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Just to Clarify



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since I know how people can react to disputes on these topics: I wasn’t attempting in those last two faiths to accuse Sullivan of bad faith. I’m sure he genuinely believes the claim I criticize in the first post (“Getting FMA Wrong”), and my second post (“DoMA”) reflects my genuine puzzlement at what I regard as his inconsistency.

Doma



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Sullivan continues, “If you merely want to stop one state’s marriages being nationalized, you have the power already. It’s called the Defense of Marriage Act, alongside the long established precedent of states being able not to recognize out of state marriages for public policy reasons.” I thought Sullivan opposed the DoMA as unconstitutional when it was being debated. I also thought that Sullivan was suggesting that DoMA might not survive when he wrote the following in Time (June 20): “Massachusetts’ highest court is due to rule very soon on whether the denial of marriage to gays is illicit discrimination against a minority. If Massachusetts rules that it is, then gay couples across America will be able to marry not only in Canada (where there are no residency requirements for marriage) but also in a bona fide American state. There will be a long process of litigation as various married couples try hard to keep their marriages legally intact from one state to another.” That litigation is precisely what the FMA is designed to forestall.

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Getting Fma Wrong



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Andrew Sullivan reprints the text of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.” He then says, “Note how the states are effectively barred from providing anything that resembles marriage or any of the ‘legal incidents thereof.’ It’s an attempt not only to reverse any state that wants to have same-sex marriage but to invalidate all domestic partnership laws, any state-provided benefits, or any support for same-sex couples anywhere anyhow. It’s a massive power-grab from the states, in an area where states have always had constitutional authority.”

There may be sound arguments against the FMA. But Sullivan’s claim is ridiculous. What does he suppose the words “be construed to require” are doing in the amendment? The amendment is aimed to prevent a judge (or executive-branch official) from inferring same-sex marriage or same-sex marriage-lite from a state or federal law. It precludes a state’s adoption of gay marriage (that’s the first sentence). It precludes a judge’s imposition of civil unions (that’s part of the second sentence). It does not preclude a state legislature or popular referendum from creating civil unions or whatnot. That is, incidentally, one reason the amendment is controversial on the social Right.

To the extent that what proponents say about the amendment is evidence about its meaning, that also points toward my interpretation and not Sullivan’s.

Web Briefing: July 23, 2014

Springer’s Cross of Gold(Berg)



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From the AP story on Springer’s race and his campaign-launching informercial:

The infomercial focuses on a comment by National Review commentator Jonah Goldberg on a Sunday morning CNN talk show several months ago.

In his remark, Goldberg warned of new people brought to the polls by Springer including “slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs and whatnots.”

The infomercial offers that quote on a T-shirt and inserted into a signed photograph of Springer next to a sign for Hicksville, Ohio, in Defiance County in northwest Ohio. In the program, Springer refers to the quote and talks about wanting to reach out to “regular folks … who weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”

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Well, At Least There’s One



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From a reader of the Corner:

FYI, my own Archbishop at the time of the nuke letter, Rev. Phillip M. Hannan (of New Orleans), was the only bishop to refuse to sign the document denouncing Reagan’s nuclear policy. He was also the only American bishop to defend the current President Bush’s intent to invade Iraq last year, citing his own experiences as a chaplain encountering totalitarianism in WWII.

Is Fr. Rutler There?



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Just about two decades ago Rev. George Rutler received me into the Church of Rome. I adore the man–he’s brilliant, witty, and (dare I?) holy–yet since he lives in New York and I in California, it’s been ages since we’ve been in touch. But now? Well, now we’re both on the Corner. Up for a question, Father?

You mention that the Church is reforming itself through “the removal of incompetent bishops.” But shouldn’t the National Conference of Catholic Bishops also issue an apology? I don’t mean an apology for the sexual predators they’ve been harboring–that apology is already on the books. I mean an apology for at least two decades of cowardice, meddling, and general pusillanimity.

In particular, shouldn’t the bishops apologize for their two major pastoral letters of the nineteen-eighties? One, you’ll recall, was on the economy. It was an attack on Reaganomics–at the very time when Reagan’s tax cuts, restraint on spending, and program of deregulation were launching the most sustained economic expansion in American history, conferring more benefits on poor Americans than any government program could have begun to match. The second represented an attack on Reagan’s nuclear policy, in effect granting the full authority of the Church to the nuclear freeze movement–at the very time when Reagan’s policies were putting forces in play that would bring the Cold War to a peaceful end.

The American bishops exceeded their authority, meddled in the political life of the nation, caused scandal to thousands of devout Catholics (I have a friend who left the Church as a direct result of these pastoral letters)–and got it all wrong.

I’m quite serious. Wouldn’t it be an entirely salutory step–indeed, isn’t it very nearly a necessary step–for the American bishops to indicate in some unmistakeable manner that those two letters represented a grave error?




Duncan to Full Senate



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The nomination of Allyson Duncan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Assuming she is confirmed, I would not be surprised if she is soon mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee.

Specter On The Spot



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The AP reports that Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is undecided on the nomination of Bill Pryor for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Does Pat Toomey know about this?

Holding The Reins At Epa



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President Bush will designate Marianne Hrinko as Acting Administrator of the EPA and Stephen L. Johnson Acting Deputy Administrator. Hrinko and Johnson are both currently serving as assistant adminsitrators at the agency. No word yet whether either appointment will be made permanent. Let’s just hope that IDaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne is out of the running.

Noah Millman On Fisking



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One of my favorite bloggers making exceptionally good sense today.

Is Daschle in That Much Trouble?



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He’s running campaign ads already.

New York’s Newest Hillary Voter



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As you’re swept away with warm feelings over Peter Jennings becoming an American after 40 years of broadcasting here, know that the old 30,000-videotape data bank still carries his genuine feeling for his adopted home. Take April 1990, and a prime-time special on Cambodia: “The United States is deeply involved in Cambodia again. Cambodia is on the edge of hell again.” By not backing the Communist Hun Sen regime, Jennings concluded, “The United States is in danger of being on the wrong side of history.” As Willy Wonka would say, flip that, reverse it.

Run Jerry Run



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Here’s the AP story on Springer’s intent to file for the U.S. Senate race in Ohio on Friday. He needs to do this because his infomercial is about to start airing. The bizarre thing, though, is that the AP reports the infomercial is scheduled to start airing in several U.S. cities but not yet in Ohio. Springer will make an amusing candidate, and may well beat State Sen. Eric Fingerhut for the Democratic nomination. But he’ll get slaughtered by Sen. George Voinovich. The Ohio Democratic party has not run a viable candidate for state-wide office in years, and Voinovich is among the state’s most popular politicians (his opposition to significant tax cuts notwithstanding).

Libertarians Vs. The Nra: An Update



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I reported a while ago on a dispute involving libertarian lawyers who are trying to void D.C.’s ban on handguns–and who say the National Rifle Association is trying to sabotage their case. This week, a judge sided with the libertarians in denying the NRA’s motion.

Bogus Condemning The Bogus?



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This just in: CNN’s haughty Aaron Brown committed a major boo-boo last night. Pushing an anti-Bush Internet WMD rumor — four hours after the Web site retracted it. CNN’s Web site calls his show NewsNight “fast-paced and story-driven.” It’s so fast-paced they don’t feel the need to check the stories. Scott Hogenson blew the whistle.

Jerry Springer V. Me



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I’ve been getting calls and emails from reporters in Ohio. Apparently Jerry Springer uses a quote from me in his new informercial which he released at a news conference today. The quote, which I offered on CNN, is: “If Jerry Springer shows up, he’ll bring all these new people to the polls. They will be slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs and whatnot.” Now, what is super-exciting is that he’s apparently made T-Shirts with that quote on them as part of his campaign! I must get one.

Anyway, for the record, I completely stand by my comments.

While every single person supporting Jerry Springer may not be a perv, weirdo or slack-jawed yokel, I am at a complete loss to understand how this country’s politics would be enriched by massive voter turnout by people who consider Jerry Springer to be their dashboard saint. Voter turnout is not a good in itself, no matter what populists and demogogues claim. Springer says he’ll be bringing new voters to the polls. Well, okay. But if these people couldn’t be bothered to vote until Springer encouraged them to, maybe we were better off without them in the first place. Leave Springer’s audience out of it for a moment; I don’t think it’s a given that a surge in voting by Klansmen, black racists, pimps, or strippers-who-sleep-with-their-brothers would improve America’s politics demonstrably. And I don’t think we really need a Senator who sees nothing wrong with giving such people a nationally televised forum.

More to the point, I find it hilarious that Springer — who has made a fortune off of his exploitation of damaged and deviant people — thinks I’m the elitist (though I have no problem with being one). But I’m working from the assumption that most Ohio residents are smart enough to see through his schtick. While he actually thinks they’re dumb enough to fall for it. So once again he’s looking to exploit the little guy for his own career.

Chaplain Chutzpah



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This is and “oldie” making the rounds. Not your average opening prayer.

Marriage, Catholic Style



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With the gay marriage (and, as per Kinsley, the overall marriage) debate raging,
it’s worth pausing over the new statistics about the state of marriage in the
Catholic church today. The recently released Official Catholic Directory notes
that there were almost 15,000 fewer marriages in the church in 2002 than in 2001 (which, in turn, saw about 12,500 fewer than in 2000). Now, obviously,
demographics plays a part, and some Catholic couples are marrying in civil
ceremonies. Yet I can’t
shake the feeling that a lot of this decrease has something to do with the
increase in cohabitation, especially among the young.

As Bill Bennett noted in his bookThe Broken Hearth , “The . . . task
is to publicly reaffirm the centrality of the family and reestablish cultural
strictures against its dissolution. In America, one institution can do this
more effectively than any other: Christian churches, to which more than sixty
percent of the American people belong.” Unfortunately, as Bennett also notes,
too many churches are silent about these issues.

Re: Ah College



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From a reader:


Mr. Goldberg

As a college perfesser myself, your comments about the wimpishness of college authorities rang true. I think of the Dean in ‘Ghostbusters’ who, while throwing Bill Murray out of his lab, accuses him of treating science as a “dodge”. The scene always struck me as wildly unrealistic. Not because academia isn’t full of scamsters; it is! But because no dean these days would have the cojones to accuse one of his faculty of intellectual dishonesty or incompetence. He would have had to wait ’til the scandal stank so high that he had to fire the guy for, say, sexual harassment.

No one here is ever allowed to judge another colleague’s ideas on their merits.

Ah, College (Cont.)



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Jonah, that same administrator did point out that the prof’s assignment “clearly is a violation of our board policies.” To which one can only respond, well, thank goodness for board policies.

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