of Philosophy in Action Talk Radio, I interviewed Dr. Eric Daniels on "Progress in American History."

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to the audio podcast. You'll find that posted below, as well as on this episode's archive page: 5 September 2012: Dr. Eric Daniels on Progress in American History.

Talk Radio: Episode: 5 September 2012

Many people on the political right regard America as steadily decaying since the founding era. Yet in fact, America has improved in many ways – not just in technology, but also in its culture, economy, and laws.

Dr. Eric Daniels is a research assistant professor at Clemson University’s Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin.
Listen or Download:


To automatically download every new episode, just subscribe to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed in your music player:

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05 September 2012

Eric Daniels on Progress in American History: Wednesday on Philosophy in Action Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In tonight's episode of Philosophy in Action Talk Radio, I'll interview Eric Daniels on "Progress in American History." I thought that might be of interest!

Many people on the political right regard America as steadily decaying since the founding era. Yet in fact, America has improved in many ways – not just in technology, but also in its culture, economy, and laws. History professor Dr. Eric Daniels will explain why we should not wish to turn back the clock.

Dr. Eric Daniels is a research assistant professor at Clemson University’s Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin.


To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can call the show with your questions and experiences, as well as post comments and questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: 5 September 2012: Eric Daniels on Progress in American History.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us tonight!

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04 September 2012

Appeals Court Rules Against Gessler

By Diana Hsieh

Court rules against Gessler in campaign change:

An appeals court says Secretary of State Scott Gessler overstepped his authority by raising a financial disclosure threshold for political groups and that the change violated state law. The Colorado Court of Appeals issued the ruling Thursday, affirming a lower court's decision. At issue was a change from Gessler's office to raise the financial disclosure threshold for political groups from $200 to $5,000.

Opponents argue that raising the threshold would make it easier for political groups to avoid disclosing financial interests for ballot initiatives. Gessler maintained that his aim was to bring state campaign-finance laws in line with a federal appeals court ruling.

A Gessler spokesman says the state is leaving itself open to expensive constitutional challenges, but that the secretary has not decided whether to appeal the latest decision.
The opinion is available as a PDF. The main issue seems to have been whether Scott Gessler had the authority as Secretary of State to change the threshold for campaign finance disclosures for issue committees, not the rule itself.

However, the court did seem to read the "Parker North" (Sampson v. Buescher) case as some kind of isolated decision, without implications for the constitutionality of the current $200 threshold. The court wrote, in part:
We do not agree with the Secretary, in any event, that Sampson created a gap in the law, triggering his obligation to
promulgate a rule. The Tenth Circuit panel declined to address the facial challenge to Colorado’s campaign finance laws, and only held that the application of these laws to the plaintiffs in that case unconstitutionally burdened their freedom of association. See
Sampson, 625 F.3d at 1249. Consequently, Sampson provides persuasive authority with regard to future applications of the
campaign finance laws in a similar context, but does not render these laws completely inoperative. See Sanger, 148 P.3d at 410­11.
That's wrong, I think, and I hope that gets relitigated. In addition, I very much hope that the Colorado legislature will change the law on the threshold for reporting for issue committees -- to some level much higher than Gessler's $5000 limit.

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03 September 2012

Prominent Priest Defends Pedophiles, Blames Victims

By Diana Hsieh

Rev. Benedict Groeschel -- a well-known Catholic priest, lecturer, and television host -- defended pedophile priests and blamed their victims in a recent interview. Here's the transcript of the relevant section:

Part of your work here at Trinity has been working with priests involved in abuse, no?

A little bit, yes; but you know, in those cases, they have to leave. And some of them profoundly -- profoundly -- penitential, horrified. People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to -- a psychopath. But that's not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster -- 14, 16, 18 -- is the seducer.

Why would that be?

Well, it's not so hard to see -- a kid looking for a father and didn't have his own -- and they won't be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

It's an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers. Generally, if they get involved, it's heterosexually, and if it's a priest, he leaves and gets married -- that's the usual thing -- and gets a dispensation. A lot of priests leave quickly, get civilly married and then apply for the dispensation, which takes about three years.

But there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?

Here's this poor guy -- [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky -- it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn't anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn't break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn't think of it in terms of legal things.

If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties -- except for rape or violence -- it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way. Sometimes statutory rape would be -- but only if the girl pushed her case. Parents wouldn't touch it. People backed off, for years, on sexual cases. I'm not sure why.

I think perhaps part of the reason would be an embarrassment, that it brings the case out into the open, and the girl's name is there, or people will figure out what's there, or the youngster involved -- you know, it's not put in the paper, but everybody knows; they're talking about it.

At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act -- not necessarily intercourse -- they're done.

And I'm inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.

What has the Church learned in terms of preventing this?

We've been screening seminarians for decades. That's nothing new. I've been doing it for 40 years, for our old community -- the Capuchins -- for the diocese, for our small religious community. ... It takes a lot of time -- four or five hours -- to do a psychological screening, and I don't have a lot of time. There were times in the past when I'd do 30 of them. I'd do it for our community and our sisters.

Also, it's very expensive. Now, I never got a nickel, but it costs between $800 and $1,200 for a psychological battery. I used to teach psychological evaluations.

You know, we've reduced considerably the number of seminarians, and the Church is going to be in plenty of trouble as time goes on -- one pastor for two or three parishes. So permanent deacons, laypeople, deaconesses -- if you don't want to call them that -- you're going to need a lot of people helping to keep the parish going. And that may not be a bad thing at all. Years ago, in the New York Archdiocese, you were an assistant for about 25 or 30 years before you became a pastor. We're making men pastors with five years' experience.

It was too long before, and it's too short at present.
I'm speechless, but given the way that the Catholic Church has protected -- and continues to protect -- pedophile priests, I'm sure that these views are quite common in the church hierarchy, even if usually hidden.

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31 August 2012

Bigotry Against Religion: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 26 August 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed bigotry against religion, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

Is criticism of and opposition to religion a form of bigotry? In its entry on bigotry, Wikipedia claims that a "bigot" is "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one who exhibits intolerance and animosity toward members of a group," and that "bigotry may be directed towards those of a differing sex or sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, region, language, religious or spiritual belief, political alignment, age, economic status or medical disability." I hear the charge of bigotry bandied about, often reflexively, particularly by theists when atheists criticize their faith-based beliefs as irrational. Is open criticism of and disrespect for religion a form of bigotry? Or is "bigotry" a loaded concept to be used by anyone whose belief system is critically challenged?
My Answer, In Brief: Bigotry is not holding fast to an unpopular opinion, but rather unjustly attacking people solely due to being members of some group. Criticisms of religion – and of religious advocates and adherents – so long as they stick to the facts (including about people as individuals) are not bigotry.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:


Tags: Atheism, Racism, Religion

Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on voting for third-party candidates, self-interest in parenting, bigotry against religion, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 26 August 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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