Patrick Deneen in First Things, on Indiana’s RFRA fight:
This past spring, we saw something quite different and revealing and worrying. With the imprimatur of American elites, which was clearly given in the furor over Indiana’s RFRA, religiously based opposition to gay marriage is now more than ever likely to be treated by our society as tantamount to a hate crime. This elite-sanctioned attack on “bigotry” will not stop at Memories Pizza. It will be extended first to religious nonprofit institutions that insist upon the view that marriage is between a man and a woman—the schools, the colleges, the adoption services—and then will reach inevitably into the sanctuaries of the churches themselves. The narrative of bigotry will demand nothing less, and the protection that might have been afforded by RFRA and the First Amendment has been shown to be a parchment barrier in comparison with the might and power of cultural and financial elites.
Americans of both parties once believed that no center of power in America should become so concentrated that it could force its views on every other citizen. What we saw in Indiana was not just a “miscalculation” by Republicans. We saw fully unmasked just who runs America, and the kind of America that they are bringing more fully into reality every passing day. It will be an America where the powerful will govern completely over the powerless, where the rich dictate terms to the poor, where the strong are unleashed from the old restraints of culture and place, where libertarian indifference—whether in respect to economic inequality or morals—is inscribed into the national fabric, and where the unburdened, hedonic human will reign ascendant. No limits reflected in political, social, or religious norms can be permitted: All are allowed except those who would claim the legitimacy of restraint.
A long, depressing, but convincing read on how eugenic-type thinking is coming, like it or not:
In the past, individuals could suffer death or disability due to small genetic defects, for example in their immune systems, for which modern medicine now routinely substitutes and which welfare cushions. But even modern medicine and welfare have their limits. W.D. Hamilton stated that when the misery resulting from mutations grows too great to bear—for medical, economic or humanitarian reasons—the load will be reduced, either naturally or artificially—painfully through elevated rates of mortality, or painlessly through eugenics.
The public is reading and viewing a steady stream of information bearing on genetic improvement, priming a mass market for eugenics services. What follows is a small random sample of press clippings from the last two years. It indicates great advances in eugenics science and not much thinking about its social implications.
The world’s newest micronation, between Slovenia and Croatia: The Kingdom of Enclava
The administration continues its attempt to paper over Hawaiian sovereignty hopes with its ethnic satrapy compromise
Tibetans and Uyghurs blacklisted from Chinese hotels
“Bestie Row,” a Benedict Option
Today in “Why can’t they all lose?”: SPLC paints a target on the guy who won Pam Geller’s draw Muhammed contest; if he gets his head chopped off now, he’ll deserve it for being a one-man “hate group.” Speaking of which, the ADL recently called the SPLC out for its bogus “hate map” numbers, that often count individuals as groups. But it won’t stop Mark Potok from getting invited on MSNBC!
The Economist: “a country’s income per head rises by roughly 300% if it improves its governance by one standard deviation.”
How the church gave BB King the blues
They built it, whatever it is. Who could have guessed that nobody would come?
Ross Douthat finds some reasons for optimism in the Pew religion survey
Ladies and gentlemen, the Washington Post op-ed page reaches its logical conclusion
Foreign Policy on capitalism
Archbishop Welby becomes patron of Christians Against Poverty
The Episcopal Church gets into the debt collection business:
Refugees designated to migrate to the United States are advanced travel money by an arm of the U.S. State Department. They land here, and are placed in the hands of (among other agencies) Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), which helps them relocate into specific communities, find jobs, and settle in. Then EMM sees that they repay their travel advances to the Government, and pockets one-quarter of its debt collection proceeds for its trouble.
It’s a nifty racket, and ensures that annually over $300,000 comes into the Episcopal Church’s coffers, to help with its bottom line. Meanwhile, the U.S. Government reimburses EMM for all of its other refugee relocation expenses, to the tune of some $14 million annually.
This is, mind you, while the State Department lets in Muslims by the score but won’t let Iraqi Christians in.
Sam Rocha on no-exit Catholicism
Late getting this out, so the music will have to wait until next week.