Tom Delay, Ethics Dunce Emeritus

I know, I know...it's mean to use the mug shot. Good.

I know, I know…it’s mean to use the mug shot. Good.

I am grateful to ex-Republican House Leader and former Texas Rep. Tom Delay for putting himself back in the news with a quote remarkable for its ignorance, hatefulness, and corrupting potential. There are many reasons:

1. It provides a little perspective for Republicans who are excessively smug about the unethical depths to which the Democratic leaders, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, will sink. Yes, they are ethically atrocious. DeLay, however, was as powerful as either of them for a very long time and was a major power in causing the Bush years to collapse in a smelly pile of corruption. The fact that the Republican Party would follow such a man is easily as damning as Democrats tolerating Reid and Pelosi.

2. It gives me the opportunity to name Tom Ethics Alarms’ second Ethics Dunce Emeritus. The first was Bill Clinton. Tom Delay makes Bill Clinton look like Atticus Finch. Think about that.

3. I miss pointing out how despicable Tom DeLay is. On Ethics Alarm’s predecessor, The Ethics Scoreboard, he was worth a post on a regular basis.

4. His statement is so ridiculous that it is bound to make thoughtful people wonder if they should be agreeing with the man, and reexamine their current anti-gay positions critically.

Here is what DeLay said, discussing the various religious rights protection measures and the controversy surrounding them, on an interview with Newsmax, with some restrained commentary by me in bold: Continue reading

Ben Carson’s Apology

Prison rapeOn “New Day” yesterday, Dr. Ben Carson, who is inexplicably favored by some as a 2016 Presidential nominee (perhaps because electing someone with virtually no leadership experience has worked out so well), was asked by host Chris Cuomo whether being gay was a choice, Carson replied: “Absolutely.”

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” Carson said.

This, as anyone who has been conscious over the past 20 years or so should have been able to predict, caused great consternation among the gay community and thoughtful people generally. It was approximately as ignorant as Mets’ infielder Daniel Murphy’s comments yesterday about Billy Bean, a former major league baseball player who is the sport’s “ambassador for inclusion.”  Murphy said,

“I disagree with his lifestyle.I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”

The difference is that Carson may be running for President, whereas all Murphy has to do is get on base and turn double plays, so Murphy saying utterly stupid things like claiming that being gay is a “lifestyle”isn’t all that relevant to his career choice. Actually, I’m not certain Carson’s statement isn’t worse, especially since he’s an educated man. I haven’t seen any surveys in which former prisoners say they have been “turned gay” in prison. We know that a lot of prisoners are raped, and we know that mane confined for long periods with other men and no women may resort to homosexual sex, but no research has suggested that this experience turns such men gay. Perhaps Carson believes that engaging in homosexual sex means a man is gay, which is like believing that a man stranded in the wilderness who survives on mushrooms and nuts is a vegan.

Carson, or whoever is trying to make this sow’s ear of a candidate into a Presidential purse, quickly decided that a retraction was in order, so Carson issued, on Facebook, a long apology, saying in part:

In a recent interview on CNN, I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues. I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.

I’m a doctor trained in multiple fields of medicine, who was blessed to work at perhaps the finest institution of medical knowledge in the world. Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality.

He concluded, Continue reading

Regarding Ariel Castro’s Suicide: Good!

GatesOfHell

I won’t go so far as to call him an Ethics Hero, but killing himself was probably the ethics highlight of Ariel Castro’s miserable, evil life.

The state of Ohio can’t navigate the moral-ethical logic necessary to execute a monster like Castro ( I see nothing ethical or moral about preventing society from making a crime like his just cause for capital punishment), so Castro took matters into his own hands and did the right thing.

Good.

Oh, I agree that the state has an obligation to do everything it can to prevent a prisoner from doing harm to himself, just as it would have an obligation to let Castro have gender reassignment treatment (though I am amused by wondering whether the advocates for Bradley Manning would be as vociferous if the subject was a sick rapist-kidnapper rather than a popular traitor). But I don’t want to pay my tax dollars to keep the likes of Ariel Castro in food, lodging and medical care, and I doubt many Ohio taxpayers do either. Taking himself out was an ethical act all around for Castro: we benefit, the system benefits, justice is served, and Castro is dead, all the better to make sure some future regime of touchy-feely uber-humanists don’t declare all sentences over 20 years as “cruel” or Ohio jails don’t become California Crowded, resulting in an elderly Castro being released to do the talk show circuit and star in a documentary.

Was his act cowardly? I heard an angry pundit declare so today, but I don’t feel we have any way of knowing that. Personally, I’d rather keep living, even in prison, than kill myself. I don’t really care if it was cowardly or not. They guy was a serial rapist-kidnapper-torturer, and his memory is supposed to be further stained by “And he was a coward, too”?

Is it’s a sin? I don’t think killing Ariel Castro can possibly be a sin…even if the killer is Ariel Castro.

A wiser society should have ended Castro’s life.

He did us all a favor by doing it on his own.

Thank you, Ariel!

Now go to Hell.

___________________________________

Facts: Columbus Dispatch

Ethics Dunce: The Ridgedale Church of Christ

This is Kat and Krista. I mean, come on! Look at those two women, blatantly being a couple like this! How can any God loving, devout person, even one of their mother's tolerate conduct like this? I mean, just look at what they're doing!

This is Kat and Krista. I mean, come on! Look at those two women, blatantly being a couple like this! How can any God loving, devout person, even one of their mothers tolerate conduct like this? I mean, just look at what they’re doing!

The culture’s rapid acceptance of same-sex romantic relationships and their natural progression, gay marriage, is leading some churches to isolate themselves from basic societal values, and call into question the sincerity and validity of organized religion itself. Today’s lesson: Chattanooga’s Ridgedale Church of Christ.

Linda Cooper and her family had belonged to the church and its community for more than 60 years. Then her daughter, Kat Cooper, led the months long effort that led to the Chattanooga suburb of Collegedale becoming the first city in Tennessee to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of its government employees.Kat, a detective the Collegedale Police Department was  married to her same sex spouse Krista, in Maryland, in May. During her successful and well-publicized legal battle, Kat was supported by her mom. Linda stood by her side throughout the process. She held tight to her daughter’s hand at a July meeting over the issue. And the two embraced after the City Council’s 4-1 vote in favor of same-sex benefits on Aug. 5.  Her church took notice…and disapproved. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week

“Some, including the archbishop, have argued that by providing health care to a gay or lesbian spouse we are somehow legitimizing gay marriage. Providing health care to a gay or lesbian partner — a basic human right, according to Church teaching — is an end in itself and no more legitimizes that marriage than giving communion to a divorced person legitimizes divorce, or giving food or shelter to an alcoholic legitimizes alcoholism.”

—–Tim Sawina, former chief operating officer of Catholic Charities, in a letter protesting the Washington D.C.-based organization’s recent decision, dictated by Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, to eliminate health benefits for all new employees’ spouses in response to the legalization of same-sex marriage in D.C.

Even if one is inclined to be sympathetic to the Catholic Church’s plight in the gay marriage issue, as it finds itself locked into a centuries-old moral code that declares homosexuality a sin while the world steadily rejects the premise as ignorant, cruel, and wrong, the Catholic Charities decision is indefensible. It is especially brain-melting to try to justify such a decision by a charitable social service organization. Continue reading

Ethics Trumps Morality: Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Almost lost in the din of President Obama’s defiant State of the Union address was his promise to finally end “Don’t ask, don’t tell” as military policy. There is no ethical argument against this long overdue move. It has always been a policy based on the political expediency of politicians afraid to do the right thing.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is unethical. The law treats gay Americans in a biased and discriminatory manner, reinforcing negative stereotypes and the irrational fears. It also hurts the military and the nation by robbing it of able soldiers and military personnel. Continue reading