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Boster-300x168

We told you yesterday how Boster’s bloviating was the fruit of Herbst’s hectoring. Now, according to The Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut has put out the following statement:

Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses. At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and a confrontational posture are inconsistent with UConn’s values.

That’s it? No condemnation of Boster getting students to chant “Praise Darwin?”

The University is showing a dearth of analytical skills–something noble institutions propose to instruct–to conclude that Coach Jones’ telling the media that “Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle” was prohibited activity but Professor Boster’s public invocation directly to students to “Praise Darwin!” and to “feel your spiritual kinship not just with other humans, but also with your fellow mammals” . . . was not. The University is pandering in an abuse of reason, something they profess to uphold, when they promote one Professor’s slavish devotion to the book of Darwin and secularism over another staff member’s expressed faith.

We must conclude that it is Christianity that President Herbst finds so disgusting as to ban it from the huddle, while permitting such obvious proselytizing by Professor Boster in public, without rebuke to content. Is this is the “clear message” they intend to send to staff and students?

Nutty Professor

Some headlines write themselves, but the first person to commit them to print goes down in legend. For instance, Mel Blanc’s epitaph: “That’s all, folks.” I wish I had been responsible for “UConn Professor Goes Ape.” That’s precisely what happened as UConn’s James Boster publicly disgraced himself, becoming flat-out belligerent toward an anti-evolution demonstrator. See the video here.

The Wolfgangs have their own nifty title here. And this being the second incident of its kind, I do hope our friends in the legislature will call out Professor Boster with the same vehemence they did Professor Terry.

Fortunately for my fame and posterity, Boster’s performance invites comparison to film’s Nutty Professor – or, more specifically, the Professor’s testosterone-soaked alter ego. A word of advice to Dr. Boster: assuming that this is not in fact the real you, next time, leave Buddy at home…preferably under lock and key. This ain’t a Hollywood stage, and you’re no Jerry Lewis or Eddie Murphy!

At the point when you resort to bellowing, shaking your fists, and shouting obscenities, you’ve not only lost – you’ve become a spectacle. I’m reminded of my experience at 40 Days for Life when a man got in my face, called me a “retard,” and (irony is always lost on such individuals!) lectured me about women’s rights as I stood in a public place holding a pretty tame sign.

As Boster’s revivalist zeal draws a crowd, one gets a sense from the students’ nervous tittering while they humor his shouts of “Praise Darwin” that they are, in fact, laughing at the man and not with him. They don’t need a gray beard or PhD to recognize an immature, unbecoming tantrum. That’s both encouraging and sad. They probably are also highly aware that stuff like this hits Youtube or Facebook in mere minutes.

Here at FIC, we know that evolution is a hotly debated topic. Personally, witnessing this exchange, I come away sympathetic to the man with the sign – the man who maintains a calm, reasonable decibel level – regardless of what the facts are or aren’t. Nobody should be subject to this kind of abuse anywhere, let alone on a college campus, for expressing an opinion. It’s absolutely chilling. Unfortunately, our pro-life, pro-marriage friends know this is all too common. In addition to my experience, our Executive Director has fielded numerous colorful threats over the years.

What more can I say about this? I think I’ll summarize with the timeless wit of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin: Do you believe in evolution?
Hobbes: No.
Calvin: You don’t think humans evolved from monkeys?
Hobbes: I sure don’t see any difference.

Boster-300x168

You may have missed the news Tuesday, University of Connecticut professor James Boster, a devout secularist, routed “heretics” on campus who questioned The Origin of Species as not being sola scriptura, and much “praise” was given to Darwin. . . literally.

Regardless of who they were, this lack of respect toward dissenting views by staff on campus is surely the fruit of UConn President Susan Herbst’s prolonged and excessive public preaching against Football Assistant Coach Earnest Jones’ statement in January that “Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle”.  Coach Jones later recanted and resigned.

I wonder if President Herbst will similarly condemn Professor Boster’s endorsement and advocacy of a particular philosophy on campus . . .which has clearly taken on a spiritual dimension, whereas he encouraged visitors to “accept Darwin” as their “Lord and Savior” and in his interaction with students intoned them to say “Amen” – and some did.

We at FIC don’t condemn Professor Boster . . .we encourage his open-air preachings and hope with continued light, allegiances can be revealed and truth can be discerned. After all, a college campus should be a place where all ideas are welcome . . .not just those that conform to liberal dogma.

Pig mud

“He who slings mud generally loses ground.” – Adlai Stevenson

I don’t need to go looking for outrage. Therefore, I am not a regular reader of Huffington Post. Because I’m on Facebook, outrage comes right to me. I am often chagrined, though not entirely surprised at what passes for a stunning, righteous exposé, when it is really a desperate, logically weak hit piece.

At issue are Hobby Lobby’s investment ties to Pfizer and Teva, pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptive drugs and devices, and also to major health insurance companies Aetna and Humana. Mother Jones, the originator of the story, admits that

MorningStar, an investment research firm, provided Mother Jones with the names of the companies in nine of those funds as of December 31, 2012. Each fund’s portfolio consists of at least dozens if not hundreds of different holdings.

This is why people outsource their portfolio management, especially if they’re no Warren Buffett.

I try to be a mindful, responsible consumer. It can be extremely difficult to the point of mental paralysis. Does the name Foxconn ring a bell? If you own a computer, you are probably remotely tied to Third World slave labor. Unfortunately the alternative handicaps one’s ability to function in modern society. It is impractical if not impossible to eliminate every taint of evil from our purchasing decisions — it would require us to live essentially like John the Baptist, wearing camel hair (ethically sourced!), subsisting on locusts (organic!). He is a hero and role model to me in many ways, but frankly, most of us aren’t called to the austerity of a desert hermit.

The average person is engaged in some degree of compromise. My job is to share information, not to lambast friends for drinking Starbucks coffee, eating Girl Scout cookies, shopping at Wal-Mart, and so on. I have certain big-name debit card for my humble funds, because in my neighborhood one can’t spit without hitting one of their ATMs. Why would I hold anyone else to a standard too absurd for me?

That’s insane. Naturally, it is exactly what HuffPo and Mother Jones expect from Hobby Lobby. If I dug deeply enough, I’m confident I could uncover filthy associations on their end, too. We find what we look for; I suppose they count on a lack of scrutiny. HuffPo has already shown a breathless credulity toward any story that makes same-sex “marriage” opponents look bad — even if it is a complete (and, to any skeptic, transparent) fabrication. Mother Jones implies that, because conservative Christian investment firms exist, Hobby Lobby has done actual wrong by – hint, hint – not availing itself. But possessing information does not always constitute an obligation to act on it in a specific way, or even to care.

So, Where to Draw the Line?

I’ve agonized over the investment problem myself, causing me some delay in setting up an account, always thinking I’d figure it out later. Perhaps not the best plan. In Hobby Lobby’s case, is there a proportionate good to be gained by divesting Pfizer and Teva, who produce literally hundreds of drugs — some of them lifesaving, many of them far bigger sellers than any contraceptive/abortifacient (in fact, I have looked at two recent, long lists of top-selling drugs and have yet to see those classes represented at all)? Or Aetna and Humana, two insurance giants? I might be inclined to say yes, but I can’t answer for Hobby Lobby. Only Hobby Lobby can.

The HHS mandate differs substantively in degree and in kind from paying taxes into a general fund or diversifying investments, a point perpetually lost on the HuffPos and MoJos who are so desperate to throw anything at the wall that might stick. It is direct; it is coercive; it leaves no doubt about where the money goes; and, most frustrating of all, it is unnecessary. If it stays, the First Amendment is not worth the paper it was written on.

Meanwhile in Connecticut…

Mrs. Richard Blumenthal, in a mass e-mail, has latched onto the Hobby Lobby case as an excuse to plug the ever-obstinate Senator’s “Women’s Health Protection Act,” more accurately called the “Unrestricted Abortion Protection Act.” HuffPo & MoJo at least have the vigor to try digging up fresh dirt; the Blumenthals rehash the same canned talking points about “access,” “telling women what to do with their bodies,” “personal decisions between women and doctors,” yada yada yada…similar to what I received in one of the most un-politic of responses when I pleaded with him in favor of the Blunt Amendment. Am I held in contempt? What, am I not a woman and a constituent? I know for a fact I’m not the only one, and the pro-life movement is aging in reverse like Benjamin Button. Love us, hate us — you can’t ignore us forever, Senator.

Mozilla Madness

Mozilla-Firefox-638x358

Yet another same-sex “marriage”-related boycott is in the news.

To be clear up front, I’m down with boycotts, conceptually; however, I’m happy to offer my cynical observations on particular boycotts and their apparent motivation. For instance: New York City mayor DeBlasio’s refusal to attend the St. Patrick’s Day parade because the organizers of that privately-run event will allow everyone to participate, but not to hijack it to serve a personal platform – a right they have defended in the nation’s highest court and retain under the First Amendment. DeBlasio, insistent on seeing a minority rights or free speech issue where none exists, makes himself look like more of a petty purist than Giuliani or Bloomberg, one who inexplicably lacks enough real problems while running a city of 8 million people.

Enter, now, the dating site OkCupid. They’re willing to throw the web browser Firefox, tied with Google Chrome for second place in popularity at about 17% market share (they’re lucky it wasn’t Internet Explorer at nearly 60%), under the bus for the sake of 8% of couples who meet using their website, all because Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich donated money to support Proposition 8. Always the skeptic, I note that their statement doesn’t actually say that these couples are “married,” but they claim anyway that these “relationships” would become “illegal” if Eich had his way…details, details.

To their methods I say, “Whatever. That’s your risk to take, if you think it’ll work out for you.” I don’t think it will, not least of all because they come off as bossy toward users who don’t pay to use a browser and in all likelihood don’t give a hoot about anything but their web surfing experience. I ditched Google search in favor of charity-supporting Goodsearch a while back, but realistically, I just don’t expect that of everyone.

So what am I criticizing? Quite simply, their allegation that anyone with the audacity to disagree with their stance does so out of the fanatical desire to make innocent people miserable — to “deny love,” whatever “love,” that twisting mirage, happens to mean in the current zeitgeist! This is utterly toxic demagoguery.

But wait! Lest you think Mozilla will strongly assert itself, its spokespeople are anxiously performing the sacrificial dance of appeasement. They do seem a bit miffed that OkCupid didn’t reach out to get the facts straight, but those facts consist of already doing contortions to please their overlords. They’re enthralled. We’ve seen the circular firing squad before, notably in the case of Barilla Pasta. There is hardly a more pathetic routine.

I really wish I could pick a sympathetic party in such stories. Understandably, many businesses are cowed by such a militant lobby, and they need support. It’s about time more of them demonstrated a little backbone, though, because if allowed to run rampant this will only get worse…to the detriment of all.

Regarding Rowland

John Rowland

I haven’t said anything about John Rowland this week because I felt like I already said it all here.

Rowland leaving WTIC under a cloud of scandal does not harm conservatism (he was never much of a conservative) but it does harm the good done by his very-public conversion. I don’t mean his conversion from Catholic to Protestant (he was never much of a Catholic either) but from worldly politician to a living faith in Jesus Christ. Rowland’s weaknesses are not mine, but I have others. We all do. I am praying for greater holiness for him, for me, for all of us…and that those of us who represent the faith in a public way do no harm to the cause of Christ.

sambaileyloomis

[Sam Bailey-Loomis is President and founder of Branford High School Students for Life & Students for Life of Branford ~ PW]

Being an abortion abolitionist is no easy task. I can confidently say that abolitionists from all walks of life can agree. However, when people ask me why I do what I do, my only response is: “If we don’t, who will?”. Then they typically ask if it is all worth it. In my head, my answer is multifaceted, however, the one word that sums it all up is ‘yes’ of course.

I am the president and founder of Branford High School Students for Life. Our group just had our one year anniversary, and I cannot express how proud I am of all the courageous abolitionists in my group & what we have achieved. We all have suffered through great discrimination, bullying, and oppression from students at BHS, from administration, and people in the community.

For those of you who hadn’t heard about the latest news that included our group, or for those of you who haven’t been following it all, our group just had a magnificent victory in the life movement. Originally, our group had proposed 3 main events to our high school principal, Lee Panagoulias, which included “clip-boarding”, handing out literature, and featuring a display which included gestational images and life sized fetal models during the school day. All three of these events were rejected on the term of these events being “too controversial”.

This is not the first time we have had discrimination issues with our high school. This event was the final thread. So, our group contacted and worked alongside Matthew Sharp from ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom), to ensure that our first amendment rights of speech and expression were protected.

After much relaying from our resources and that of the Branford Public School system, their people had concluded that we DO have the right to clipboard, hand out literature, and have a display in school, and the high school administration would not limit us from doing any of these things.

Not only will our group remain constitutionally protected from this point on, but we will also make a huge impact on the student body at BHS. Our sexual education program at the high school is, in part, sponsored by Planned Parenthood. Students are taught about contraceptives, and even referenced to Planned Parenthood (even if students don’t want mom and dad to know they are visiting Planned “Parenthood”). However, not once are we told what will happen if contraceptives fail, or if students do not save themselves for marriage.

BHSSFL is the voice for what happens after contraceptives fail. We will now be able to provide information, resources, and empower students in the high school with the things they need to be informed about human life and the alternatives to abortion, which many teenagers indeed choose to commit.

I would like to encourage those who are students themselves (in public schools, private schools, and even homeschool) to engage in the pro-life movement, and even start your own pro-life group or club. It is crucial for us as abortion abolitionists to provide information and set an example for life among our youth. You could literally save someone’s life. Also, reach out to your community and your local parishes. The pro-life community is massive, and full of love and support.

My love goes out to everyone in my worldwide pro-life family. Press on, fellow abortion abolitionists.

Mycroft facepalm meme

I was doing research online the other day and managed to trigger a pop-up ad “Sponsored by Compassion and Choices” (formerly the Hemlock Society), the well-funded group behind the push to legalize assisted suicide. I won’t reproduce the ad here, although I made sure to take a screenshot, but it’s a fairly sophisticated ad with a picture and quote from Stephen Hawking above some text and an e-mail sign-up form. There were two things I found startling about it: first of all, it claims that

Death-with-dignity opponents will stop at nothing to prevent choice at end of life, even calling Hawking “stupid.”

Groan. Yeah, that’s it. We want dying people to have no dignity and no choices…is my sarcasm coming across loudly enough?

Second, it mentions Connecticut. Openly, specifically, by name.

If you are thinking “What the…?” you are not alone.

Back in September of last year, Hawking did a 180 on his previously-held position against assisted suicide. C&C gushed over his fame as if the unified opposition of at least 15 advocacy groups for people with disabilities* meant nothing. I couldn’t remember who would have called him stupid, though (and had to figure it out myself, since they ever-so-helpfully provided no citation). After poking around the webs a bit, I concluded that they meant this piece by Stephen Drake of Not Dead Yet.

Now, come on. If you’re going to argue that Drake called Hawking stupid, you have to concede that Drake first called him a genius. While it may be too fine a distinction for C&C, I think average folks recognize that brilliant people can say, think, and do stupid things. In fact, most of us can humbly admit that we have had our own share of folly.

It is our understanding that Drake himself will respond in the due course of time, and we would be happy to share his response when it becomes available.

Now that we’ve cleared up once and for all the difference between persons and ideas, what in the heck does any of this have to do with the upcoming hearing on H.B. 5326, or with the myriad objections to it that can be raised?

The answer is…nothing. It’s a complete red herring meant to smear legitimate opposition, rile people up and become a distraction from the real issues. Tactics like this are born out of the weakness of one’s position — but this is what we have come to expect from an out-of-state, astroturf organization that has already spent $65,000 on advertising in a little over a year, according to documents that the Office of State Ethics makes available online.

Let’s stay focused and send C&C a message that we don’t buy what they’re selling. If they are willing to mislead the public about something this simple, why trust them on matters of life and death?

*Second Thoughts-CT fact sheet

Green carpet-1

astroturfing
the act of creating a small organization and making it appear to represent something popular for the purpose of promoting a particular entity, cause, etc. (a play on grassroots in the sense of a popular movement originating among the common people, ultimately from AstroTurf, a brand of artificial grass) – urbandictionary.com

In keeping with the theme of today’s post, we can confirm that our Public Health Committee will hear testimony on the assisted suicide bill, H.B. 5326, on St. Patrick’s Day.

Compassion & Choices – formerly known by its more colorful (and more honest) moniker The Hemlock Society – is the major organization promoting assisted suicide. For the past six months, this well-funded out-of-state group has been holding screenings of the film “How to Die in Oregon” around Connecticut, trying to gin up petition signatures and the appearance of an authentic movement. Recently, they made it very convenient for me to crash one of these screenings by having it at a location minutes from FIC’s Hartford office. I have the ticket stub to prove it.

Stub-1

Parts of the morbid and sometimes macabre film left me pretty creeped out, but C&C’s choice of venue was a different kind of eye-opener. The theater seats 150. By my count, taken at several intervals, there were no more than 25 people there – and surely fewer new recruits to the cause, since one of those people was established activist Ilene Kaplan, and one was me. A theater that size with such a dearth of patrons looks a bit like this:

Ghost town-1

The embarrassment doesn’t end there. Just as one must break a few eggs to make an omelet, it takes money to feign “momentum.” What was the cost of this disappointing turnout? Based on my own inquiry using my real name, real e-mail address, truthful information and totally legitimate premises, I have reason to believe our opponents spent twelve hundred dollars or about $50 a head for a two-hour, prime Saturday afternoon spot. Believe it or not, that includes their break for being a nonprofit. Perhaps it’s a drop in the bucket to an organization whose major donor has a net worth of $23 billion, but this is exactly the kind of money a genuine grassroots movement doesn’t usually have to waste.

Take a moment to imagine how you would have used $1200 to help improve the situation for people who are sick. Are you turning green, or seeing red?

noHB5326

As you know from FIC Action’s email alerts, the Public Health Committee has until Friday, March 28th to vote on HB 5326, the Assisted Suicide bill. Please contact the members of the Committee and ask them to vote NO on HB 5326.

You can use FIC Action’s two fact sheets on the dangers of Assisted Suicide in general and the dangers of HB 5326 in particular. Below is an UPDATED list with the Committee members’ DIRECT contact information (or their legislative aides).

PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Name: Gerratana, Terry  Email: Gerratana@senatedems.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0584
Name: Slossberg, Gayle  Email: Slossberg@senatedems.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0482
Name: Musto, Anthony  Email: Musto@senatedems.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0498
Name: Holder-Winfield, Gary  Email: Holder-Winfield@senatedems.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0393
Name: Welch, Jason  Email: Jason.Welch@cga.ct.gov Phone: (860) 240-0567
Name: Kane, Robert  Email: Rob.Kane@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8875
Name: Johnson, Susan  Email: Susan.Johnson@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8378
Name: Miller, Philip  Email: Philip.Miller@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8378
Name: Alexander, David  Email: David.Alexander@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0182
Name: Arconti, David  Email: David.Arconti@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0182
Name: Cook, Michelle  Email: Michelle.Cook@cga.ct.gov Phone: (860) 240-1467
Name: Conroy, Theresa  Email: Theresa.Conroy@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0082
Name: Demicco, Mike  Email: Mike.Demicco@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8532
Name: Maroney, James  Email: James.Maroney@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8583
Name: Riley, Emmett  Email: Emmett.Riley@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8583
Name: Ryan, Kevin  Email: Kevin.Ryan@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8458
Name: Sayers, Peggy  Email: Peggy.Sayers@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8531
Name: Tercyak, Peter  Email: Peter.Tercyak@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8387
Name: Widlitz, Patricia  Email: Patricia.Widlitz@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-0464
Name: Zoni, David  Email: David.Zoni@cga.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8542
Name: Srinivasan, Prasad  Email: Prasad.Srinivasan@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8734
Name: Betts, Whit  Email: Whit.Betts@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8398
Name: Davis, Christopher  Email: Christopher.Davis@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8725
Name: Hovey, DebraLee  Email: DebraLee.Hovey@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8723
Name: Klarides, Themis  Email: Themis.Klarides@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8718
Name: Perillo, Jason  Email: Jason.Perillo@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8389
Name: Scribner, David  Email: David.Scribner@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8718
Name: Ziobron, Melissa  Email: Melissa.Ziobron@housegop.ct.gov  Phone: (860) 240-8725

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