America’s universities used to care about critical thinking. Now they’re just critical -- toward conservative thinking. Last week, we talked about Carol Swain, the African-American professor under fire for suggesting that radical Islam was a threat to security. (A theory the French would now certainly support.) Turns out, she isn’t the only one making waves on college campuses.
Before Carol, English Professor Robert Oscar Lopez was already on the hot seat in California. His crime? Inviting students to an optional conference on family matters. A student has since complained, alleging that she was “coerced” to attend the event and “traumatized” by a discussion of LGBT issues. In reality, no one mentioned the subject -- and Lopez submitted the tapes to prove it. What was actually behind the conflict, Lopez thinks, has nothing to do with his class -- and everything to do with his personal story.
This summer, Lopez became a key figure in the same-sex marriage debate when he shared his personal story of the devastating effects of growing up in a lesbian home in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court. Since then, Lopez believes, liberal activists have had their knives out for him. Whether that spurred this complaint or not, no one knows. Regardless, the California State University at Northridge launched an investigation, with Lopez’s tenure on the line.
In a controversy that’s dragged on for more than a year, school officials recently changed the charges from “discrimination” to “creating a hostile learning environment.” Despite the fact that the young woman received an “A” in Lopez’s class, anddespite the fact that the professor has provided plenty of documents disputing her claims, the issue still isn’t settled. “Under these circumstances, we have no choice,” said his counsel at the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, “but to conclude that the disposition of this investigation is a purely political and ideological attack on Dr. Lopez for holding -- and exposing his students to -- ideas about children’s rights which are apparently unpopular.”
As far as Lopez is concerned, his case is just a symptom of a bigger problem. “The modern American university has become a taxpayer-subsidized left-wing gulag,” he wrote in an op-ed. “In it, dissenters such as myself can be subjected to Stalinist show trials, spied on, and threatened with loss of livelihood for espousing dangerous ideas or associating with political pariahs.” Make no mistake, he went on. “The diversity fascists are coming to get you. They’ve criminalized dissent by formulating rules that are inherently stacked against Christians and conservatives (and especially Christian conservatives). Then, to add insult to injury, they ignore all their own rules and simply govern by whim.”
For now, the married father of two is hoping America sees the double standard on tolerance and has the courage to do something about it.
As if there weren’t enough drama surrounding the budget reconciliation bill, some conservative groups are intent on adding their own! Instead of accepting the fact that the Senate Parliamentarian has given the green light to the portion of the legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, some Republicans seem determined to change her mind.
For weeks, FRC and pro-family groups have fought to hold Cecile Richards’ group accountable in a bill that has the best chance of crossing the president’s desk. It cleared the procedural hurdles days ago, when the parliamentarian said the Planned Parenthood section did meet the expedited budget rules -- which are: a) that the provision is budgetary in nature; b) that the budget effect is not “merely incidental” to the policy but germane; and c) that it reduces spending in mandatory programs. Conservatives were ready to celebrate the development, only to bump up against other Republicans, who think the rest of the bill -- which includes a major rollback of ObamaCare -- has a better chance without it.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) put those rumors to rest by insisting that it was his intention to keep the Planned Parenthood language in the legislation. “We’re confident that the ObamaCare repeal bill … will contain a defund of Planned Parenthood,” McConnell told reporters. “We’ll be moving to that after Thanksgiving.” Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), who’d cast some doubts on that prospect earlier in the week, echoed the Majority Leader’s promise, saying, “We are going to proceed as the House passed the bill… Any suggestion that there’s some question about whether or not the Senate wants to follow through on the House bill is not right.”
That’s good news, because it gives conservatives the best shot at sending a partial defund to the president. FRC’s position is clear on this matter. We are 100% committed to ending taxpayers’ forced partnership with Planned Parenthood. We’ll fight to remove taxpayers from the abortion business on every spending bill -- but not at the expense of the current reconciliation opportunity. Unlike other approaches, this one gives pro-lifers a way to strip 80% of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding through mandatory programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and others -- and does so with 51 votes.
Could Congress put a similar provision on the omnibus spending package? Yes, and it should. But under regular order, it will take nine more votes (60) to pass it. Considering that there are only 54 Republicans (and not even all of them are pro-life), the odds of success in an omnibus are even slimmer. Does that mean we won’t try? Of course not. But the current strategy is the best one. And we applaud the GOP leadership for sticking with it, especially considering the snags along the way.
Despite all of the confusion over technical points and procedural rules, pro-life senators should support this path to the president’s desk. Doing so forces Obama to bear the moral responsibility for sending our tax dollars to a group that legitimizes baby butchery. Even if the president vetoes the bill, we’ve still succeeded -- because it sets a Senate precedent for moving a similar measure forward when America finally has a humane president. Now isn’t the time for bickering. Now is the time to rally together and support this effort -- and what it means for the greater good.
President Obama has some company in the basement of military approval ratings. It seems his former Secretary of State (and current Democratic nominee for president) Hillary Clinton has something in common with the current commander-in-chief: a dismal 15% favorability rating among active and former service members. The numbers are jaw dropping when you consider that just 3% have a “very favorable” impression of the former First Lady -- while an overwhelming 81% hold negative views.
Obviously, Clinton has been a polarizing person in the last several years for the military, who watched her botch, lie, and cover-up the incident in Benghazi, which led to the deaths of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Now, with Clinton vowing to continue the president’s legacy of sexual experimentation, most troops are understandably wary of another four years of fighting cultural wars. Although liberal presidents have never enjoyed broad support in the military, our Armed Forces may finally be at the breaking point after seven years of extreme social engineering.
In less than two terms, President Obama has radically changed the military culture, undercutting -- not just good order and discipline -- but the faith of the brave men and women who serve. After pulling more troops out of the Middle East, people assumed the support for the liberal approach would rebound. Instead, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” women on the front lines, budget cuts, hostility toward religion, and an openness to transgenderism have all snowballed into a deep-seated resentment that show no signs of letting up. Ultimately, something will have to give -- and that something appears to be the military’s support.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.