The Latest Targets of Sexual Radicalism

Two incidents involving basic constitutional freedoms—not closely associated with one another in the media or by those involved—highlight the growing power of sexual radicalism in our society. Radical sexual ideology in a broad sense has not generally been recognized as a political phenomenon worthy of attention. But we can see in these developments—both of which are eliciting outrage from different defenders of the Bill of Rights—that politicized sexuality transcends particular controversies such as same-sex marriage or abortion. It can be seen as a true political ideology, akin to earlier radicalisms like socialism and nationalism and equally threatening to freedom.

In Houston, the lesbian mayor recently demanded that pastors opposed to the city’s “bathroom bill”—an “anti-discrimination” ordinance that would allow people to choose public washrooms according to “gender identity”—surrender their sermons and other documents to city officials. The subpoenas have been withdrawn following public outrage, but the very idea that government officials should claim the power to examine—and therefore pass judgement upon—expressions of political opinion by any citizens, religious or secular, is disturbing in a free society.

“If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game,” declared Mayor Annise Parker, as if speech about “politics” is not protected by the First Amendment. Indeed, that is precisely what City Attorney Dave Feldman stated: If pastors discuss what he judges to be “political speech,” then their First Amendment right to freedom of expression “is not going to be protected.”

“It’s a shocking thing,” declares author Eric Metaxas, adding that “everyone in America should be freaking out.”

If we tolerate this kind of abrogation of religious freedom in this nation, all of our liberties will be unraveled. … It is that serious. America needs to wake up. The church, especially, needs to know that this is a huge trampling of something that the Founders said was at the heart of all of our liberties.

Yet the same people who express shock about this intimidation ignore equally, if not more, dangerous measures against innocent citizens, also promoted by sexual radicals.

Throughout American universities and beyond, we are told that an apparent “epidemic” of rape and various ill-defined forms of “sexual misconduct” justify suspending due process protections for accused students. Yet no statistics support this claim, and reputable journalists and scholars deny it categorically. Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute calls the claim “preposterous.” “There is no such epidemic,” she states flatly. “There is, however, a squalid hook-up scene, the result of jettisoning all normative checks on promiscuous behavior. … There is simply no reason to concede any factual legitimacy to the rape hysterics.” Caroline Kitchens of the American Enterprise Institute has also written that, “The rape ‘epidemic’ doesn’t actually exist.” Kitchens and other scholars show how the much-touted figure claiming “one in five” female students is raped is not only wildly exaggerated but impossible.

It is not necessary to marshal particular cases to show that the campus rape adjudications are unjust; the measures demanded by the rape adjudicators themselves make it very clear, as they seek every means to expand the definition of rape to ever more behavior and to curtail due process protections for the accused.

Accusations of “rape,” “sexual assault,” “sexual harassment,” and “sexual misconduct” (no strong distinction separates these terms, each of which is ill-defined) on university campuses are “tried” not by criminal courts but by an archipelago of campus pseudo-courts staffed by students and faculty. “Across the country, students accused of sexual assault are regularly tried before inadequate and unjust campus judiciaries,” writes Kitchens. “Cases of sexual misconduct are decided by a committee of as few as three students, faculty members, or administrators.” One attorney describes

a disciplinary procedure where students nearly always lack lawyers, no legally trained judge oversees the process, testimony is not under oath, hearsay is freely considered, relevant evidence or even proper notice of the charges may not be given to both parties, students may be forced to incriminate themselves, and whatever “jury” is empaneled may not be of one’s peers.

The latest twist is California’s new “Affirmative Consent” law that would turn virtually all consensual sex into rape. To avoid a conviction, men must, at each “stage” of a sexual encounter, “demonstrate they obtained verbal ‘affirmative consent’ before engaging in sexual activity.” “Since most couples have engaged in sex without ‘verbal’ consent,” writes attorney Hans Bader, “supporters of the bill are effectively redefining most people, and most happily-married couples, as rapists.”

What is the connection between the pastors and the students? They both involve violations of fundamental civil liberties in the name of sexual liberation, and they both result from pressure by the same coalition of feminist and homosexual activists.

Though prominent in the news now, these two issues are far from being the only instances of sexual ideologues seeking power by curtailing basic constitutional protections. “Today’s college rape panic is an eerie recapitulation of the daycare abuse panic,” observes Christina Hoff Sommers. “Just as the mythical ‘50,000 abducted children’ fueled paranoia about child safety in the 1980s, so today’s hysteria is incited by the constantly repeated, equally fictitious ‘one-in-five women on campus is a victim of rape.’” The common denominator is radical sexual ideology:

Once again, conspiracy feminists are at the forefront of this movement. Just as feminist psychologists persuaded children that they had been abused, so women’s activists have persuaded many young women that what they might have dismissed as a foolish drunken hookup was actually a felony rape. “Believe the children,” said the ritual abuse experts during the day care scare. “Believe the survivors,” say today’s rape culturalists. To not believe an alleged victim is to risk being called a rape apologist.

There are other parallels. In the developed nations, almost all the threats to religious freedom today come from demands for sexual liberation.

Some severe violations receive almost no scrutiny. The feminist-driven divorce apparat may be the most repressive government machinery ever created in the United States. Legally unimpeachable citizens endure official controls on associating with their own children as well as on their movements and finances. Involuntarily divorced parents are routinely incarcerated without trial for such matters as unauthorized meetings with their children or sending unauthorized birthday cards. Forcibly divorced parents allegedly abandoning their children and refusing to pay child support (“deadbeat dads”) is another hysteria that that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a hoax, though the summary incarcerations continue.

Failure to see the larger picture is what allows this authoritarianism to expand. Christian activists who term Houston’s subpoenas “totalitarian” refuse to defend the university students for fear of being labelled as “apologists for rape” and other “sex crimes.” Secular conservatives and moderate liberals use the same “totalitarian” label to characterize trumped-up accusations against university students, but they refuse to defend pastors for fear of being labelled as anti-homosexual “haters” and “bigots.” And no one wants to defend accused (but never tried) “child abusers” or “deadbeat dads.” With some accusations, innocence is no excuse.

Metaxas is a biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and all this would seem to be tailor-made for the famous words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoeller describing the intellectuals’ cowardice during the era of true totalitarianism: “First they came for the socialists….”

Stephen Baskerville


Stephen Baskerville is Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, the Independent Institute, and the Inter-American Institute. He holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and attends an Anglican parish in Virginia. His most recent book The New Politics of Sex: Civil Liberties and the Growth of Governmental Power is published by Angelico Press.

  • Vinny is fighting the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. This convention will allow bureaucrats and judges to come between children and their parents. No capitulation!

    • St JD George

      I guess you didn’t hear Obama’s speech in Delaware last weekend. He only wants women to be a vessel and then hand their child over to the state for indoctrination so they can then quickly get back into the economy to make what he thinks is their only meaningful contribution.

      • Somebody has to work to keep the philiopher-king parasite class in the style to which they’ve become accustomed to-now get out there and make bricks for Pharaoh.

      • Simple & Plain

        The New Democrat party here in Canada announced their election plan of providing families with universal childcare at 15$ a day. People jumped on it saying it was finally a way to liberate women so they can go back to work. Do they not see it?

        • St JD George

          It really makes me sad to see the beauty of motherhood degraded this way.

      • Mark Wharton

        How dare you try to take away the “free daycare” he wants to provide children #waronwomen

  • St JD George

    I whole heartily agree with your premise that failure to see the larger picture is what allows the Goliath to continue to grow. Though our sensibilities were shocked at the recent rush of mayhem over the past several years, this didn’t happen over night. This subversive group has been dutifully implementing their ground game for decades and it only seems shocking now because they felt they reached a critical point where they could thrust their agenda with the right administration and control over much of the government to force coercion and perversion on an unwitting population. I believe that last night was an awakening for many and a repudiation of that immorality.

  • publiusnj

    The idea that someone with a penis is not a man is a silly one; kinda like Gay Marriage. Nevertheless, because Democrats constantly are on the lookout for another “minority” that can be courted for votes and political contributions, the Government is taking “gender identity” victimhood seriously. So, it is time for sensible people to launch what I call the “Lysistratos Project.” Lysistrata was an Ancient Greek Comedy that Wikipedia describes thusly: “Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society.”

    Well, “men” (whatever that means) don’t dominate this society any more. Instead, our overlords (at least until the 2014 Election Results last night) use anti-male rhetoric to peel women off from their natural relations and get them into the radical Sexual Politics Camp. What men should do to undo this wackiness is declare themselves to be women (at least in states where Gay Marriage is permitted) to bring an end to this war on reason. That way the whole sick apparatus of “gender politics” can be made to collapse of its own weight.

    Once declared by “self-identification” as women, men can go into any bathroom they wish whether originally female women like it or not. Sexual distinctions, of course, actually serve originally female women in so many ways. If they want to go along with Unisex Bathrooms, they will end up losers and many of them will want to head off such unisex bathrooms. Same with Divorce/Custody. If men declare themselves to be women, they can insist on calling themselves mothers and arguing for equal custody rights with their originally female “lesbian partners.” After all, sexual identity is not a matter of “equipment” but of “identity.” It would also be fun to render all the statistics based on “gender” meaningless.

    I, of course, placed my tongue firmly in my cheek before writing this, but it may take such radical action to undo the ever deeper insanity into which we are descending.

    • ColdStanding

      mmm, yea, so about Lysistratos you need to know something. First of all it was probably a feminist that dug up this, misread the intention, and paraded it as an example of the power of women over men. Most feminists are trained to take things the wrong way. So, no exception in this case.

      Aristophanes was a Greek man. Think about it. Would the most famous poet of the time be advocating for non-violence? Or, worse yet, submission of men to their wives? I give you a moment to think about it.

      Waiting… waiting….

      Of course not! This play is a rebuke of the feckless men of Athens for not getting off their duffs and opening up a can of woop ass on their enemies!

      Letting their wives tell them what to do! The very thought! The amount of nonsense floating around.

      The first thing to do in a crisis is not loose your self-control. Descending further into madness is not likely going to make you more sane.

      • publiusnj

        It’s not an issue of losing one’s self control. It’s an issue of showing how stupid our body politic is getting. Nothing is stupider than saying that sex doesn’t depend on one’s sexual equipment. Yet that is the latest frontier of the silly sexual revolution.

        The reason for the sexual revolution has little if nothing to do with sex; it has to do with power. Once there is universal adult suffrage, the largest dichotomy in the land that nets the largest body of people who can be called “victims” is NOT black and white, but male and female. If women can be separated from men, a potential actual majority can be formed just from women. Unfortunately, a lot of women , particularly after marriage, do NOT see their interest as in opposition to men’s interests; many actually see themselves as having the same interest as their husbands (surprise; surprise).

        So, Democrats need to peel off as many women as they can (single women and single parent homes , for example, constitute addressable constituencies) together with blacks and other ethnic minorities, but even then they still don’t have a stable, unbreakable majority. So, sexual minorities are being peeled off. Gays, of course, but transexuals are now demanding their day in the sexual revolution sun. So the push is on despite its evident unreality (truth is a woman with a penis is a man).

        Solution: show the country just how stupid the idea is. If people can say they are woman and not be disqualified even if they really are men, then all of us should take the silliness off the table. Think of the silliness of all the men eliminating the selective service draft pool by the simple act of pursuing their bliss and declaring themselves women? Or think about how the divorce court’s favoritism toward mothers would have to go away if the fathers declared themselves henceforth mothers? So what that they are doing this not to engage in sexual intercourse of one sort or another but to make a political point. Sexual identity is not a matter of sex or equipment. They have as much right to declare themselves women as any person who wishes to do that for sexual reasons.

        Your problem is that you are taking the issue of sexual identity change declarations seriously. It isn’t; it is just Democrats being stupid.

        • ColdStanding

          Was this addressed to me or did you just need to get that off your chest?

    • Tamsin

      And here I thought you were going to suggest men withhold their sexual favors, but no.

      Yes, civil disobedience within the self-identification narrative would be extremely helpful.

      • “And here I thought you were going to suggest men withhold their sexual favors, but no.”

        I am reminded of the episode of “The Office” where there was a deposition over Jan’s lawsuit against Dunder-Mifflin; at one point the HR guy Toby became excited and said that he must document the occurrence of the first time a male subordinate threatened to withold sexual favors from a female superior as leverage to attain a modest scheduled raise.
        I kow the show was a moral cesspool, we all have failings, and I couldn’t help enjoying waching the liberties they took with Scranton “attractions”. There are no cruises Lake Wallenpaupack and Poor Richard’s a bowling alley bar, not a Friday Happy Hour place.

        • Objectivetruth

          There will always be Steamtown…..

      • TLC

        Women don’t care if men withhold their sexual favors–or, perhaps better said, it would be difficult to convince all men to withhold their sexual favors from willing women, so it’s not a real threat. Men like sex too much.

        On the other hand, women do care if men withhold their money. And that’s a much bigger threat, because men don’t mind keeping their money for themselves. No man eagerly pays his alimony each month. So the key to change is for men to find a way to keep women from getting their hands on men’s money. Do that one thing, and the entire feminist/matriarchal society collapses.

      • Mark Wharton

        It sure would be nice if I could simply self identify as female tomorrow and get all the benefits.

    • St JD George

      I chafe a little at the use of (D) even though it’s next to their name on the ballot so who can argue. Though we never agreed philosophically I know a some old school (D) who are quite frankly shocked by the perversion and anti-Christ culture that has come to define their party today which looks little like the one they grew up in (the ones I know anyway, I know that’s not universal). Unfortunately it’s hard to change stripes no matter how much you try to have a logical discussion about how their core values aren’t being represented, or are elsewhere.

      • publiusnj

        I am a New York Irish Catholic of a certain age. I therefore was born and raised a Democrat. It took me a long time after the 1973 Roe v Wade decision to admit that the Democrat Party was simply evil and irredeemable. Teddy Kennedy and Mario Cuomo spoke out of both sides of their mouths on Abortion for awhile, but then the Masters of Democrat Orthodoxy roped them in during the Early 1980s and it became apparent that one could not be a Democrat and Pro-Life (vide Governor Casey of PA who was not allowed to speak at a Democrat Convention because he was pro-life). Still I held off (I couldn’t vote for Dukakis so I just didn’t vote). The idea of ever voting for a Republican was still anathema to me.

        Finally, by 1992, after the nomination of that moral leper, Bill Clinton, I realized the only choice was voting Republican. I have not looked back; I have voted straight Republican tickets for the past 22 years. I will not vote for any Democrat until the leaders of the Democrat Party put on sack cloth and ashes, admit their having been wrong on Abortion and that Abortion is the taking of innocent human life as well as the moral corruption of the mothers. Then if the Democrats seem truly contrite, I will give them a chance after a sufficiently long period of public contrition (say two to four or five more Presidential Election cycles…maybe six).

        • St JD George

          I understand totally. As I have grown deeper in my faith I more easily see my own biases as well as the failings in both parties. Still, there was only one who boisterously booed God at their convention and that image will never, ever leave me.

          • Paddy

            We need a Christian Democratic political party to replace the evil Democratic and wobbly GOP. The two party system has been ruinous to America for a century and counting.

            • The Truth

              The Democratic Party is now made up of socialists

        • “Governor Casey of PA who was not allowed to speak at a Democrat Convention because he was pro-life).”

          Well, no worries with Bob Jr. He claims to be pro-life, never really does anything and cozies up to hardcore libs like Obama and Wolf.

          I was quite gratified last night that politics as a family business got thumped with Michelle Nunn and Jimmah’ Cahtuh’s grandson. Not so thrilled that there’s ANOTHER Bush in office.

          I wonder if the old man was still alive if he would have “evolved”, been banished or kept around as a token.

          • The Truth

            I have e-mailed Jr. many times, to no avail.

        • The Truth

          The elderly population are still living in the past. The mantra “Dems are for the “poor” and Reps for the “rich”” was ingrained in their heads. On the other hand, the young are told freedom is doing what you want with “your” body. And the government is not to endorse any “religion.” Religion being anything that espouses values of the Christian faith. Anything that remotely supports Christianity is an attack on “rights” and “freedom.”

    • slainte

      If men self identified as women, then I suppose they would also qualify for MWOB (Minority Women Owned Business) status and the various benefits derived from this status. Fair is fair.

      • Paddy

        We would also have the morality to never have an abortion, unlike some 55,000,000 women who murder because it’s legal.

        • slainte

          As a woman and an active member of 40 Days for Life, I commend all who stand against abortion and in favor of life.

          I would also hope that the Irish people reconsider legalizing abortion in the 32 counties of Ireland.

        • Let’s not forget how much male help, urging, counseling, coercing and chauffeuring they get,

          • slainte

            Men and women working together, with the grace of God, can save the lives of the most innocent among us by offering alternative choices to pregnant moms.

      • publiusnj

        Exactly. That is what I meant when I wrote: “That way the whole sick apparatus of “gender politics” can be made to collapse of its own weight.”

        God made man and woman to be attracted to one another and then to join together so as to become one flesh, not two. The Democrat Party wants to drive a wedge between man and woman so that women can be divided off, courted and bought off relatively cheaply in exchange for their unswerving support of the Democrat Party. It is just another variant on the Roman tactic of “divide et impera” (divide and conquer). As I said, though, many women are not going along with the game plan which is so against the real nature of man and woman. As a result, the Democrat Party needs to confederate their target women (primarily unmarried women with or without children) together with other racial, ethnic and sexual minorities to build electoral coalitions.

        So, the Lysistratos Project (LP) would destabilize the Democrat stategy of equality for all sexual minorities even men who choose to identify as women by showing how stupid the idea has become. As a by-product of that effort, all the sexual “choice” distinctions the Democrats promote would come tumbling down. In a poll, questionnaire respondents (at least in states with Gay Marriage because married guys should not join the LP if it would break up their marrriages) could declare themselves to be women and then all of a sudden a lot more women would be voting Republican because almost all LP volunteers would have Republican sympathies.

        Now I realize that some women in existing marriages might not like the idea that they are now married to a woman–or at least someone who identifies as a woman–but there are two answers to tha conundrum: 1) they can tell their Democrat representatives that they want the silliness stopped, and 2) a rose by any other name….

        • slainte

          When one rebels against the natural law, the seeds of destruction are contained within the act itself. Implosion is just a matter of time.

      • Imagine if you identify as a lesbian Eskimo.

        • slainte

          My firm adherence to truth would preclude me from doing so.

      • The guy that put on my roof did exactly that. I met with him several times, his entire male crew installed my roof, but when it was time to write the check, the name was feminine.

        When I inquired as to why I was writing a check to somebody I never met and didn’t evaluate, estimate or complete the job, it was because he put the business in her name and then drilled her for weeks on roofing, so she could get past the inquiries of the useless parasite that certifies businesses for MWOB status.

        • slainte

          Kilts may be making a come back. : )

    • TLC

      The odd thing is that, as much as you’re being tongue-in-cheek, there is logic in what you say. The new rules of marriage are based on same-sex marriages. For example, a child used to have a mother and father. Now that child has Parent A and Parent B, with the sex of either irrelevant. If a child no longer has a father, there is no reason to hold the father accountable for financial support of the child. If a woman with a child wants support, she can simply marry a woman.

      • publiusnj

        Exactly, and now with the Lysistratos Project launched, the woman she marries can have either type of genitalia! IOW, nothing means anything certain any more, particularly not the infinitely malleable 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

        • TLC

          One of the premises of the same-sex marriage movement is that law can be disconnected from nature. Once that happens, the law need no longer distinguish men from women. A person could simply declare themselves to be either–and change that answer when needed. A lot of men might declare themselves to be women–genitalia be damned–when it’s beneficial for them to do so. We all want the cheese in life, not the trap.

          • publiusnj

            Politicians are very willing to go along with Gay Marriage (if their constituents will let them) because politicians do not see us as living breathing individuals from families who are struggling to raise our children with values. Rather, since universal suffrage they have been viewing men as “votes” and women as “votes.”

            Now, to get to 51, a politician has to divide the voters into addressable classes, so men and women become “cut one” because it is a bigger dichotomy (51-49 given differential rates of death) than race (80 White-14 AfAm-2 NatAm-2 AsianAm-2 Other) or ethnicity (Hispanics have been cut out of the racial classifications for divide and conquer purposes) and certainly more than “sexual orientation, where the dichotomy is about 95-5. The problem with the big sex dichotomy, though, is that men and women are attracted to one another and therefore may not buy the pitches made by the politicians to get the women (since they are the majority) to see themselves as better off throwing in with the government than with any man. So the politicians look for ways to break down the women cohort into married, single, single mother etc.

            But in looking to grab off as many LGBT types as possible, the new effort to eliminate sexual distinctions in places like bathrooms could come back to bite them in the proverbial tail. If anybody who wnats to be can be any sex they choose, then heterosexual men can elect to be women if that is their druthers. Anything less would be “unfair.” At least by the reasoning that led to the Gay Marriage decisions that have been coming out.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        That certainly seems to follow. But given the feminist domination of the family courts that process divorce and custody cases, I don’t think there’s much of a chance that fathers will see any deviation from the punitive hostility that they’ve been getting from that source for some time now.

        • TLC

          You’re absolutely right. The feminist domination of family courts is nigh absolute. So while what I say is logical, it does not mean it will have any legal consequences. Law and logic are often diametrically opposed systems of thought. But, who knows? Perhaps a lawyer so inclined can find a way to make the case. What I do know is that if men can find a way to be released from their obligations under family law, the entire system of divorce and feminist governance will come crashing down.

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            In the meantime, anyone anticipating a family court case is probably well advised to retain a female attorney – you might have an ever so slightly better chance.

  • Tamsin

    In the far outer left state in which I reside, forward-thinking retailers changed to unisex bathrooms a long time ago in order to accommodate all identity claims. Let me be the first to tell you that unisex bathrooms are disgusting, and disgustingly kept.

    • St JD George

      I feel for you. I hope you are able to escape to freedom one day.

      • And yet that bright red Keystone State elected a left-wing radical because of the Allegheny-Philadelphia hegemony, who one DAY after being elected has proven to be massively wrong on something.

        He claimed Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA was “baseless” and today…–bluffed–penn-state-into-accepting-sanctions-164815196.html

        More to come on twitter @KeystoneKlepto

        We really need California to slide off and Washington to be have a little run in with that pretty super-volcano known Mt. Ranier…

        Even Maryland knew enough not to elect an Obama stooge as Gov.

        • St JD George

          Dirty politics at work to get elected, I’m shocked, no really. I’m also interested to see if they get to the bottom of the same day voting registration “irregularity” in sleepy old New Hampshire. It seems that never happened before, curious. No coincidence implied, but I think I also read that the Feds placed a bunch of undocumented immigrants in that state recently. All that’s needed is an affidavit swearing that you’re legit.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          I wonder if the timing was coincidental or calculated?

          • I’m not sure I follow. It should have come out BEFORE the election.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              That’s what I was referring to – was the release by some remarkable coincidence delayed until after election day?

    • St JD George

      I think I can pretty easily narrow down where you live.

    • publiusnj

      When are women going to stand up and say that there are differences between men and women and that we are all better off if we recognize those differences? My wife recently retired, so I am now forced to see (or at least hear) some daytime TV. Women are fed an unrelenting diet of radical sexual politics by day-time TV and they cheer for it as though it does them some good. So many of the males on daytime TV are “out” (females too) and women cheer that as though those men were standing up for women. Likewise, if a male guest recounts on TV how he came out and then left the woman to whom he is married, he is lionized by women even though he left a sister high and dry to run off with a boyfriend. Actually, of course, these males are showing their total rejection of women.

      • Not to mention the fevered treatment of the “marriage” of Mary Kay Laterno to her former victim; which was portrayed as some sort of love triumph.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          There are certainly enough instances involving the seduction of middle school boys by young female teachers similar to this case to constitute a problem. Except that it’s apparently NOT a problem: no screaming headlines, no around-the-clock reporting by MSNBC, no Congressional panels investigating, no grim PBS News Hour closeups, etc., etc., etc. Really, what’s the big deal?

          • No money in it for the ABA, no anti-Catholicism to foment by the media.
            I think I know why this is occurring now and it’s not just related to the general debasement of morality.

  • Tamsin

    It was my understanding that Houston thought they could go after pastors in order to lay the groundwork for the IRS to relieve them of their 501(c)(3) tax exemption. Which goes to the point of the problem with the tax code, and its attempts to distinguish political speech from speech.

    • St JD George

      For some odd reason you never hear of stories about them going after churches who sing the praises of the anointed one. Kind of like why the rabid attack group who go after schools, etc. to ensure separation of church and state but don’t go after common core curriculum that teaches the virtues of Islam. Or why our own benevolent IRS would single out one group for punishment yet ignore those that contribute to their campaigns. I don’t understand the hypocrisy.

    • JP

      Selective enforcement (I don’t think Rev Wright in Chicago ever had to worry about the IRS coming to his door). I will defend any pastor’s right to give sermons as he sees fit – even the Rev Wrights of the world. Congress should reign in the IRS and come down hard on any agent that harasses pastors, priests, or rabbis.

    • Not well known:

      While Churches are defined as Charities under 501(c)(3), they are not exempt because the have an approved exempt purpose and do not allow income to inure to the benefit of individuals (lawyer speak for don’t pay dividends to stockholders).
      On the contrary, they are exempt simply because they are Churches and the imposition of income taxes would be an abridgement of free exercise; it’s the flipside of that famous wall of separation.

      Everytime a priest or minister buys into the idea that 501(c)(3) means “I can’t talk politics; he cedes not only his rights”, but debases the right of all clergy to address their flock without limit.

      • Tamsin

        Thanks DE for explaining. Good grief. I need to brush up on my 1A law.

        • Or become an attorney (barrister), CPA or EA.

      • LarryCicero

        Pulpit Freedom Sunday has been trying to provoke a lawsuit for years to strike down the 1954 Johnson Amendment. What ever happened to “Be not afraid?”

        • Out of 1225 Churches that participated in 2013, there were 2 (TWO) that were Catholic. How embarrassing.

          • Anthony Zarrella

            Part of that is because (for historically-sound reasons) the Church itself discourages priests from becoming directly involved in political disputes, except where it is 100% clear that only one side of the issue is in keeping with Catholic doctrine.

            Since it is rare to have an election where one candidate is *totally* unacceptable, and the other is doctrinally *unobjectionable*, this often translates to “take a stand only on issues, but don’t tell people who to vote for.”

            Not saying I *like* that interpretation, but I feel it’s worth noting that the lack of politicking from the pulpit can’t be attributed solely to faint-hearted priests not having the guts to speak out – some may be perfectly willing to defy Caesar, but choose not to from a desire to be obedient to the Church.

            • LarryCicero

              You mean it is a hard call to choose for the politicians from the party that wanted to remove God from their platform and insists on keeping easy access to abortion and contraception? Or is it that they don’t want to offend the democrats in the pews? Keeping with Catholic doctrine would require them to speak truth, no?

              • Anthony Zarrella

                Don’t get me wrong – I’m 100% pro-life, and a staunch Republican. I’m just pointing out that Catholicism isn’t single-issue, and so there’s rarely a Democrat who doesn’t have *some* aspect of their policy that a Catholic might want to support (in theory), and rarely a Republican lacking at least one blemish in their voting record.

                Accordingly, it *MAY* be more appropriate for a priest to simply lay out the key issues (and perhaps even remind parishioners of where each candidate stands on each issue) but refrain from expressly endorsing one candidate over another. (Or maybe not – it’s just a Church policy, not a moral teaching, so it might be just plain incorrect.)

                • LarryCicero

                  And sometimes the priest is just a hardcore lefty.

                  • Anthony Zarrella

                    Absolutely – I’ve heard a few sermons that made me want to stand on the pews and shout Fr. Modernism down (though I never would, out of respect for the Mass).

                    I’m just noting that that’s not the *only* reason a priest might have for not talking politics from the pulpit, and so we shouldn’t make assumptions about the priest’s character based solely on whether he’s willing to do so.

            • “the Church itself discourages priests from becoming directly involved in political disputes”
              Right. We leave that to the Bishops who lecture us on immigration and the federal budget.

              • Anthony Zarrella

                Believe me, I’m not a huge fan of that either. It is still different, however, for them to preach (or issue statements) on which *policies* ought to be supported, than it would be for them to purport to tell people which *candidates* to vote for.

                The major problem with the immigration and budget statements made by the bishops, however, is that they are issues of prudential judgment, and therefore the bishops are neither empowered nor qualified to issue binding statements on such issues (unlike intrinsic evils, such as abortion, which involve no such prudential “weighing” of moral values). (Of course, I’m not saying that the bishops have *tried* to make such statements formally binding – but they make little effort to point out that they aren’t binding, either.)

    • Henrik

      You really don’t have a clue. Churches are free to engage in issue advocacy. No one has accused the pastors of anything and tax status is not at issue. They were subpoenaed b/c they are part of a group that sued the city claiming that the city misinformed them about how to circulate petitions. Do you know why only 5 pastors received subpoenas when there are hundreds of churches in Houston, many of which are conservative? The reason is that these 5 churches did the petitioning, and what they understood about the proper procedures is at issue in the lawsuit brought by their own group.

      • Tamsin

        Hey thanks. I was worried I had a clue. Would you like a sammich?

    • Tamsin

      Interesting to read about the (Lyndon B.) Johnson Amendment, in which we find that

      churches faced a choice of speaking freely on any and all issues addressed by Scripture and potentially risking their tax exemption, or remaining silent and protecting their tax exemption. Unfortunately, many churches have allowed the 1954 Johnson Amendment to effectively silence their speech, even from the pulpit. Ironically, after 50-plus years of strict interpretation by the IRS, there is no reported situation to date where a church has lost its tax exempt status or been directly punished for sermons delivered from the pulpit. Nonetheless, the law remains unchanged. Thus, many churches accept the IRS interpretation of the Code and become silent…

      There are many reasons why the 1954 Johnson amendment violates the Constitution[;] the amendment violates the Establishment Clause by requiring the government to excessively and pervasively monitor the speech of churches to ensure they are not transgressing the restriction in the amendment. The amendment allows the government to determine when truly religious speech becomes impermissibly “political.” The government has no business making such decisions.

      Correct. Define “political”.

  • “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

    Addendum to this timeless classic of crass opportunism from Rahm Machiavelli:

    If none is readily available, concoct one from statistics. Numerical data is an unassailable fortress to the vast throngs of innumerates anong us and it freezes them into submission, servility and serfdom.

  • Today Crisis Magazine offers us a debate, as if we didn’t have enough of one in the election season:

    And while we discus whether or not christians should be involved in politics, the transgendered and LGBT have won the culture war, now it’s time to debate polygamy.

    • St JD George

      Won the battle, but not the war. Remain positive, and bold.

      • When has a slippery slope ever led uphill?

        • St JD George

          When you are at the bottom of course silly, nowhere to go but up.

          • We’re a long ways from the bottom, but we’re headed there quickly, because our generals are surrendering.

            • St JD George

              Do you think the generals would feel emboldened if they heard roaring cries over their shoulder, or had their feet held to the fire a little more courteously reminding them of accountability? I’m feeling upbeat today so I prefer to think we’re at bottom, however, in a few days I might be back to the same conclusion … as you.

            • publiusnj

              Until the Pope starts acting Catholic on Divorce-Remarriage and on homosexual conduct, there is little chance that we will have hit the bottom.

      • I prefer to think that there’s some more sandbags at the water’s edge.

  • Paul Primavera

    Another good essay. Thank you.

  • St JD George

    Spoiler alert: this reply has nothing to do with Stephen’s fine column today, but is relevant to some of our recent dialog and is quite interesting. I would like to hear from some of you who live and worship in NYC, particularly at the Church of the Holy Innocents. Apparently Dolan has taken a page out of the playbook in the recent handling of Cardinal Burke, except with a more lowly priest named Father Wylie.

    • If that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I find myself even more contemptuous of the the Corpulent Cardinal. I suppose I should be praying for his soul, but….

      • St JD George

        Funny story, my wife’s family is from St Louis and a few years back when Burke still presided there we went to Christmas Mass at St Stanislaus where my father-in-law grew up as a boy. It was a Polish church and they had brought in a priest from Poland which was interesting for me not knowing a word of Polish, or anybody in the family for that matter. I don’t know the whole story, but essentially Burke wanted to close it for the better part of a decade and they fought mightily to keep their parish open. They accused him of wanting to sell to raise proceeds for the archdiocese and threw every non-Christian name in the book at him, sadly. I did see him preside over another Christmas Mass at the Cathedral. That was my introduction to him.

    • slainte

      Every person who is grateful to Father Wylie for his wise counsel in connection with the Church of the Holy Innocents should consider sending a monetary donation to Father’s new parish Church in South Africa.

      As Father has apparently been assigned to a very poor parish with compromised living conditions, donations received from the U.S and other parts of the world would no doubt be put to good use by this kind and gentle shepherd.

      Shame on the Archdiocese of New York for its unjust act against a good priest; retaliation is not a Virtue.

      • And by Archdiocese, we mean the Corpulent one.

        • slainte

          The guilty party knows who he is.

          • And now, we are all clear on that as well. I’m not as restrained as you. Perhaps I need to go back to being “TheABaum”…
            I was once told (by an attorney co-worker) “geez man, I get the idea you want to call a spade a spade, but do you always have to call it am “expletive deleted” shovel?

            • slainte

              Truth is a good thing but it has to be delivered with charity or the recipient will miss the message and recall only the pain caused by the comment.

              I think A-Baum was a great choice! Initially when I started posting I thought your real name was Adam Baum. 🙂 I can be a dope sometimes. : )

              • “when I started posting I thought your real name was Adam Baum.”
                And when I realized fairly smart people thought the same; the name was changed. There are several real “Adam Baum”‘s out there.

  • Randall Ward

    Thank God for the women who love men.

  • Paddy

    Once Barack succeeds in forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor out of America, there will purportedly be peace in the land. So-called “Catholic” Democratic Party polls stand silent before this monstrous Democratic Party Doctrine.

    • I think he prefers the “nuns” on the bus.

  • Karime Parodi Ambel

    There´s no such thing as “gender ideology”, being a transgender person is a medical condition.

  • John O’Neill

    The good pro abortion, pro homosexual marriage “Catholic, Joe Biden tells us that there is a sweeping rape epidemic across the American higher education wasteland. If uncle Joe says it, it must be so, Joe is the darling of the American Left especially the catholic Left.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Unfortunately, I think many “mainstream” Catholics also vote cheerfully, overwhelmingly, with big wide smiles on their faces, for the likes of Biden, Cuomo, and anyone named Kennedy. They’re all in favor of “social justice,” and they can tell stories of Catholic school back in the day so……….

  • Emilio Lizardo

    Welcome to gender Marxism. It’s ironic that the West has become hostage to this stealth Marxism while the former Communist nations are bastions of conservationism.

    To solve the toilet crisis, I suggest abolishing all gender specific toilets.

    In a sexually reproductive, reproductively specialized, species the normalization of queerness is inane and damaging.

    What’s missed about California’s ‘Affirmative Consent’ rules is that it’s applied to a minority of people, makes rape easily perpetrated by women as well as men, and abrogates the individual’s right to make their own sexual contract.

    The solution for college men is to report to the authorities sexual assault of any woman they are alone with, before it can be done to them.

    The ‘woman’s movement’ has always trumpeted the idea that women never lie about rape, but the woman’s movement as a whole has consistently lied about rape. That it is profitable to lie about rape.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Some of them undoubtedly lie, but I think others seriously believe what they say. For nearly 40 years, the feminist Ministry of Truth has taught them, through the lens of Susan Brownmiller, Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon that all heterosexual intercourse, without exception, is always and everywhere RAPE. I only wish I were making it up.

  • Henrik

    I find it frightening that someone can sue you in civil court and then you can invoke “relgious freedom” to prevent you from from gathering evidence to defend yourself. For example, let’s say there’s a group in Houston that turned in petitions that the city determines are invalid. The group sues the city, claiming that the city misinformed it about the petition requirements. The city says it never misinformed anyone about petition requirements and, following standard litigation procedure, demands documents which might show that the plaintiff knew what was required for valid petitions. There is at least one public video on Youtube showing a pastor, a member of the group that is suing, explaining to his parishioners the petitioning process in great detail, proving that he knew exactly how to do it, and that he was not misinformed by the city. So the city asks for other presentations, speeches, sermons and communications which might show that other members of the group similarly knew exactly what they had to do in order to make valid petitions.

    24 hours later, demagogues come out of the woodwork: Nazis! Fascists! They are criminalizing Christianity! The bottom line is that Baskerville thinks he can sue someone and then stymie their defense. That’s scary.

    • Funny thing, the pastors who were issued subpoenas are not part of the lawsuit.

      Genuine intimidation.

  • Akira88

    What is happening to our men in all this hyper-inflated and invented sexual lawlessness?

    This may be a silly theory, but I contend that working or being “as good as a man” is a standard feminists covet. It is the standard to want to be as smart as a man, as strong as a man, as agile as a man. However, what is missing are the attributes of honor, logic, and dignity, though there is some crossover. Some feminists who achieve status, like this judge in Houston, have no tolerance because at heart – even though she is a judge, she will never be a man. She will never gain the type of respect indigenous to men. (This is not PC point of view; all people are to be respected – dignity of the human person. It’s not what I’m talking about. ((Wanted to clarity.))) She knows that, and other feminists know that. They will never be dignified as are men. This insults the ego and not her own dignity, not the dignity of a woman.