It’s Wednesday, March 27th, 2013…and as a dinner engagement will prevent us from publishing the Thursday edition, see you on Friday.

Now, here’s The Gouge!

Leading off our mid-week offering, RedState.com‘s Erick Erickson offers an aspect of the gay marriage debate many have overlooked, and some have failed to mention:

‘Gay Marriage’ and Religious Freedom Are Not Compatible

 

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The kids these days on the right are full of a great libertarian notion that “hey, let’s just get the government out of marriage.” “Rock on,” say other libertarians. They then all smugly self-congratulate themselves, pat themselves on the back, and move on to other issues.

What they ignore is that the left will never take marriage out of the hands of the government. The left cannot. But it goes beyond that. The left cannot take marriage out of government because for so long it has been government through which marriages were legitimized to the public and the left must also use government to silence those, particularly the religious, who refuse to play along.

Let’s ignore, for the sake of this post, that the Democracy of the Dead has settled for us that in society marriage should be between a man and woman as the best way to propagate the species. The left has done an admirable job in secular society making the case that gay marriage merely allows a class of people to be happy and have what everyone else has.

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The front on which the gay rights movement has failed is the religious and, in particular in the United States, the Christian front. From Matthew 19:4-6:

Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

The Christian Left would prefer to view Matthew 19 as a passage on divorce, which is discussed. But they willfully ignore Christ’s definition of what a marriage is — one man and one woman united to become one.

As much as many would ignore, obfuscate, or try to confuse the beginning of Matthew 19, Christ makes it very clear. The Creator made a male and a female and the two become one. That is marriage in Christianity, despite what a bunch of progressive Christians who have no use for the Bible would have the world believe.

Therein lies the problem for the gay rights movement. As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world — never mind Islam — will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God’s intent.

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So those Christians must be silenced. The left exerted a great deal of energy to convince everyone that the gay lifestyle is an alternative form of normal. It then has exerted a great deal of energy convincing people that because the gay lifestyle is just another variation of normal, gay marriage must be normalized.

Meanwhile, those Christians are out there saying it is not normal and are refusing to accept it as normal because of silly God dared to say marriage is a union between a man and woman. Any Christian who refuses to recognize that man wants to upend God’s order will have to be driven from the national conversation. They will be labeled bigots and ultimately criminals.

Already we have seen florists, bakers, and photographers suffer because they have refused to go along with the cultural shift toward gay marriage. There will be more.

Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.

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Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.

Christians should, starting yesterday, work on a new front. While we should not stop the fight to preserve marriage, and we may be willing to compromise on civil unions, we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage. Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.

The left cannot allow Christians to continue to preach the full gospel. We already see this in, of all places, Canada. Gay marriage is incompatible with a religion that preaches that the unrepentant are condemned, even of a sin the world has decided is not one. The religious freedom will eventually be ended through the judiciary. We should work to extend that freedom as long as we can.

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Now many of you have read through this and you are shaking your head in denial. “No way this is possible,” you say. But then just a decade ago no one seriously considered gay marriage as possible. And we are already seeing signs we’re headed in this direction. It’s coming. Get ready.

Libertarians will have to decide which they value more — the ability of a single digit percentage of Americans to get married or the first amendment. The two are not compatible.

Neither the British nor Canadians enjoy freedom of speech protections, so it should come as no surprise gay rights advocates have already made even preaching homosexuality as sin from the pulpit a hate crime.  And as the pervasive spread of campus speech codes demonstrates, the Left has as little regard for the First Amendment as the Second.

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In a related item, courtesy of NRO, Rich Lowry wonders if we’re looking at…

Gay Marriage by Fiat?

The Supreme Court could be about to deem all opposition to same-sex marriage illegitimate.

 

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It is a sign of how far supporters of gay marriage have advanced that the term “opposite-sex marriage” — an infelicitous phrase that once would have been a confounding tautology — is now in common usage.

They have all the momentum. The polls are swinging their way. They had victories in state-level referenda for the first time in 2012. The entire Democratic party is converting to their cause, and conservatives are increasingly split.

This would all seem reason to conclude that their campaign of persuasion is working, and to keep at it. Instead, supporters of gay marriage are asking the Supreme Court to declare the traditional definition of marriage — and by extension everyone who adheres to itirrational and bigoted. They want to short-circuit democratic deliberation via court ruling as great cultural ukase. (Hey, it worked for abortion and health care!)

The laws before the court are the Defense of Marriage Act, passed handily by a bipartisan majority of Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and Proposition 8, the measure passed by California voters in 2008 enshrining the traditional definition of marriage in the state’s constitution.

The Defense of Marriage Act is a modest measure. For purposes of federal programs, it defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and it says that states don’t necessarily have to honor same-sex marriages from other states. This creates a flexible environment whereby the federal government recognizes the traditional understanding of marriage that still applies in more than 40 states, while any state is welcome to adopt any other definition of the institution that it sees fit.

Opponents of the law have concocted an argument against it on federalist grounds. But it is bizarre to contend that a federal law defining marriage for federal purposes is an offense against the federalist structure of American government. The law has done nothing to arrest the progress of gay marriage at the state level, where it now prevails in nine states and the District of Columbia despite the Defense of Marriage Act.

The real reason for the court to invalidate the law would be that it supposedly has no rational basis and is born of “animus” toward gays. This is the brief against Proposition 8, which was struck down by a federal appellate court, the famously activist Ninth Circuit, on grounds that it has no “legitimate reason.”

In this view, the promoters of Proposition 8 came up with a definition of marriage that has stood for centuries in the West and is endorsed by every major religion simply as an imaginative way to stick it to gay people. Every serious contender in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008, including Barack Obama, supported this same definition, presumably also out of the same simmering hostility to gays.

Supporters of traditional marriage believe that the institution exists as an expression of society’s interest in children’s being raised by their biological fathers and mothers. You can say that this understanding is dated, given what has become of marriage the past 40 years. You can say that it is too pinched, given evolving mores. You can’t say it is inherently hateful.

If the Defense of Marriage Act is wrongheaded, the solution is simple and will be within reach in a few years if gay marriage continues to win converts — repeal it. And there is nothing wrong with Proposition 8 that California’s voters can’t fix by going to the polls again.

By seeking a shortcut in the courts, supporters of gay marriage want to end debate through judicial fiat. In an amicus brief in the case, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty points out the consequences if traditional marriage is deemed irrational. Religious people and groups objecting to same-sex marriage will “face a wave of private civil litigation under anti-discrimination laws never intended for that purpose,” and they will be “penalized by state and local governments.”

In other words, supporters of the exotic-sounding practice of “opposite-sex marriage” will be marginalized forevermore.

Wake up and smell the intolerance, America; and if you think “gay marriage” is the last stop on this train, you’ve got another think coming.  Next stop…

Polyamorist Group Wants Legal Recognition For Multiple Marriages

 

And Pedophiliaville ain’t to far behind!

Meanwhile, writing at the WaPo, Marc Thiessen suggests…

What Republicans can learn from Pope Francis

 

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Republicans are hearing a lot today about how they need to abandon their principles on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion if they want to win elections. But the GOP’s problem today is not that it is too socially conservative; it is that Republicans are seen as defenders of the rich and powerful instead of the poor and vulnerable.

If Republicans want to change that impression, there is a simple solution: Be more like Pope Francis — defender of the family, the unborn and the poor.

Too many Republicans fall short on that last count, and they are paying for it at the polls. Mitt Romney did not lose the presidency because he opposed same-sex marriage.  He lost because he dismissed 47 percent of the country as a bunch of moochers. He lost because he declared, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” He lost because he was seen as out of touch with Americans who are struggling to keep their heads above water. An Economist/YouGov poll last April tells the story: Only 38 percent of Americans said they believed Romney cares about the poor, and 33 percent said Romney “cares about people like me.” You can’t win the presidency when two-thirds of the country thinks you don’t care about their struggles.

Beating a retreat on marriage and abortion will do nothing to solve that problem. To the contrary, it would cause a rift in the Republican Party and alienate the GOP’s most dependable voters — Christian conservatives, for whom these are nonnegotiable moral issues. But a conservative campaign against poverty could enlist and energize these same voters and broaden the party’s appeal beyond its conservative base.

So how can Republicans do it? Pope Francis shows the way. One lesson from the Holy Father is that saying the right things about poverty is not enough.  You have to show up.  The Associated Press reports that residents of one of Buenos Aires’s poorest neighborhoods, Villa 21-24, call Francis their “papa villero” or “slum pope.” They recall how, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he “would arrive on a bus to their little chapel; how he sponsored marathons and carpentry classes, consoled single mothers and washed the feet of recovering drug addicts; how he became one of them.”

If Republicans want to convince Americans that they care, they need to emulate Francis and start showing up in the barrios and the inner cities.  It’s not enough for Republicans to simply vote for school choice; they need to spend time with students struggling in failing schools. It’s not enough to rail against dependency; they need to spend time helping those trapped in dependency to get the skills they need to get off public assistance. It’s not enough to complain about Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric; they need to spend time fighting for the vulnerable.

They don’t have to abandon their principles to do it.  As a cardinal, Bergoglio urged the faithful to “defend the unborn against abortion even if they persecute you, calumniate you, set traps for you, take you to court or kill you.” But also he insisted that “No child should be deprived of the right to be born, the right to be fed, the right to go to school.” Notice that he did not stop at the right to be born. Neither should Republicans. The GOP needs to put as much emphasis on ensuring that children are fed and educated as it does on their fundamental right to life.

Now is the perfect moment for conservatives to offer innovative, free-market alternatives to the permanent welfare state.  Spending on social-welfare programs for the poor has grown by 50 percent since 2007, yet under Barack Obama, more than 2.6 million Americans have slipped out of the middle class and below the poverty line. The left fought a war on poverty, and poverty won.

Let the Democrats be the party of dependence and downward mobility. The GOP needs to become the party of independence, upward mobility and opportunity for all. During the fall campaign, Mitt Romney declared, “We will hear from the Democrat party about the plight of the poor . . . but my campaign is focused on middle-class Americans.” This was disastrously misguided. If Republicans want to be seen as a more welcoming party, the best way to prove it is by welcoming the poor and championing the vulnerable.

At his installation Mass last week, Pope Francis called on political leaders to “embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important . . . the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and those in prison.”

That is a call Republicans should answer. And, as Pope Francis shows, they don’t need to compromise on life or marriage to do it.

Granted, Pope Francis never had to balance a budget or deal with a world aflame with Islamic terror, but Thiessen’s point remains valid, particularly when you consider his call for “innovative, free-market alternatives” to the Dimocratic Welfare State.  With the exception of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, almost every Republican proposal to date has consisted of either a cut in the current, counter-productive anti-poverty programs or an attempt to outspend, or out-Left, Liberals at their own game.

At the risk of beating a dead horse (which unfortunately for America wasn’t the case with Ann Romney’s nag), the 2012 election was lost when Romney chose respite over rapport.  Rather than identifying and mixing with Americans in Ohio and Virginia recovering from the worst string of thunderstorms in recent memory…without lights, refrigeration, air-conditioning and oftentimes water…in a searing Summer heat wave…Mitt chose the cooling waters and congenially upper-crust atmosphere of Lake Winnipesaukee:

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Can you say…

We knew you could!

Next, the Washington Examiner offers this follow-up on yesterday’s item detailing the government’s runaway disability scam:

Soaring Social Security disability rolls headed for collapse

 

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America’s unemployment rate has come down significantly from its peak of 10 percent in late 2009. That may seem to suggest a steady improvement in the employment picture, but the impression is misleading.

We recently pointed out that workers age 25 to 54 are experiencing a jobs depression that has gotten slightly worse since the end of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, with nearly all job growth since the downturn’s end coming among older Americans. But also statistically concealing the dire reality are labor force dropouts. A smaller percentage of Americans now work or seek work than at any point since the Carter era. Jim Pethokoukis, of the American Enterprise Institute, has calculated that if labor force participation had not declined so much since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for January would have been 10.8 percent. (And frankly, 10.8% is very likely alow…very low.)

What happens to the workers who drop out of the labor force? Some retire, some become full-time parents, some go on welfare. But here’s an important answer that is often overlooked: In 2011, on average, one net person has been added to Social Security’s Disability Insurance rolls (and 3.3 to its retirement program) for every five net new jobs created. Since 1970, the number receiving DI has grown sixfold (from 1.4 million to 8.8 million), and the program expenses have grown tenfold, which is unsustainable. The federal government now spends more on disability than food stamps and welfare combined. In 2009, DI began paying out more in benefits than it took in from payroll taxes. By 2016, it is set to run out of money.

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Two factors are driving the program’s explosive growth: first, newly liberalized eligibility standards. When President Reagan instituted a program of “continuing disability reviews” at the height of the 1981 recession, about 400,000 people lost benefits. Democrats in Congress responded by passing new standards that made it easier to qualify for DI initially and next to impossible to lose benefits. (What a surprise!) As NPR’s Chana Joffe-Walt pointed out in an excellent recent piece on the topic, heart disease was the top cause of DI awards in 1961. Today, with the new eligibility standards, back pain and mental illness top the list. As a result, the share of all adults receiving DI benefits doubled from 2.3 percent in 1989 to 4.6 percent in 2009.

The second reason for the exploding disability rolls and continued record-setting is the continued weakness of President Obama’s economic recovery. It has been thoroughly established that DI applications correlate not with worker health but with worker employment prospects. (Again, what a surprise!) One classic study shows that when coal prices fall, the number of DI beneficiaries skyrockets in Appalachia. Falling coal prices don’t cause back pain, but unemployment does cause more DI applications. And the applications have not slowed down at all since the “recovery” began — at 2.8 million, the number in 2012 was almost identical to the number from 2009, and double the number from 2000.

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Once a worker qualifies, he or she possesses an asset producing a guaranteed income of $13,000 a year for life, plus free health care through the Medicare program. (Compare that with the average minimum-wage job, which offers only $15,000 a year without health care.) The benefits are far from extravagant, but they can offer older workers a bridge to the Social Security retirement age, and an early start on Medicare. Fewer than 1 percent of workers who go on DI ever leave the rolls. Don’t blame the applicants or the beneficiaries — they are just responding to the incentives the government creates through the DI program. The only way someone can lose DI is by working SEmD which is one reason most never try. Instead, for many who were perfectly able to work a few months ago, DI has become a voluntary life sentence to idle poverty.

To borrow a phrase from the immortal lyrics of the late, great Robert Palmer, the Examiner‘s logic is…

On the Lighter Side…

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Then, particularly considering the subject matter of today’s Cover Story, there’s these two timely items from Chris Muir and Day by Day:

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Why would an organization with no internal police powers require 2,700 mine-proof vehicles with rifle slits, 7,000 new assault weapons and a billion-odd rounds of hollow-point ammo?!?  Neither our President nor Big Sis are willing to offer a simple explanation.

Finally, in the Wonderful World of Science, yet another reason we prefer domestic vacation destinations:

Bad news for the 220-mile high club: Researchers find sex in space could lead to life-threatening illnesses

 

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Too bad Barbarella wasn’t filmed on location; Jane Fonda might be dead…and a number of our Vietnam POW’s might still be alive.

Magoo