Things do not end well when Chancelors denounce the presence of “foreigners” in German society

Via CS Monitor:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a gathering of young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party this weekend that the “multikulti” concept – where people of different backgrounds would live together happily – does not work in Germany.

At “the beginning of the 1960s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country,” said Ms. Merkel at the event in Potsdam, near Berlin. “We kidded ourselves a while. We said: ‘They won’t stay, [after some time] they will be gone,’ but this isn’t reality. And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side by side and to enjoy each other … has failed, utterly failed.”

The crowd gathered in Potsdam greeted the above remark, delivered from the podium with fervor by Ms. Merkel, with a standing ovation. And her comments come just days after a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think tank (which is affiliated with the center-left Social Democratic Party) found that more than 30 percent of people believed Germany was “overrun by foreigners” who had come to Germany chiefly for its social benefits.

Even more terrifying:

The study also found that 13 percent of Germans would welcome a “Führer – a German word for leader that is explicitly associated with Adolf Hitler – to run the country “with a firm hand.” Some 60 percent of Germans would “restrict the practice of Islam,” and 17 percent think Jews have “too much influence,” according to the study.

In between France’s expulsion of tens of thousands of Roma immigrants and the assimilation of would-be book-banner Geer Wilders and other nationalist politicians into the mainstream of European politics, one is faced with a sobering picture of Europe. The continent of the Enlightenment still dreams in unreason. It falls to us to confront their monsters, leading by humane example.

You have the day off today because a slave-driver thought the Bahamas was India

Enjoy your ill-gotten holiday.

Of counseling and the Klan

Jennifer Keeton was an MA student in Augusta State University’s counselor-training program, until she refused to administer conventional, affirming treatments to LGBT students because she believed homosexuality was “immoral and changeable” according to her biblical worldview. Claiming infringement of free exercise of religion, Keenan sued Augusta:

A graduate student is suing a Georgia university, alleging that professors are requiring her to change her “biblical views” on homosexuality or be expelled from the counseling program there.

Jennifer Keeton filed a civil rights action in U.S. District Court on July 21 saying Augusta State University violated her “constitutional rights of speech, belief and religious exercise.”

The action says university faculty have “promised to expel” Keeton “because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical conviction on matters of human sexuality and gender identity.”

After Keeton expressed her views verbally and in written assignments, faculty mandated Keeton complete a “remediation plan.”

CNN obtained a copy of the remediation plan from the Alliance Defense Fund, which represents Keeton in the action. The plan addresses issues such as writing ability and organizational skills, as well as Keeton’s ability to be a “multiculturally competent counselor, particularly in regard to working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning populations.”

Among the plan’s requirements, Keeton was to attend at least three diversity workshops, get more exposure to gay populations (one suggestion was to attend a gay pride parade in Augusta, where the university is located), do outside reading about gays and write reflections on these experiences and how they might benefit future clients.

At first, Keeton agreed to the remediation plan, according to the suit. Then, she had second thoughts.

In video provided by the Alliance Defense Fund, Keeton says, “I want to stay in the school counseling program, [but] I can’t honestly complete the remediation program knowing I would have to alter by beliefs. I’m not willing to — and I know I can’t — change my biblical views.”

[via CNN]

That story is from June. In the meantime, there have been some developments in the case. A federal judge ruled against Keeton, but her case remains a rallying point for traditionalist organizations like Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. Now, she’s recieved another endorsement:

The Ku Klux Klan will hold a rally in support of an Augusta State University counseling student who claims her First Amendment rights were violated when the school ordered her to learn more about the homosexual community.

Bobby Spurlock, the imperial wizard knighthawk and grand dragon of South Carolina and North Carolina, said today the group has met with school officials and plans to protest the school’s treatment of 24-year-old Jennifer Keeton. The protest will be Oct. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. They will be in full dress and located across from the school’s main Walton Way entrance in the median at Fleming Avenue.

Spurlock said they believe Keeton’s First Amendment rights were violated when the school required her to participate in a remediation program after she objected to counseling homosexuals.

“It’s your constitutional right so how could you tell someone you have to do something completely different?” Spurlock said.

Keeton sued the university in July because she felt she was not allowed to retain her biblical viewpoints and remain a graduate student.

The remediation plan required that Keeton attend counseling workshops, read counseling journals regarding gays and to increase her exposure to the gay community.

Spurlock said the KKK has not been in contact with Keeton herself.

“She is no way whatsoever affiliated with us,” he said. “She has not contacted us but we were contacted by someone that is aware of her.”

Even if she’s not affiliated…I imagine it’s still quite embarassing, to understate. I would hope anyone who finds the Klan rallying to their cause would take stock of their values and priorities.

But in any case, the endorsement will distort the conversation of the whole affair. LGBT and Allied bloggers with less imagination or impulse control will make unfair equivalencies between the average anti-gay marriage voter and the KKK, traditionalists will claim encroachment of secular elites, and no one will profit.  Though I come down on the side of the judge who ruled against Keeton, the case raises difficult questions about plurality of conscience in a free society. In brief, I think anti-Keetonites like myself are in a position where they have to explain their reasoning. Of cousre, I think anyone making an argument in public ought to be able to explain thier reasoning, but I digress.

My own runs like this:

If a chemistry student were to say she is committed a believer in phlogiston theory and that she would never consider revising her work or opinions to take into account the “false and pernicious” Periodic Table of Elements, I think many people would question her decision to go into that line of work. Or think of someone studying automotive safety engineering who said he thought seat belts were “immoral” because they allowed people to take risks they wouldn’t have if they weren’t strapped down, and thereby encourage wreckless driving. Imagine him refusing to consult statistics about seat belt’s life-saving capabilities, and replying to instructors who criticize his dangerous designs by saying “Here I stand and can do no other!”  Keeton’s case should send up the same red flags.  She has stated she is not even willing to consider the possibility that any new information might change her opinion on homosexuality. How can anyone be expected to teach someone who enters a classroom and flatly states she is not open to even considering she might be wrong? And insofar as she claims homosexuality is “changable,” despite all the evidence and the consensus of psychiatric authorities, she renders herself analogous to the phlogiston-theorist.

This isn’t about Christianity at all. This is about someone whose beliefs are in contradiction to the established practices and standards of her chosen line of study—in this case, psychology. Crisis counselors don’t affirm gay kids because they have an axe to grind with Christendom or any given sect, but because gay teens kill themselves at heartbreakingly high rates, and they want this to stop.

 Keeton implicitly proposes an alternative to affirmative therapy—she claims that homosexuality is a “changeable” condition, so presumably believes in the effectiveness of “conversion therapy” designed to “cure” homosexuality. The American Psychiatric Association begs to differ; any objective, qualitative study has demonstrated they do nothing to curb same-sex attraction, almost always worsens the mental health of their participants. Keeton’s “alternative” to the rigorous empirical wisdom of the psychiatric establishment can only make LGBT kids even worse off then when they came to her.

But again, the reasons she believes homosexuality is wrong, and that it is her obligation to condemn gay kids and maneuver them into positively destructive “therapies” don’t matter. It’s the beliefs themselves, not their Christian origin, that anyone cares about. And the faculty only cared about those beliefs because they were afraid, even if she was able to finish her education at a different college that didn’t put her through a remediation plan, she’d end up hurting gay kids. They’re worried about children’s lives, not a political agenda.  

Unequivocal denunciation roundup

i.)

Sitting Democratic Congresswoman from California, Loretta Sanchez, speaking on the Spanish-language network Univision, told her constituents that Republicans and “the Vietnamese” are trying to take away “our” seat. Sanchez is running against Van Tran, who is Vietnamese. The editor of the video is right; this is nothing if not race-baiting, and should be denounced as such.

ii.)

Via the Washington Post:

The Obama administration has cited the state-secrets argument in at least three cases since taking office – in defense of Bush-era warrantless wiretapping, surveillance of an Islamic charity, and the torture and rendition of CIA prisoners. It prevailed in the last case last week, on a 6 to 5 vote by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Warrantless surveillance of civilians, rendition and torture are all obvious outrages to constitutionally enumerated restraints on government power. It is no less troubling that Obama refuses to prosecute these crimes than the fact that he has implicitly left open the possibility that he, too, might make use of these illiberal practices.

“Where’s the birth certificate?”

To some border authorities, the answer is, “Who cares?”

The Tea Party movement is never going away

It’s getting its own Congressional caucus headed by–who else?–Michele Bachmann. She made the announcement as only she could, in a shaky video that zooms in way too close on her CRAZY EYES and FLASHING WHITE TEETH, all before a stark white background and under sickly green-tinted flourescent light. (The venue, cinematography, and Bachmann’s screen presence all seemed to be working to suggest, “This is the Tea Party future!”)

Last week, Bachmann said Obama’s statecraft was turning the USA into a “nation of slaves”. (I wish I could say that was the most racially insentitive thing to proliferate the blogosphere that week, but it wasn’t, by a longshot.) It inspired a typically great Sara Benincasa video, this one which perfectly captured the self-pitying victim politics and self-righteousness of the TPers.  But even Ms. Bennincasa couldn’t undo the sadness.

Neo-Nazis rooting against Germany’s multiethnic World Cup team

Watching fascists squirm is more entertaining than any sport could ever be. Via Der Spiegel:

“I can no longer identify with the national team,” someone calling himself Blaue Narzisse writes, explaining why he isn’t supporting Germany in the World Cup. “The colors black, red, gold are being abused for the mega event by this motley Germany team.” It is a sentiment repeated widely across the far-right scene these days.

Germany may be awash with black, red and gold, as the national flag adorns cars, balconies and pubs. But while most of the country is urging the team on as it faces Argentina in Saturday’s quarter-final, for neo-Nazis it is next to impossible to back a team that includes players with names like Boateng, Özil or Podolski. This German national team is the most ethnically diverse ever, celebrated widely as finally being representative of the wider German society. But to the far right, a squad where 11 of the 23 have migrant backgrounds is no longer really German.”I hope this team is out as early as possible,” writes one commentator on the thiazi.net forum. “Or at least they won’t be world champions with team made up of 50 percent foreigners!” A poster calling himself Nationaler Democrat writes on another site: “This multiculti troupe with the label ‘national team’ doesn’t interest me any more.” “Özil, Khedira, Cacau, Podolski can go jump in the lake. And we don’t need them, the others are good enough,” writes NSRealist.

Jonas Gabler, a researcher into the far-right and football, [said] that the new multicultural national team makes it extremely difficult for the right-wing extremists to identify with it. “It is an expression of the new understanding of the nation, something the far-right don’t accept at all,” he told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Citizenship is not based on ethnic background but on the constitution, it is enough to accept Germany’s Basic Law to be German.” And that is something that the far-right have a huge difficulty accepting.

As much as this warms my heart, I’m still rooting for Holland. Without actually watching the games.