Sunday, March 09, 2014
Attend your neighborhood Utah caucus meeting. This is your opportunity to participate in local politics, at the grass roots level.
20 March 7:00 PM.
If you don't know where the meeting is in your neighborhood, look it up...
If you are registered with the Utah Republican Party
If you are registered with the Utah Democratic Party
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
In a back-page article, the Deseret News gives notice that an EU court has ruled that the LDS Temple in Preston England will no longer be considered as a "public place of worship", and will be subject to a tax as other such private organizations.
The rationale for tax exemption stems from the idea that social governments have a vested interest in the perpetuation of organizations that promote the welfare of members of society. This is generally viewed as a relative furthering of the interest of government.
In this instance, the EU court apparently ruled that a private place of worship, even if it is property of a charitable religious organization, must be subject to taxation because it is not open to public access. Entry to LDS Temples requires a Temple Recommend, which is available to worthy members.
The basis for this court ruling is tortured logic at best. It is probably indicative of a government that is desperate for any source of tax revenue.
Certainly there must be many examples of private business that operates as a charity, yet maintains places of private activity in premises that are not open to the public. The right to privacy is an essential feature of property rights. Categorizing tax status according to who has access to private facilities is a bizarre legalistic nuance.
As the fostering and participation in religious organizations wanes in Europe, it is likely that other such finely legalistic manipulations will come into play. Apparently European government no longer feels obligated to consider religious organization as contributing to the general welfare or of any worth that distinguishes from any other enterprise.
This legal decision would not really seem to represent a great liability to the LDS Church, but it is probably a significant reflection of the future of interaction between secular government and religion in the EU. Sadly, a little bit of tax revenue now seems a more important consideration.
It would be interesting to see a list of what the EU governments still consider as fully tax-exempt properties.
I have never been to the Preston Temple, but I have visited a number of LDS Temples in the US. They generally feature a common room to accomodate non-members visiting the Temple, but not participating in Temple ordinances. So formally, it is probably not even true that Temples do not allow "public access".
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Resistance is Futile. You will be assimilated...
According to popularity surveys, the idea of "same-sex marriage" is gaining public approval. This attitude reportedly represents the changing tide of public acceptance, which by most accounts, amounts to a rather euphoric sense of inevitability.
You're about to be assimilated. Why fight it?
It is evident that the predators can smell the blood in the water. It excites them. The feeding frenzy ensues.
Personally, I find the idea of assimilation to be rather distasteful. I would rather fancy myself as capable of forming my own opinions, regardless of the popularity of certain ideas. So I consistently resist the suggestion of any compulsion by the ebb and flow of the thundering herd. Notwithstanding, I am not into absorbing personal punishment without reason. I stand aside for the passage of the thundering herd, purely out of respect for preponderance. Though I tend not to conform with popularity, I see no need to get trampled.
Someone whose opinion I respect carries more weight than any popular survey or public opinion poll. Thomas S. Monson counseled for seeking confirmation from God to help us bear up the courage of our convictions.
It is this sweet assurance that can guide you and me—in our time, in our day, in our lives. Of course, we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but also as a determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well. (The Call for Courage)Maybe it is foolish, perhaps resistance is futile. But until I am informed by a more authoritative source than popularity, I will continue to stand for principle, trying to defend the causes I believe are right and good.
That does not necessarily mean always opposing what is popular. It means thoughtfully promoting what I believe to be right, regardless of what the latest popular survey says.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
For his insensitive satire of the new Facebook Genderbread categories, comedian Stephen Colbert faces media criticism. Oh, what a shock.
Some are complaining that Colbert's treatment of the new Facebook concession to "gender identity" is just "nasty". To me it comes across as a hilarious romp, all the funnier because of its accuracy in characterizing the ridiculous extremes this issue has drawn us into.
Nasty - strangely enough, that's what most of us have been trying to explain about our reaction to homosexual behavior for many years.
Wondering what to feel about Arizona storms raging in the media? Once again, a NYTimes column dispels any confusion. We are left with no doubt about the most popular politically-correct doctrine of the time. Continuing the trend of popular media misrepresentation, the NYTimes sorta helps out.
Though perhaps it remains to be seen who these "morans" might be.
We understand by the blessing of such NYTimes wisdom that those miserable Arizona Congress critters, abandoning the sinking ship of desecrating sacred "gay rights", have pivoted, now busy aiming their impotent guns of discrimination against another sacred sacrament, compromising the freedom of abortion clinics.
And here you were thinking that Arizona is just a political backwater of no consequence to Real Important People of the NYTimes. Arizona's obvious purpose for existence is to provide fodder for NYTimes readers to fashionably deplore.
Now we really KNOW how to engage in public ridicule of the unenlightened and intolerant. With all the authority and sensitivity of the NYTimes.
We of the benighted regions should perhaps just shuffle back into our caves, drink the haute Kool-aid, and shut up. For those who need permission, you know now what to think. Be glad that the NYTimes, true source of all benevolence and virtue, has deigned to take notice.
Resistance is futile. So the Borg has spoken.
Nothing new here, but an interesting perspective on the Arizona "anti-gay" bill, now that it has been properly vetoed and laid to rest with a stake in its heart, along with all other such bigoted discrimination. We know it was only calculated to promote the posting of still more of those pernicious "NO GAYS ALLOWED" signs that we see in Arizona businesses all over the state. Because most of the media coverage told us so.
The article makes a good case for characterizing public perception, especially as it is so strongly steered by the media today. A headline in the NY Times is worth far more toward coloring public sentiment than all the apologetic posts that were ever written.
In fact, the Arizona bill was similar to legislation that is proposed or already enacted in several other states.
It basically repackaged the ideas embodied in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and made them applicable to the State of Arizona. Remarkably, the original RFRA was sponsored by Chuck Schumer, was nearly unanimously approved in the Congress, and was signed by President Clinton in 1993.
So, is the federal legislation also "anti-gay"? Could it be an example of federally-based "Jim Crow"?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Utah legislators conduct tear-jerker hearing.
Photos of other men expressing similar sentiments.
Members of Utah Congress heard pathetic stories of sad Utahns who have been insulted, fired from their jobs and felt unable to make a decent life because they are "gay".
I am not without feeling. But a photo-op of one of the attendees at the hearing, apparently caught wiping a tear from the corner of his eye, just might approach maudlin. And it certainly represents the degree of calculated cynicism exhibited by the typical media reporting of these events.
It approaches melodramatic proportions where this is no longer staging a demonstration, it is a performance piece. Victims on parade. And bleeding hearts reporting it.
What kinds of gestures will it take to satisfy homosexual advocates in Utah that they have made their point?
I get it. People are getting their feelings hurt, subjected to hearing of discouraging words, and worse. This is belaboring the point.
And now what you do shouts so loudly in my ears, I can't hear a word you're saying any more.
Is the US facing the threat of Balkanization? Have we become so polarized that debate in the public square becomes just another recitation of charges to shout past each other?
I have no defense against the accusation that a few people in the state of Utah are perpetrating harm and malicious acts and denigration against social misfits. Since I am personally handicapped and have suffered all kinds of resulting discrimination myself, I have no reason to deny that such things happen. Sometimes people park in the blue spot that are clearly not among those designated for such accommodation. I have considered reporting this to police, but I suppose cops really have better ways to spend their time. And balancing these few unfortunate episodes are countless gestures of kindness and good intentions from Utahns trying to be sensitive about my disabilities.
The question is, do I expect government regulation to come to the rescue in cases where nothing less than thought police will do? Have we reached a point where the priority of special rights for one group overrides the existing protection of rights for all others?
One of my friends participated in staging this production. I wonder if I should ask him for a copy of the script?
Transgender reassignment surgeries will be covered by an increasing number of insurance plans. Isn't that just such a comfort to know? If I happen to be out shopping, and should decide that I need to just pick up a bit of transgender surgery today, I will keep this in mind.
Because "gender identity" is such a serious thing these days, the mayor of DC has joined with others in recognizing "gender identity disorder" as a legitimate medical condition. Washington DC now joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon and Vermont in mandating insurance coverage for treatment of "gender identity disorder".
I admit I am confused all about this, because it seems to me like mental health professionals just got through revising their categorization of such things so that homosexual behavior cannot be treated as a psychiatric disorder. But now insurance coverage is mandated for treatment as a medical disorder?
The world is a mixed-up place.
Breitbart publishes correspondence from a coalition of law professors, claiming that the Arizona legislation is being "egregiously misrepresented".
This group of academics sent the letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer prior to her veto of the bill. From a law professor's perspective, the bill apparently represented "...a uniform standard to be interpreted and applied to individual cases".
The opposition to the bill does not seem to address this idea. It is uniformly characterized as "anti-gay discrimination" and "hateful bigotry". Most of the media coverage of this controversy seems narrowly focused on that idea.