In Conversation: Antonin Scalia

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

I found some fascinating comments in an interview with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

On original intent:

…What I do wish is that we [the Supreme Court justices] were in agreement on the basic question of what we think we’re doing when we interpret the Constitution. I mean, that’s sort of rudimentary. It’s sort of an embarrassment, really, that we’re not. But some people think our job is to keep it up to date, give new meaning to whatever phrases it has. And others think it’s to give it the meaning the people ratified when they adopted it. Those are quite different views….

On racial vs sexual discrimination:

…there are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently. I don’t think anybody would deny that. And there really is no, virtually no, intelligent reason to treat people differently on the basis of their skin….

In response to a question about his favorite radio show:

…You know who my favorite is? My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people….

On the coarsening of our culture:

…One of the things that upsets me about modern society is the coarseness of manners. You can’t go to a movie—or watch a television show for that matter—without hearing the constant use of the F-word—including, you know, ladies using it. People that I know don’t talk like that! But if you portray it a lot, the society’s going to become that way. It’s very sad.

And you can’t have a movie or a television show without a nude sex scene, very often having no relation to the plot. I don’t mind it when it is essential to the plot, as it sometimes is. But, my goodness! The society that watches that becomes a coarse society….

Regarding homosexuality and the recent DOMA case:

… [Interviewer] In Lawrence v. Texas, you said Americans were within their rights in “protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
I would write that again. But that’s not saying that I personally think it’s destructive. Americans have a right to feel that way. They have a democratic right to do that, and if it is to change, it should change democratically, and not at the ukase [decree] of a Supreme Court….

It was quite a lengthy and interesting article. Here’s a link to it: In Conversation: Antonin Scalia.

Ronald Reagan on His Knees

We need more of our politicians to have his perspective!

Traditional Marriage weakened by SCOTUS ruling

English: Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, Californi...

English: Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, California Español: Manifestación por Prop 8 en Fresno, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m disappointed that the Supreme Court partially ruled against traditional marriage in their decision today. Thankfully they didn’t make a wholesale ruling in favor of so-called same-sex marriage. They still allowed for states to define marriage for themselves.

As far as California’s Prop 8 is concerned, the Court dismissed the appeal. This seems somewhat ambiguous. Prop 8 was a majority vote for an amendment to the California state constitution in favor of traditional marriage between only one man and one woman. A federal judge declared the amendment unconstitutional. The governor refused to appeal this ruling essentially thumbing their noses at the majority popular vote. Conservative groups appealed the federal lower court ruling to the Supreme Court. This appeal was dismissed.

The basis for appealing the dismissal was lack of precedent. Apparently SCOTUS hasn’t before entertained appeals of state laws that were not being defended by the state itself.

So on one hand, SCOTUS has affirmed states to determine a definition of marriage as the state sees fit. On the other hand, the Court didn’t slap down a lower federal court for dictating to California what sort of definition of marriage would be considered constitutional… Ambivalence? I would say somewhat biased toward the redefinition of marriage side.

Hopefully this decision will galvanize further action to strengthen traditional marriage. One way to do this is to sign the Manhattan Declaration.

 

Tipping Points

Sequestration: Yea or Nay?

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people are upset about sequestration. I do not think that sequestration is the most intelligent way to proceed with spending cuts. But spending cuts have to happen. If sequestration is a way to move the ball forward on cutting spending, then let’s proceed. Cutting back our spending on programs will always upset someone. Course corrections are not fun, just necessary. This is like when we have overspent our family budget and need to cut back on our lifestyle. That is not fun, but if we understand that it is necessary and that we have a higher goal in mind, we can bite the bullet. I think this is what lies at the heart of the rancor over increased taxes versus cutting spending. The people who have grown dependent on the programs of the federal government are going to be upset when those programs decrease. But if those cuts do not happen then a little way down the road our house of cards falls down upon itself.

The answer lies in carefully reading the Constitution to remind ourselves about those necessary areas of federal involvement. The best places to cut are those areas which the federal government should not and should never have been a part of. Some of these areas include: education, healthcare, food. Some of these areas might be surprising to the modern reader who has likely never read the Constitution for themselves. Please find a copy and read your Constitution today.

Robust Worldview

English: Flowchart of the steps in the Scienti...

English: Flowchart of the steps in the Scientific Method (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do we ensure that our children do not abandon the faith during their teens or early adult years? John Stonestreet from the Colson Center and Summit ministries recommends that we train our children up in a robust worldview. A worldview that is broad enough and deep enough to handle the challenges of real life. I agree. We need to encourage our children to think deeply and consider the various issues that they will face, so that people do not come along and rob them of their foundation. Teaching our children the rules of sound logic and thinking, the scientific method, Christian apologetics and reasons for belief, and the basic principles and ideas of the major competing worldviews. These practices should help to give our children the foundation that they need to securely build their lives upon.

Civilization and Entropy

photo comparing houses

Entropy on the Beach

Civilization is a lot like houses on the beach. You can see from the picture that I took on a recent trip to the beach that houses not maintained tend to decay over time. The dilapidated house stands out especially when the rest of the neighborhood or block has been well maintained, The interesting thing about this is the fact is that the run down house is moving toward the natural state of houses and other things on the beach. The humidity, extra salt, intense sunlight and the radical changes in weather causes things to fall apart. 

 
Our civilization here in America is actually heading towards the natural state of societies. That is, to fall apart. It is very unusual for a civilization to have existed this long. Peaceful existence and prosperity like we have seen here in America for a period of several decades is a special case. If we are not careful to maintain it, it will fall apart as is normal and natural in the world. 
 

National Right to Life Month

Abortion card001

Abortion card001 (Photo credit: John Ensor)

As we reflect on the 55 million missing Americans who were murdered in last 40 years following the legalization of abortion, where would our nation be if we had those 55 million people? …if we had 55 million more hard-working creative, productive, taxpaying citizens? Could we have discovered a cure for cancer? Maybe we snuffed out the life of the inventor who could have solved our energy crisis. Did we do away with a modern day Mozart or a 20th century George Washington? What about the over 100 million missing women in East Asia? With whom will those preferred sex men marry and raise families? And why couldn’t we pass a ban on sex-selective abortion here in America? Don’t we believe in equal rights for women even before birth?

As we teach our children in our classrooms, stop and think about the fact that each one of them is actually an abortion survivor …because for the last 40 years it has been legal to murder children in America.

Meaningful Change in the Wake of Sandy Hook

Indoor Shooting Range at Sarasota, Florida, US...

Indoor Shooting Range at Sarasota, Florida, USA. Taken by Kenn. Shooting a Glock 23 (.40 S+W) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I, like most other Americans, want to express my shock, sadness, and sympathy to the grieving survivors. My prayers have been with you since I first heard of the tragedy.

I would also like to add my voice to the meaningful debate about what should be done about school shootings. The most important part of the conversation should not center on guns, but on the content we emphasize in our schools and media. The secondary part of the conversation, which many would like to make primary is what to do to make our schools safer from attackers.

First, about the society we are influencing with media and education. As a teacher I cannot help but think that we must stop teaching the lie that there is no right or wrong. We cannot teach the lie that humans are just advanced animals and should not be treated with special dignity and respect. This is the same line of thinking that Hitler used to justify his extermination of so many Jews. Teaching morals, the difference between right and wrong, and the fact that we will have to answer for our actions in either this life or the next would help our nation more than any additional gun laws.

We must not allow the liberal bloc to use this tragedy as an opportunity to disarm America. I agree with Wayne LaPierre and Louie Gomert. There is a reason why these malevolent shooters go to schools and malls and movie theaters. They do not go to local hunting clubs, shooting ranges, or police stations. The shooters go where there will be no armed resistance. People bent on this kind of violence will obtain weapons whether or not there are laws in place.

My proposed solution to protecting our schools is to arm school staff members. It is time for us to put a comprehensive firearms training program in place in our nation’s schools. Every school building should have trained and armed staff members who can respond immediately to this kind of heinous violence. Arming school staff members whether teachers, administrators, or classified staff would be much more cost effective than hiring an entire new group of officers to be at the school. The costs would include training for the staff members and for the weapons themselves. I am impressed with the courage displayed by those teachers and principals who attempted to shield and protect their students with their wits and in many cases with their own bodies. Wouldn’t it have been better if those teachers had been armed with some means of taking out this unhinged madman?

Yes on 32

Yes on 32

Yes on 32

Unions in California are making a concerted effort to push a “No on 32” vote. They say that this proposition will weaken unions, take away the worker’s voice, and put us at the mercy of for-profit corporations. Unfortunately most of that is obfuscation. I wrote a post on this a few weeks ago. Prop 32 makes it so unions have to get permission from each union member before they can take dues for political uses from their paycheck. This provision actually gives the worker more power.

Currently there are a large number of “union” employees who do not agree with the political agenda of the union. For instance, in 2008 the CTA donated over $1 million to try to defeat Prop 8, our traditional marriage amendment. I give over $1000 in dues to the union every year, but I support traditional marriage. I was not sent a questionnaire asking about my stance on traditional marriage. But my money was used against me in that political battle. That is just one example of the Union taking a stance in opposition to my values.

If union organizations have to ask their members if it is okay to deduct the portion of the dues for political purposes from their paycheck this provides a fairly big incentive to those union organizations to listen and pay more attention to what the rank-and-file union member wants. Essentially we are simply making unions less compulsory, more voluntary. Yes on 32 will help to ensure that unions are representing exactly those workers who wish to be represented by that union.

Trumping Freedom of Religion

Official portrait of United States Health and ...

Official portrait of United States Health and Human Services Secretary . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does the freedom of religion only apply to churches not to individuals? How do they think the HHS mandate exemption is not applicable to any organization besides churches? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Does HHS think that they don’t have to follow the 1st Amendment because they’re not Congress? They represent the fourth branch of government: the bureaucracy. Since they have piggybacked the HHS mandate onto Obamacare it stands to reason that it is a direct violation of the first amendment.
Actually the problem is that sexual freedoms are running afoul of religious freedoms. Or maybe we should think of it as religious freedoms running afoul of sexual freedom. With the HHS mandate Kathleen Sebelius has made it clear that sexual freedom must trump religious freedom. That’s probably why our founding fathers listed freedom of sexuality before freedom of religion in our Constitution. Of course not! Sexual freedom is not listed in the Constitution. That freedom along with the right of privacy on which abortion on demand is predicated was superimposed on the Constitution by modern courts.