This is one of those periods in which there are so many juicy ethics stories that I am falling far behind. Here are three that are worthy of longer treatment that I can’t allow to get lost in the crowd:
Prejudice Triumphs in Virginia
Virginia Republicans ensured that the state’s General Assembly would reject Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland a General District Court judge. The House of Delegates voted 33 to 31, with 10 abstentions, to block Thorne-Begland’s appointment by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell; the respected prosecutor needed 51 votes in the 100-member chamber to get the post. Only eight of 67 House Republicans joined 25 Democrats in voting for the nomination.The sole reason for the opposition to Thorne-Begland by conservative Republicans was that he is openly gay, though various spokesmen for the block of bigots protested that it wasn’t because he was gay, but because his “life-style” and support of gay issues, such as gay marriage and the elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” made him “unfit for the bench”, since he “couldn’t be objective.”
In other words, they rejected him because he is gay.
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) was the leader of the effort to reject the prosecutor. Last year, Marshall said that gays are “intrinsically disordered.” He called the nominee as “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.”
The prominent conservative argument that marriage must be between a man and a woman is wrong and misguided, but at least it can be built on a foundation of religious tradition without relying on hatred and prejudice. This decision, and other political behavior like it, raises a rebuttable presumption that the Rick Santorum-like rhetoric that conservative Republicans believe gays deserve the same rights as all citizens, but that the institution of marriage simply doesn’t allow for their participation, is nothing but camouflage for a position far uglier and un-American, one that any fair-minded citizen of any affiliation should find repellant and intolerable.
Georgetown University’s Proper Standard
Though Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was at the center of the decision to require Catholic school and hospitals to include insurance coverage of abortion and contraceptive measures in its benefits for employees, Georgetown University invited her to be a featured speaker at an awards ceremony during its commencement week ceremonies. Of course it did: this is what any legitimate college would do—-give an important figure in a controversy involving the school a dignified and prominent podium from which to launch an open discussion and to enlighten students with her perspective. This is what universities are supposed to do. Yes, Sibelius was invited before the controversial Obama administration decision was announced, but it did not alter the University’s plans. Good.
For its responsible and professional decision, the University is being criticized within the Washington Archdiocese , which issued a statement condemning it. The statement noted that because of the “dramatic impact this mandate will have on Georgetown and all Catholic institutions, it is understandable that Catholics across the country would find shocking the choice of Secretary Sebelius, the architect of the mandate, to receive such special recognition at a Catholic university. It is also understandable that Catholics would view this as a challenge to the bishops.”
More than 27,000 people have signed a petition on the website of the Cardinal Newman Society urging Georgetown University’s president, John DeGioia, to “withdraw the invitation to Secretary Sebelius immediately.”
The Catholic Church’s best argument against the mandated coverage is that it will force principled Catholic institutions to withhold their valuable services from non-Catholics, with a devastating effect on the public. But a university that didn’t encourage a diversity of opinion on campus and among invited speakers wouldn’t be principled, and wouldn’t be much of a university either. Georgetown is right to allow Sibelius to speak.
The Bright Side of the Elizabeth Warren Fiasco
Just as the experts on such matters have concluded that Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is running to unseat Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts, has nothing on which to base her claim of Cherokee heritage that appears to have played a part in getting her two teaching jobs at prestigious universities, Politico uncovered a Fordham Law Review article from 1997, which included this jaw-dropping passage:
“There are few women of color who hold important positions in the academy, Fortune 500 companies, or other prominent fields or industries,” the piece says. “This is not inconsequential. Diversifying these arenas, in part by adding qualified women of color to their ranks, remains important for many reasons. For one, there are scant women of color as role models. In my three years at Stanford Law School, there were no professors who were women of color. Harvard Law School hired its first woman of color, Elizabeth Warren, in 1995.”
Yyyyyyup: 1/32 of Native American heritage makes someone a “woman of color.” How embarrassing. How fatuous. How absurd.
The one good thing that might conceivably come out of Warren’s dishonest and manipulative claims of minority status is that it shines a harsh light on the essential offensiveness and unethical nature of the Left’s obsession with minority credentials and racial spoils. There is no evidence that Warren knee that a fool writing for a law journal was celebrating her as a “person of color,” perhaps the most nauseating example of politcal-correctness-speak ever devised, but she is a card-carrying member of the affirmative action/diversity cabal that spawned the foolishness. Now that she has been thoroughly hoisted by her own petard, maybe we can begin to shed the burden of identifying our fellow citizens by their lineage, claimed lineage, or presumed lineage, or their gender, sexual preferences, nationality or color, and judge each other by “the content of their character,” as Martin Luther King dreamed.
And I sure know how I’m going to judge the character of self-proclaimed “women of color” like Elizabeth Warren.
Pointer: James Taranto
Source: Boston Herald
Graphic: Speed of Creativity
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