The Newest Trend in Religious Intolerance Seeks to Drive Traditional Christians Out of Hollywood

Feb. 25 2019

Recently the movie actor Chris Pratt and a few other celebrities have received criticism—including by a columnist in the Washington Post—for attending evangelical churches that, while openly welcoming all comers, do not “affirm” gay marriage and homosexuality. Even though these churches avoid culture-war issues, and are generally silent on the topic of gay marriage, they are still called out for censure by such self-appointed “cultural gatekeepers,” as David French describes them. He explores the implications of this latest example of intolerance toward religion, which could easily affect many Jews and Muslims as well as Christians:

[A] core tenet of pluralism is the notion that people of diametrically opposed belief systems can live and work side by side so long as they treat each other with dignity and respect. I’ve spent my entire career working with people who believe that my religious beliefs are wrong, that my stance on sexual morality is wrong, and that my political judgments are deeply misguided. Yet even in the case of profound disagreement, it is easy to treat people well. It is easy to treat people fairly.

Conversely, it is the height of intolerance to believe that it is somehow problematic—absent any evidence of mistreatment on the job or on-set—that a person disagrees with you on matters of faith. And if it is an obligation for colleagues to go beyond “welcoming” each other to “affirming” each other’s deepest beliefs, where is the affirmation [owed to] faithful Christians? . . .

When I interviewed many years ago for an Ivy League teaching position, I was asked, “As a Christian, how can you teach LGBT students?” I wonder how many prospective [homosexual] professors were asked, “As a gay professor, how can you teach Christian students?” For me, the answer is clear. I teach (and taught) gay students the same way I taught any other student. As a Christian, I believe every human being is created in the image of God and is therefore worthy of being treated kindly and fairly. Disagreement is not disrespect. . .

[W]e cannot exist as a pluralistic and diverse society if the price of admission to any American industry is the abandonment of religious faith to conform to the demands of the intolerant.

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More about: Freedom of Religion, Gay marriage, Religion & Holidays

 

Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations