Ethics Round-Up in Race, Religion and Sex: GOP Bigotry, Georgetown’s Integrity, and Warren’s Absurdity

Help! I’m buried in great ethics stories!

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.

_____________________________________________

Sources:

Virginia GOP

Sources:

Georgetown U.

Source: CNS

Warren

Pointer: James Taranto

Facts: Politico

Source: Boston Herald

Graphic: Speed of Creativity

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

26 thoughts on “Ethics Round-Up in Race, Religion and Sex: GOP Bigotry, Georgetown’s Integrity, and Warren’s Absurdity

  1. I agree – the content of Elizabeth Warren’s character is reprehensible.
    She obviously is not registered Cherokee or she would have provided that information to quell the furor. Requirement for membership in the Eastern Band of Cherokee is 1/16th blood quantum – clearly she does not meet that prerequisite – and must be a direct descendant of any enrollee on the Baker Roll of 1924 . There is no blood quantum requirement to belong to the Cherokee Nation, however, a direct ancestor had to have been registered in the Dawes Roll (Indian Census) between 1896 and 1907. My grandmother was born in Indian Territory and she, her mother and her grandmother were all listed on the Dawes Roll. My grandmother and my mother were very active in Cherokee Indian Affairs as am I and now my daughter (who is also involved in First Nations organizations in Quebec, Canada). We have all been extremely proud of our Cherokee heritage, however, not one of us has ever, ever either declared on any form or replied to any question indicating Native American heritage where there would be an advantage over others to do so. The Elizabeth Warren affair is repulsive at best where she has denied a qualified true “woman of color” with less advantages the opportunities she has been given. It makes me nauseous.

    • I don’t see one shread of your rant that shows an evidence that Elizabeth Warren did anything unethical. Warren didn’t claim membership of either of those Cherokee groups, and neither are necessary to have Indian Heritege. That you haven’t used your blood history does not make it unethical for Warren to use hers.

  2. 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.

    Well, I could be for/against spending because spending is necessary/bad during a recession, but I’m really for/against it because Obama is pushing it.

    Having a rationalization based on religion isn’t exactly a plus.

    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’s a horrible misleading statement. That these experts can’t find primary source paper trail does not mean they say she has nothing to base her claim on.

    And I sure know how I’m going to judge the character of self-proclaimed “women of color” like Elizabeth Warren.

    What’s your evidence the Elizabeth Warren proclaimed herself as part of the “women of color”? I see you specifically noting that there isn’t even evidence Warren knew of this claim, much less made it herself. And I sure know how I’m going to judge the character of self proclaimed “perfect men” like Jack Marshall.

    • It’s a cynical and bogus claim, and she took advantage of a university’s deceitful efforts at political correctness to further her own career. She just didn’t think she’d have to account for it. The totality of the circumstances defeat your usual tactic of attacking details. 1) There is no evidence she can point to that she is an American Indian 2) She cynically cited her heritage for an advantage that she didn’t deserve for merit based positions, and lied about it when it came to light. 3) My point, which was clearly articulated, was that the episode simply brings into sharp focus the absurdity of race and heritage based allocation of benefits in America. Warren is undeniably both part of that movement, and an exploiter of it, and the Fordham piece, calling a pale-skinned, non-minority like Warren a “person of color” merely points up its essential wrongness.4) But is listing herself as a Native American, she did proclaim herself a “person of color” by definition, whether she had the good sense to avoid that moronic euphemism or not.
      5) I don’t think the ad hominem attack was warranted. It will be if I try to vote in the Greek election.

      • It’s a cynical and bogus claim,[…]

        What’s a cynical and bogus claim? I can’t figure out the antecedent there.

        and she took advantage of a university’s deceitful efforts at political correctness to further her own career.

        Just like you suggested someone do. I don’t see this as horribly unethical. I see it as a minor negative, but not something particularly consequential.

        The totality of the circumstances defeat your usual tactic of attacking details.

        Are you now arguing that even though your facts are wrong, you’re not going to correct them?

        1) There is no evidence she can point to that she is an American Indian

        That is a false statement. There is just no primary source information that they found. I don’t have any primary source information that I’m 1/32nd German, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have evidence of my German ancestry. For situations where papertrails are scarce, family folklore and unofficial geneologies are not exactly looked down upon.

        2) She cynically cited her heritage for an advantage that she didn’t deserve for merit based positions, and lied about it when it came to light.

        That first phrase implies that anyone who may have been the benefit of affirmative action is unethical. I can’t agree with that. Lying about what occurred? That’s a valid charge that reflects much more negatively on Warren then her use of her heritage.

        3) My point, which was clearly articulated, was that the episode simply brings into sharp focus the absurdity of race and heritage based allocation of benefits in America. Warren is undeniably both part of that movement, and an exploiter of it, and the Fordham piece, calling a pale-skinned, non-minority like Warren a “person of color” merely points up its essential wrongness.

        And to make this point, you used equivocation to lie about your subject and directly misrepresented other information. When called on this, you both implied that the details are immaterial and doubled down on your incorrect information. I think you have a point about the absurdity of some programs (mostly on the margins), but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to attack your bad arguments.

        4) But is listing herself as a Native American, she did proclaim herself a “person of color” by definition, whether she had the good sense to avoid that moronic euphemism or not.

        And you used equivocation to make her action appear bad when it wasn’t. She’s not a “person of color” as it’s traditionally meant and Warren never claimed such. Your closing argument was attempting to impugn her based on the colloquial definition, but you can only tie her to it through a different meaning for the term.

        5) I don’t think the ad hominem attack was warranted. It will be if I try to vote in the Greek election.

        There was no ad hominem. I’m sure your wife and parents have referred to you as a “perfect man” at some point using loving wife/parent criteria based on things you have averred about yourself (maybe, “I don’t mind taking out the trash”). By your own logic, that would make you a self described perfect man. I wasn’t saying that statement as if it was serious; I was trying to point out how horrible your statement was. It’s like the deception from Showboat from the other thread, but this time the deception to cast unwarranted aspersions on a person, instead of avoid an unjust law.

        • 1) Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry sufficient enough to designate herself as a minority.
          1 A) That woman was in fact a minority–she was half Asian. No comparison. It was stupid for her to get an affirmative action benefit, but she was forced to participate in a stupid system. I was asked what was her best strategy within the rules to get admitted.
          2) I should have said that she cited a heritage that was imaginary to get an edge she didn’t deserve for ANY position. Ok. That’s closer to what I intended to convey. Her pseudo-minority status did not warrant using even in a minority-favoring system, or, in Harvard’s case, a fake minority-favoring system that the university was willing to game. “There is just no primary source information that they found. I don’t have any primary source information that I’m 1/32nd German, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have evidence of my German ancestry. For situations where papertrails are scarce, family folklore and unofficial geneologies are not exactly looked down upon.” You mean rumor? In what context where tangible rewards, property or benefits were at stake would this be called “evidence” or “proof”? She Native American because someone told her. That wouldn’t work in court, in probate, in a history treatise, anywhere. My father said his father, a liar by the way, once said that he was descended from Chief Justice John Marshall. We have never claimed that, and never would…because there is no proof.
          3) I didn’t misrepresent any information, tgt. I really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about here.
          4) I have heard and read “person of color” since the dark day it was devised, and it means “racial minority,” regardless of actual skin color, hence its deceitfulness and idiocy. Your statement “She’s not a “person of color” as it’s traditionally meant” is flat out wrong, or at least not consistent with my experience.
          5) I can truly say nobody except perhaps some of the members of my extended family who have ended up in padded rooms, have ever called me “perfect” except in the throes of cruel irony.

          • 1) Ethically, it looks only slightly negative to me. It’s not false, but I do agree it’s cynical.

            1A) So what’s your minority cutoff? 50% 25%? 12%? Does it change if it’s clearly visible (either physically or through other information) or the person self identifies as the minority?

            2) I’m going to call the imaginary heritage claim false as well. That seems to be based on your following bad assumption: oral history for race is considered invalid. For affirmative action, individual claim of race is enough, and (in lieu of contradictory information) oral histories are most definitely accepted for general racial information. Your example from your family doesn’t apply to this case, as it’s not general racial ancestry.

            3) You misrepresented the New England Historic Genealogical Society. “No proof” is not the same as “nothing on which to base her claim”. The society said that it can’t be verified by primary sources (their proof), but your statement says there’s no evidence at all.

            4) I have never heard an Asian, Indian, Native American, or Mexican referred to as a person of color, and I think most people would reject that usage of the word, even if it does appear to be technically correct.

            Letting that aside, you’ve now said that Warren is a “person of color” and that the term itself, which includes your application of it to Warren, is deceitful. I may have explained something wrong, but your correction of it has left you with the same problem.

            Warren, legally, claimed a specific race. You don’t like the rules for claiming a specific race or an idioticly deceitful term that can be applied to people of that race. Okay, cool, but it’s irrelevant to the issue at hand. You pretended that Warren used that term to describe herself.

            5) While I’d consider it a good thing, I find a lack of lapses into hyperbole pretty unlikely. In any case, I think the point still stands, even if it didn’t necessarily apply to you.

            • How about we just reject the entire concept of Minorities and treat all citizens as just that? We’d eliminate a lot of fraud and corruption that way… not to mention upholding the central concept of E Pluribus Unum.

              I largely agree with your assessments, Jack. Naturally, I take firm opposition to the part about GOP “bigotry” in Virginia. Bigotry is not an issue when it comes to placing dedicated perverts in a position of authority over good people.

                • “Descrimination” has largely devolved into a flail term to beat up on anyone who advocates that laws should be applied indscriminately and the rule of law prevail. It’s illustrative of the intellectual dishonesty of the Left.

                  • Just because some people abuse a term doesn’t mean said term can’t be used accurately.

                    Just yesterday one of my neighbors warned me not to leave electonics out on my deck as there are “black kids in the neighborhood now”.

                    • Then talk to them about it. I have to warn professional people all the time about leaving their laptops in their vehicles in plain sight. It’s a magnet for wandering crooks who invade parking areas whenever they can looking for these things. The issue is crime.

                    • A public parking lot is a far cry from a second floor deck inside a fenced yard in a suburban area.

                      Anyway, my point was that racism and discrimination are still ongoing, as seen through my otherwise ridiculous nice neighbor.

                    • How is the issue here crime? I used a discriminatory example that referred to crime, but the point was that discrimination is still ongoing.

                    • Is there anyone else that denies discrimination exists or that wouldn’t call my cited example discriminatory?

  3. “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.”

    Excuse me while I go put on my shocked face.

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