Commentary

Mohler: Secular Absolutism

Last week, shocking images came streaming from the beaches of France. As Alissa Rubin reported for the New York Times, the photos showed “armed police surrounding Muslim women on beaches and ordering them to remove their modest clothes or leave.”

Many mayors on the Mediterranean coast have adopted legislation making it illegal for Muslim women to wear the ‘burkini’ on French beaches.

What is uniting so many leaders and citizens—across the political spectrum—in France? It is that nation’s absolute commitment to secularity.

In an article for the Telegraph, Tim Stanley points out that the opposition in France to the burkini and to Islam is symbolic of its opposition to any form of conservative religion, any kind of theology that would bring a moral code in conflict with that of the French secular law and culture.

If one were to try to invent a cartoonish distortion of that kind of secularism, one could do no better than what actually happened on French beaches just last week.

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Hewitt: The Resentment Election

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

Throughout American history some elections have been driven by resentment and revenge. 2016 seems to me to be one of those.

Only a relatively few voters are marching door to door this year inspired by Hillary Clinton’s or Donald Trump’s personal stories of triumph over long odds or their promises of a new morning in America.

Quite a few voters are campaigning because they are very, very ticked off at one thing or another—or many things.

The real question is what comes after this campaign?

Come January 2017, the Hill has some pretty heavy lifting to do, beginning with a depleted Defense Department and the long-time-coming-but-suddenly-arriving Obamacare death spiral.

Staying clear of the resentment election is going to empower some of the veteran legislators to try to tackle some of the deep seated problems.

Neither of the presidential candidates is going to arrive at 1600 with a mandate. But either is going to have one heck of a headache and not much of a—if any—honeymoon.

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Chen: Bailing On Obamacare

It’s another day, and we have more bad news about Obamacare.

Some of the nation’s largest insurers have decided they don’t want to sell insurance on the law’s health insurance exchanges. The latest? Aetna recently announced it would no longer offer plans on Obamacare’s marketplaces in almost all of the states it currently serves.

The insurer quit because Obamacare is a bad deal for them.

And it’s a bad deal for consumers too.

In many states, patients are facing far more limited choices on Obamacare’s exchanges. In some places, they don’t even have a choice.

Unfortunately, all of this was predictable. Obamacare’s marketplaces rely on the younger and healthier to subsidize the costs of the older and sicker.  That, in addition to government subsidies to help incentivize insurers to participate.

When Republicans in Congress blocked the subsidies, and largely higher-cost patients showed up to buy health insurance, Obamacare’s exchanges were doomed.

A majority of Americans remain opposed to the law.  We shouldn’t be surprised.

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Mohler: Challenges Of The New Marine Corps

The Associated Press recently announced that the Marine Corps is going to try to reach a ratio of 1 to 10 in terms of female to male.

In the same day, CNN reported that “the only female officer enrolled in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer’s Course has dropped out after failing to complete two conditioning hikes last month.”

It turns out that this particular female officer was the second of only two to have attempted this particular course. This is has led General John Kelly to conclude “if we don’t change standards, it will be very, very difficult to have any numbers—any real numbers come into the infantry.”

When the inclusion of women in all forward combat positions was first broached by the Pentagon, it was claimed that there would be no lowering of physical standards for any combat position.

But the reality is that there is still and will remain a basic difference between what it means to be male and female that cannot be overcome by ideology or even by the Pentagon.

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Mohler: Confusion At The Olympics

The recently-completed Olympic games in Rio raised the question of whether transgender athletes will be permitted to compete in their designated gender category in future games.

Diana Nyad, a famous long-distance female swimmer, addressed the issue for NPR. She points to Renee Richards, the most famous of the transgender pioneers when it comes to sport.

Nyad says, “Renee played world-class tennis as Richard Raskind and then successfully sued to play in the 1977 U.S. Open women’s draw as Renee. But there was protest. Some of the women … deemed it unfair to face a 6-foot-1-inch athlete who was not long before male, with bigger-than-normal hands, a smaller-than-normal hip girdle.”

This reveals the central hypocrisy at the very heart of the sexual revolution: the claim that somehow biological sex can be instantly overcome by declaring a contrasting gender identity. But when it comes to sports, changing one’s gender by declaration does not reduce one’s height, nor does it change one’s basic body profile in terms of the musculoskeletal system.

Tampering with the male-female pattern will lead to confusion—and worse.

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Medved: When Politics Trumps Faith, Marriage Suffers

The New York Times Style Section recently ran a report called “Uneasy Bedfellows,” describing marriages that reached the point of dissolution because of arguments concerning Donald Trump. When I discussed the subject on the air, one astute caller noted that none of the couples featured in the story seemed to share a religious outlook, and he suggested that if they did, they could far more easily handle their political disputes.

My caller makes a good point.

Unfortunately, far too many Americans now use politics as a substitute for faith, treating party loyalty as a matter of uncompromising identity that provides meaning, transcendence and a sense of morality.

Passionate partisans on both sides see political disputes not as choices of policies or values, but as the ultimate struggle between good and evil. If couples worshipped a higher power together, they wouldn’t need to sacrifice relationships on the altar of either Trump or Clinton.

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Mohler: The Value of Human Life

Sometimes the story or image goes right through the mind and into the heart. This was the case last week with the photo of a little boy in Syria. He was covered in blood and debris, sitting in an ambulance—and he became the focus of worldwide conversation.

Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times, noted that “If Syrian Kids Were Pups, We’d All Care.” He explains that he recently announced on social media that his family had to say goodbye to their golden retriever and received a “torrent of touching condolences.”

Conversely, he wrote column calling for international efforts to end Syria’s suffering and civil war—a war has claimed some 470,000 lives so far. The response? He said it was “a torrent of comments, many laced with a harsh indifference: Why should we help them?” Kristof is arguing that there’s a moral mandate to do something. Why? Every human life, he writes, “Is worth every bit as much as a golden retriever’s.”

We have to go further: Every single human life is infinitely more valuable than the life of every single animal.

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