Greg Krehbiel's Crowhill Weblog - Content

crow
Thoughts on life — News, culture, politics, beer, art, science, education, religion and ethics

Greg Krehbiel's other sites:
Crowhill PublishingHomebrewbeer.biz
The Krehbiel Report on Publishing




Why we should accommodate religious beliefs

by Greg Krehbiel on 4 September 2015

What if you’re a woman who wants to get a driver’s license, and the guy behind the counter at the MVA has a sincere religious belief that women shouldn’t drive? Should his religious beliefs be able to get in the way of everybody else’s life? Do we want to accommodate such a person?

It depends. We should make “reasonable” accommodation to religious views, but this guy does have a job to do. We should find him something else to do that doesn’t cause him a conflict of conscience.

But why should we accommodate him at all? What is it about “religious” views that require all this special consideration? Why don’t we accommodate other views, like belief in aliens?

There are a few reasons. Legally, the constitution demands it. We have a right to free exercise of religion. But again you have to ask, why?

Part of the explanation is historical. When the constitution was written, western civilization had just suffered centuries of ugliness as various governments oppressed religious groups, and this country was founded as a refuge where people could practice their religion in peace.

In addition to these legal and historical reasons, I think there is another, which is that religion provides an effective restraint on all-powerful busy bodies. Aka bureaucrats. Aka regulators. Aka government in general.

Anyone who has dealt with government at any level knows that it is very susceptible to being dominated by all kinds of miscreants, including power-hungry rule Nazis and ideological crusaders. For them, it’s all about the program.

These are people who require every person and every thing to fit into their program. We all have to bow the knee before their all-encompassing, all-consuming agenda. It’s about power and control and party.

Our entire system of government is designed to slow down and impede such human plagues, but perhaps founders had the sense to realize that an outside, independent force was also necessary.

Religion stands athwart and says there are other things to consider. It’s not just your rules and your laws and your agenda. Life is more than that.

Other ideas and philosophies do the same, of course, but religion is the most powerful, obvious, established and effective institution that can hold up a hand to the king (or the petty bureaucrat) and say “you’ve gone too far.”

We desperately need that, especially as government gets bigger and more intrusive.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-04  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Firing her wouldn’t be enough? Or maybe a fine?

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 September 2015

The intolerance of the authoritarian scolds on the left is reaching dangerous levels. Kim Davis has been sent to jail for failing to do something she believes is against her religion.

But as Nicholas Frankovich points out, liberals who defied the law about same-sex marriage (in the other direction) were praised.

The history of the movement to redefine marriage is shot through with defiance of laws that those who broke them sincerely felt were deeply wrong.

Reasonable people can reasonably disagree about whether her religious views should be accommodated. There are arguments to be made both ways.

Treating her as a criminal and sending her to jail is way over the top. I would like to see U.S. District Judge David Bunning impeached and removed from office, and I would like to see the governor of Kentucky intervene and refuse to allow Ms. Davis to go to jail.

-- 9 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-03  ::  Greg Krehbiel





It was bound to happen

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 September 2015

Hacker threatens to sell Hillary’s unreleased emails

She’s going down.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-03  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“Can we please hurry to the point where we surrender?”

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 September 2015

That is the default Republican attitude. Conflict makes them nervous, because they know they’re going to lose. So they just want to pull on the string and get to the point where the other side wins and they can give up.

They express opposition (e.g., to same-sex marriage, to the Iran deal, to Obamacare), but it’s just for show, because as soon as they can make half a case that the fight is over and the other side has won, they capitulate.

We’re seeing this right now. There hasn’t even been a vote on the Iran deal, much less a vote to overturn a veto, but enough Democrats have said that they’ll support the president that we can confidently predict the Republicans will declare the fight over and lost.

They don’t fight. They surrender.

This is why Trump, Carson and Fiorina are winning. Republicans are completely disgusted with their party.

In a way it reminds me of Lincoln and Grant. People complained to Lincoln that Grant was a drunkard. Lincoln said if he knew Grant’s brand, he’d send him a case. Because he fights, and that was what Lincoln needed. He didn’t need a sober man, or a choir boy, or someone who spoke nicely to Megyn Kelly. He needed somebody who was going to take Vicksburg and win the bloody war.

Republicans don’t care that Trump is brash and says mean things to Rosie O’Donnell — because that’s not what they think they need right now.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





A question for Megyn Kelly. Are women equal or not?

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 September 2015

Megyn Kelly famously attack-questioned Donald Trump about things he’s said to women. Why is that a relevant question? Why did she single out women? Is Trump polite to men?

I don’t think so. See Trump’s most notable insults. I think he’s pretty generous in passing around jabs and slights.

Someone might say that the kinds of insults Trump uses against men are different. Well … of course they are. You insult men differently than you insult women. I try not to do either, but it’s pretty obvious that’s the way it works.

So why was Kelly’s question about things Trump said to or about women? Why not ask if his generally obnoxious, insulting, rude behavior is appropriate for a president?

Are we supposed to speak differently to women? Is it okay to insult the president, sitting senators, the entire government, etc., but not anyone who happens to be a woman? Why the “double standard”?

Which way are we supposed to go with this? Are women just as tough as men — and therefore able to be president, or an Army ranger, or anything else — or should they be treated more gently or courteously? You can’t affirm the former and then say “how dare you speak to a woman that way!”

Feminists like Kelly want to have it both ways. In their mind it’s inexcusable to say women are not strong enough or tough enough to be president, but it’s also inexcusable to treat them as roughly as you’d treat a man.

We have to reject this muddle-headed feminist thinking and be honest — one way or the other. Either adopt the traditional idea that men and women have different roles, and that men are supposed to protect women and treat them gently — as I defend in Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap — or we have to pretend that everybody’s the same. And if everybody’s the same, we can’t go around asking candidates how they treat women as if that’s relevant.

So which will it be, Megyn Kelly?

-- 13 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Countdown to death threats

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 September 2015

Shocking Koran discovery: Fragments of religious text ‘may be OLDER than Prophet Muhammad’

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





That it’s so hard to pick a presidential candidate you like is evidence the presidency has far too much power

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 September 2015

We have a glut of presidential candidates out there. Senators, governors, businessmen — even a neurosurgeon. Every one of them is a basically competent person with some good ideas. Yes, even the liberals. But we quibble over which one to back.

Why are we so picky? I think it’s because the presidency has far too much power.

The states need to wrest more power from the federal government, and the presidency needs to shrink. The differences between the candidates won’t matter so much.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Close the *!&F$ borders already!!

by Greg Krehbiel on 2 September 2015

Report: More than half of immigrants on welfare

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-02  ::  Greg Krehbiel





It depends on whose morality is being offended

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 September 2015

Why is it that when Eric Holder refused to do his job and defend The Defense of Marriage Act, he was being a principled public servant and was following his conscience, but when a Kentucky clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses, she needs to be stopped because she is a dangerous threat to the rule of law?

Constitutionally it should be the opposite. Religious beliefs have to be accommodated. Social opinions do not.

And why are allegedly conservative presidential candidates so willing to surrender on this?

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Will the pope’s mercy encourage more abortions?

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 September 2015

We all know about the conflict between moral standards and forgiveness. If everybody were to take a radical “who am I to judge?” position, nobody would feel any social pressure to do what’s right. On the other hand, if we all shunned everyone who committed an offense, none of us would have any friends.

Individuals need to find a balance between the two, but so do parents, organizations, and society in general.

One part of “tough love” is letting a person feel the consequences of their stupid decisions. This is what the oracle says on the subject: “[G]enuinely concerned parents refusing to support their drug-addicted child financially until he or she enters drug rehabilitation would be said to be practicing tough love.”

But what if there are lots of merciful, forgiving people out there who are willing to ease the pain for the drug-addicted child? E.g., places to sleep and to get meals and such — in a “non-judging” environment. It takes the edge off the toughness of the tough love, and basically makes the parent into an uncaring “judgmental” person. (Which is one of the worst sins in the modern catechism of morality.)

In that case, one person’s attempt to be merciful is ruining another person’s attempt to be loving.

A big part of the problem with navigating this issue is the conflict between a toughness that prevents the mistake in the first place (e.g., “if I do this my Dad will kill me!”) and a toughness that keeps the sinner away. You want there to be a path back to good standing, but you can’t make it too hard. Or too easy.

There’s no perfect way to draw that line.

The pope is wrestling with this issue with divorced and remarried Catholics, and with women who have had abortions. Apparently (you can never be sure based on media reports) he intends to loosen the rules on who can forgive a woman who has had an abortion.

The way things stand right now, getting an abortion is an automatic excommunication, and it’s a hard road to get back into the good graces of the church. (Update: A reliable priest who is a friend of mine says priests in the U.S. have been able for decades to grant forgiveness and remove the excommunication.) Will loosening the rules for forgiveness help — that is, will it bring more people to repentance and reconciliation — or will it hurt — that is, make people have less fear of the consequences of their actions?

I don’t know. Part of the question would be whether the threat of automatic excommunication is having any effect now. I tend to doubt it.

I doubt it because the church has been through this before. There used to be pretty strict penances for particular sins. In order to make sure one priest wasn’t letting people off easy, while the priest in the next town was handing out strict penances, there were “canonical penitentials” the priests were supposed to follow. I.e., this sin required this penance.

The Christians in earlier centuries were made of tough stuff and were willing to undergo some pretty severe penances to get back into communion with the church. (Remember Henry IV standing in the snow for days.) Later, as people balked at such strict rules, the church allowed alternatives to the canonical penance, which became Martin Luther’s favorite, indulgences.

IOW, the church lightened the path back to communion because the old rules weren’t working any more. Rather than wearing a hair shirt for a month, you could put 20 ducats in the poor box as an “indulgence.”

Nowadays Catholics are pretty much powder puffs. The penances from the 50s would probably be too much for a generation raised on instant everything and constant entertainment. People don’t even observe the relatively light fasting regimens of the modern church.

So, is the pope right to make it easier for these women to come back into communion, or will his actions make people think that abortion isn’t such a big deal anymore? I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-09-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-08-31 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Time for Mitt?
2015-08-31 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Blame the sexual revolution
+ 3 comments
2015-08-31 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“I wouldn’t be a man …”
2015-08-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
ESTJ, but only barely
+ 9 comments
2015-08-27 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Moral limits on government power?
+ 2 comments
2015-08-26 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Kick them out and let the good ones back
2015-08-26 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“His ugly nativism …”
+ 13 comments
2015-08-25 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Drop off mom too!
2015-08-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Uneducated and humorless