November 21st 2015

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Gender variety has no basis in science

CANBERRA OBSERVED PM's political capital may be tax-reform casualty

EDITORIAL IPCC and the media: Last Tango in Paris

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Poland's election sends shock waves through EU

THE ELECTRONICS REVOLUTION Create infrastructure to bridge coming robo gap

LIFE ISSUES Keeping a straight face with Andrew Denton on euthanasia

LIFE ISSUES With Nitschke out of death industry, Exit must go next

EUROPEAN AFFAIRS Euro banks were lending like there's no tomorrow

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Polls show conservative resurgence at grassroots

RELIGION IN RUSSIA State control, Slavophiles prepare way for apostasy

CULTURE Mankind needs to work; and mankind needs work

PUBLIC POLICY Drug substitutes used as treatment are lethal

CINEMA The man who stands back up: Bridge of Spies

BOOK REVIEW We're getting better all the time


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Polls show conservative resurgence at grassroots

by Peter Kelleher

News Weekly, November 21, 2015

Recent state and municipal elections in the United States have put a serious crimp in the argument that the LBGT agenda is inevitable.

On November 3, voters in Ohio rejected by a two-thirds majority the push to legalise marijuana in that state; an underdog Republican took the governorship of Kentucky away from the Democrats – who have held the position for 40 of the past 44 years – and the people of Houston, Texas, threw out of office the lesbian mayor whom they had voted for three times previously.

What has happened is that the grassroots conservative base in these places have called time on radical liberalising and yet intolerant agendas that seemed intent on stripping citizens of freedoms in the name of “equality”.

Conventional wisdom is that social liberalism is an electoral winner, but that’s not always true. Certainly not in the swing states of Kentucky and Ohio, or in the liberal city of Houston.

The Washington Post notes that a major factor in Matt Bevin’s victory in Kentucky was “focusing on social issues, including promises to defund Planned Parenthood and defend Kim Davis, which helped drive the conservative base to turn out”.

Kim Davis is the county clerk from Kentucky who spent a day in jail for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. No one expected Bevin to win, especially not after he publicly defended Kim Davis and vigorously criticised the current governor for his handling of that situation.

Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, who visited Australia in August for a series of talks defending traditional marriage, wrote on The Daily Signal website the day after the votes that there was a lesson for conservatives from the polls: that they could win “when they refuse to be bullied by elites into silence. Making the public argument against bad policy and in support of good policy can win the day. It just did.”

Anderson reflected on the fact that Kim Davis did not need to go to jail, if only the political leaders of Kentucky been willing to work together to find a common-sense compromise.

“The media made a circus of the situation,” he wrote, “and now Governor-elect Bevin has the opportunity to work with the state legislature to enact common-sense religious accommodation law for clerks and magistrates, as North Carolina has done.”

On election day, Bevin went so far as to say that he credited the scandal of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos and Kim Davis’ imprisonment with his surge in the polls.

Politicians who were said to be too extreme in their advocacy of life also won big on November 3. Phil Bryant coasted to re-election with two-thirds of the vote for a second term as Governor of Mississippi. Bryant shares his voters’ values. Last year, Bryant affirmed: “I clearly said I want to end abortion in Mississippi.” Mississippians responded by saying they wanted to extend his term in office.

In news from another state, Ben Johnson of LifeSiteNews reported that Virginia’s Bob Marshall, Republican Delegate for Manassas, also won handily over a challenger who presented himself as more “mainstream”.

Democrat contender Bob Shaw complained: “Bob Marshall is a part of the problem, and has spent his time in the House of Delegates focused on social issues and waging ideological, divisive, mean-spirited and discriminatory attacks on many of the populations among us.” Marshall – who had previously unsuccessfully contested two primaries for U.S. Senate and House as too conservative – romped home in a race that wasn’t even close.

As for liberal Houston tipping out its lesbian mayor, the issue that brought out the conservatives there was Mayor Annise Parker’s attempt in a single move to suppress religious freedom in the city, and to create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Parker had made herself deeply unpopular with conservatives (and even some liberals) when in October 2014 she threatened to subpoena the sermons of five pastors who were leading the charge against her imposition on the city of ordnances that could have been used to close faith-based adoption agencies; penalise florists, photographers, and bakers; and force businesses to allow biological males who identify as women into women’s restrooms and changing rooms.

A couple of weeks later, Parker dropped the idea of subpoenaing the sermons. She did this just days before the “I Stand Sunday” event, in which conservative groups, along with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, were to make a 90-minute simulcast in solidarity with the five pastors.

Ryan Anderson reminds us of the full story: “Citizens in Houston organised against the city council [and its pro-SOGI ordnances] and collected more than enough signatures required to put the issue to a vote of the people.

“But the mayor claimed that the majority of signatures were invalid and refused to put the issue on the ballot.

“Then she subpoenaed the sermons of five prominent pastors who helped lead the charge against the measure. After a public outcry, the mayor relented on the sermons, and a unanimous state Supreme Court said the signatures were valid and the citizens had to vote on the measure. And the citizens won.”

Life, family, and truth swept through these elections, showing that social conservatives will not be bulldozed and that there is nothing inevitable about democracy.


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