“Wizard of Oz” and the Indians

The Oneida tribe has been leading the charge against the Washington Redskins’ name.  But now that tribe is itself caught in a controversy over its plans to open a casino in Chittenango, N.Y.  That was the home of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.   Plans for the casino, to be named “Yellow Brick Road,” would honor the local author.  But it turns out, Baum, as a newspaper writer in 1890, advocated the extermination of all Indians, including, presumably, the Oneida. [Read more...]

Abortion as “social good” still has a stigma

The stigma against having a baby out of wedlock has faded.  And the stigma against having an abortion continues.   Some pro-abortion activists are trying to erase that stigma by making the case that abortion is nothing to feel bad about and is, in fact, a “social good.”  But those efforts are flying in the face of  women’s real experience.  So says Gary Bauer, who gives the details and the statistics. [Read more...]

Taking someone else’s punishment

What would Jesus do?  Take your punishment to free you from condemnation.

A Saudi blogger has been sentenced to 1000 lashes for criticizing Islamic clerics.  So seven religious freedom advocates, including the well-known conservative scholar Robert P. George, are offering to take the floggings in his place. [Read more...]

The Conflict of Iconoclasts

France is holding huge rallies for free speech after the Charlie Hebdo murders, but they have arrested a comedian for his antisemitic speech.  Now the Pope, while condemning the terrorist attack, is underscoring that mocking religion is wrong in itself.  Issues of free speech are apparently more complicated than is often assumed.

Meanwhile, the sold-out new issue of the satirical magazine that was attacked makes clear its distinct ideological position, namely, a militant atheism.  The editors say how they laughed when the bells of Notre Dame would be rung in their honor, and that those who say “‘I am Charlie’ need to also know that that means, ‘I am secularism.’”  The point is, both the terrorists and their victims are iconoclasts.

After the jump, Stephen Richert, while condemning the killings and insisting that he is not blaming the victim, argues that freedom of speech is NOT the primary value of civilization and that leftist iconoclasts and Islamic iconoclasts have more in common than either of them realize. [Read more...]

When offensive speech deserves defending

Columnist Ross Douthat, a conservative Catholic, has an interesting and nuanced take on the Charlie Hebdo attacks, how purposefully offensive speech is wrong–and yet, if someone threatens to murder a person over it, that speech becomes something good, something that deserves defending. [Read more...]

Torture Report

The Senate released a report detailing the way the CIA used brutal interrogation techniques during the War on Terrorism.  The report said that not only was the torture–which included waterboarding and “rectal rehydration”–immoral, but  that it was ineffective in uncovering terrorist threats.  The CIA strongly disputes that last part. [Read more...]


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