December 30, 2005
California Tells Christian Club it Must Admit Non-Christians and Homosexuals [This article appeared on TownHall.com here.] A new Christian club at California State University--San Bernardino was recently denied official recognition by the university because it required its members to adhere to Biblical principles of morality. Some of these principles, as explained by the student organizer, Ryan Sorba, include abstaining from premarital sex and homosexual relations. Sorba says that in order to join his Christian group, a student must adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ and strive to avoid sinful behavior. According to Cal-State San Bernardino President Albert Karnig, these membership restrictions violate Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. This law states, “No campus shall recognize a student organization which discriminates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, martial status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability.” Ostensibly, this law prevents discrimination and creates a more inclusive campus community. Students are prevented from hurting each others’ feelings since they cannot exclude each other from groups on a myriad of personal characteristics. While it is unfair for someone to be discriminated against because of something they cannot control, like a disability, it is ludicrous that the same anti-discrimination law should apply when it comes to personal beliefs and behavior, which students can control. Students choose their religious convictions with their own free will, and can decide to convert if they change their mind. However, the state of California does not share this reasoning. Apparently California believes that it would be unfair for a student to be excluded from an ideological organization, even if that student does not agree with the teachings of the ideology. The effect of this law is that it would prevent a Catholic student organization from denying membership to a Southern Baptist. It would prevent a Muslim student association from denying membership to a Hindu. What, then, would be the point of joining a religious organization? Would you pray with people in your club who believe in a different deity? Just as Catholics do not attend Synagogues and Buddhists do not frequent mosques, there would be no point for non-Christians to join a Christian student group. If students are forced to allow people who have fundamental disagreements about existence and morality into their club, how could the members ever accomplish their goals of praying together and promoting their beliefs? Religious freedom is vital to a free society, and college campuses are supposed to be beacons of academic inquiry and philosophical discourse. How can universities serve this purpose when governments have make it illegal for universities to recognize religious groups that expect their members to adhere to the basic tenets of their religion? The simple answer is that universities cannot achieve this purpose when they must enforce such an appalling and unconstitutional law, which is overtly hostile to religious freedom. [To find out how you can help Ryan and his club gain recognizance by the California State system, contact The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education at http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/6607.html You can also write President Karnig and let him know how you feel about the situation. His email address is email@example.com and his phone number is 909-537-5002.]
December 27, 2005
Every year, I write down the books I have read, and think about the books I want to read. I typically mix in literature with lots of politics. Now everyone can see where I get some of my zany ideas! Literature 1. Death of a Salesman 2. The Sun Also Rises 3. The Teeth of the Tiger 4. Tom Sawyer 5. Metamorphosis 6. The Merchant of Venice 7. The Importance of Being Earnest Politics 1. South Park Conservatives 2. Hating Whitey 3. The Pentagon's New Map 4. God and Man at Yale 5. Second Treatise on Government 6. One World 7. Diplomacy 8. The Road to Serfdom 9. The American Cause 10. Redeeming the Time 11. YAF Guide to Student Activism 12. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal 13. For the New Intellectual 14. Students' Guide to Liberal Learning 15. Imperial Ambition 16. Selected Federalist Papers 17. Hegemony or Survival 18. Capitalism and Freedom 19. What Uncle Sam Really Wants 20. 911 21. Media Control 22. The Conscience of a Conservative 23. Armey's Axioms 24. Militant Islam Reaches America
December 20, 2005
My good friend Ryan Sorba is battling the administration of Cal-State San Bernardino once again. He tried to start a Christian club that would deny membership to non-Christians and homosexuals, saying that they do not uphold the principles of his club, and therefore should not be able to join his club. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has taken up his case. FIRE is undefeated on legal matters like these, and I don't think they will lose this one either. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cal State San Bernardino Spikes Christian Student Group Nationwide Attacks on Campus Religious Organizations Continue December 19, 2005 FIRE Press Release The Source: thefire.org/csusb SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., December 19, 2005—California State University at San Bernardino (CSUSB) has refused to recognize a Christian student organization for requiring its members to live according to the group’s religious faith. The Christian Student Association (CSA) at CSUSB contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help after the university said that the group’s statements on faith and sexual morality were “not permissible.” “Time after time, college administrators have robbed students of their fundamental freedoms of association and religion, so CSA’s situation sadly comes as no surprise,” remarked FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Greg Lukianoff. “CSUSB, like so many other universities, is misusing nondiscrimination policies to tell Christian students that they cannot associate based upon the dictates of their faith.” This fall, CSA submitted a constitution pledging that the group will not discriminate on the basis of “race, color, national origin, gender, or physical disability,” but reserving the right to restrict membership based on religious beliefs and sexual orientation. In October, a university administrator informed the group that although they “would not be required to admit members who did not support the purpose of the organization (beliefs),” they could not exclude students “because of their status as a non-Christian or as a homosexual.” FIRE has defeated similar mistreatment of Christian and Muslim student groups at Tufts University (2000), Rutgers University (2003), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2003), Purdue University (2004), The Ohio State University (2004), Louisiana State University (2005), Milwaukee School of Engineering (2005), and other institutions. “CSA is not discriminating based on students’ status, but trying to express its religious faith and adhere to its beliefs regarding sexual morality,” remarked Lukianoff. “As FIRE has pointed out so many times, student groups at public universities have a right to ensure that their members share their central beliefs.” The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has already filed a legal challenge to the California State University system’s policy denying student religious organizations the right to govern themselves according to their own religious principles. In spite of that ongoing challenge, CSUSB, a member of the California State system, is standing by its policies and continues to deny CSA official recognition. “Efforts by FIRE and ADF to defeat unconstitutional restrictions on students’ freedom of association have been extremely successful,” stated Lukianoff. “The Constitution ensures that Muslim groups are free to be Muslim, Buddhist groups are free to be Buddhist, and Christian groups are free to be Christian, even if the principles they express run counter to the official viewpoints or unconstitutional policies of state universities.” FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty at California State University at San Bernardino can be viewed at thefire.org/csusb. CONTACT: Greg Lukianoff, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE: 215-717-3473; firstname.lastname@example.org Albert K. Karnig, President, CSUSB: 909-537-5002; email@example.com
December 18, 2005
This story disturbs me. As you all know, I am a supporter of liberating the Afghan and Iraqi people. I support defeating the people who mean to destroy our civilization. But, I am becoming more worried about the power that our President is using in an effort to fight the war on terror. Recent reports of spying on Americans by the NSA, without court approval, as required by the FISA law, are appalling. The President has been circumventing the law, and has no legal basis to stand on. On Meet the Press today, Secretary Rice could not provide an answer to Tim Russert's question: "By what authority can the administration employ this type of domestic surveillance?" She replied that the Presidential has "constitutional and statutory authorities" to eavesdrop on citizens. I am sorry, but that is simply not enough for me. The language sounds like Orwellian doublespeak. I cannot support this President's disregard for the law, nor the other recent government actions in the name of our security. 1. Placing propaganda in Iraqi newspapers by paying journalists there. 2. Keeping extensive records on American citizens who protested the war. 3. Arguing that torture should be allowed, and setting up secret CIA prisons in order to do so. 4. Declaring American citizens "enemy combatants" without charging them with a crime. Enough is enough. It is time to speak out against this federal power grab that is being made in the name of making us more secure. I have been patient, and have shrugged off a lot of questionable government policies, but can no longer do so. Taken together, these actions violate of the spirit of our republic, and have accomplished what the terrorists sought to do: dismantle our free and open society, and allow our leaders to infringe upon our most basic rights.
December 16, 2005
It's a Struggle for the Sunni Triangle by Amanda B. Carpenter A closer look at the recent pattern of hostilities in Iraq demonstrates some good news that hasn’t gotten much exposure in the liberal press. In light of the large turnout for yesterday’s elections in the Sunni regions of Iraq, this pattern may point to even more good news ahead... ..The good news hidden here is that if political participation in the new Iraq continues to be a positive indicator of the degree of anti-American violence in a region, anti-American violence could now go down in Iraq across the board considering the large reported turnout for last week’s election in Sunni Arab regions.... ..As the map and chart below illustrate, U.S. fatalities have been largely confined to Baghdad and to the heavily Sunni Arab provinces of Anbar, Salaheddin and Ninevah. ..In fact, of the 755 U.S. fatalities in Iraq over the last year, 679 were in Anbar, Baghdad, Salaheddin and Ninevah. Although there is no up-to-date census data for Iraq, CNN reported this year that Baghdad is 40% Sunni. Anbar is widely accepted to be the most predominantly Sunni Arab province. Ninevah and Salaheddin are deemed to have large Sunni Arab populations, mixed with Kurdish Sunnis. And Diyala, which is East of Baghdad, has a significant Sunni Arab population mixed with both Kurds and Shiites. ..In addition to being concentrated in just a few provinces, U.S. fatalities outside Baghdad have occurred most heavily in the Sunni Arab cities along the Euphrates River in Anbar province. This is where Fallujah and Ramadi are. A second heavy concentration is in the Sunni Arab cities along the Tigris River north of Baghdad. Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, is along the Tigris in Salaheddin Province.
December 15, 2005
Here is an excerpt from the story about FreedomWorks and our immigration reform luncheon. Dick Armey and Governor Owens had a huge disagreement on Colorado's Referendum C, but were together at the luncheon on Capitol Hill this week. This is one of the few times the reporter actually wrote what I said. I appreciate that. December 14, 2005 The Denver Post What a difference an election makes. After slugging it out over November's budget measures, Republican Gov. Bill Owens and former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey are coming together today to think big thoughts on another hot-button issue - immigration. Owens will join Armey, members of Congress and others at a Washington, D.C., lunch sponsored by Armey's conservative group, FreedomWorks.... Brendan Steinhauser, of FreedomWorks, said Owens asked to participate. Steinhauser quoted an "Armey Axiom" - one that when used by Armey sounds like he's talking in the third person - that "the idea is bigger than the man." "It was never personal," Steinhauser said. "It was a very big disagreement on Referendum C, but I think now if they have something that they agree on, they'll sit on a panel and talk about it."
December 8, 2005
Here is the piece I wrote. The battle on campus: The latest generation of conservatives on campus are ready to do battle, explains Brendan Steinhauser in an excerpt from his new book The Conservative Revolution: How to Win the Battle for College Campuses.
December 4, 2005
December 3, 2005
In response to your statements on Iraq, I offer the following bold retort: The Neoconservatives were right. American forces liberated 30 million people in Iraq, creating a wave of democratic fervor in Iraq, and across the Middle East. One only has to look at the elections in Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, the reaction of Iranian students calling for Bush to speak more loudly about the evil of their government, the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, and the subsequent statement by a Lebanese leader that, "George Bush has knocked down the Berlin Wall of the Arab world." I just watched a Nightline reporter interview a broad sample of Iraqis, including men and women, Shia and Sunnis, and professionals as well as students. Almost all of them said that they are better off without Saddam Hussein in power, and that they look forward to their bright future of liberty. One man said, "Our children will know of the sacrifices American families made to liberate us." I sense much more optimism and hope in these people than in our own elected officials, including both the liberal and conservative critics. To say that Arabs are not ready for democracy is to say that there is something unique to their culture that obstructs the inherent human desire for liberty. I do not buy that argument for one minute. The "insurgents" are the minority in Iraq, and the majority of Iraqis gave them the proverbial "purple finger" by voting for a Constitution. Their turnout rate was higher than that of our own Presidential election. Furthermore, only four provinces in Iraq face constant violence and terrorism. The rest of Iraq is relatively secure, and is probably safer than Prince George's county in Maryland, where people kill each other every day. In twelve days Iraqis will elect their own parliamentary government, and American troops will provide most of the security. Over the next year or so, Iraqis will have to take more of the security responsibility from the American troops. It will be their country again, and our troops will move to the rear as the Iraqis move to the forefront. Rightly so. This will be the beginning of the return of true sovereignty in Iraq. Why do I disagree that Iraq is a "failure"? Because I have talked to Iraqis and American troops who have been there and say that there are many good things going on there, despite increasing violence in some areas. As one Kurdish fellow asked an anti-war activist in D.C. a couple of weeks ago, "Why don't you support the liberation of my people." This young man obviously felt betrayed by those who would rather see Saddam continue to rule Iraq with an iron fist then take a chance with the Iraqi people. Iraqis need leaders who will at least try to build a more representative government, one that protects women from theocratic and bigoted fanatics who would oppress them in the name of Islam. These leaders will inevitably come from the citizenry, building their communities on the local level. These common people are the strength of the Iraqi people, just as in most other societies. Despite what kind of government is elected, it cannot be worse than that of a brutal dictator who fed people into shredders, threatened his neighbors and vowed revenge against these United States. No, Iraq will not be a completely free market nation with the same enumerated rights as the US Constitution, but the society will be much better than any other Arab country, and much better than Iraq was under the Baathists. In time, if we can be so patient, Iraqi industry will flourish and foreign investments in the country will provide the capital and infrastructure to sustain lasting economic growth. Seeing that their lives are better off in this system, young Arab males will have less of a reason to join and fight a jihad against an "enemy" that they should be trading with instead. This current generation of Iraqis may not be prepared for that relationship ( although many are ), but surely their children will grow up in a better environment than their parents, and will realize the benefits of building things instead of destroying them. Although my outlook might prove to be wrong as time goes on, I firmly believe that we must at least try to inject some semblance of representative government in that part of the world. To do otherwise, to continue to support corrupt regimes, or turn the other way and pretend they do not exist, is a disservice to the world. More importantly, it is a disservice to our own ideals, the idea of American exceptionalism and what Ronald Reagan called "the last, best hope for mankind." That being said, in the end, history will be the final arbiter of our different views on the war. I for one would like to tell my children that I always believed in the prospect of liberty, not only for my own countrymen, but for all of humanity.
December 1, 2005
I read Chomsky's screed against post WW2 US foreign policy. This blogger says it better than I ever could: http://antichomsky.blogspot.com/2004/10/what-uncle-sam-really-wants-review.html