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Violet is Unimpressed

August 28, 2019

George Pyle, editorial editor at the Salt Lake Tribune, points out that the “tension” between individual rights and “religious liberty” is largely imaginary:

… there never seems to be a concrete example of how making lesbians and gay men fully equal before the law does anything to harm anyone else’s fundamental freedoms, to a religious belief or anything else.

It is as if they are making up a conflict that doesn’t exist so they have an excuse for not solving it, but still get credit for the effort. So you will vote for them and send them money. And feel good about it because this poor soul is not a bigot or a throwback, but a decent sort working hard to square the circle of human rights.

Katelyn Burns at The Outline digs into this even more deeply:

The country’s religious political base has not only become more conservative, but more isolated from the rest of society, thanks to Trump’s confusing directives. Despite the Trump administration’s claim that its policies on religious freedom simply allow religious folks to go about practicing their faiths in peace, it has instead created a makeshift double standard that separates religious conservatives from liberal in hospitals, schools, and other public institutions. Evangelical Christians and many hardline Catholics now enjoy legal preferences not shared by their Jewish, Muslim, or atheist brethren, who find themselves increasingly encroached upon by the creep of a Christian faith in which they don’t believe. …

… [The Center for American Progress’s Sharita] Gruberg said the end result of the administration’s new interpretation of religious liberty is a two-tiered legal system under which those with the correct government-sponsored religious views are subjected to a different legal standard. “The world that they are seeking to build is one where certain faiths get preference,” she said. “When they give these licenses to discriminate, they’re giving licenses to certain viewpoints, and that’s problematic. So they’re preferencing certain religious viewpoints… It’s antithetical to religious liberty, it’s antithetical to our separation of church and state, to core constitutional values.”

Tyler Broker at Above the Law agrees that there are now two standards:

… the last year has made it painfully obvious that the single greatest factor for determining the result in any free conscience objection case is whether the objecting party is doing so because of their Christian faith. Moreover, if your free conscience objection against government compelling citizens to pay for or otherwise endorse ideas they find objectionable is based on an opposition to government compelling an overtly Christian idea, your free conscience objection is guaranteed to lose.

Former Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson, embroiled in legal battles over his handling of sexual abuse claims over his tenure, says his religious liberty means he doesn’t have to comply with any requests for, you know, information. Baptist News reports:

Trying to hold him liable for conduct delegated to others under the governing documents of a religious body like a seminary, he said, would violate the First Amendment. … He further argued that allowing a secular court to judge whether it was reasonable for the seminary to enroll the alleged perpetrator would create “an excessive entanglement with religion in violation of the First Amendment.”

This is all very confusing, but also significant in its own way: China gets its first official Catholic bishop, in that the ordination of Antonio Yao Shun as bishop of the diocese of Ulanqab has been approved both by the Vatican and the state-aligned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

It should not surprise you to learn that in financial settlements with the Catholic Church over sexual abuse claims in Mississippi, black abuse victims don’t get nearly as much as whites. When whites have gotten payouts that average $250,000 per person, the AP reports on the case of La Jarvis D. Love, whose case garnered $15,000:

La Jarvis and two of his cousins, who have also reported that they were abused at Greenwood’s St. Francis of Assisi School, differ from most victims with sex abuse claims against the church because they are black, desperately poor and, until recently, never had a lawyer to argue their case. …

… “They felt they could treat us that way because we’re poor and we’re black,” Joshua [Love’s cousin] said of the settlements he and La Jarvis received.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints outright bans firearms and other lethal weapons in all of its buildings, with exceptions for law enforcement officers.

Jerry Falwell Jr. really, really, really likes his personal trainer. Like, a LOT. Enough to use Liberty University assets to make him happy.

A leader in the Christian Science church, Charles Sebesta, is charged with stealing $11.4 million from the organization.

Jim Bridenstine, the head of NASA and definitely not a scientist, says Pluto is a planet because “it’s the way I learned it and I’m committed to it.” That’s not how it works, bucko.

Marshall County, Minnesota is for some reason commemorating an event from 40 years ago when people think a cop drove into an alien spacecraft:

The spotlight that night will shine on a bronze-colored early-1970s Ford Ltd. sheriff’s department car with a shattered windshield and bent antennas. …then-Marshall County Sheriff’s Department deputy Val Johnson … reported at 1:40 a.m., Monday, Aug. 27, 1979, that he drove into a ball of bright light, 8 to 12 inches in diameter.

Johnson, who was on patrol about 16 miles from Stephen, Minn., that morning reported afterward that, upon waking up 30 minutes after driving into the circle of light, hovering 3 to 4 feet above the ground, he had burns around his eyes. His patrol car also was damaged: A headlight and the windshield the car were smashed, the two radio antennas were bent and the clock on his dashboard matched that of his watch: 14 minutes slow.

Don’t other things, like, that are already on Earth, explode and cause damage? Nah must have been aliens.

Audiophile website SoundGuys debunks the claim that Bluetooth causes cancer or cooks your brain or whatever. Come on, we know that Bluetooth barely works as it is.

The Depot is a restaurant in Kansas (the best breakfast in the state, so it is reported) that is, of course, haunted. KMBZ reports:

[Chef Mike Nachbar] says there are rumors of a small child pressing his hand on the window leaving fingerprints behind. “And another one is of an old man who sits on the bench in the hallway smoking a cigar, and at times you can smell cigar smoke. It’s really kinda strange,” says Mike.

When he smells a cigar, Mike says he runs out to see if anyone is smoking and never finds anyone.

That’s me. I’m just embarrassed about my filthy habit. Sorry to spook you, Mike.

KCTV 5 News in Kansas City straight-up tells viewers that being a pet psychic is a real thing and then a truly surreal segment proceeds with a tortoise named Violet who is “not impressed with the whole TV experience.” I FEEL YOU, VIOLET.

Quote of the Day

I admit, I experienced a glimmer of hopeful excitement as conspiracy theorists proffered the idea that a photo of a man in Cairo was actually Steve Jobs, who had clearly faked his own death. It’s not, but I do agree with one Reddit commenter who said:

Idk man. I’m not very into conspiracy theories, but Jobs would be crazy enough to actually do it.

Yes, he would.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.