Aaron makes a dangerous argument, and reaches a dangerous conclusion, in attacking Arizona's religious-liberty bill and criticizing Natalie's post explaining and partially defending it. To take Aaron's odd logic to an inevitable conclusion, if government can force a vendor (baker, photographer, whatever) to participate (by providing a service) in a ceremony that violates his religious conscience, then government can force an institution to provide insurance coverage (providing a service) that covers abortion, violating someone's deepest religious consciences. Religious liberty is the first liberty, the one on which all our other liberties are based. It cannot be subdivided.
The Spectacle Blog
Dear Aaron Goldstein,
Last night, you wrote a post criticizing my characterization of Arizona SB 1062 as not anti-gay. With due respect, here is my response to your response.
1. I never said I was for this bill.
2. I simply wanted to expose others to the actual wording of this bill, which I fear very few people took the time to read. Here it is, for your own edification.
3. As for Mr. Yarbrough’s intentions, I will not defend him. But you say, “So let’s please stop pretending that this legislation has nothing to do with homosexuality." I never said it had “nothing” to do with homosexuals. I said that, the actual text of the bill does not, in any way, attack gays specifically. Nor do I believe it should.
4. If you don’t believe me, I did some research for you and called up one of the law professors who wrote a letter to the Arizona governor, arguing the very same thing. Michael McConnell of Stanford Law told me:
Rod Dreher claims to understand that populist movements only have to be “credible,” not “flawless,” though I’m skeptical he even holds that position. He writes at the American Conservative:
[Tea Party groups] have failed to appeal beyond a hard core, in part because they are so highly and unrealistically ideological. They seem to exist as a protest movement, not as a movement that can actually get things done. I’ve talked to some Tea Partiers who are reasonable, even if I don’t share their passion or their ideology. But many Tea Partiers of my experience are like better organized version of Occupy: long on outrage, but short on any serious idea about what might be done to fix the (very real) problems that provoked their outrage.
Dreher is expecting too much. The point of a populist movement is to spark mass attention to a specific cause and mobilize. It’s the job of those who agree with the group’s basic ideas—and are politically savvy—to articulate the message and see it translated into policy.
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Natalie deMacedo makes the argument that the recently passed Arizona Senate Bill 1062, which would permit any person to refuse service to another on religious grounds, isn’t anti-gay because the term homosexual is not mentioned in the bill. To be precise, the bill defines a person as “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity”.
Leading Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Biscet was beaten and arrested in Havana today, according to his wife, Elsa Morejón. Biscet, a physician and winner of numerous human rights awards, including the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom, has been advocating for human rights and democracy in Cuba for two decades.
I spoke with Biscet’s wife, Elsa Morejón, today by phone. She said:
“At 8: 00 this morning, Oscar was walking with eight others in Havana when state security approached them. They were all beaten and Oscar was shoved to the ground. He lost consciousness. All nine of them were taken away and I haven’t heard from them since.”
Biscet spent eight years in prison for his non-violent human rights work. He was released in 2011, when the Catholic Church in Cuba helped broker the release of scores of political prisoners. Biscet was the only released prisoner who refused to be exiled from the island, and has continued his work from his home in Havana since his release.
In the Obama administration's effort to talk about anything other than Obamacare and Obama's near-jobless recovery, the president flew across the country to find the one part of the United States which is having a warm, dry spell. The other 90+ percent of the nation's landmass has been suffering through a terribly cold and expensive winter.
A meteorologist at the National Weather Service created a "winter extremity index" -- which some are calling a "winter misery index" -- that, as the Associated Press reports, "confirms what many Americans in the Midwest and East know in their all-too-chilled bones: This has been one of the harshest winters of our lifetimes."
Where's Algore when you need him?
One thing is for sure: He isn't in England.
Arizona is torn over SB 1062, which has reached the desk of Governor Jan Brewer.
No one knows yet if Brewer will veto the bill, which permits any business or organization to refuse service to anyone if they cite sincere religious convictions. Brewer told CNN:
"I don't rely a whole lot on my gut because I have to look at what (the bill) says and what the law says and take that information and do the right thing," she said from the National Governors Association's winter meeting in Washington. "I will do the right thing for the state of Arizona."
Uproar and outrage has swept the country. Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have come out against the bill and three others who voted for it have now flip-flopped. The bill passed the state house of representatives 33-27 and the senate 17-13.
Imagine your daughter, sister, or female friend gets her working permit at age 14 and heads out for “an honest day’s work.” She absolutely loves her job; she make a great wage and describes the experience as “freeing, empowering, and wonderful.” Instead of being burdened by thousands of dollars in college debt, she makes enough money to pay off her loans and still enjoy life.
And she does it by being a porn star.
If you think this sounds abhorrent, a Duke University freshman who goes by the pseudonym “Lauren” (who Bill Zeiser already introduced us to) couldn’t disagree more. She decided to pay off her bills by doubling as a porn starlet, and after being “outed” by a fellow freshman who recognized her while viewing porn, she told her story on XOJane yesterday:
For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy. When I finish a scene, I know that I have done so and completed an honest day’s work. It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home.
Marco Rubio had one of his better moments on the Senate floor yesterday.
Watch it below.