Robinson Screwed So

Yesterday while in the car I listened to James Delingpole’s podcast with Tommy Robinson. Unless Robinson is lying through his teeth, which I doubt, it appears he has been the subject of highly illegal treatment at the hands of a panicked ruling class acting in concert with the police, courts, and media. What’s worse, the government gets away with it because they can count on the support of the middle classes. Nobody’s going to stand up for a far-right, racist thug, right?

Hence when he was wrongfully imprisoned, rather than the darling lawyer of the internet pointing out the gross injustice, he or she used the situation to signal their own virtues while slandering Robinson’s supporters. When the truth came out and he was proven wrong, the Secret Barrister wrote four thousand words to the effect of “Well, who can blame me for assuming the worst about this kind of man?”  Some barrister. The media’s handling of the subject is even worse, littered with smears, falsehoods, and libelous accusations as they play their assigned role as propaganda organ for the ruling classes. Not without reason does Robinson believe the upcoming BBC Panorama programme accusing him of child abuse is a last-ditch effort by the authorities to make him impossible to support. The campaign led by BBC staff and British politicians to get him banned from social media platforms looks carefully timed to ensure he has no way of responding to these allegations.

Two things sprang to mind when listening to the podcast. The first is that not a single MP, newspaper, or public figure questioned the treatment of Tommy Robinson. Contrast this with the way Labour politicians, Guardian columnists, and other Establishment figures fall over themselves to prevent jihadists, child rapists, and knife-wielding thugs from having to face justice. Apparently Sky News can travel to Syria and give sympathetic interviews with ISIS brides aimed at swaying public opinion towards repatriating them, but are uninterested in the fact that the state conspired to throw a British man who has broken no laws into solitary confinement for two months. When we are unable to deport hooked-hand lunatics inciting terrorism in London mosques, the chattering classes stroke their chins and deliver earnest sermons on the importance of human rights. But when Tommy Robinson is chucked in jail they say nothing, except perhaps to remind us of his real name and his highly suspect mortgage fraud conviction. Who do you think this inconsistency will harm in the long run? And where are the Conservatives in all this? That’s a rhetorical question.

The second thing that sprang to mind is the ruling classes had better be sure of their position here. Things are changing fast; the government is on the verge of collapse, the streets are boiling with anger, and the status quo is looking shaky indeed. If things get really chaotic and British politics flipped on its head, there is a reasonable chance Robinson might find himself in a position of power before he hits retirement age. It might seem unlikely now, but history is littered with pariahs who were jailed by failing governments and found themselves in charge a few years later. Now I doubt Robinson is ever going to be Prime Minister, but who knows where power and influence will lie if the current system is upended by a populist revolt? If even half of what Robinson says on the podcast is true, he will be fully justified in finding those politicians, judges, policemen, prison staff, and CPS agents who were responsible for his treatment and holding them to account. What form that will take I don’t know, but I’m not sure I’d want to rely on principles of human rights to save me if I were being fixed with a blindfold. That ship sailed in May last year, and the chattering classes were fine with it.

Go and listen to the podcast, and tell me I’m wrong.

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Baby Doc Watson

Blogger Rob Francis has written an article on the slow escalation of political violence in the UK, and how it is a situation that urgently needs to be arrested before things get worse:

At the weekend, whilst paying a visit to a mosque, Jeremy Corbyn was hit on the head with an egg. A man has been arrested; there were suggestions online that the egg may have still been within the alleged attacker’s fist at the point of impact.

This is entirely wrong. All of our elected representatives should be free to go about their business without fear of assault.

I did wonder whether that part of the left which has always shown a soft spot for a bit of political violence might find Sunday’s events a cause for introspection, an assessment as to whether they may need to rethink their stance on this.

Rachel Riley, amongst others, was quick to note that online Corbynite mouthpiece Owen Jones had previously supported the egging of Nazis. Would Owen reconsider his position? Of course not. The doubling down came through loud and clear.

The problem is, the left are not risking escalation and widespread violence only through encouraging attacks on right wing political figures. They are also risking serious violence through actions such as this:


Does Watson have any idea how dangerous it is for an elected politician to write a letter to a social media company demanding a British citizen be permanently banned from using its services? This is a flagrant abuse of position, akin to a politician in a tinpot kleptocracy getting a landowner evicted because it’s a nice spot on which to build his new mansion. That this hasn’t drawn widespread criticism from Establishment figures or opposition MPs neatly demonstrates this is now considered acceptable behaviour for elected officials.

Nations in which politicians brazenly engage in extralegal vendettas against private citizens tend not to enjoy long periods of peace and stability. Once officials taste such power, it starts being used more liberally; as I said the other day, Lammy and Watson are just getting warmed up. If they continue like this, abusing their positions to deprive citizens of freedom and liberty without due process, they will lay the foundations for political violence. The system only works if peaceful avenues of dissent remain open. Watson is publicly bragging that he is working to close them off. This is far more serious than an inconsequential gimp like Owen Jones trying to get middle class wannabe revolutionaries to throw eggs at Tories. One is a matter for the police; the other is a matter for another sort of organisation entirely.

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TriPod

There have been a few podcasts I’ve listened to recently that have turned out to be better than expected. First up was Lauren Southern’s appearance on James Delingpole’s new podcast. I’m no great fan of Southern but she actually showed considerable maturity when talking about her most recent documentary Borderless, about illegal immigration. She said when she and her crew moved from the destination areas to the places the migrants come from she realised the whole documentary would have to change. What she learned was there are professional people trafficking operations selling a dream of an idyllic life in Europe, and charge hopefuls several thousand dollars to make the trip. They have all the logistics worked out, they know the crossing points and which techniques to use at each (which includes charging fences en masse), and coach people to pass the refugee assessment process. They tell migrants they will be welcomed on arrival, given every means of support, and presented with opportunities for work. They get away with such lies because half the west – including politicians and national newspapers – publicly declare that refugees are welcome and citizens have an obligation to accept them. Every time a politician gives a speech about how tolerant their country is and how migrants have always been welcomed there, it is used by ruthless gangsters to sell their people-trafficking services. Only when the migrants arrive they find themselves sleeping rough having blown $5k to get there, and spend years bouncing from one country to another on rumours of better opportunities. Southern showed a degree of empathy towards these people’s plight which is all at odds with her public image, and she reserved her disgust for those in the west who are directly or indirectly aiding and abetting the people traffickers. She was particularly contemptuous towards those anonymous people in the British government who ensured she was permanently banned from entry to the UK. She is right on both counts.

The second podcast was Johann Hari’s appearance on Joe Rogan, in which he talked about drug addiction, its causes, and the history of America’s war on drugs and its appalling consequences, particularly in Mexico. I never liked Hari, having been aware of him when he blogged over at Harry’s Place and made a big deal of his being gay (he never once mentions this in his Rogan interview), and I assumed his career was over once he’d been caught manufacturing quotes. I started listening in the expectation I wouldn’t get through the whole thing, but I was pleasantly surprised by how Hari stuck on topic and really got deep into the issue at hand. It’s worth a listen.

The third was Alex Jones on Joe Rogan. Alex Jones has a deserved reputation as being a nutter, but the way social media giants conspired to remove him from their platforms should concern everyone. The interview isn’t great in terms of a listening experience (although Jones in full rant is somewhat amusing, especially when he stops himself and apologises) but what is clear is Jones is not a hateful person, let alone dangerous. Sure he believes in some seriously deranged ideas, but then so do lots of people including senior politicians. The most disturbing thing in the interview is when he spoke of being added to some obscure list as “promoting hate” which had the same effect as being labelled a terrorist. All but one of his banks withdrew their services at the same time, citing his inclusion on this list. As I’ve said before, governments are increasingly leaning on private companies to silence inconvenient voices, a process helped by those on the right who insist this is their right and targeted individuals are free to find another bank or start their own. As the Zman says, Americans now have more to fear from corporations than their own government:

Banks are now cancelling accounts, because they have deemed the client to be in violation of their HR polices. Visa and MasterCard are making private war on the gun industry. How long before someone like Jared Taylor finds he cannot get a credit card or bank account? How long before his bank calls his mortgage or his insurance company cancels his policy, because he is a blasphemer?

Between encouraging people traffickers, financing drug cartels, and silencing wrongthinkers it’s sometimes hard to justify voting for politicians instead of putting them in front of a firing squad.

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The Tommy Knockers

Yesterday a chap called Mohammed Shafiq who works for the BBC boasted he’d got Tommy Robinson booted off Facebook:


Given Tommy Robinson and several of his supporters have indeed been booted off Facebook, it’s reasonable to assume Shafiq is boasting in good faith. Here’s how elected representatives to Britain’s parliament reacted:


How dare a British citizen be allowed to generate a huge following through utterances of unapproved opinions! Does he not understand Article 58? Facebook should be forced to bend to the will of the British government!


We need an independent social media regulator to ban people politicians don’t like!

We ought not to be surprised by this. Free speech in the UK is dead, assuming it ever existed. Last week an elderly black Christian street preacher was arrested for being Islamaphobic and racist. Maybe there’s more to that story than the media is reporting, but I see no reason to give plod the benefit of the doubt. When you have politicians demanding companies be regulated to suppress dissenting voices and the police arresting wrong-thinkers and none of this creates much of a stir outside libertarian circles, you can assume a good chunk of the population has forgotten the importance of free speech and will have to learn it the hard way.

Over here in France we have Charlie Hebdo, and as I’ve written before, their mere existence is reassuring:

Rather than getting upset about Charlie Hebdo’s puerile and offensive front covers, we should be glad that at least someone is putting them out there. If they weren’t, how could we be sure that speech was still free? And how would we know that what we said was not going to land us in trouble?

So long as Charlie Hebdo can continue to do what it does, everyone else is free to speak, write, and draw as they please. Once we enter into the territory of differentiating between deliberate and inadvertent offence, it becomes a negotiation with those who don’t recognise our right to do either and would rather silence us completely.

It’s also worth repeating that the sale of Charlie Hebdo, one way or another, would be prohibited in the UK. Perhaps because memories of occupation and deportations still linger, the French seem to assign greater importance to free speech than either the British or Americans. Fortunately for the Yanks they have their first amendment. Unfortunately for us, we’re at the mercy of low-IQ grifters like Lammy and Watson. This will not stop with Tommy Robinson, and one gets the impression they’re just getting warmed up.

As I’ve said before, it won’t be long before the only place political discussion can take place outside dreary repetition of establishment-approved doctrine will be in the comments sections at Pr0nhub.

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There was once a PC called Munt

Just in case you think the British police couldn’t sink any lower:

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.

Note this chap didn’t write the poem, merely retweeted it.

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

Thus giving ammunition to those who want to make such things a crime.

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”.

Indeed, it’s a mystery why ordinary members of the public don’t intervene when roving bands of feral youths are kicking eight bells out of a couple of scrawny policemen.

The complainant had managed to identify Mr Miller’s place of work, despite there being no reference to his business or his full identity on his Twitter account. As part of the complaint to police it was alleged the firm was an ‘unsafe environment’ for transgender employees because of Mr Miller’s comments on social media.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic on this snowy Monday morning, but eventually this will come down to them or us. Historians may well ask what contemporary politicians did to stop it happening.

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Conservatives need to stop defending their enemies

In my podcast with Chris Mounsey of The Devil’s Kitchen we spoke about how modern-day politicians (and business leaders) are all at sea because they don’t adhere to any principles, and their speech and actions are made up on the fly depending on which way the winds of maximum approval are blowing. In the ZMan’s latest podcast he says what might be construed as the opposite, that the reason the right has lost the culture war on every front is because they are more interested in espousing principles than defeating the enemy.

However, our two positions may not be contradictory. The ZMan believes principles are drawn up and adhered to by the victors after the fight has been won by any means necessary, and there’s probably a lot of truth in that. Half the time the principles are applied ahistorically to explain why their side won: look at the moral posturing from the victors of wars that were won chiefly thanks to greater industrial output and superior logistics. A good example of the ZMan’s example of the right’s problem unveiled itself yesterday. Here’s the story:

A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

The child language specialist, Bahia Amawi, is a U.S. citizen who received a master’s degree in speech pathology in 1999 and, since then, has specialized in evaluations for young children with language difficulties (see video below). Amawi was born in Austria and has lived in the U.S. for the last 30 years, fluently speaks three languages (English, German, and Arabic), and has four U.S.-born American children of her own.

Regardless of what you think about the American practice of making people take various oaths, especially those related to Israel, if we’re adhering to classical liberal principles the requirement is an abomination and probably in violation of her First Amendment rights. But here’s the thing. The left imposes political purity tests on swathes of the population up and down the country, including hounding people from their jobs and social media platforms for the slightest wrongthink. They also attempt to destroy the careers of those who don’t succumb to the bullying tactics of the blatantly antisemitic BDS movement; if the only country in the world you’re boycotting just so happens to be the Jewish one, and when the subject comes up you sound as though you’re reading from a Hamas pamphlet, people will draw their own conclusions. (Indeed, the pledge the teacher was asked to sign was created specifically to thwart anti-Israel boycotts and a version of it is included by law in any contract an American company does for work abroad, including the Middle East).

When a right-winger is having their life destroyed for holding the wrong opinions, left either justifies the infidel’s treatment or they simply stay quiet. But when the shoe is on the other foot and it’s one of their own side being violated, they suddenly discover principles have a use after all – namely, to beat conservatives over the head with:


You can be sure that before the day is out there’ll be half a dozen prominent “conservative” commentators denouncing the treatment of Bahia Amawi and sternly reminding us all of the importance of free speech. And they will be right in principle, but it is not principles on which the left are basing their outrage over this, but political opportunism. I’m not saying conservatives and right wingers should defend what the Texas government is doing in this instance, but they could at least just shut up and not dance to the tune of those who seek to destroy them. Here’s a leading conservative intellectual:


Right or left, eh? Strange how this only seems to run in one direction. This is why conservatives have lost, and continue to do so. They need to learn to fight on behalf of those whose values they share, not those who claim to share their principles when it suits them but otherwise seek their destruction. Conservatives should let someone else fight Bahia Amawi’s battles.

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Protected Class Confirmed

This story is generating plenty of comment on social media:

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled a woman convicted by an Austrian court of calling the Prophet Mohammed a paedophile did not have her freedom of speech rights infringed.

The woman, named only as Mrs. S, 47, from Vienna, was said to have held two seminars in which she discussed the marriage between the Prophet Mohammad and a six-year old girl, Aisha.

Mrs S. was later convicted in February 2011 by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court for disparaging religious doctrines and ordered her to pay a fine of 480 euros plus legal fees.

After having her case thrown out by both the Vienna Court of Appeal and Austria’s Supreme Court, the European Court of Human rights backed the courts’ decision to convict Mrs S. on Thursday.

The ECHR found there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

For those who doubt the Daily Mail story, the original ruling is here (pdf). A lot of people are saying this effectively outlaws blasphemy, but I’m not so sure. For my part, I think it merely re-affirms that Muslims are a protected class in Europe and the ruling classes will tolerate no criticism of them or their beliefs. Despite this decision you can be sure criticism and abuse of Christians and Jews will still be acceptable, and even encouraged in some instances. This is hardly a new development.

In a statement on Thursday the ECHR said: ‘The Court found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.’

You could write a whole dissertation on what’s wrong with the above statement, but what strikes me most is that there is even a danger of the “religious peace” in Austria being broken. The last time there was religious strife in Austria was when the Protestant Reformation swept the country in the mid 1500s, followed by the 30 Years War a century later. If there are now extremist religious elements in Austria threatening the peace, it is because the ruling classes, egged on by their counterparts in Germany and the EU, have invited them in from outside.

Now note the original conviction occurred in 2011. In 2017 Austria elected a new chancellor. Here’s how The Guardian reported his forming of a government:

At the weekend the new chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, of the Austrian People’s party, struck a deal with the Freedom party, a nationalist group founded after the second world war by former members of the Nazi party and now headed by Heinz-Christian Strache.

The coalition deal makes Austria the only western European country with a far-right presence in government. At 31, Kurz is the youngest head of government in the world.

Kurz’s People’s party won 32% of the vote in October’s elections, securing 62 seats in the 183-seat national council. The Freedom party came third with 26% of the vote and 51 seats.

Which suggests the Austrian people had become fed up to the back teeth of the sort of ruling elites who prosecuted a woman for saying mean things about Mohammed, and were happy to elect anyone who pushed back.

The new interior minister, Herbert Kickl, a former speechwriter to the Freedom party’s ex-leader Jörg Haider, is the author of widely criticised campaign slogans such as “More courage for Viennese blood” and “Daham statt Islam” (“Home instead of Islam”).

Well, if you go around prosecuting ordinary people for blasphemy against Islam, you stand a strong chance they will elect a staunchly anti-Islamic government in future elections. Similarly, as we saw in the US, if the political classes suppress all discussion of immigration people will vote for the guy who talks about immigration, regardless of who he is. And how’s this for a tin-ear:

Donald Tusk, the Polish president of the European council, said he looked forward to welcoming Kurz in Brussels. “I trust that the Austrian government will continue to play a constructive and pro-European role in the European Union,” he said.

One of the few critical reactions came from the United Nations, whose rights chief said that Austria’s rightward lurch marked a “dangerous development … in the political life of Europe”

That this “dangerous development” is a direct consequence of their own contempt for ordinary people didn’t seem to occur to Mr Tusk, and now another supranational European body has doubled-down on the mindset which brought it about. As I said yesterday, Brexit really is a sideshow.

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Supreme Courts 2, Political Activists 0

This is good news:

A Belfast bakery run by evangelical Christians was not obliged to make a cake emblazoned with the message “support gay marriage”, the supreme court has ruled, overturning a £500 damages award imposed on it.

Ashers had refused to produce the cake, featuring the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie, in 2014 for Gareth Lee, who supports the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. He wanted to take it to a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

Crucially the judgement, which was unanimous, was based on the fact that the baker wasn’t discriminating against Lee for being gay, but objected to the message being put on the cake:

“It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics,” Hale said in the judgment.

“But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope.”

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”, Hale added. “This court has held that nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe,” she said.

“The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

Quite so, and it was on this issue of compelled speech which the United States Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Colorado baker back in June. It is good to see the right to freedom of expression upheld by the highest courts on both sides of the Atlantic.

After the ruling, Lee said: “I’m very confused about what this actually means.

It means you cannot demand that a business or service provider promotes political messages with which they fundamentally disagree, even if you’re gay.

We need certainty when you go to a business.

Yeah? Try getting a delivery date from a sofa company.

I’m concerned that this has implications for myself and for every single person.

Indeed it does. It means everyone must now be fully aware business owners cannot be forced to express opinions via their work with which they do not agree. If this concerns you, perhaps take a look at your own behaviour.

The original decision to turn down his order had left him feeling like a “second-class citizen”, he said.

A little bit like how I feel whenever I try to open a bank account or buy a bed. But making people feel bad isn’t illegal.

Lee said he would be considering his options, which could involve appealing to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

So who’s paying for this? Ah:

Michael Wardlow, the head of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said it had spent £250,000 supporting Lee’s appeal. It will now have to pay costs.

The British taxpayer, that’s who’s paying. Little wonder Lee has pursued this with enthusiasm; if he was paying £250 an hour for lawyers from his own pocket he would probably have just gone to a different bakery.

He said: “We are very disappointed. This judgment leaves a lack of clarity in equality law. Our understanding of certainty of the law has been overturned.

On the contrary, it has provided some much-needed clarity. That your taxpayer-funded, government department decided it had won the culture wars, and erroneously though people could be forced by law into saying things they didn’t want to, is a consequence of your own arrogance.

The supreme court seems to see this as something that should be done on a case-by-case basis.

And you seem incapable of reading a judgement.

A spokesperson for the gay rights organisation Stonewall said: “This is a backward step for equality which needs to be urgently addressed. The decision that Ashers bakery were not discriminatory in the so-called ‘gay cake’ row is very concerning for anyone who cares about equality.”

But very uplifting for anyone who cares about liberty. Now I don’t like Peter Tatchell much, not least because he seems keen to force LGBQT madness on Russians, but he’s spot on here:

But the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, said: “This verdict is a victory for freedom of expression. As well as meaning that Ashers cannot be legally forced to aid the promotion of same-sex marriage, it also means that gay bakers cannot be compelled by law to decorate cakes with anti-gay marriage slogans.

“Although I profoundly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be forced to facilitate a political idea that they oppose. The ruling does not permit anyone to discriminate against LGBT people. Such discrimination rightly remains unlawful.”

Indeed.

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Speech uncompelled, at least for now

I’ve spent the afternoon reading the US Supreme Court decision regarding Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n (16-111), the case of the Christian baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage. The court found in favour of Masterpiece Cakeshop by 7-2, having determined that the act of creating a custom cake constituted speech hence could not be compelled.

There are a few interesting bits in the ruling:

That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. No commissioners objected to the comments.

The remarks in question were made by a Commissioner Heidi Hess, who said “freedom of religion used to justify discrimination is a despicable piece of rhetoric.” According to her bio:

Heidi Jeanne Hess is the Western Slope Field Organizer for One Colorado, coordinating the organization’s grassroots efforts, developing diverse coalitions, and bridging gaps within LGBTQ communities in Grand Junction and along the Western Slope.

Heidi is relatively new to Colorado … has been actively involved in LGBTQ rights and activism since 1982.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Master of Arts in Communication both from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

That such people hold positions on Civil Rights Commissions telling bakers they must create cakes bearing a message they vehemently object to explains why this case has arrived at the Supreme Court. Thankfully they’ve given her a verbal shoeing in the process of finding against them. And this made me laugh:

In her spare time, Heidi enjoys reading, going on day trips with her partner, Dannie, and being involved with their church.

Given the Supreme Court thought her “hostile to religion”, I wonder what sort of church it is. This is interesting as well, from the court’s ruling:

The Commission ruled against Phillips in part on the theory that any message on the requested wedding cake would be attributed to the customer, not to the baker. Yet the Division did not address this point in any of the cases involving requests for cakes depicting anti-gay marriage symbolism. The Division also considered that each bakery was willing to sell other products to the prospective customers, but the Commission found Phillips’ willingness to do the same irrelevant.

So three other bakers refused to bake cakes with anti-gay messages on them; Phillips was told this was irrelevant to his refusal to make a cake with a pro-gay message.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that this happened in 2012:

JUSTICE ALITO: It did not at the time. That is — this is very odd. We’re thinking about this case as it might play out in 2017, soon to be 2018, but this took place in 2012.

So, if Craig and Mullins had gone to a state office and said we want a marriage license, they would not have been accommodated. If they said: Well, we want you to recognize our Massachusetts marriage, the state would say: No, we won’t accommodate that. Well, we want a civil union. Well, we won’t accommodate that either. And yet, when he goes to this bake shop and he says I want a wedding cake, and the baker says, no, I won’t do it, in part because same-sex marriage was not allowed in Colorado at the time, he’s created a grave wrong. How does that all that fit together?

In other words, the baker was prosecuted for refusing to make a cake celebrating gay marriage at a time when Colorado didn’t allow or recognise gay marriage. Go figure.

I believe the Supreme Court has done the right thing in siding with the baker, but what the whole thing shows is how much of an almighty mess American law has become with the establishment of various “protected classes” each with its own set of activists looking to assert their “rights”, and when two such classes collide you’re left with judges trying to work out the pecking order.

The judges’ decision is too narrowly defined to be seen as a pushback against continued erosion of freedom of association and individual liberty in the name of anti-discrimination, and anyone raising the spectre of gays becoming second-class citizens being denied basic services is either lying or hasn’t read the ruling. I expect there will be plenty more cases like this, each more farcical than the last.

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Allowable Tolerance

This story is refreshing:

Jaelene Hinkle’s decision not to play for the U.S. women’s national soccer team last summer was, she said, a simple one. Because of her religious beliefs, and a decision by U.S. Soccer to highlight LGBTQ pride month with special jerseys during their June 2017 friendlies, Hinkle declined a call-up from the team, something she said she had dreamed about her entire life.

Note she didn’t make a fuss, or refuse to wear the jersey at a critical moment. She just passed up the opportunity to play for the national team because they wanted her to wear a gay pride shirt, and this went against her religious beliefs. This is her right, and given the sacrifice involved I’m somewhat impressed by the strength of her convictions.

She is playing for the North Carolina Courage in the National Women’s Soccer League; during a game Wednesday night against the Portland Thorns in Oregon, fans booed Hinkle, while some waved pride flags. One fan carried a sign with the words “personal reasons” — the reason publicly cited when Hinkle declined the call-up last year — in rainbow letters.

So fans booed her. A bit intolerant, but no big deal. And given this is women’s football, those pride flags might have been waving as a matter of course. But this is refreshing:

Hinkle did not speak after the match, but teammate Jessica McDonald expressed support for her. “She is high on her faith, and in my honest [opinion] that’s absolutely incredible,” McDonald said, according to the Associated Press. “If she’s for God, then that’s fine, that’s great if that’s what keeps her going in her life and keeps positivity in her life, then let that be. Everyone has their opinions about the Bible and God. It’s obviously not in my control what she thinks.

Blimey! Tolerance for other’s beliefs? I think I’ve just stepped back in time.

“At the end of the day, I’m still going to be friends with her. We have no problems with each other. She’s never said anything bad about me. She never said anything bad about anybody. So, for people to pass on that kind of judgment on another human being, I think it’s sort of uncalled for. She’s got her opinions. That’s fine. Everybody does. It hasn’t affected our team at all.”

A footballer seems to be showing more maturity than the whole of western academia combined.

Paul Riley, who coaches the Courage, said he heard the boos Wednesday, and that he supports his player.

“She’s got a good heart, and she battled through the game. It’s not an easy thing for her,” Riley said, according to the AP. “I give her a lot of credit, to be perfectly honest. Whatever her beliefs are, whatever she believes in, that’s her. It doesn’t affect the team. It doesn’t seem to affect anybody on the team.”

I think I need a lie down.

Now, contrast that story with this one:

Wallabies superstar Israel Folau has again created controversy on social media, after posting a seemingly homophobic Instagram comment.

Folau posted an image on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday night in reference to his latest injury setback, comparing an individual’s plan to God’s plan.

Instagram user @mike_sephton commented on the image, writing: “@izzyfolau, what was gods (sic) plan for gay people??”.

Folau replied: “HELL…Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

Predictably:

New Zealand’s players have added to the criticism of Australia full-back Israel Folau over anti-gay comments.

TJ Perenara, who has 42 caps, has joined fellow scrum-half Brad Weber in condemning his remarks.

“Let it go on record that I am 100% against the comments that were made by Israel. It was not OK to say that,” he said on Twitter.

“It’s not an attitude I want to see in the game I love. There is no justification for such harmful comments.

Sorry, but what’s harmful about these comments? For a start, Folau was merely answering a question put to him on social media, not standing up and declaring a formal position. What was he supposed to do, lie? He’s a Christian, and many Christians believe – rightly or wrongly – that homosexuality is a sin and its practitioners will go to hell. Aren’t we supposed to respect the religious views and practices of others? Or does that only apply to certain religions? We know the answer to that one. And in any case, if you don’t share Folau’s Christian beliefs, why do you believe in hell?

“As professional rugby players, whether we like it or not, we are role models for a lot of young people.”

And why would a player with strong Christian views not make as good a role model as one who is pro-gay?

Rugby Australia said it would not punish Folau for the remarks,

I expect because he is both very good and very popular. But good on them to resist calls for him to be punished.

but Waikato Chiefs player Weber earlier posted on Twitter: “Sick of us players staying quiet on some of this stuff. I can’t stand that I have to play this game that I love with people, like Folau, who say what he’s saying.”

So you don’t want to play rugby with people who hold certain beliefs. Note Folau didn’t say he hates gays, or doesn’t want to play with them. He simply said, in response to a question, he thought they’d end up in hell. For my part, I’m confident I’m going to end up in hell along with half my friends, this really isn’t something I worry too much about and nor should anyone.

“My cousin and her partner, and my aunty and her partner are some of the most kind, caring and loving people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Did Folau suggest they weren’t?

“To think that I play against someone that says they’ll go to hell for being gay disgusts me.”

Did Folau say he’s disgusted? Did he say he doesn’t want to play against anyone in particular? No, yet he’s supposedly the intolerant one. Folau has written a lengthy statement here which quite clearly lays out his religious beliefs and how they relate to sin and repentance – of any kind. If these beliefs are outlawed, we might as well ban Christianity. Perhaps that’s the plan?

Other players have thankfully taken a more mature approach:

David Pocock and Israel Folau might disagree fundamentally on the issue of LGBT rights but the Wallabies are united in believing their diametrically opposed views will not have an impact on the Australia team.

Pocock … was an outspoken advocate for equal marriage rights for same sex couples ahead of last year’s Australian referendum on the matter and has in the past called out homophobic abuse on the field of play.

“There’s nothing personal towards each other,” the fullback told reporters in Brisbane.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him … we’re both grown men and talk about things openly. We just had an open chat about our different beliefs.

“We respect each other. It doesn’t change the way we feel about each other. It won’t change anything when we step out onto the field. I’ll be there to cover him and same with him. We’re 100 percent behind each other.”

“I’ve got family who have those views and we’ve had it out over the years,” Pocock told Fairfax Media in Canberra after the match.

“The bottom line is they’re family. You talk about it in a civil way … and when you do that you realise we’ve got far more common ground than we have in difference of belief.

“I just don’t see who wins if we aren’t able to relate to each other as humans and keep talking about things rather than having these really nasty polarising debates to decide who is and isn’t part of our tribe based on their beliefs.

“We all lose something when we aren’t able to engage with people just because we disagree on something.”

Now up until this point I thought David Pocock was the most self-righteous prick to ever set foot on a rugby field, but full credit to him for the maturity and tolerance he’s shown here. Maybe he’s picked up some ideas watching American women’s soccer? The Kiwis could certainly learn something from them.

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