Sincere Beliefs

I have no doubt that Christian conservatives do feel limited by other people’s rights. There is that saying, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” Christian conservatives are arguing that they should be able to punch you in the nose if that desire to punch you in the nose is sincerely held.

— Amanda Marcotte, How Conservatives Hijacked ‘Religious Freedom’

This week’s featured posts are “The 2016 Stump Speeches: Introducing the Series“, “The 2016 Stump Speeches: Ted Cruz“, and “Religious Freedom: Colorado’s sensible middle way“.

This week everybody was still talking about “religious freedom”

Indiana passed a “clarification” of last week’s “religious freedom” law:

The fix provides that Indiana’s RFRA does not authorize businesses “to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodation, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public” on the basis of a list of protected traits that includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Another provision provides that the state’s RFRA law does not “establish a defense to a civil action or criminal prosecution” brought against someone who engages in such discrimination.

So it rolls back the worst of the new law, but in no case does it do any more than restore the status quo. Arkansas likewise watered down the RFRA it passed last week, though I’m not clear on the details.


I started to do a short explanation of how I think First Amendment rights should balance against gay rights, but it got out of hand so I turned it into its own article.


Bigotry can be profitable! That Indiana pizza shop has collected over $800K in donations, while the Oregon florist that was fined $1K has gotten $85K to help pay it.


CNN’s conversation with several florists in rural Georgia implicitly pointed out one of the holes in conservative Christian theology: They treat homosexuality as a more serious sin than just about anything else, when there’s no Biblical justification for doing so. There are a handful of verses in the Bible against homosexuality, but the idea that it’s worse than other common sins — premarital sex, say — is not Biblical.

and a nuclear deal with Iran

Or at least the framework of a deal that both sides are committed to finishing by the end of June.

Salon’s Jim Newell suggests that any politician who wants to renounce the deal be asked what they’d do next. He lists the realistic options he sees:

(1) sitting around and hoping that some magical unicorns swoop into Iran, topple its regime, and put in place a United States puppet government or (2) bombing Iran.

Rachel Maddow did a good job of summarizing the technical details involved, and why they matter.

Steve Benen discusses the plans in Congress to sabotage the deal.

and a massacre in Kenya

The al-Shabab terrorist group killed 148 people in an attack on a university.

and you also might be interested in …

Thursday will be the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender, which effectively ended the Civil War. Brian Beutler makes a modest proposal, which I endorse:

to mark the occasion, the federal government should make two modest changes: It should make April 9 a federal holiday; and it should commit to disavowing or renaming monuments to the Confederacy, and its leaders, that receive direct federal support.


The Bob Menendez corruption case demonstrates the kind of corruption that Justice Kennedy didn’t think would be an issue.


Who’re the oldest “people” in the United States? Corporate people. The oldest ones just turned 129.


11 Atlanta educators were convicted in a plot to raise test scores through cheating. 178 teachers and principals were involved, and 35 were indicted, with most negotiating guilty pleas to lesser charges.

This case exposes an important flaw in the high-stakes-testing approach to education, in which the futures of everyone from students and teachers to mayors and governors ride on test scores. Literally everyone in the system has a motive to cheat, and no one has a motive to catch cheaters. According to the NYT:

Evidence of systemic cheating has emerged in as many as a dozen places across the country, and protests in Chicago, New York City, Seattle, across Texas and elsewhere represent a growing backlash among educators and parents against high-stakes testing.

So if you’re going to do testing right, you need an independent testing bureaucracy, with its own employees and budget. And once you figure in the cost of that, I think the whole scheme might become impractical.


Here’s another Indiana law that should give people pause: After taking drugs to induce a miscarriage, a woman was convicted of “feticide” and sentenced to 20 years.


While we’re all waiting to see if the Supreme Court monkey-wrenches ObamaCare, it just did some serious damage to Medicaid.

and let’s close with a taste of things to come

Comedy Central has announced Jon Stewart’s successor as host of The Daily Show: South African comic Trevor Noah. In spite of some early problems, this could be good:

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: