There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.
A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.
Others are more transparent in their effort to discriminate. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year. In total, there are nearly 100 bills designed to enshrine discrimination in state law.
These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.
America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.
Apple has never had an official retail presence of any kind in the Middle East, until now. Thanks to a deal struck with Jarir Bookstore, Apple is directly providing its products in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabian government cleared Apple to operate in the country a couple of months ago. The agreement with Jarir will have Apple working with Saudi Arabia’s largest books and electronics retailer.
Previously, Jarir had to go through third-party vendors to get its hands on Apple products, which took three to six months. Apple will not only be supplying Jarir directly, but also offer technical support for Saudi customers. Jarir will be able to sell Apple hardware at cheaper prices now that it doesn’t have to go through third-party providers.
Apple opened up the iTunes Store in the Middle East in December of 2012. It was reported in 2011 that Apple was opening up its first Middle Eastern retail store in Dubai, but that didn’t pan out. Tim Cook visited the United Arab Emirates earlier this year to discuss how Apple can develop its relationships with carriers in nearby countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. “We are all about making great products that people don’t know they need today but when they have them, they can’t live without,” said Cook at the time. “We would like to bring our passion to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Africa.”
I expect to read soon about how Mr. Cook will be bringing his "passion" against religious based discrimination to the Middle East.
Because Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz killed himself when he purposefully drove a plane carrying 149 other people into a mountain in the Alps, there has been an assumption that he suffered from “depression”— an assumption strengthened by the discovery of antidepressants in his home and reports that he had been treated in psychiatry and neurology clinics. Many patients and other interested parties are rightly concerned that Lubitz’s murderous behavior will further stigmatize the mentally ill.
It is certainly true that stigma may lead those in need to avoid treatment. When I was a psychiatrist at an HIV clinic, I was baffled by the shame associated with a visit to see me. Patients at the clinic had advanced AIDS, often contracted through IV drug use or sex work, and many had unprotected sex despite their high viral loads. Some were on parole. Many had lost custody of their children. Many lived in notorious single-room occupancy housing and used cocaine daily. But these issues, somehow, were less embarrassing than the suggestion that they be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
For my clinic patients, it was shameful to be mentally ill. But to engage in antisocial behavior as a way of life? Not so bad.
I think my patients were on to something. Bad behavior—even suicidal behavior—is not the same as depression. It is a truism in psychiatry that depression is underdiagnosed. But as a psychiatrist confronted daily with “problem” patients in the general hospital where I work, I find that depression is also overdiagnosed. Even doctors invoke “depression” to explain anything a reasonable adult wouldn’t do.
For instance: Act completely blasé, then lock the pilot out of the cockpit, and deliberately crash a plane full of people.
I don’t know what that is, but it’s not depression.
In the hospital where I practice, a small but regular population of patients are young men who sustained gunshot wounds during or in proximity to gang-related activities. Now paralyzed, they are admitted for pressure ulcers or urinary tract infections. These men were accustomed to getting their needs met through intimidation and even murder. Now they are dependent on nurses and aides for intimate care, and it hasn’t made them any nicer. They terrorize staff by throwing urinals and food and sexually harassing them. When I am asked to evaluate for “depression,” I see hopelessness, entitlement, and rage.
And it’s not just antisocial behavior that is explained away by calling it “depression.” I’m often asked to see patients with poorly managed chronic diseases; for example, diabetics who neglect to do fingersticks to draw blood and test their blood sugar. Recently I did a consultation for a patient who is on dialysis and ignores the low-salt “renal diet” prescribed by her doctor. Her insistence on eating chips led her nephrologist to wonder if she were depressed; after all, wouldn’t a mentally healthy person give up junk food to save her own life?
We are experiencing the effects of a culture that can rationalize away any behavior and, as a result, minimize evil.
We may never know why Lubitz decided to not only end his life but the lives of 149 other people in any secular sense but... we should all agree that what he did is inexcusably wicked.
Or is that in and of itself wicked?
I can't help but think of Elizabeth Scalia's Strange Gods, Unmasking the Idols of Everyday Life (I wrote about that book here). Every attempt is being made to mask our need for God and particularly His Son Jesus Christ. In His place we are putting every sort of substitute and paying the price.
I was most pleased to stumble today across this archive of posts put together by Scott Eric Alt chronicling the prevailing idiocy passed along by a wide variety of buffoons (sadly including Rush Limbaugh who has dropped a number of notches down my respect ladder due to his repeated manifestations of PFDS).
I guess I shouldn't be so hard on them. I was once a buffoon in that I would parrot much of what I'd heard about Catholicism, more times than not in complete ignorance. And that it seems is what's happening here.
There are now 11 volumes posted at Scott's place and I'm sure there'll be more. Here's an excerpt of his latest related piece:
Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome, in the secular media, has reached a critical mass where more and more poor souls are reporting themselves shocked, shocked to find that the pope is Catholic. Such gasps would trickle in before, but now they seem to be more frequent. Just this weekend there were two meltdowns in the liberal press: the first at MarketWatch, over the shocking discovery that the pope is not in favor of contraception; the second at the Daily Screech, over the shocking discovery that the pope is not in favor of gender theory. I mean, how could such things be? And you really have to marvel when one of these scribblers turns out to be a theology professor at a university that is, so we are told, Catholic. I understand that there are dissidents at Notre Dame—we all know that!—but that any of them should be gape-jawed to learn that the pope is Catholic is a matter of profound wonder to me. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but it is.
I begin at MarketWatch, where Paul Farrell writes to tell us that “Pope Francis really is a capitalist.” Well, this will be news to Rush Limbaugh and Adam Pshaw (he spells it “Shaw”). But Mr. Farrell is not cowed by such names. “Forget his anticapitalist, anticonsumerism rhetoric,” he says with a scornful wave of the hand. The pope is a capitalist! and the reason he knows this is because the pope speaks out against artificial birth control. Watch how Mr. Farrell makes this singular and astonishing leap...
It is indeed quite the leap. Go read the rest and minimally be entertained but more likely be educated.
The president said that while religion is a source for good around the world, people of all faiths have been willing to "hijack religion for their own murderous ends."
"Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," Obama said. "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
"So it is not unique to one group or one religion," Obama said. "There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith."
As a Catholic, I’m not much interested when an Episcopalian demands women priests or a Baptist insists we baptize only adults. But when our internal affairs spill over into matters of the common good, they are no longer our internal affairs and those outside the Church (or the Umma) have every right to voice an opinion. When a priest starts raping kids or an imam starts preaching the glories of suicide bombing, it becomes everybody’s business.
So here’s what this Catholic brings to the table out of the experience of his own tradition. Since moderate Muslims have no Magisterium of their own, take a tip from ours and make a careful note of how John Paul II dealt with our own history of sin and violence. As the Church approached the Third Millennium, the Pope took a clear look at the sins of Catholics over the past thousand years and did not say, "The Crusades had nothing to do with Catholicism. The persecution of Jews had nothing to do with Catholicism. The oppression of women did not involve Catholics. The Church has never had anything to do with racism." Instead, he made an unvarnished assessment of the sins of the Church's members (including those members called "popes and bishops") and said, on behalf of the Catholic community, "Mea Culpa".
Muslims serious about healing their people of the cancer of radical violence should do likewise: They might even try reading Tertio Millennio Adveniente and mining it for tips on how to forthrightly discuss the sins of their own tradition. Don't give us a song and dance that the Islamic conquest of large portions of what was once Christian Africa and Asia has “nothing to do with Islam”. Don’t try to tell us that the citizens of Constantinople held a referendum and peacefully opted to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque one fine summer day in 1453. Don’t suggest that the massive hordes repelled at Vienna and Lepanto had nothing to do with Islam. Don’t tell us that the kidnap of Christian children and their indoctrination as Islamic Janissaries was the work of Buddhists or Swedenborgians. It's as persuasive as a song and dance that the murder of Rhenish Jews by Crusaders or the rape of children by priests had nothing to do with Catholics. Instead, face the fact that these people are your people and the first order of business is not "Tell outsiders to stop seeing what they see" but "Tell insiders that we have to find some way of dealing with the violence in our tradition or it will destroy us."
The President, in the minutiae of his words to the attendees of this morning's Prayer Breakfast, may have been correct but in the larger picture, in the realm of the here and now, he has yet again squandered an opportunity to lead.
No real suprise from this huckster.
UPDATE: There have been a number of responses to Obama's words worth linking to from respected sources. Here are but a few:
Were there Crusaders who abused their power, misguided attempts by some, errors and sins on the part of some Crusaders? Yes, being human, some of them committed serious sins under the guise of “religious motivation.” Perhaps the worst failure was the Fifth Crusade, the so-called “Children’s Crusade,” in which as many as 40,000 children, mostly from France and Germany, boarded ships in the hopes of arriving in the Holy Land to help the cause, and ended up in Muslim slave markets. But over all, the intent was noble. It’s only our politically correct pandering to Islam that makes it difficult to remember that.
Now, in the most kind and narrow construction you can assign those words, Mr. Obama is not altogether wrong. People have “committed terrible deeds” in the name of Christ. That is true. But.
To say that that is no different than cutting the heads off of babies? To say that that is no different than torching prisoners alive in a caged inferno? No. That is wrong, ignorant, false, and vile. What Mr. Obama is saying is that we have no moral right to call what ISISdoes evil. What he is saying is that we cannot fight against them and be entirely just. That is the kind of man who is our Commander in Chief. The man in charge of our military says these kind of things.
So what we need to do, once more, is put the Crusades into historical context.
It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”
“It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom,” Clinton said at the Aspen Ideas Festival, TPM reports. “I find it deeply disturbing that we are going in that direction.”
Hobby Lobby and small Pennsylvania business Conestoga Wood sued the Obama administration for forcing companies to provide four types of contraception, arguing that the birth-control mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was, ironically, signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The act says the government may only “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” when it meets a demanding test — one that the Obamacare birth-control mandate didn’t live up to.
When pressed on her husband’s approval of the law that struck the final blow to Obamacare’s pet provision, Clinton brushed aside his involvement.
When Bill Clinton signed the act into law in 1993, “there were legitimate cases of discrimination against religions,” she told reporters. “This is certainly a use that no one foresaw.”
“It’s very troubling that a sales clerk at Hobby Lobby who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer's health care plan because her employer doesn’t believe she should use birth control.”
Hobby Lobby itself provides 16 types of contraception to its employees, making it highly unlikely that a sales clerk at one of the company’s stores would find herself in such a position. But despite the hit against President Barack Obama’s health care law, Democrats are already using Monday’s ruling as a campaign cry.
Hillary and other rabid leftists are seeing an opportunity in this latest Supreme Court decision. They believe they can ride the War on Women wave to consolidate and hold power. Sadly, the level of intelligence out there is likely to allow them to succeed.
You do know that if you really can’t afford to fund your own promiscuity you can look into your local health department, where you can get your pills for free or dramatically reduced based on your income? Condoms are always free there. If you’re in college, go to your local student clinic. Your contraception is free there too.
In other words, don’t make me financially support something I am morally against just because my moral objections happen to offend you.
This whole let’s make everyone pay for my birth control is ludicrous. And you know it. This was never about birth control and if you think it is, let me remind that…
1) No one has ever died from not having sex 2) Sex or lack thereof is not a medical emergency 3) Pregnancy is not a disease
That and much more from Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on ABC’s This Week when asked by the host if she felt misled by Obama about his promise that insurance policies could be kept by the insured:
"He should’ve just been specific. No we all knew," GIllinbrand said. "The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy. How many women, the minute they get pregnant, might risk their coverage. How many women paid more because of their gender, because they might get pregnant. Those are the reforms."
If you can stomach it, watch what follows, it's revealing to those who aren't gullible and easily led. Most revealing:
Striking a tone of disgust, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi ridicules the GOP as obsessed with its loathing of President Obama and hell-bent on hurting him politically, regardless the cost. She
assigns little to no blame to the president (even though Democrats privately say that’s laughable) and instead portrays him as saintly, above reproach and the victim of jealousy or something worse.
After 26 years in the House, she says, “I haven’t seen anything like it. I haven’t seen anything like it.”
Throughout a 50-minute interview on Thursday in her second-floor Capitol office, where the late Speaker Tip O’Neill used to receive supplicants, Pelosi was sharply derisive about the scorn Republicans have for this president.
“You know why it is,” she said. “You know why it is. He’s brilliant, … he thinks in a strategic way in how to get something done … and he’s completely eloquent. That’s a package that they don’t like.”
Then she added a line that she has used before, that drives Republicans batty: “He has been … open, practically apolitical, certainly nonpartisan, in terms of welcoming every idea and solution. I think that’s one of the reasons the Republicans want to take him down politically, because they know he is a nonpartisan president, and that’s something very hard for them to cope with.”
Nancy Pelosi represents everything, and I do mean everything, wrong with our political leadership today.