The Republican Obama?

Have the Republicans found “the one”?  Read the Washington Post‘s profile of the new Wisconsin governor, 43-year-old Scott Walker, whose hard line with the public employee union has teachers and other state employees taking to the streets.  (Note:  He is not taking away their right to collective bargaining, as is being charged.  Under his bill, which has Democrat legislators hiding out in Illinois to prevent a quorum for the vote, the union would still be able to negotiate wages, just not benefits, which Walker is seeking to trim by making state employees kick in more for their retirement and health insurance.)

At 25, he won election to the state Assembly and served for nine years. But in 2002, Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament, a Democrat, resigned in the wake of a county pension fund scandal, and Walker became the rare Republican to win office in the area by vowing to clean up the mess.

Friends and foes alike describe Walker as hardworking and amiable, a devoted husband and father of two teenage sons. They also call him a gifted and ambitious politician who has never strayed from his conservative ideals.

“He was tea party before there was a tea party. He’s always been ideologically pure,” said Mordecai Lee, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political science professor who sparred with Walker on a weekly television show during his Assembly days. “He would do whatever it took not to raise taxes. He never wavered, never doubted.”

Lee said Walker’s repeated success at the polls, even in Democratic strongholds, came as no surprise. He preached fiscal conservatism but also campaigned on his own frugality, noting that he packed ham-and-cheese sandwiches for lunch and drove a weathered Saturn.

“Scott Walker is the Republican Obama – he’s likable, he’s nice, so voters saw that [side] rather than the very ideological Republican,” Lee said. “He’s one of the most impressive politicians I’ve ever seen.”

via Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has history of going up against unions.

Mordecai Lee is a liberal activist who would always debate Walker on TV and talk radio.  I lived in Wisconsin not far from Milwaukee and remember Walker’s skills.  He somehow got elected as County Executive, against the typical big city corrupt Democratic machine, and just cleaned everything up. That too meant defying the unions and enduring their protests. 

Depending on how the Wisconsin events play out, I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a Republican hero with a shot at the presidential nomination. One would think that he would need more experience–at least another term as governor–before going for the presidency, but he certainly has more experience than the current office holder did. But, hey, it’s Presidents Day, so we can speculate.

The Christian divorce rate

We keep hearing that the divorce rate among Christians is the same as–or maybe a little worse–than that of non-Christians.  That may not be true, at least when you factor in how serious the Christians in question are about their faith:

“Christians divorce at roughly the same rate as the world!” It’s one of the most quoted stats by Christian leaders today. And it’s perhaps one of the most inaccurate.

Based on the best data available, the divorce rate among Christians is significantly lower than the general population.

Here’s the truth….

Many people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith — be it Christian or other — have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes — attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples — enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers.

Professor Bradley Wright, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, explains from his analysis of people who identify as Christians but rarely attend church, that 60 percent of these have been divorced. Of those who attend church regularly, 38 percent have been divorced.

Other data from additional sociologists of family and religion suggest a significant marital stability divide between those who take their faith seriously and those who do not.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans.

via Baptist Press – FIRST-PERSON: The Christian divorce rate myth (what you’ve heard is wrong) – News with a Christian Perspective.

38%? That’s lots better than 60%, but still shockingly high, especially among the more devout believers.   35% less likely to get a divorce?  One would think it should be greater than that.   At any rate, the bottom line seems to be that the more seriously couples take their faith, the less likely they are to get a divorce.  That seems like a self-evident truth, but it appears there is also evidence for it.

Pro-democracy protests keep spreading

Now that the Egyptians have thrown off their authoritarian ruler, pro-democracy uprisings are threatening one of the worst dictators of all, Libya’s
Muammar Gaddafi. He is reportedly responding with machine guns. The king of Bahrain is in trouble. Meanwhile, mass protests have also broken out in Iran, Algeria, Yemen, and Morocco. Also in China, with protesters calling for a “jasmine revolution.”

via Anger on the streets: unrest in Iran, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco and China | World news | The Guardian.

This is surely reminiscent of the fall of Communism, isn’t it?

UPDATE: Gaddafi has reportedly fled from the capital city of Tripoli, as protesters are burning government buildings!

A new definition of religious discrimination

The University of California-Davis has a new religious discrimination policy, according to which ONLY Christians can be accused of discriminating against other religions, and discrimination AGAINST Christians does not count:

The UC-Davis policy defines “Religious/Spiritual Discrimination” as “the loss of power and privilege to those who do not practice the dominant culture’s religion. In the United States, this is institutionalized oppressions toward those who are not Christian.”

“Christians deserve the same protections against religious discrimination as any other students on a public university campus,” says Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) Senior Counsel David French. “It’s ridiculously absurd to single out Christians as oppressors and non-Christians as the only oppressed people on campus when the facts show that public universities are more hostile to Christians than anyone else.”

A from ADF-allied attorney Tim Swickard to UC-Davis explains, “It is patently clear that UC Davis’s definition of religious discrimination is blatantly unconstitutional under both the Federal and California State Constitutions. The policy singles out some faiths for official school protection while denying the same protection to others solely on the basis of their particular religious views…Moreover, the UC-Davis policy is simply nonsensical given the environment on most University campuses where Christian students, if anything, are among the most likely to be subjected to discrimination because of their faith.”

The letter cites a recent study of more than 1,200 faculty at public universities that showed that professors admitted to having a significant bias against Christian students, particularly evangelicals. Fifty-three percent admitted to having negative feelings about evangelical students solely because of their religious beliefs.

via UC-Davis Students Object to Religious Discrimination Policy.

This is a good example of what postmodernism–note the jargon: “privilege, power, dominant culture, institutionalized oppression”–can do to civil and legal rights.   Opposing religious discrimination as a way to discriminate against religion.

UPDATE: The university has now rescinded the definition and taken it off its website. HT: Steve Billingsley

HT:  Jackie

Fun with Wikipedia

In light of the radioactive banana post, what are some other weird facts that can be found on Wikipedia?

Egypt in Wisconsin

25,000 protesters are in the streets in Madison and 40% of Wisconsin teachers have called in sick, forcing cancellation of schools, as  new Republican governor Scott Walker is getting pushback for his proposal to limit collective bargaining by unions for public employees and to cut back on the cost of their benefits.

Walker’s plan would allow collective bargaining for wages only and force state workers to pay 5.8% of their salaries for pensions, up from 0.2%, and 12.6% for health insurance, up from  4% – 6% percent.

And now, to prevent a vote on the measure, the Democrats in the state legislature have boarded a bus and left the state, preventing a quorum so that the bill cannot be voted on!

Meanwhile Ohio is also threatening to cut back expensive benefits for state employees, and other states facing huge budget problems are wanting to do the same.

See State Democrats absent for vote as Wisconsin budget protests swell – CNN.com.

I’m very curious about what your average Wisconsinite–as I was a few years ago–things of all of this.


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