Pepperdine asks to have its Title IX exemption removed

This is fairly significant news reported by The Huffington Post. Pepperdine University has asked to have its Title IX exemption removed. From the report:

Passed in 1972, Title IX “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.” An educational institution that is “controlled by a religious organization” may apply for a Title IX exemption if it “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.” Pepperdine had originally filed a request for a Title IX exemption in 1976 that was later granted in 1985. The request allowed Pepperdine to take disciplinary action against those who were found “to be involved in heterosexual relationships outside the holy union of wedlock or in homosexual relationships” as well as exclude women from various activities.
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“Morning Joe” says Trump is not on the side of social conservatives

I don’t think we can overstate the significance of Peter Thiel’s speech at the RNC on Thursday night. It’s not just that Thiel spoke nor that he said what he said. What was stunning was that the GOP delegates stood to their feet and cheered. No matter where you are in the culture wars, all sides can acknowledge that this represents a sea change for the Republican party.

On Friday morning, the “Morning Joe” crew commented on Thiel’s reception by the GOP delegates. The panel rightly comprehended the significance of it. But what interested me about their discussion is something that Joe remarked on near the end of the video above. Joe directly addresses social conservatives and evangelical Christians and says something that should have been obvious but may not be to some:

It really speaks to Donald Trump’s worldview that he hasn’t really shown during the primary campaign… Social conservatives, if Trump is elected, duck because he’s not on your side on these issues. It’s not like this is the first time we’ve been saying that. He does not care. He has a more open view, and certainly he’s more in line at least with millennial voters and with an awful lot of voters. So that wasn’t a real surprise to any of us that know Donald. It may be a surprise, though, to Jerry Falwell Juniors that go out and say certain things…

It is clear what Joe means by “say certain things.” Throughout the primary season, certain evangelicals have declared Trump to be a born-again Christian or at least to be one who bears the fruit of being a Christian. With that, they have been assuring voters that Trump will take up the causes that evangelicals care most about.

Joe is essentially saying that such a view of Trump is badly mistaken. Trump doesn’t care about sanctity of life, marriage, or religious liberty. He just doesn’t. That is not who he is, although he’d like enough evangelicals to think that he is so that he can get their votes. Is that cynical? You bet. And it also happens to be the sad truth about this candidate.

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Russell Moore on David Duke’s announcing for the Senate

Russell Moore just published a series of tweets about former KKK leader David Duke, who just announced his intention to run for Senator from the state of Louisiana.

I grew up in south Louisiana, and I too remember when Duke ran for governor back in 1990. I also remember that there were plenty of people who thought his candidacy was a great idea. I also remember people driving around town with “Duke” stickers on their vehicles. Those stickers were often accompanied by displays of the Confederate battle flag. Everyone knew what those displays meant. And they didn’t just mean, “I think Stonewall Jackson was a fine Christian gentleman.”

I couldn’t agree more with Moore on this one. See below. Continue Reading →

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The Ruination of GOP Statesmen

Michael Gerson’s column in The Washington Post today is a burst of moral clarity. Gerson argues that Republican politicians endorsing Donald Trump have sullied themselves, and that includes Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is the GOP vice-presidential nominee:

Pence did his part at the convention. He displayed considerable political and rhetorical skill. And he brought great shame on himself and the Republican Party in the process…

Every serious Republican who crosses the event horizon of endorsing Trump is sucked into a black hole of compromise and self-deception. And many of us — still loyal to a humane conservatism — will never be able to think about such leaders in the same way again…

The reputation of any politician close to Trump will eventually be ruined. But it is particularly sad when good and decent people vouch for Trump’s character, knowing almost nothing about him… The only politician who will be proud of what he did on Wednesday evening is Ted Cruz, who refused to endorse. He may have been booed on the floor, but I imagine he slept well. And he won’t be ashamed to recount that night to his children and grandchildren.

This is a hard-hitting column. I recommend that you read the whole thing. It really sums up the malaise I’ve felt while watching the GOP convention this week. How can these serious statesmen line-up to endorse a constitutional menace? Ryan, Walker, Rubio, Perry, and others. How could they?

I am with Gerson. I will never be able to think about these leaders in the same way again. Trump has exposed the limits of their judgment and principle. When they should have stood up, they stood down. It is as sad a spectacle as I have ever seen in politics.

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Ross Douthat’s Lament for the GOP…Twitterized

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Could plagiarism and a rick-roll in one speech be an accident?

The message coming out of the first night of the GOP convention can be summed up in one word: PLAGIARISM. Melania Trump’s speech was initially well-received by pundits. But the plaudits were short-lived as it became clear that her speech plagiarized a speech given by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic Convention.

Trump’s speech will be parsed and analyzed ad infinitum for the next day or so. I’m sure the Trump campaign will have some response (UPDATE: Here it is).

Mrs. Trump is responsible for the words she delivered, but I would simply note that this speech was likely put together by a speech-writer. And that leads to a question. Can this possibly have been an accident?

Could a speech-writer lift an entire paragraph from another speech on accident? Could it be an accident that the plagiarized portion is a section about honesty and character? Also, the speech had a Rick-Roll embedded in it (see below, HT: Josh Philpot). Could that possibly have been an accident?

The way in which this speech went wrong is too cute by half. It looks like intentional sabotage. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would wonder if a #NeverTrump mole had infiltrated the speech writers. But I’m not a conspiracy theorist, so I’ll just admit that I don’t know what happened here.

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Dallas Police Chief: “We’re asking cops to do too much”

Dallas police chief David Brown held a candid press conference yesterday. The video above is a remarkable excerpt in which he says:

I’m a person of faith. I believe [the fact that] I’m able to stand here and discuss this with you is a testament to God’s grace and his sweet tender mercy. Just to be quite honest with you…

We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. We are. We’re just asking us to do too much. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding? Let the cops handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding? Let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we got a loose-dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail? Give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women. Let’s give it to the cops to solve that, as well. That’s too much to ask.

He is absolutely right about this. We need the police. We need them big time. But the biggest problems we face as a society cannot be solved by better policing. Mental health? Fatherlessness? Drug Addiction? Failing schools? The police can punish public vice, but they cannot cultivate consciences. They cannot form character. They cannot create the culture of virtue necessary for the flourishing of a free people. The sword of Caesar is powerful, but not that powerful–not by a mile.

No the biggest problems we face are fundamentally spiritual in nature. If we fail to see that, we fail to see things as they are.

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