- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2004

Imagine that

“Whenever a liberal offers a moral judgment of a particular work of art, such as a sculpture of the Ten Commandments on public grounds or Mel Gibson’s movie, and requests that the government remove the first and that enlightened people boycott and defame the second, this question should pop to mind: What would they do if it were the work of the late Robert Mapplethorpe, the brilliant gay photographer? …

“Suppose, for example, what occupied the Alabama courthouse was not a sculpture of the Ten Commandments but a Mapplethorpe photograph of a sculpture of the Ten Commandments with tiny naked men in the corner. …

“Or imagine … a movie by Mel Brooks, not Mel Gibson, ‘The Passion of Jesus, Bus Depot Bar-Hopping Runaway,’ a kind of contemporary comedic interpretation of a gay ‘Christ,’ a self-loathing ex-Catholic priest who left the church and holy orders as a result of being ‘besieged’ by ‘the Christian right.’ …

“Its producer and writer would likely have received a sizable grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. And those condemning this film would be labeled by liberal pundits, the New York Times editorial board and NPR commentators as intolerant, narrow-minded censors and bigots who can’t see past their religious prejudices and ingrained homophobia.”

Francis J. Beckwith, writing on “Sects in the City,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

‘Fanatical zeal’

“The other day, I experienced violent anti-Semitism for the first time in my adult life. It took place in front of Faneuil Hall, the birthplace of American independence and liberty.

“I was receiving a justice award from the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and delivering a talk on ‘Civil Liberties in the Age of Terrorism.’ … When I left, award in hand, I was accosted by a group of screaming, angry young men and women carrying virulently anti-Israel signs. …

“[T]he sign carriers were shouting epithets at me that crossed the line from civility to bigotry. ‘Dershowitz and Hitler, just the same, the only difference is the name.’ The sin that … warranted this comparison between me and the man who murdered dozens of my family members was my support for Israel. …

“If a dozen Boston police were not protecting me, I have little doubt I would have been physically attacked. Their eyes were ablaze with fanatical zeal.”

Alan Dershowitz, writing on “Bigotry outside Faneuil Hall,” March 5 in Israel Insider at www.israelinsider.com

Ignorant bliss

“Approximately 40 percent of American women under 45 have had at least one abortion. Twenty-five percent of all pregnancies end in abortion. Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, over 40 million abortions have taken place. Yet no comprehensive data exists concerning the impact of abortion on women. Consider that the federal government has in place mechanisms to track just about every other medical procedure, but it chooses not to follow this one. …

“For every other medical procedure, health care providers must inform patients about the benefits and risks of the treatment. In the case of abortion, a woman’s right to privacy means that she is so isolated in her decision that she is not even given full knowledge of the treatment she has ‘chosen.’ ”

Pia de Solenni, writing on “Hearing Women,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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