Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Political "Affairs"

After Nevada Senator John Ensign (R) admitted to having an affair with a staffer, Rasmussen Reports reported that 37% of Americans believe that most members of Congress have extramarital affairs.

Last week, after Governor Mark Sanford's (R-SC) admission of an extramarital affair, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that only 24% of Americans feel that most members of Congress DO NOT have affairs. Thirty-eight percent (38%) said that they were not sure.

When asked whether a politician who has an affair should resign or be forced out of office, the results were as follows:
  • 47% of Republicans said yes
  • 39% of Democrats said yes, and only
  • 35% of unaffiliated's said yes.
To some degree this may illustrate how commonplace adultery has become in our society, or how little we expect of our elected officials.

For the Republicans, these recent stories have brought about yet another difficulty. The Republican party has for some time labeled itself as the party of traditional and family values. The Party has specifically made an issue of this as it has fought for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage.

These revelations that significant Party players are, by traditional standards, immoral, place the Republican Party in a position to be mocked and accused of being hypocritical.

One recent example would be the political cartoon drawn by Daryl Cagle for MSNBC.com in which he depicts a casually dressed donkey wearing a t-shirt which reads "I'm with Holier-than-thou Hypocrite Christian Adulterer" on an arrow which points to an elephant in a business suite with his pants down.

It is not coincidental that the mocking of the Republican Party is accompanied in this case by mocking the Christian religion as well.

To read the Rasmussen Reports article, click here.
To see the Daryl Cagle political cartoon, click here, and proceed to cartoon #10.

Monday, June 29, 2009

White House Support of Gays and Lesbians

Today, for the first time ever, the White House held a reception to commemorate the Stonewall riots, an event that is frequently cited as the beginning of the Gay rights movement in the United States.

Today's reception, in combination with other events, shows clear Presidential support for Gays and Lesbians. This support is coming not only in the form of rhetoric or pageantry, but through a very significant appointment in the area of education.

Kevin Jennings, the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network has been appointed Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education.

Read more about these events and their implication in our latest TwoMinuteBriefing, available by clicking here, or by visiting www.TwoMinuteBriefing.com.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not Freedom, but Lack of Standards

The end of the year mosaic at the Black Pine Circle school included a communist hammer and sickle, the wording "capitalism will fail", and a marijuana leaf, all painted by students.

The school, which prides itself in providing an K - 8th grade environment "maximally free of all the'isms'" prevalent in the world around them, is in Berkeley California, and charges $17,000 for its 10 month term.

Some have stated concern that 13 year old's would express such sentiments. We see it differently.

We feel that it is hardly surprising that some children of this age would choose to express what others might consider to be shocking or rebellious wording or symbols. We do not think that this is the issue.

We would suggest that the issue is that in its effort to provide "freedom" for students to think what they will and express whatever they wish, what this school has developed is not freedom, but rather a lack of standards.

Although possible, it is rather unlikely that the child who painted the marijuana leaf had participated in a reasoned discussion regarding the pros and cons of recreational drug use or medical marijuana use. More likely than not it was just a childish statement of being "cool".

Similarly, the children who painted the hammer and sickle with its attached anti-capitalistic slogan probably have not studied either political philosophy or economic theory to a degree where a legitimate opinion could be formed.

Assuming that the school curriculum did not encourage the students toward communism or drug use, its administrative policy can still be said to have failed the children in allowing them, in this their parting comment to the community and younger children at the school, to paint these symbols into their class mural.

They have taught the children that there are no standards other than what they set for themselves.

This is a very dangerous precedent to establish in such a young mind. This is not how communities are built or sustained. This is not the way to foster future good citizens.

To read the Fox News story, click here.

- TMB thanks DF for alerting us to this story.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wisom of Solomon, the Patience of Job: The Governor Sanford Affair

In a tearful press conference today, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted that his disappearance over the weekend was not because he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, as first reported by his staff, but because he was in Argentina presumably ending an extra-marital affair.

Sanford had been viewed as a rising star in the Republican party, and held the position of chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He has now resigned from that position, and there are some calling for him to step down from the governorship.

Additionally, many are noting the irony of the Republican party touting itself as the party of "Family Values."

In the midst of this mire, Mrs. Sanford issued what TwoMinuteBriefing reviewers feel is an absolutely incredibly coherent, intelligent, and frankly Christian statement. The statement reads in part:
Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.
To read the complete statement, click here.
To read the MSNBC story, click here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anti-Illegal Immigrant Rhetoric Becoming More Virulent

With the 2010 Census fast approaching, Utah state officials are concerned that every resident of the state be counted. However, with anti-illegal-immigrant legislation (SB81) poised to go into effect on July 1st, these same officials are concerned that some in the Hispanic community will be afraid to respond to the census, thus creating a significant under count.

Although this in itself is noteworthy, what is even more significant are the comments posted to stories run in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News regarding this issue. The bitter, vitriolic, virulent nature of the comments shocked TMB reviewers despite years of dealing with this issue.

Commenter Santiago wrote:
The "message should be: GO HOME! We are SICK of your freeloading!
Commenter Bajarat wrote:
These illegal alien savages should only be counted as they get on a CBP bus headed to the airport or the border so we know how many green baloney sandwiches need to be ordered . . . . Illegal aliens are criminals and parasites, one and all . . . . They need to be ferreted out, rounded up like cattle, punished for their numerous crimes, then booted back to whence they snuck in from with such extreme prejudice that they will never, ever think of violating our sovereignty again.
Commenter Chaunte wrote:
. . . I loathe illegal immigrants . . . .
Commenter EscapedfromZion wrote:
I agree, the only reason they need to be counted is to figure out how many bologna sandwiches they will need to provide for the bus ride back to their precious May-hee-co.
Commenter Listen up wrote:
What is it going to take to finally have enough and boot these leeches out of the country.
Perhaps commenter Bajarat was unfamiliar with the reference, but the term "extreme prejudice" means to kill, to assasinate. With the recent shooting at the National Holocaust museum in recent memory, a shooting that was the result of racist hatred, to have that term appear in one of these postings is troubling indeed.

To read the Salt Lake Tribune story, click here.
To read the Deseret News story, click here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why Transsexual/Transgender Rights Matter

On June 11th, various news sources announced that Chastity Bono, the only daughter of Sonny and Cher, had begun sex change procedures earlier this year.

Although the transsexual/transgender segment of the population is very small, their fight for rights, and the attention they are receiving in the media, are a significant assault both on the traditional family, and on those religious authorities and denominations that proclaim that gender is divinely assigned.

Read about this issue in the TwoMinuteBriefing - Why Transsexual/Transgender Rights Matter.

To access the PDF file, click here.

The (Mormon) Church and Gay Marriage

Time Magazine has published an article online entitled "The Church and Gay Marriage: Are Mormons Misunderstood?" Although already available online, the article is dated Monday, June 22, 2009.

The article describes the involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California Proposition 8 campaign in some detail, including the theological underpinnings for its opposition to same-sex marriage.

In commenting on this article, a posting on Examiner.com's Salt Lake City page agrees that religions should be allowed to "fight for what they view as right". However, the article immediately goes on to quote a talk by Mark E. Peterson given at BYU in 1954 in which he warns against the "Negro" desiring not only equal rights but "absorption with the white race" through intermarriage.

The Examiner article concludes by stating that just as the "morality", as defined by the Church in 1954, opposed civil rights, the Church's "morality" opposes civil rights today. "The arguments haven't changed, only the target of discrimination."

To access the Time Magazine article, click here.
To access the Examiner.com article, click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Connecticut Claims Diocese Acted As Lobbying Organization

In March of this year, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, rented buses so that people could attend a rally in Hartford. The rally was to protest a bill that would have granted parishioners more power with regards to church finances.

The church, via its web site, also urged its members to contact lawmakers about this bill. The bill was eventually withdrawn.

At the same time, the Diocese urged its members to contact lawmakers regarding a same-sex marriage bill. That bill passed, and was signed into law in April.

According to Connecticut law, if an individual or organization spends more than $2,000 a year lobbying, it must register as a lobbyist.

Bishop William Lori of the Bridgeport Diocese is quoted as saying:
It seems to me that by requiring a diocese or any other entity to register with the state before it can protest an unfriendly action by the state has a chilling affect. I don't think it's in anyone's interest that a protest rally be labeled lobbying.
To read the Fox News story on this issue, click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hunger Real for Some Kids in the U.S.

For some children in the U.S., the impact of the recession is very very real. CBS News reports that there are approximately 15.5 million children in the U.S. without sufficient food. As the recession continues, the number of children in poverty is expected to rise.

To read the CBS News story, click here.

British Boys to get Credit Cards for Condoms

A new British Government program will distribute condom cards to boys as young as 12. The program will allow boys to get condoms by showing this card at various locations, including football grounds, barber shops, and "scout huts."

Cards will be available to boys who have attended a safe-sex "lesson."

Josephine Quintavalle, who founded the group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, is quoted in a Daily Mail article as saying:
We are just facilitating and encouraging sexuality without any deeper understanding of the emotional side of relationships. We used to talk about recreational sex among 18-year-olds - now it is 13-year-olds.
To read the TimesOnline story, click here.
To read the Daily Mail story, click here.