Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Did SCOTUS lay groundwork for parent-child marriages?

By Donald Sensing

Did the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage last Friday overturn Tennessee's law against parents marrying their children?

Tennessee law forbids "lineal" marriages, which are defined thus:

Marriage cannot be contracted with a lineal ancestor (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.) or descendant (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.), nor the lineal ancestor of either parent (grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.) or descendant of either parent (brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, etc.), nor the child of a grandparent (aunts and uncles), nor the lineal descendants of spouse (spouse's children, grandchildren, stepchildren, step-grandchildren, etc.), nor the husband or wife of a parent (stepmother, stepfather) or lineal descendent [sic]. T.C.A. ' 36-3-101.

A marriage entered into in violation of this statute is void in Tennessee regardless of whether the marriage was entered into in Tennessee or in another state where the marriage would be valid.
In resting upon the Equal Protection doctrine of the 14th Amendment to declare same-sex marriage valid across the 50 states, the Supreme Court's 5-4 majority expressly denied that marriages of same-sex couples valid in one state could be held invalid in another.

A number of voices are already openly calling for legalizing polygamous marriages in the wake of the June 26 SCOTUS decision. So could Tennessee's prohibition of lineal marriage could be invalidated using the same argument as SCOTUS's majority, and citing Obergefell as precedent?

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Friday, June 26, 2015

A flag to offend everyone!

By Donald Sensing

Are you a racist hater homophobic Zionist Nazi patriot?

Then  this is your flag!


Still needs a hammer and sickle and crescent moon with star, though.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The only answer to "Great Politics"

By Donald Sensing

Peter Hitchens is the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, one of the founders of the New Atheist movement whose book, God is Not Great, remains high atop the must-read list for atheists today. I myself read his non-religious works and columns eagerly and found them enlightening. C. Hitchens was indisputably a very smart man, engaging and witty.

Like Christopher, his younger brother b y two years, Peter, became an atheist. But he did not remain there. Years into adulthood, he came to confess Christ, published a rebuttal to God is Not Great and even publicly debated his brother a few times.

Here is his story:
How I found God and peace with my atheist brother: PETER HITCHENS traces his journey back to Christianity | Daily Mail Online

Being Christian is one thing. Fighting for a cause is another, and much easier to acknowledge – for in recent times it has grown clear that the Christian religion is threatened with a dangerous defeat by secular forces which have never been so confident.

Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.

The one reliable force that restrains the hand of the man of power. In an age of powerworship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.
He is right. As militant atheist Friedrich Nietzsche said, once God is dead, humanity will be in the service of Great Politics, which even Nietzsche knew would not be an improvement.
The point, rather, is that Nietzsche saw. However much he (usually) advocated what ought to be most abhorred, he at least recognized that true morality and Christian belief are siblings. Moreover, in tones redolent of Jeremiah he saw the consequences to civilization as a whole when its citizens lose their faith in God. For what will take the place of God will be only a passionate—and largely empty—politics:
"For when truth enters the lists against the lies of millennia, we shall have convulsions, a spasm of earthquakes . . . the likes of which have never been dreamed. Then the concept of politics will be completely dissolved in a war between spirits, all authority structures of the old order will be blown into the air—one and all, they rest upon a lie; there will be wars the likes of which have never existed on earth. From my time forward earth will see Great Politics."
Such are the contradictions of atheism. With hope in progress gone, with the lessons of the twentieth century still unlearned in the twenty-first, with technology progressing, in Adorno’s words, from the slingshot to the atom bomb (a remark cited in Spe Salvi), with a resurgence of religiously motivated violence filling the headlines, all that the new atheists can manage is to hearken back to an Enlightenment-based critique of religion. But they find their way blocked, not so much by Nietzsche (whom, as we saw, they largely ignore) but by the ineluctable realities he so ruthlessly exposed. Not Nietzsche, but the history of the twentieth century has shown that godless culture is incapable of making men happier. All Nietzsche did was to point out that no civilization, however “progressive,” can dispel the terrifying character of nature; and once progress is called into question, the human condition appears in all its forsaken nakedness.
We are almost there, folks.

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By Donald Sensing

It's occurred to me that an awful lot of people do not understand that the reasons that Southern states seceded and the reasons the Civil War was fought are not the same.

As I have posted, the South seceded to protect and even expand the institution of slavery, and for no other reason.

But South Carolina did not fire on Fort Sumter to protect slavery. After the CSA was formed in Feb 1861, "Its conservative government, with Mississippian Jefferson Davis as president, sought a peaceful separation, but the United States refused to acquiesce in the secession," according to

Had the war not broke out in Charleston harbor, President Lincoln would have made sure it broke out somewhere. His correspondence and public utterances make it clear that he was absolutely determined, even including war, that the Union would not be sundered.

There was at the time, and remained for three or four years after the Sumter battle, a substantial peace movement in the North that urged the Southern states be permitted to depart in peace. Lincoln adamantly refused this position, stating that the Union of states was unalterable and no state, once admitted, could separate itself from the Union. (This was, btw, explicitly contrary to the position of one Thomas Jefferson, but let it pass.)

In his First Inaugural address, after the CSA had been formed, Lincoln made this explicitly plain:
I therefore consider that. . . the Union is unbroken; and. . . I shall take care that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend, and maintain itself.
But of course this was a threat, raw and naked, and all his contemporaries understood it that way.

South Carolina seceded on Dec. 24, 1860. Why did they wait until April 12, 1861, to fire on the fort? Because they did not want war. Jeff Davis even sent a delegation to see Lincoln to negotiate the transfer of Fort Sumter to the CSA. The delegates were authorized to set an amount to pay the US government for the fort. Lincoln refused to see them and sent them home.

As late as the day before the battle, Confederate Secretary of War Leroy P. Walker directed that if Anderson and his men evacuated the fort, they would not be hindered by force. Anderson actually told CSA military emissaries on April 11 that he intended to evacuate on April 15, a date that was accepted by the Confederate commander. (Anderson also admitted that he had only a few days' provisions on hand.)

But with a US Navy task force to reinforce and resupply Sumter having arrived and sitting at the harbor's entrance, Confederate Gen. P.G.T Beuaregard knew that dates and timetables meant nothing any more. He sent word to Anderson that the fort would be fired on beginning at 4.30 a.m. the next morning.

By no stretch of the most active imagination can it be credibly maintained that the South fired on Fort Sumter to protect slavery. Having declared itself to be part of an independent nation, S.C. worked for four months to convince the Union to abandon a fortress sitting in command of the harbor's approaches. The state and its new nation would either be sovereign over its territories or they would not. And as long as the fort was staffed by Union troops, they would not. This is how the CSA's leaders understood the situation. They could no more accept a Union-garrisoned fort in Charleston harbor that George Washington would have agreed to permit a British fort in New York harbor after 1781.

There is a widely accepted, though not universally agreed-on analysis of April 1861 that,
... the situation at Sumter presented Lincoln with a series of dilemmas. If he took action to maintain the fort, he would lose the border South and a large segment of northern opinion which wanted to conciliate the South. If he abandoned the fort, he jeopardized the Union by legitimizing the Confederacy. Lincoln also hazarded losing the support of a substantial portion of his own Republican Party, and risked appearing a weak and ineffective leader.

Lincoln could escape these predicaments, however, if he could induce southerners to attack Sumter, "to assume the aggressive and thus put themselves in the wrong in the eyes of the North and of the world." By sending a relief expedition, ostensibly to provide bread to a hungry garrison, Lincoln turned the tables on the Confederates, forcing them to choose whether to permit the fort to be strengthened, or to act as the aggressor. By this "astute strategy," Lincoln maneuvered the South into firing the first shot.
Even in the North, there was widespread acknowledgment that Lincoln was the one who began the war, including among members of Congress (many of whom approved). After the battle, The New York Evening Day-Book editorialized:
We have no doubt, and all the circumstances prove, that it was a cunningly devised scheme, contrived with all due attention to scenic display and intended to arouse, and, if possible, exasperate the northern people against the South…. We venture to say a more gigantic conspiracy against the principles of human liberty and freedom has never been concocted. Who but a fiend could have thought of sacrificing the gallant Major Anderson and his little band in order to carry out a political game? Yet there he was compelled to stand for thirty-six hours amid a torrent of fire and shell, while the fleet sent to assist him, coolly looked at his flag of distress and moved not to his assistance! Why did they not? Perhaps the archives in Washington will yet tell the tale of this strange proceeding…. Pause then, and consider before you endorse these mad men who are now, under pretense of preserving the Union, doing the very thing that must forever divide it.
The Civil War began because of the singular determination one man, Abraham Lincoln.

Interesting trivia:

1. The surrender ceremony was held April 14, but the barrage had lasted 34 hours. No one was killed on either side during the battle.

2. The South did not take Anderson or his men prisoner. In fact they ordered a 100-round artillery salute to be fired to honor them. But a cannon malfunctioned in firing the salute barrage, killing a cannoneer, the only fatality of the whole sad affair and the first fatality of the Civil War.

3. Maj. Anderson was himself a former slave holder. He served the rest of the war in Union service.

4. Fort Sumter was not even completed when S.C. seceded.

5. After an overnight awaiting high tides, a South Carolina vessel sailed Anderson and his men to the Union ships where they were transferred to Union hands without incident.

6. The United States flag was raised again over Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865, exactly four years after it had been lowered. The officer raising the flag was Robert Anderson, then a medically-retired major general.

7. Below, Fort Sumter as seen from The Battery in Charleston, where the CSA guns were (my photo from 2010).

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Here's something you don't see every day

By Donald Sensing

Former NAACP president vocally defends Confederate flag

NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Hours after "Black Lives Matter" was spray-painted on a Confederate monument in Asheville, North Carolina, H.K. Edgerton stood with a Confederate flag, telling those passing by why he wanted it to continue to fly.

Edgerton, a former president of the North Carolina NAACP and one of few African-American members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was outside the monument waving the Confederate flag soon after the graffiti was removed.

He said the graffiti artist protested incorrectly.

"I'm not going to blame it on a Yankee, because I've seen some southern folk around here that are real questionable too, that don't know anything about who they are and their families and the honorable people in the southland of America... red, yellow, black, white and brown!" Edgerton said.
Read more from NBC affiliate WYFF:

I have known of present-day black Americans defending the CSA flag before (though very few!) but never of one such defender who is a former NAACP state president!

Between 3,000 - 10,000 black men were members of the CS Army. This represented about 0.5 percent of total CS Army members over the course of the war. (This according to a Harvard Univ. study.)

There were between 100K - 200K black Union soldiers (estimates vary wildly for some reason).

In the CS Army, both Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne of the Army of Tennessee and Gen. Robert E Lee called for enrolling blacks as soldiers long before the Confederate Congress authorized enrolling 300,000 black  troops only a month before Lee surrendered. Both generals urged that service would be rewarded, in the case of slaves, with automatic manumission. This the Congress did not authorize.

AFAIK, no one has been able to determine how many of the serving black were free or slave (there was quite a number of freed blacks living in the South before and during the Civil War).

The few blacks who did serve in the CS Army had no meaningful effect on the course of the war and were not accepted on anything approximating equal terms with the white soldiers.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Confederate flags bad! Nazi mementos good!

By Donald Sensing has deleted sales of Confederate flags and regalia, but thank goodness it still sells Nazi stuff!

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ISIS video shows caged prisoners drowned, shot with an RPG and blown up

By Donald Sensing

ISIS video shows caged prisoners drowned, shot with an RPG and blown up | Daily Mail Online

Sick: The seven men are led out into a field, where explosive cables are tied around their necks and detonated
Seven doomed men are necklaced with detonating cord, a line of high explosive that burns at four miles per second - meaning it, well, detonates instantly. All these men were horribly disfigured and some were decapitated. None died gently.

In the same ISIS video is an HD sequence of several men trapped in a large metal cage and entirely, slowly submerged into a pool. Switch to underwater, sophisticated camera angles to show closeups of the men panicking and drowning, then their lifeless bodies are raised.

Second sequence is locking condemned men in an automobile, then shooting the car with a RPG, blowing the men up or burning them to death. Then this det. cord sequence.

When Dylann Roof said he shot black Americans in Charleston because of his racist views, all the politicos and commentati from Obama on down believed him and painted the entire American South with shared guilt.

But when ISIS's barbarous killers torture, behead and cruelly murder their victims, claiming Islam as their practice and authority, the US elites insist they must not be believed and that Islam has nothing to do with it.

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Why the Confederate Battle Flag Must Go

By Donald Sensing

By now you are probably aware of the increasing (and increasingly strident) calls for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from South Carolina's state capitol grounds (where, lest we forget, it was originally placed in 1962 by act of the almost-wholly-Democrat legislature and signed into law by then-governor, later US Senator Fritz Hollings, D.-SC.)

As a matter of federalism, of course, SC has the right to fly the flag if its representatives want. But, as Paul advised in 1 Cor. 6., just because one has the right to do something does not mean it is beneficial.

My friend Bill Hobbs linked in FB to this article about the flag kerfuffle: "The ludicrous, self-defeating hypocrisy of flying the Confederate battle flag." It's not a short read but it is worth the time. My thoughts are below.

The CSA's flags should not be displayed except in historical settings such as museums or re-enactments (private property rights must be protected). 

There are some hard truths about the CSA. I am a Nashville native and grew up here. My family's roots in Middle Tenn. go back to just after the Revolutionary War. I have ancestral-family members who fought (and some died) for the CSA on both my mom's and dad's side (also for the Union on my dad's). Alexander Stephens, vice president of the CSA, was my wife's great-great grandfather's brother. My maternal grandmother's grandfather, CSA, has the singular distinction of being the only American POW, before or since, ever busted out of POW camp by his wife. He was never recaptured.

So I take no back seat to anyone for Southern heritage and upbringing.

Like probably most native Southerners of my generation, I was raised being taught that the real reasons for the Southern states' secession was to preserve states rights and that the northern economic lobby was choking the South's economy with high tariffs on Southern goods.

Slavery? Well, it was in the mix somewhere, but slavery was not the real reason for secession.

It is a lie, pure and simple.

The states rights and tariffs arguments are entirely absent from Southern apologia until after the Civil War. In 1860 and before, no one in the South was using those topics to justify secession. Furthermore, in 1860 federal tariffs on Southern goods were lower than they had been since 1816.

It was the Southern politicians who had actually attacked the concept of federalism and state rights when, some years before the Civil War, some non-slave states had started declaring that when slaves were brought into those states by the masters, they could be declared legally manumitted by state law. Southern politicians fought that tooth and nail and applauded the Dred Scott decision of the US Supreme Court, which denied Dred Scott, a black man, the right to sue for his freedom US courts even if he resided in a free state. (Seven of the Supreme Court's judges "had been appointed by pro-slavery presidents from the South, and of these, five were from slave-holding families.") 

Nor was the North's industrial power significant at all in the secessionists' decisions. In 1860, Southern goods accounted for 75 percent of all American exports' dollar value ("King Cotton" being the main export) and the market value of the slaves across the South was greater than the entire Net Asset Value of all the industrial base of the North.

The North's industrial revolution had begun in the 1840s, but was hardly in full speed in 1860. The war great accelerated it, leaving the North economically ascendant afterward, but before the war the South was the dominant economic section of the country (and it was economically wrecked by 1865). 

Why did the states secede? To protect slavery, period.

Search for the 11 seceded states' actual acts of secession, beginning with South Carolina's, and you will see that slavery was the sole reason for secession. South Carolina's act makes this very unambiguous: protection of slavery was the only topic presented as driving secession. Same with Mississippi. And the others.

There were four sections of S.C.'s secession act. The opening section claims and justifies the right of the state  to secede in the first place. Then:
The next section asserts that the government of the United States and of states within that government had failed to uphold their obligations to South Carolina. The specific issue stated was the refusal of some states to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and clauses in the U.S. Constitution protecting slavery and the federal government's perceived role in attempting to abolish slavery.

The next section states that while these problems had existed for twenty-five years, the situation had recently become unacceptable due to the election of a President (this was Abraham Lincoln although he is not mentioned by name) who was planning to outlaw slavery. The declaration states the primary reasoning behind South Carolina's declaring of secession from the Union, which is described as:
... increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery ...
Then  the final section was simply the declaration of secession. There are no issues presented to justify secession except slavery. Note the contempt of "states right" in the secession act, in its denunciation of "... the refusal of some states to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act... ." The other 10 seceded states' enactments are not significantly different.

The Confederate States of America was founded to do one thing only: to preserve the power of one class of people to literally own as chattel property another class of people. There is no other reason the CSA existed.

That is the "heritage" that CSA flag defenders are really defending; I hope, truly, that most of them do not know that.

We Southerners must stop trying to defend the indefensible

To defend the Confederate States of America is to side with the abjectly, morally indefensible. To use the CSA's battle flag or national colors as a symbol of Southern pride should be deeply, deeply offensive to modern Southerners, who are the most racially harmonious people in the nation (by no means has the year of Jubilee arrived, but jeepers, just compare to practically any Union-states- heritage city).

Have we Southerners nothing to display as an emblem of regional heritage and pride but the flag of a irredeemably corrupt and thankfully temporary regime?

God save us.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

By Donald Sensing

Religion in America is on the decline - Read at Business Insider:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

An American Indian and a black woman . . .

By Donald Sensing

Eddie Murphy, Saturday Night Live, 1984, "White Like Me."

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By Donald Sensing

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Those murderous religionists!

By Donald Sensing

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