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With all respect to Mark Tooley, I think that anyone who’s somehow “missed” that Ocean Grove was in fact founded by a Methodist Camp Meeting Association needs to have his or her head examined. The impressive wooden architecture of the camp Tabernacle (where they run pop concerts in the summer on Saturday nights, mainly oldies-type shows, and much of the charm lies in the sport-coated and tied older gentlemen of the Camp Meeting Association who take seriously and courteously their duties as ushers) is virtually impossible to miss from practically any point in town. And even the streets are named after old Methodist worthies and bishops. So to claim one did not realize Ocean Grove had a religious history is the nadir of obliviousness.p>I remember when residents of Ocean Grove could not drive there on Sunday, and the lawsuit that “opened” the town up, which was brought by someone who had a paper delivery service and thus wished to deliver newspapers by automobile. And I also note the continuing squalor and drug trafficking and related violence of Asbury Park (itself named after a Methodist bishop) and Neptune Township right outside the gates of Ocean Grove. Considering the town’s low crime rate, there is something to be said for such a faith-oriented enclave, however much its policy on nuptial rites in its “public” buildings may inconveniences engaged lesbians. br> — Richard Szathmary br> Clifton, New Jersey /p>
To all those who scoff at the idea that homosexual rights advocates will not target churches or people opposed to their agenda through the use of ordinances designed to sanction same-sex unions, this incident should dispel those doubts. Anyone who believes that hate crimes legislation which includes provisions for sexual orientation won’t be used against people of faith is living in a fantasy world. The message to any religious believer who might hold a traditional understanding of marriage should be crystal clear. Either acknowledge same sex nuptials as the equivalent of traditional marriage or be confronted with litigation. Either abandon thousands of years of the moral teaching of your religion or face the coercive power of the government seeking to force compliance to the demands of a persistent minority.
In the past, government never interjected itself into disputes over things like the definition of marriage because there was virtually no disagreement over what constituted this relationship. Despite howls of protest from a very vocal and politically astute special interest group, there still isn’t much disagreement on this issue. Referendums presented to the people in various states supporting the traditional understanding of marriage all have been affirmed with one exception, usually by overwhelming majorities. What has changed is our concept of moral authority and where it comes from. Instead of reliance upon moral principles that transcend the individual, some now seek unfettered personal autonomy enforced by government fiat.p>This lawsuit is only the beginning. Because of growing acceptance of the moral relativism rife within our society, these cultural battles will continue to tear away at the fabric of our society. Absent any consistent standard by which to judge appropriate behavior or define relationships, the side wielding the biggest club will always be declared the de facto winner. Those seeking to redefine the norm need only curry the favor of a simple majority of bureaucrats or jurists in a given locale in order to prescribe radical changes in their communities. On the federal level, political parties with a bare plurality can impose their will on the rest of the citizenry, at least until the next election. Our ultimate destination appears to be headed toward a validation of the principle that might always makes right. This drift away from a uniform moral consensus portends more chaos in the future as more and more factions appear, each seeking to wrest an increasingly elusive concept of moral authority away from any they label as enemies of their freedom. br> — Rick Arand br> Lee’s Summit, Missouri
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online