Archive for December 30th, 2009

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UK Jurists Make Jewish Religion Illegal

By Jerry A. Kane

In a recent five to four decision, the former House of Lords, renamed the Supreme Court, has twisted the classic liberal principles of equality and human rights into a tyrannical Gordian knot.

The court ruled that Judaism’s way of defining its members for over 3,500 years is contrary to section one of the Race Relations Act of 1976 and therefore illegal. The ruling resulted from an admissions dispute involving a boy known as M to an Orthodox Jewish secondary school. M’s mother converted to Judaism after giving birth to M. In keeping with Orthodox rules, Jewishness is passed through the female line and since M’s mother did not convert to Judaism until after M’s birth, the boy was not born of a Jewish mother and was denied admission to school.

The court intervened and ruled that M was denied admission on racial grounds, so now the Jewish school must decide whether to follow the precepts of their religion or the law of the land. In denying religious schools the freedom to prefer admittance to children from relevant faiths, the court has barred such schools from maintaining their religious culture which is necessary for their success.

The court’s ruling dictates that Orthodox Jewish schools are not entitled to discriminate against the enrollment of non-Jews in schools specifically designed to educate Jews. The court’s anti-discrimination ruling does not refine the principle of equality under the law; it actually opposes the principle. 

If equality means that all people have the right to be treated equally under the law, then anti-discrimination laws mean that some people have the right to be treated differently. The court’s decision not only imposes secular human rights over all religious belief systems, but it also takes power and freedom away from people of faith by subjecting their teachings to the authority of secular beliefs.

Secular humanism is now an officially protected belief system under civil and human rights law, which means that religious freedom and rights of conscience are made subject to its ideology.

In truth, the ruling advances the notion that religious views are forms of superstition and less legitimate than secular views and furthers the secularist agenda to marginalize people of faith, dictate what they believe, and drive religion from the public sphere.

Ousting the specter of religion from political discourse and opinion making was also advocated by Thomas Paine, one of the great voices of the American Revolution. Paine attacked organized religion in general and Christianity in particular because he felt that belief in a providential God was harmful to a free society. He once asked Benjamin Franklin to critique an essay in which he argued against belief in a particular Providence “that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons.”

Franklin warned Paine not to publish a piece that would “unchain the tiger” and do nothing but create enemies and be of no benefit to others. He cited a French proverb, “He that spits against the wind, spits in his own face,” to point out to Paine his self-destructive, over-reaction to a non-existent problem. Franklin asked Paine, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?” and continued to admonish him saying:

“[T]hink how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great point for its security.… You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother.”

Franklin chided Paine for bludgeoning religious precepts unnecessarily and for running a fool’s errand in thinking that he could change mankind’s general sentiments on religion. Franklin was more aligned with Edmund Burke’s than with Paine’s reasoning in presupposing that man is instinctively a religious creature.

The court’s ruling enforces a militant secularism that does not respect religious belief and regards religion as the problem in society. The court’s decision could extend beyond Jewish schools and have far-reaching effects for large sections of society. A broad interpretation of the ruling could require evangelicals not to discriminate against homosexuals and transsexuals when choosing clergy or require Roman Catholics not to discriminate against women or married men when choosing candidates for the priesthood.

Now that the five supreme jurists have joined with militant secularists in the culture war against Jewish schools for their policy on admissions, people of faith in the UK face a serious challenge if they want to protect religious liberty and maintain a free society.

Liberty means nothing if it doesn’t include the freedom of conscience to believe and practice a particular religion. Democratic governments have the right to dictate where the line is drawn between religious freedom and civil liberty, that is, church doctrine should not determine laws and laws should not determine church doctrine.

The UK isn’t suffering from a crisis of human rights; it is suffering from a crisis of democracy. To override the Book of Deuteronomy, overturn 3,500 of teachings, and criminalize a private Jewish school’s Jews-only admittance policy is tantamount to telling Orthodox Jews that the UK no longer tolerates their beliefs or recognizes their right to worship God.

Will politicians and jurists ever learn that the only way for people of different races and religions to live together peacefully in a free society is when they mind their own business?

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Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding for pet constituency

By Mark Hemingway

Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it’s worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.

Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants — a notoriously inneffective [sic] program. In fact, the money was specifically “for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems.” [emphasis mine] The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd’s ill-fated presidential bid.

The text of the amendment is below:

(Purpose: To provide additional funds for FIRE grants under section 33 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974)

On page 77, between lines 16 and 17, insert the following:

SEC. X (a) The amount appropriated under the heading “firefighter assistance grants” under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency” under by title III for necessary expenses for programs authorized by the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 is increased by $10,000,000 for necessary expenses to carry out the programs authorized under section 33 of that Act (15 U.S.C. 2229).

(b) The total amount of appropriations under the heading “Aviation Security” under the heading “Transportation Security Administration” under title II, the amount for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems under the first proviso under that heading, and the amount for the purchase and installation of explosives detection systems under the second proviso under that heading are reduced by $4,500,000.

(c) From the unobligated balances of amounts appropriated before the date of enactment of this Act for the appropriations account under the heading “state and local programs” under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency” for “Trucking Industry Security Grants”, $5,500,000 are rescinded.

— Beltway Confidential

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