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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 18, 2012/ 26 Iyar, 5772

Empathy or right? Obama's same-sex contradiction

By Charles Krauthammer




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There are two ways to defend gay marriage. Argument A is empathy: One is influenced by gay friends in committed relationships yearning for the fulfillment and acceptance that marriage conveys upon heterosexuals. That’s essentially the case President Obama made when he first announced his change of views.

No talk about rights, just human fellow feeling. Such an argument is attractive because it can be compelling without being compulsory. Many people, feeling the weight of this longing among their gay friends, are willing to redefine marriage for the sake of simple human sympathy.

At the same time, however, one can sympathize with others who feel great trepidation at the radical transformation of the most fundamental of social institutions, one that, until yesterday, was heterosexual in all societies in all places at all times.

The empathy argument both encourages mutual respect in the debate and lends itself to a political program of gradualism. State by state, let community norms and moral sensibilities prevail. Indeed, that is Obama’s stated position.

Such pluralism allows for the kind of “stable settlement of the issue” that Ruth Bader Ginsburg once lamented had been “halted” by Roe v. Wade regarding abortion, an issue as morally charged and politically unbridgeable as gay marriage.

Argument B is more uncompromising: You have the right to marry anyone, regardless of gender. The right to “marriage equality” is today’s civil rights, voting rights and women’s rights — and just as inviolable.

Argument B has extremely powerful implications. First, if same-sex marriage is a right, then there is no possible justification for letting states decide for themselves. How can you countenance even one state outlawing a fundamental right? Indeed, half a century ago, states’ rights was the cry of those committed to continued segregation and discrimination.



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Second, if marriage equality is a civil right, then denying it on the basis of (innately felt) sexual orientation is, like discrimination on the basis of skin color, simple bigotry. California’s Proposition 8 was overturned by a 9th Circuit panel on the grounds that the referendum, reaffirming marriage as between a man and woman, was nothing but an expression of bias — “serves no purpose . . . other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians.”

Pretty strong stuff. Which is why it was so surprising that Obama, after first advancing Argument A, went on five days later to adopt Argument B, calling gay marriage a great example of “expand[ing] rights” and today’s successor to civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights.

Problem is: It’s a howling contradiction to leave up to the states an issue Obama now says is a right. And beyond being intellectually untenable, Obama’s embrace of the more hard-line “rights” argument compels him logically to see believers in traditional marriage as purveyors of bigotry. Not a good place for a president to be in an evenly divided national debate that requires both sides to offer each other a modicum of respect.

No wonder that Obama has been trying to get away from the issue as quickly as possible. It’s not just the New York Times poll showing his new position to be a net loser. It’s that he is too intelligent not to realize he’s embraced a logical contradiction.

Moreover, there is the problem of the obvious cynicism of his conversion. Two-thirds of Americans see his “evolution” as a matter not of principle but of politics. In fact, the change is not at all an evolution — a teleological term cleverly chosen to suggest movement toward a higher state of being — given that Obama came out for gay marriage 16 years ago. And then flip-flopped.

He was pro when running for the Illinois Legislature from ultra-liberal Hyde Park. He became anti when running eight years later for the U.S. Senate and had to appeal to a decidedly more conservative statewide constituency. And now he’s pro again.

When a Republican engages in such finger-to-the-wind political calculation (on abortion, for example), he’s condemned as a flip-flopper. When a liberal goes through a similar gyration, he’s said to have “evolved” into some more highly realized creature, deserving of a halo on the cover of a national newsmagazine.

Notwithstanding a comically fawning press, Obama knows he has boxed himself in. His “rights” argument compels him toward nationalize same-sex marriage and sharpen hostility toward proponents of traditional marriage — a place he is loath to go.

True, he was rushed into it by his loquacious vice president. But surely he could have thought this through.


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