Tag Archives: Communism

Federal appeals court rules that Christians can’t be forced to act like atheists

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

The state of Minnesota is one of the most progressive states in the union. A while back, they passed a law making it illegal for Christians to exercise free speech or religious liberty. For example, the atheists who run Minnesota wanted to force a Christian couple to operate their business as atheists. Or go to jail. So the Christian couple took them to court. They lost. Then they appealed.

The Daily Caller reports:

A federal appeals court has revived a legal challenge to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), ruling for the first time that religious business owners can invoke free speech rights when refusing to service a same-sex wedding.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Carl and Angel Larsen, a Christian couple who operate a video production company called Telescope Media Group. The Larsens want to expand their business to include weddings, but state officials say the MHRA requires the Larsens to accommodate both same-sex and opposite sex partners.

“Minnesota’s interpretation of the MHRA interferes with the Larsens’ speech in two overlapping ways,” Judge David Stras wrote for a divided three-judge panel. “First, it compels the Larsens to speak favorably about same-sex marriage if they choose to speak favorably about opposite-sex marriage. Second, it operates as a content-based regulation of their speech.”

[…]Elsewhere in the decision, Stras wrote that the MHRA regulates speech based on content, another violation. The majority said the safer course for the Larsens would be to avoid the wedding business altogether, a type of “compelled self-censorship” that violates free speech rights.

But the appeal decision was not unanimous. A radically-leftist Obama-appointed judge dissented:

“What they cannot do is operate a public accommodation that serves customers of one sexual orientation but not others. And make no mistake, that is what today’s decision affords them license to do.”

So, if you run a business in America, then the atheist judges who rule over you can compel you to run your business like an atheist.

I found a short 6-minute video of the couple on the ADF YouTube account:

I was thinking about this decision overnight, and wondering if atheists also can compel pro-life doctors or nurses to act like atheists against their consciences.

And the answer is yes – at least in states run by the Democrat party.

The Federalist explains:

The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has put the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) on notice after employees reported being forced to help with abortions against their moral objections.

A Catholic nurse at UVMMC was allegedly forced to assist with an elective abortion, despite previously telling her employer that she objects to participating in abortions for reasons of conscience. According to HHS’s investigation, the nurse was told she would be treating a patient who had experienced a miscarriage. When she walked into the procedure room, the doctor allegedly said to her, “Don’t hate me.” The nurse asked for a replacement, but was allegedly told no. The abortion was not an emergency procedure, but an elective one. Fearing losing her job, the nurse relented.

“This should never happen in America. There is room for disagreement on these issues without having to coerce people to choose between a career dedicated to supporting life versus instances or circumstances where they are being forced to take a life,” Roger Severino, head of HHS’s Office of Civil Rights, told reporters on Wednesday.

The hospital began performing elective abortions in 2017, but did not inform all employees, “many of which had already informed” the hospital of their objections to assisting in abortions, Severino said.

[…]UVMMC recently created a new policy that allows punishing staffers who refuse to participate in abortions when the hospital is short-staffed.

Vermont is, of course, a state dominated from top to bottom by the Democrat party.

When the state engages in barbarism, they are made uncomfortable by the presence of conscientious objectors. The easiest way to make those dissenters go away is to threaten them with starvation by taking their jobs. And if that doesn’t work, you can always go full fascist and move on to imprisonment, or execution. It would not be the first time these things have happened in regimes run by the secular left. In an accidental universe, where humans evolved by accident, there are no human rights, and no objective standard for how humans ought to act. Secular leftists are very sure of themselves, and they feel warranted in forcing their views on others. This sort of thing has happened many, many times in places where the political leaders had kicked God out of their minds.

How well is Canada’s “Medicare for All” health care working for patients?

Wait times in weeks (Source: Maclean's magazine)
Wait times for health care treatment in Canada (Source: Fraser institute)

I get into conversations about politics with my co-workers about who they like in the 2020 election. And I also ask them which particular policies of the candidates they like best. The one they like most is Medicare for All, with “for All” including illegal immigrants. When I ask them which country has got Medicare for All working, they say “Canada”. Let’s take a look at Canada’s health care system.

Here’s a nice article from Mona Charen, posted in TownHall.

She writes:

It’s true that all Canadian citizens and legal residents (though not immigrants there illegally) get “free” health care, but only in the sense that you don’t get a bill after seeing a doctor or visiting a hospital. Medical care is subsidized by taxes, but the price comes in another form as well — rationing. A 2018 report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, found that wait times between seeing a general practitioner and a specialist average 19.8 weeks. That’s the average. There are variations among specialties. Those hoping to see an orthopedist wait an average of 39 weeks in Nova Scotia, while those seeking an oncologist wait about 3.8 weeks.

[…]Imagine the anxiety of learning that you need an MRI to find out whether the mass in your breast is anything to worry about and then being told that the next available appointment is in 10 weeks. In addition to the psychic price, Canadians who had to wait for treatment expended an average of $1,822 out of pocket last year, due to lost wages and other costs. The Fraser Institute also calculated the value of the lost productivity of those waiting for treatment — nearly $5,600 per patient, totaling $5.8 billion nationally.

[…]When there’s an artificial shortage of a good or service, a black market usually follows. I have heard from several Canadians that paying doctors bribes to jump the line is not uncommon. But Canada has another pressure reliever: Ninety percent of Canadians live within 90 miles of the U.S. border, and medical centers in Buffalo, Chicago, Rochester and elsewhere receive tens of thousands of Canadian patients every year.

Regarding that last point, I’ve written many times about socialist politicians in Canada electing to travel to the United States for care, and that’s because (as you might expect) health care outcomes for Canadians are vastly inferior to health care outcomes for Americans. And keep in mind that the delay from specialist to GP does not take into account the delay to see the GP, or the delay from seeing the specialist to actually getting treatment.

And how much are Canadians spending for the privilege of waiting 19.8 weeks to see a specialist? Well, the average cost of Canadian health care is about $13,000 per household per year, paid through taxes. What that means is that people who work pay for all the health care being provided, including the health care for people who don’t work. But when it’s time to get treatment, those who pay the bills get in line behind those who don’t pay anything.

So how good is American health care? Maybe Canadians are waiting in line because their health care is so much better than ours.

American health care

One of the best health care policy experts writing today is Avik Roy, who writes for Forbes magazine.

Here is a recent column, which I think is useful for helping us all get better at debating health care policy.

Excerpt:

If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?

The United States came out number one, and you can click here to see the larger graph of the complete results.

Some people like to point out that the United States has a low life expectancy, but there’s a problem with those numbers.

The article continues:

Another point worth making is that people die for other reasons than health. For example, people die because of car accidents and violent crime. A few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.

It’s great that the Japanese eat more sushi than we do, and that they settle their arguments more peaceably. But these things don’t have anything to do with socialized medicine.

Finally, U.S. life-expectancy statistics are skewed by the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have one health-care system, but three: Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. (A fourth, the Obamacare exchanges, is supposed to go into effect in 2014.) As I have noted in the past, health outcomes for those on government-sponsored insurance are worse than for those on private insurance.

To my knowledge, no one has attempted to segregate U.S. life-expectancy figures by insurance status. But based on the data we have, it’s highly likely that those on private insurance have the best life expectancy, with Medicare patients in the middle, and the uninsured and Medicaid at the bottom.

If we’re going to discuss health care, then let’s discuss facts. We shouldn’t be picking a health care system from the campaign speeches of politicians who tell us that we can keep our doctor, and keep our health plan, and our premiums will go down. We tried electing a charismatic deceiver in 2008, and it didn’t work out. We lost our doctors, lost our health plans, and our premiums went up astronomically. We can do better than single-payer health care. We can do better than socialism.

Read or listen to F. A. Hayek’s classic book “The Road to Serfdom” for free

No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity
No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity

I want to recommend to everyone a famous book about how socialism leads to mass murder by government. The book is written by Nobel prize winner F. A. Hayek. This is one of my favorite books on economics. The full PDF of the book is available for download on archive.org.

The audio version is available FOR FREE on YouTube:

Outline:

  • 00:17 Foreword
  • 37:58 Preface
  • 41:51 Preface 1976
  • 50:09 Introduction
  • 1:08:46 Ch1 The Abandoned Road
  • 1:37:31 Ch2 The Great Utopia
  • 1:54:46 Ch3 Individualism and Collectivism
  • 2:18:32 Ch4 The Inevitability of Planning
  • 2:45:52 Ch5 Planning and Democracy
  • 3:20:06 Ch6 Planning and the Rule of Law
  • 3:54:33 Ch7 Economic Control and Totalitarianism
  • 4:23:01 Ch8 Who, Whom
  • 5:00:49 Ch9 Security and Freedom
  • 5:31:27 Ch10 Why the Worst Get On Top
  • 6:11:01 Ch11 The End of Truth
  • 6:38:41 Ch12 The Socialist Roots of Nazism
  • 7:09:40 Ch13 The Totalitarians in Our Midst
  • 7:54:43 Ch14 Material Conditions and Ideal Ends
  • 8:33:17 Ch15 The Prospects of International Order
  • 9:14:55 Ch16 Conclusion

All you need is 8.5 hours to listen to it. You won’t regret it, I promise. I have listened to the audiobook at least a dozen times. If that’s too long, there is a condensed version of the book.

They Hayek Center talks about condensed version of the book:

Max Eastman and the editors of Reader’s Digest wrote the condensed version of Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” (pdf), which was read by millions of Americans at home and by servicemen all of the world when it was published in April of 1945.  It was the Reader’s Digest condensed version which turned Hayek’s little book into an American sensation — and Hayek into a public celebrity.  The Reader’s Digest had a circulation at the time of more the 5 million copies, and the little journal was provided to each American serviceman, at home and abroad.

[…]An additional 600,000 copies of the condensed version were later printed and distributed through the Book of the Month club and by non-profit civic groups.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to live at a time where everyone clearly understood the danger of letting government administrators centrally plan an economy? But the new generation of young Americans have lost that knowledge, and they are voting for the people who will lead them down the road to serfdom.

Wayne Grudem debates Richard Glover on the Bible, poverty and foreign aid

Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win!
Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win!

A great episode of the Unbelievable podcast. This is a great debate. I really enjoyed it. All three speakers were excellent putting forward their points. It’s nice to hear an American voice, a British voice and an Australian voice debating an important issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Details:

Wayne Grudem is a theologian known for his conservative approach to both doctrine and economics. His new book “The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution” (co-authored with economist Barry Asmus) makes the case that pouring aid into developing countries is a failed strategy. Grudem debates whether the Bible supports free market, capitalist economics with Australian economist and theologian Richard Glover who wrote a critique of the book for the Australian Bible Society.

 The MP3 file is here.

Summary:

Grudem:

  • The Bible speaks to all of life, including economics, stewardship, government
  • The study of economics helps us to understand how to take care of the poor
  • My job is to apply the teachings of the Bible to all of life

Brierley:

  • What’s your thesis in the book?

Grudem:

  • A good system is one where the poor have the opportunity to earn and save from their labor
  • Book is a response to a Kenyan couple Grudem met at a London conference on business and Christianity
  • Book is not concerned with how individuals and groups can do charity to help the poor
  • Our church already does that and we support individuals and groups doing charity
  • The book is concerned with how should nations be transformed in order to grow economically
  • What should the laws, policies and cultural beliefs of a nation be in order for it to not be poor?
  • The book lists factors that have moved nations from poverty to prosperity in different times and places
  • The thesis of the book is this: government should set their people free to be able to produce more
  • We advocate freedom in economics: freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to start businesses
  • We believe that this free enterprise view is consistent with the Bible in a number of places
  • E.g. – private property is good for prosperity (thou shall not steal) but forbidden by communism

Brierley:

  • What about the church sharing in communities in Acts 2 and Acts 4?

Grudem:

  • That is not redistribution of wealth among individuals and businesses by a secular government
  • Those passages showed that there was voluntary sharing among Christians, which is not communism

Brierley:

  • What’s wrong with Grudem’s book?

Glover:

  • The book emphasizes the Bible and the goal is to help the poor in poor countries
  • Criticism 1: the book doesn’t engage with non-free-market perspectives on economics
  • Criticism 2: the book doesn’t survey all that the Bible says about economics

Brierly:

  • For 1) what is one of the views that is not considered?

Glover:

  • Jeffrey Sachs says that nations need a leg up before they can grow economically
  • Ha-Joon Chang says that free enterprise was not how the wealthy nations became wealthy

Grudem:

  • We do engage with other points of view, especially Jeffrey Sachs in the book
  • The trouble with leftist views on economic development is that it does not work in practice
  • NO COUNTRY has even been lifted out of poverty by foreign aid
  • He says we don’t cite enough from the wisdom literature: we have 64 citations in the index
  • He says we don’t cite enough from the gospels: we have 42 citations in the index
  • He says we don’t cite enough from the epistles: we cite 22 of 27 epistles in the index
  • Some economists won’t criticize cultural and moral values that hurt prosperity
  • As Christians, we think that moral and cultural values are part of the problem that needs solving

Brierley:

  • What about foreign aid?

Grudem:

  • Foreign aid doesn’t help: a lot of the money goes into government and rulers can be corrupt
  • Instead of encouraging people to start businesses, it tells people to go into government to get aid money
  • Economists (lists 3) are saying that foreign aid entrenches corrupt government in power, does no good

Brierley:

  • If it’s not working, should we keep doing it?

Glover:

  • When there is an immediate need, we should do it, even if it is not a long-term solution: we need both

Brierley:

  • Should we stop foreign aid completely?

Grudem:

  • Voluntary charitable giving from individuals and churches to help poor countries is good
  • Me and my co-author are both active on our church board that helps poor countries with urgent needs
  • Food and doctors are urgent needs, and we should help, but it doesn’t lift countries out of poverty
  • We need a long-term solution that helps poor countries produce their own food and doctors
  • We are criticizing 1) government to government aid and 2) IMF/World bank to government aid
  • We have had pushback because 500,000 people make a living from this foreign aid industry
  • No country has ever been lifted out of poverty into sustainable prosperity
  • That’s the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing that has never worked

Brierley:

  • Does the Bible support free enterprise as a way of creating sustainable prosperity?

Glover:

  • When I said the Bible was absent from his book, absent was a bad choice of words
  • But the hundreds of references he listed were not dealth with *in depth*
  • In the Scriptures, God is the one who provides (e.g. – in Ephesians, Sermon on the Mount)
  • The Bible is less focused on his people making money, and more focus on sharing basics, like food
  • Secular governments should just take it from people who have food and give it to hungry people
  • In 2 Cor 8-9, Paul talks about voluntary sharing so everyone will be equal

Brierley:

  • Does 2 Cor 8-9 undermine the free enterprise system you champion in the book?

Grudem:

  • The sharing in the Bible solves cases of urgent need, it does not lift countries from poverty to sustainable prosperity
  • Some older translations say “equality” in 2 Cor 8:13-14, but newer translations (e.g. – ESV) say “fairness”
  • The Greek word is translated as “fairly” the only other place it appears in the NT (Col 4:1), in every translation
  • God uses the means of human work and productivity to provide (daily bread is baked, doesn’t just fall from Heaven)
  • In general, there’s no provision in Scripture for a person to be dependent on donations for their entire lives
  • God promises Israel fields and mountains to tend and mine, but prosperity is from work, not depending on others

Brierley:

  • Does the Bible support this focus on work?

Grudem:

  • Working is highly praised in Scripture, (lists Bible passages that favor work over dependency)
  • Countries that were exposed to this notion of work and productivity have been more prosperous

Glover:

  • Jeffrey Sachs and other development economists don’t say you can be prosperous through dependence
  • They say that it is a necessary part of leading to nations out of poverty into poverty

Grudem:

  • It’s never worked. What nation has become prosperous through foreign aid?

Glover:

  • There are lots of nations, especially in Africa, where foreign aid has helped lift them out of poverty

Grudem:

  • Name one country in Africa where foreign aud has lifted them out of poverty into sustainable prosperity

Glover:

  • I can’t think of one right now.

Grudem:

  • Our book contains a map of Africa and we looked at every nation’s per capita income
  • No nation has been able to rise out of poverty through dependence on foreign aid
  • The only close one is Botswana, but they have abundant freedoms, Christian morals, less corrupt government
  • So Botswana is the best case and they became prosperous through becoming productive, not foreign aid

Brierley:

  • Is he right to say that charity is a short-term solution, but that it’s not good long-term for prosperity?

Glover:

  • Yes, and work is a very important focus in the Scriptures as he says.
  • But since the Fall work has been much harder, and may not have the outcomes that we would like

Grudem:

  • I also believe in emergency aid for when catastrophies happen, like floods and famines
  • But dependence on foreign aid enriches corrupt rulers and does not create the productivity that leads to sustained prosperity

Brierley:

  • Can foreign aid be used to give poor nations a leg up on becoming prosperous?

Grudem:

  • Dambisa Moyo, Oxford-educated economist from Zambia, says stop the aid, it’s doing more harm than good
  • Jeffrey Sachs’ view is that foreign aid hasn’t worked yet, but just keep trying a bit more
  • What works: limited government, rule of law, fair courts, documented property rights, low taxes, stable currency
  • People are creative and want to work, we just have to get government out of the way and let people work, earn and save

Brierley:

  • Is this free enterprise system supported by the Bible?

Glover:

  • The wealthy nations of the world did not become wealthy through productive work and free enterprise policies
  • Ha-Joon Chang: free enterprise policies have never brought a country from poverty to wealth
  • E.g. – wealth is created through tariffs (not by innovating and by economic freedom?)

Grudem:

  • I’ve read Ha-Joon Chang’s book, and his examples are very selective and limited
  • Index of Economic Freedom: the freest countries are the most prosperous, the least free countries are the most poor
  • When you look at macro data, instead of very selective examples, the free enterprise system is best for prosperity

Glover:

  • The book doesn’t do enough to engage with leftist economists (he doesn’t say which ones)
  • Just because nations who are free are rich, doesn’t mean freedom causes productivity
  • There are parts of the Bible that doesn’t support the free enterprise system (he names none)

Grudem:

  • The Bible is focused on work not dependency, and charity not government redistribution
  • The best way to help the poor in other countries is by encouraging work and productivity

UK police ignore underage sex-trafficking to focus on policing people’s thoughts

Scotland Police has time for monitoring social media
Scotland Police has time for monitoring social media

By now most people have heard about how gangs of Middle Eastern immigrants formed sex-trafficking rings in the UK. Some of the girls and/or their mothers went to the UK police for help, but the UK police wouldn’t do anything because the sex-traffickers were men of Middle Eastern descent. They didn’t want to be accused of “racism” for protecting underage fatherless white girls from gang-rape.

So, what are the UK police up to instead? Well, their top priority is policing people’s speech and even their thoughts.

The UK Daily Mail report on a recent incident:

A mother was arrested in front of her children and locked up for seven hours after referring to a transgender woman as a man online.

Three officers detained Kate Scottow at her home before quizzing her at a police station about an argument with an activist on Twitter over so-called ‘deadnaming’.

The 38-year-old, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, had her photograph, DNA and fingerprints taken and remains under investigation.

More than two months after her arrest on December 1, she has had neither her mobile phone or laptop returned…

[…]Writing on online forum Mumsnet, Mrs Scottow – who has also been served with a court order that bans her from referring to her accuser as a man – claimed: ‘I was arrested in my home by three officers, with my autistic ten-year-old daughter and breastfed 20-month-old son present.

‘I was then detained for seven hours in a cell with no sanitary products (which I said I needed) before being interviewed then later released under investigation … I was arrested for harassment and malicious communications because I called someone out and misgendered them on Twitter.’

They needed three police officers to arrest this dangerous criminal, to let her neighbors know how dangerous her hate speech was.

Does this happen a lot in the UK? Well, you just have to go back a few weeks to find another case.

Limericks are illegal in the UK, if they make people feels sad
Limericks are illegal in the UK, if they make people feels sad

Here is the UK Telegraph to report on another recent incident:

A docker from Humberside has been investigated by police over a limerick he posted on Twitter after an officer claimed it constitutes a ‘hate incident’ against transgender people.

Harry Miller, 53, from Lincoln was contacted on Wednesday by a community cohesion officer following a complaint that had been made about the plant and machinery dealer’s social media posts.

Citing 30 potentially offensive tweets, the PC singled out a limerick Mr Miller had retweeted which  questioned whether transgender women are biological women.

[…]Even though no crime was committed, sharing the limerick online was recorded as a ‘hate incident’.

[…]After Mr Miller questioned why the complainant was being described as a “victim” if no crime had been committed, the officer told him: “We need to check your thinking”.

The fact is, having the police show up at your door to investigate you is a daily occurrence in the UK. They need to do this intimidation and harassment, so that the other taxpayers who pay their salaries understand that their speech is being monitored.

But if police resources are being dedicated to policing other people’s thoughts, then some other crimes won’t get any attention from police.

UK police ignore underage sex-trafficking

What kinds of crimes might be ignored by the UK police, because they are busy policing Twitter tweets that make people feel sad?

The UK Daily Mail reports:

A victim of the ring said she was ‘let down’ by police and the Crown Prosecution Service because the issue of [Middle Eastern immigrant] gangs grooming young white girls was ‘unheard of’ at the time.

The girl, who was 15 when she was targeted by the gang, reported the abuse to police in August 2008 but the CPS decided not to prosecute because they did not believe a jury would find her ‘credible’.

The Evening Standard reports:

Police and council leaders today apologised for their failings as a gang of paedophiles was convicted at the Old Bailey of serial abuse of schoolgirls while in care.

The girls, some as young as 11, were drugged, raped, trafficked and used as prostitutes while supposedly in the safe-keeping of the local authority in Oxford.

[…]Today five men of Pakistani origin and two from North Africa were convicted of more than 40 charges spanning eight years.

[…]The charges involved six girls between the ages of 11 and 15 who were abused over nine years in the Cowley area of Oxford.

[…]Girl D told how, at the age of 11, she was branded with a heated hairpin by a trafficker and loaned to other abusers for £600 an hour.

Over five years she was repeatedly raped by large groups of men in what she described as “torture sex”.

[…]Another victim, Girl A, complained of her plight to police on two occasions but no one was charged.

In the UK, being yourself and expressing yourself is a crime, because it’s important that people on the left don’t have their feelings hurt.

Keep in mind what the secular left is doing in other countries now, because these will be the policies of the Democrat Party 5-10 years down the road. We have to learn what the Democrats are planning by looking at what the secular leftists are doing in countries where they are the majority. There isn’t a Democrat politician in the USA who doesn’t agree 100% with these UK policies.