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Thursday, 24 August 2006

Coming soon to a Theater near you: Religious discrimination

Counter VERSAILLES: The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KCHR) Board of Commissioners issued a final order today in the case Ruth I. Garrett v. Erma Troyer d/b/a Rocky Top Salvage, KCHR No. 521-PA. The Commission ruled in favor of Ruth Irene Garrett, a former member of the Amish faith.
On October 15, 2003, Ms. Garrett attempted to purchase goods at an Amish-owned business in Hart County, Kentucky and was refused. The store's owner, Erma Troyer, informed Ms. Garrett that she would not accept her money because Garrett was shunned by the Amish church. Ms. Garrett brought a complaint against Troyer under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KRS 344.120) on grounds that she was discriminated against in a place of public accommodation because of her religion. Ms. Troyer claimed she was entitled to refuse to accept Ms. Garrett's money because she was exercising her religious freedom.
A hearing was held on October 6, 2006 in Glasgow. The hearing officer issued Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and a Recommended Order on March 14, 2006, ruling in favor of Ms. Garrett. The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights voted today to accept the hearing officer's recommendation and ordered Ms. Troyer to cease and desist from the unlawful practice of religious discrimination and to compensate Ms. Garrett in the sum of $100 for the injury of humiliation and embarrassment caused by Ms. Troyer's unlawful practices.


On May 19, 2006--shortly after the above case was adjudicated in Kentucky--one Mr. Grimshaw stood outside the entrance to the Linway Theater in Goshen, Indiana. It was Opening Day for "The DaVinci Code" and Mr. Grimshaw was there to inform theatergoers that the movie they were about to watch was a blasphemous fabrication. His efforts were successful enough to draw the attention of the theater owner, who told him to leave or he'd call the police. Mr. Grimshaw refused to leave, and the upshot of the matter was that he was arrested and jailed for criminal trespass. His trial is scheduled for December 20th in Goshen Municipal Court.

Note the similarities of the two incidents:
-A person of a different religious persuasion than the owner enters a place of business open to the public (in Mr. Grimshaw's case, he never got any further than the sidewalk of the strip mall in which the theater is located).
-The owner is offended by the would-be customer, for reasons associated with religion.
-The owner refuses service to the would-be customer.

But note the opposite results in the two cases.
Perhaps Mr. Grimshaw's worst mistake was that he didn't buy a ticket to the movie he was trying to boycott; that would have guaranteed him the civil right to exercise his right to free speech.

Perhaps Mrs. Troyer, instead of offering to let Ms. Garret take her groceries and leave without paying for them, should have informed the would-be customer that she was trespassing and she'd call the cops if she didn't leave right away. That way she could have had Ms. Garret hauled before a judge, instead of the other way around.

But note, she wasn't fined for refusing to let Ms. Garret shop for groceries--just for not letting her pay for them. So whether or not Mr. Grimshaw actually spent money at the theater seems to be beside the point; he was being denied the service of standing on the sidewalk outside--a service freely available to the public--and all for strictly religious reasons.

Religion puts values on things like the right not to be humiliated--and the right to defend the truth when it is under attack. When two religions come into conflict, only one can prevail. The Amish religion lost the last court case to extreme secularism. Which religion will prevail in Mr. Grimshaw's case?

Stay tuned to the White Man for the latest developments.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Peer Review gets the Axe

Counter"Grigori 'Grisha' Yakovlevich Perelman (born 13 June 1966) is a Russian Jewish mathematician who is an expert on Ricci flow. It is thought that he has proven the Poincaré conjecture, a major open problem in mathematics.

"There is speculation whether he will receive the $1 million prize if the proof continues unchallenged. He turned down a prize from the European Mathematical Society in the early 1990s, is said to be "very unmaterialistic", and has not shown interest in publication of the proof in a peer-reviewed mathematics journal, as the current rules for the prize require. On the other hand, the scrutiny the on-line publication has already elicited is said to be well beyond that of pre-publication peer review, and the grantor has explicitly stated that its board may change the requirements. "

So, peer review is found wanting in today's electronic age, in comparison to the scrutiny of on-line publication. Already (editing this post on the eve of Rosh Hashannah), more people have examined this blog entry--several of them, no doubt, credentialed scholars--than would have had it been submitted to a journal for peer review.

Peer review is a good thing--but it's time to bring it out of acedemia and onto the World Wide Web. The Blogosphere has already proved itself capable of exposing error and broadcasting the truth, better than any academic institution known to mankind.

I love this quote, facecious as it is:

"I'll never forget the time I submitted a paper to the Physics (A) Journal, which synthesized Mead's work on Collective QED with the latest results on the Schwartzchild solution for rotating black holes, using a clever application of Lebesque Integration theory. I unfortunately titled the paper, "Evolution of Quantum Emissions in Black Holes", and the review committee mistakenly sent it to a group of evolutionary microbiologists for peer review. Naturally, the biologists found my thesis completely incomprehensible and rejected the paper."

Monday, 21 August 2006

Critique of a Religious Pamphlet

Counter I have before me a religious pamphlet dated 01/04 and published by Dollar General, a discount store in the U.S. It's entitled, "Stay in school and get better grades for life."

Religion is a way of looking at life--a way of assigning value to intangibles. Science can quantify, but only religion can qualify. Religion answers the questions that Science didn't ask. Everyone is religious; everyone values some things more than others--values some things others don't.

One's religion comes out in his or her value statements, and this tract is full of them.

What follow are some blatant value statements in the pamphlet. As you read them, consider which of them might have represented the values that were behind the upbringing of the four men whose images are memorialized on the face of Mount Rushmore:

-Be a good role model.
-hug your child often--it's good for both of you.
-make sure you child visits the doctor regularly,
-and has all the right shots and vaccinations.
-Turn off the TV
-Be active in your child's school. Make sure your child goes every day.
-Make sure your child has plenty of playtime with other children and learns to share.
-Always make time to listen--it's one of the most important things you can do.
-Visit the school often.
-Make sure that school comes first
-Show the connection between school and reaching your child's goals.
-Teenagers need space--but make sure they know that you're always there for them.
-A child who loves learning will learn to love school.
-make sure that your child does not become one of the 1,000,000 who drop out each year
-a good education is a sure way to a better life.

If the image were to be effaced from Mount Rushmore of every man whose parents' didn't comply with all that this tract implies parents must do in order for their children to succeed in life, a direct hit by a hydrogen bomb might suffice.

There's a lot of subliminal valuation in this tract as well: for instance, the assumption that your child will go to school in the first place.

It can be safely said that the religious views expressed in this tract, though published by a retail merchandiser (the back-to-school business of which is only a small segment of their total annual sales), fairly represent those of the US Federal and State governments, and the Teacher's Union that constantly seeks to influence and inform their opinions.

They don't fairly represent those of the White Man, nor of his children. Their views are better expressed by the words of Mark Twain, who is quoted as saying:
"I have never let school get in the way of a good education."

Monday, 7 August 2006

The upcoming American Civil War

Counter America is going to experience a civil war. Whether this will be her first, second, or third Civil War will be left to the historians to squabble over, but this one will be different than the War of American Independence (in which rival political parties warred each other) and the War Between the States (in which federalists battled statists). This time the war won't be between the North and the South, or between Whigs and Tories, it will be between the Cities and the Countryside. What happened in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina served as a prelude for what is to come.

This website, excerpted below, vindicates the above.

“That a majority of Colorado Republicans with the most conservative voting records are from Weld County speaks volumes about our county,” Saine said. “This shows that the Democrats from areas such as Boulder and Denver really are out of touch with the rural values we espouse here.”
Garcia said since they have come out on this issue they have received calls from counties in other states asking commissioners about the issue.
“We have received phone calls from citizens in the Nebraska panhandle complaining about how they are having the same issue with Omaha that we are having with Denver, Garcia said. “Then last week we talked to people in New Mexico who are interested in part of peeling part of the state off and joining with Texas.
“In each of these cases rural residents are being disenfranchised by the populated urban areas of their state who are attempting to pass regulations that may make sense in a city but are not necessary in rural areas.”