Commentary

Mohler: Ashley Madison Revelations Point to an Underlying Reality

Back in 2011, when Bloomberg Businessweek published a story about Ashley Madison (the premier ‘dating’ website for aspiring adulterers), it was clear that many people saw the business as a joke.

No one is laughing now. Everything changed with the hacking of the Ashley Madison website and the release of over 37 million names, along with account information.

The mainstream media seems to know that the Ashley Madison hacking story is big news, but the main concern seems to be more about embarrassment than shamefulness.

Then again, even as the larger culture tries to convince itself that it has proudly outgrown monogamy, the furor and grief over the Ashley Madison revelations point to the underlying reality that even those supposedly liberated from conventional sexual morality really do know that adultery is wrong.

Nevertheless, severed from any substantial moral grounding, they are not exactly sure why adultery is wrong, or how wrong they should understand adultery to be.

Sadly: Once this scandal subsides, the moral concern about adultery is likely to dissipate as well.

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Medved: Putting Gun Deaths in Context

Liberal voices in politics and media react to well-publicized murders by blaming firearms and arguing that gun control could reduce rates of violence. But they never put gun deaths in context, or acknowledge that murder rates have been going down, not up—cut in half over 30 years.

Moreover, much of this improvement occurred together with rising gun ownership: Gallup says 34 percent of households owned firearms in 1999 and 42 percent in 2014. Second, liberals conceal the fact that most gun deaths in America are actually suicides, not murders or accidents. And the US has a relatively low rate of overall suicide—we rank 50th in the world, with nations like Japan, Russia, South Korea and Belgium showing much higher suicide rates despite much tougher gun laws.

In other words, there’s no reason at all to assume that increasing fire-arms regulation would do anything to reduce tragic instances of Americans taking their own lives.

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Thornbury: The X-Factor in the 2016 Contest

Greg Thornbury

As we look towards the 2016 Presidential election, a recent Quinnipiac poll released yielded some surprising results:

If Vice President Biden was the Democratic candidate, he would beat Donald Trump by eight points, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by six points and Senator Marco Rubio by three points. In head-to-head matchups, the current vice president does much better than Hillary. For months, all of the analysis has been on Clinton. She is, after all, the presumptive nominee of pundits. But what matters is the opinion of the American people.

And why’s Biden popular? This poll suggests something that has nothing to do with politics. “He’s likable,” or so they say.

Conservatives do a great job of discussing their ideas and convictions. But as crucial as those virtues are, there’s an X-factor that we sometimes miss. People subconsciously ask: “Do I want to see this person on my television for the next four years?” Or, stated differently, “Do I like this person?”

The Republican hopefuls should be listening.

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Medved: Political Malpractice

The GOP is currently divided—with a narrow faction arguing that we should abolish birthright citizenship, even though real-world chances of achieving this proposed change register at close to zero.

Some legal scholars may challenge the common understanding that the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S., but the Supreme Court has affirmed that principle in a string of cases going back 117 years. Considering the court’s makeup now or in the foreseeable future, no majority of justices will magically materialize to overturn this long-standing policy.

This means a Constitutional amendment would be required, winning approval of both legislative houses in three-quarters of the states. Disapproval by just 13 states would block any amendment, but Democrats control at least one house of the legislature in 18 states. With no Democratic support at all for changing birthright citizenship, an amendment is impossible. Agitating public sentiment over a proposal that can’t win enactment is a demagogic, irresponsible example of political malpractice.

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Is Saying “American” Now A Problem on Campus?

A faculty and student committee at the University of New Hampshire has published a “Bias Free Language Guide” and boy (oops I can’t say that), is it a doozy!

“American” is a problematic word there now, along with mothering, fathering, illegal alien, older people, rich person and poor person.  As an older, rich American who has done his share of fathering, I’d be in real trouble there.

Speech codes have been a problem on college campuses in recent years.  In order to promote political correctness, these codes limit First Amendment free speech.  And even when they aren’t mandatory, such as the one in New Hampshire, they limit the terms of debate.  How can you really discuss immigration, for example, if you can’t talk about Americans or illegal aliens?

Unfortunately, limiting debate is the point.  The Committee that drafted this admitted they were trying to get at “the truths of hierarchy and oppression.”

Colleges need to be open to broad ideas and language as tools of learning.

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Mohler: Colorado Court Makes a Clear Choice

A state appeals court in Colorado has now ruled that a baker could not cite religious beliefs in refusing to make wedding cakes for celebrations commemorating same-sex marriages. Erik Eckholm, reporting for the New York Times, wrote that, “The panel also rejected the argument that selling a cake to a gay couple was so great an infringement on Mr. Phillips’s beliefs that it trumped the anti-discrimination law.”

The court was, in this case, actually telling a Christian cake baker that his Christian convictions shouldn’t have been involved in this situation in the first place. Writing at The Federalist in response to this decision, David Harsanyi got it exactly right when he entitled his essay, “Hey Christians, Say Goodbye to Religious Freedom.” “The court” he writes, “has effectively tasked itself with determining for you when religion should matter.”

They decided that something has to go. And if it’s a head-to-head confrontation between erotic liberty and religious liberty, the court made clear which way they’re going to go.

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Hewitt: Campaign 2016 Ought to be Fought on Other Ground

Pepperdine California Democratic Party

Donald Trump was right when he told Bill O’Reilly that some very smart lawyers believe the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment has been wrongly interpreted.

However, the weight of opinion and precedent is greatly on the other side of the argument. Every conservative attorney general in the country has standing to bring the case Mr. Trump wants brought, and none have (or will) since it is such a likely loser and a political disaster at the same time.

I don’t think anyone will disagree that the current courts will uphold the interpretation that reaches back in practice to the last century.  We know that since the earliest immigration laws were passed in the post-Civil War era, the children of violators of those laws were deemed by all authorities to be American citizens.  We also know that the children of Tories who fled the country after the revolution and returned were also deemed citizens.

All this to say: Campaign 2016 ought to be fought on other ground, especially the ground that includes building a long, strong, double-sided fence.

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