The Vatican’s Less Homophobic than You’re Told

The Vatican is back in the limelight! Just after Pope Francis’ well received tour of the United States the Vatican finds itself in the media’s crosshairs. The Catholic Church’s crime? The dismissal of a priest, Krzysztof Charasma, after he came out as homosexual and revealed that he had a partner.

Charasma worked at the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith and taught at several pontifical universities in Rome. With the Synod on the Family (a meeting of bishops where social issues, including the Church’s stance on homosexuality, are discussed) coming up soon, Charasma’s very public outing was clearly an attempt to influence the discussion of homosexuality and add media pressure to the meeting.

Upon his admission the Catholic Church relieved Charasma of his duties, and the liberal media immediately leapt into action. “Vatican Sacks Gay Priest!” “Vatican Fires Gay Priest for Coming Out!” “Vatican Priest Comes Out, Says He Has a Boyfriend, Is Promptly Fired!” the headlines proclaimed, painting the Catholic Church as intolerant and bigoted for their behavior. But there’s one thing very wrong with this whole scene: Charasma was not fired for being gay.

The Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality is that it is only a sin if people act on homosexual urges. It is possible for a gay priest to serve as long as he does not break his vow of celibacy. For those of you unfamiliar with the Catholic Church, priests take a vow, forgoing any sexual or romantic activities, heterosexual or otherwise, if they were unmarried before entering the cloth. Charasma’s real crime? Breaking that vow by pursuing a relationship.

Happy October!

October and April are my favorite months for each semester, respectively, here at UNC. The walks to class are not hot and humid, nor are they cold and icy. October consists of a perfect Carolina temperature where you can drink a smoothie or a hot cup of coffee and watch the green grass get flooded by autumn leaves. October also means… HALLOWEEN! I, quite objectively, believe that UNC Chapel Hill is home to the best October 31st in the country. For this blog post, I will not reminisce on autumns past or dwell on the beauty of nature. I will list my top picks for couple halloween costumes in 2015:

  1. Daenerys and Khal Drogo: They were relationship goals and if you disagree you have either never watched Game of Thrones (and I hate you) or you dislike Game of Thrones (and I hate you).
  2. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump: Opposites attract, especially if they are both crazy.
  3. Kanye and Kim: If you get the looks right, you could be doubles for the President and First Lady in 2020.
  4. Popeye and Olive Oil: WARNING- Liberals might (will) consider this offensive to women and give you a speech about the value of feminism.
  5. Fred and Wilma Flinstone, Fred and Velma from Scooby-Doo, Mr. and Mrs. PacMan, Shrek and Fiona: See above warning.
  6. Ketchup and Mustard: Wait, do not do this. They will surely find gender roles in condiments.

Whatever you decide to be, be something! Nobody appreciates the guy at the party that does not dress up. Do NOT be that guy. You have a month to figure it out…

Until next time,

Right Wing Latina

Tell Them that Abortion Kills


Rightly so, the recently released Planned Parenthood videos have renewed calls for Congress to defund what can only be described as an insidious and dehumanizing organization – one that encourages abortion, all under the dishonest label of health and vitality. With increasing horror, these videos display the sheer callousness of the abortion industry, and they indirectly confirm what most people already know to be true: In order to traffic in the brutal maiming of human life, you have to also be the sort of person who can chuckle while discussing the strategic crushing of babies’ bodies, all for the benefit of privileged onlookers. You have to be the sort of person who tallies the livers of the dead with the same desensitization one might have expected to see within some barbaric clan from the Stone Age.

Indeed, the unsavory nature of the videos makes it easy for pro-lifers to direct all of their rage toward the personnel involved in carrying out abortions. This rage, of course, is largely warranted, and it’s manifested itself in renewed pressure to end federal ties with Planned Parenthood, a much more likely outcome if Democrats weren’t so obsessed with spending money and with protecting this vague “right” to privacy that seems to have magically appeared in the halls of the Supreme Court a few decades ago.

But even if conservatives in Congress eventually manage to exclude Planned Parenthood from the budget, the pro-life movement will still face serious challenges: Not only do abortions remain protected by Supreme Court precedence, but they also are somewhat fixed in the public consciousness as an acceptable means to save oneself from a lifelong burden. If pro-lifers want to truly triumph legislatively and institutionally, then they will have to win the arduous battles that are constantly raging in the culture war. For ultimately, the long-term key to defeating abortion lies not in defunding Planned Parenthood per se, but rather in revealing to moderates the insanity of abortion as a concept which, taken to its logical conclusion, supports the extermination of human life.

Pro-lifers will, for the sake of honest debate, need to convince others to take abortion for what it actually is, removing from consideration the deceptive women’s-rights rhetoric leftists employ to avoid the central issue: the life of the fetus, and whether it should be treated as a being worthy of protection or as the messy result of careless sexual activity.

The case is a rather easy one to make: Abortion is, at its core, a medical procedure that deliberately terminates one life in accordance to the whims of that life’s politically protected counterparts. It is, more generally, an attempt to claim that a particular life is only valuable inasmuch as is capriciously deemed by someone who has already been born – buttressed by assertions that harken back to slavery, that consider the fetus to be the chattel of its mother rather than a human life with specific legal and moral protections.

In other words, abortion is the willful and grotesque subversion of human life; it is dehumanization and inequality encapsulated; it is the medical equivalent of telling someone that their rights are subject to another, who, it so happens, might want to continue to have unprotected and inconsequential sex more often, the biological ramifications of intimacy aside. The only true difference abortion shares with cold-blooded murder is this phony – and altogether political – dispensation of the idea of choice, even though there is no actual choice involved in the process as a whole.

In the end, the only good news is that the industry will continue to die as long as activists successfully communicate a particularly crucial reality – that with abortion, there is only death, and the resultant sadness.

Youngsters at the Symphony: A Guide

A few pointers for those of you who might have the opportunity to attend your first symphonic concert this fall:

  • Assume a sincere and mature attitude: One of the most important things you can do as a young symphony attendee is to show the regulars that you are serious about the music you are there to hear. According to my experience, this seems to entail two major principles of the symphony: dressing nicely, and like an adult; and being respectful while the music is playing, refraining from childish fidgeting and any other blatant distractions that tend to be bothersome. Above all, remember that you’re attending an artistic event, not a college fraternity party.
  • Prepare for long pieces: Because of the mechanics of modern popular music, young people are often daunted by the sheer magnitude of many of the standard classical pieces in the repertoire, which, rather than being tailor-made for the radio, for the rushed and frantic party scene, are often ornate and complicated entities that have to be rolled out over a forty or fifty-minute timespan. As you listen to more and more classical music, the length becomes a normal and endearing feature of the pieces you love, but until then, it can difficult to handle. As such, you need to mentally prepare yourself to be patient and attentive while you are sitting in the concert hall: By getting plenty of sleep the night before the concert, ensuring that you are well-rested as the music plays, it will be much easier to appreciate the machinations and the subtleties of the pieces you hear.
  • Listen to a recording of each piece at least three times before you attend the actual concert: This may seem like an odd piece of advice (after all, with most popular music, the song tends to lose its freshness and excitement the more you listen to it), but it is my view that doing so will allow you to better understand the overall thematic framework of each piece, making it so that you may pay more attention to aesthetic and structural details than to larger, more general musical trends. I think that one of the main issues that young people have if and when they attend the symphony for the first time is that they get lost while listening to long pieces of music, the sort of which they’ve never heard before. But if you are somewhat familiar with how the main themes go – if you generally know what to expect from the music, and have already, perhaps, developed useful strategies for effective and enjoyable listening – then the whole process will be much more powerful. You might think that this strategy will ruin the spontaneity of the music, but on the contrary, the pieces you are going to hear are generally complex and generally able to provide you with something special each time you listen to them. Plus, you can’t compare listening to a recording of a piece and listening to a professional orchestra’s live performance: the latter is much more vivid and thrilling.
  • Attend the pre-concert lecture: It is likely that many of the symphonic concerts you attend will feature pre-concert lectures given either by the conductor, a soloist, or some other knowledgeable person associated with the orchestra. Typically, these lectures discuss the historical and biographical contexts of the music and its composer; without them, it is difficult to understand the music fully unless you are already well acquainted with music history and theory. As such, you should attend them – you will be surprised, I think, at the extent to which the information provided by the lecturer can enhance your listening experience.
  • Make it a full cultural experience: One of the things that makes the symphony so enjoyable is the whole experience it tends to represent – a night out on the town, relaxing with friends as you enjoy some fine music, getting dinner beforehand and coffee afterwards at the best locations in the city. Of course, the actual music makes the most difference, but there are several factors which affect your enjoyment of it that you should seek to control: whether or not you are rushed or calm, the acoustics of the venue you are visiting, the quality of the conductor and his or her orchestra, and the location of your seat in relation to the stage and the performers. All of these factors can act as either obstructions to or catalysts for a greater artistic experience; if you have the expendable cash, be willing to spend it on improving the quality of the night as a whole. Also – and this is an important point that many people miss nonetheless – realize that you are not going to like every piece, and that you are not behooved to give up classical music just because your first concert bores you to death. In many ways, the best tastes are acquired.
  • Don’t clap in-between movements: If you haven’t listened to much classical music before, be careful with your applause, as the last thing you want to do is ruin the serenity of a movement by clapping boisterously at an inopportune time. Most of the pieces to which you will listen have multiple movements; if the piece is a symphony or a concerto or a sonata, it will most likely have four movements (sometimes three, sometimes five). If you’re not sure, just follow the program and wait until the conductor drops his or her hands and the rest of the audience begins its applause. You’ll probably be surprised at how excited and loud the audiences tend to be at these concerts (it’s one of the biggest myths about the symphony – that attendees are overly tame in their appreciation of the music): Don’t refrain from being boisterous once the proper time for being so arrives.
  • Do a bit of research on instruments and musical forms if need be: This is a minor point, but you should probably be somewhat familiar with the general qualities of each type of instrument in the orchestra. You should also be somewhat familiar with the various forms composers use for their music – sonatas, symphonies, concertos, overtures, arias, etc. – so that you’ll be able to navigate the differences and similarities between the various pieces you hear. With a bit of knowledge, you will be in a better position to contextualize and appreciate the music being played.
  • Be ready for encores, and stay for them if they come: I’ve been to concerts with people who want to rush outside to beat the traffic right after the last piece finishes, which is understandable, but costly if there’s to be an encore. Encores are usually performed if there’s a soloist accompanying the orchestra, but orchestras do them by themselves sometimes (especially if they are visiting or touring orchestras), and the results can be very exciting. Encores are generally short – though there may be several of them – and the conductor and/or soloist will leave and return to the stage several times before he or she performs again. The trick is to just keep clapping.
  • Don’t be discouraged by the snobs: To end on an encouraging note, there will likely be snobs and charlatans – people who see the symphony as a social statement rather than a musical experience – who may look down on you because you are younger or less wealthy or less “cultured” than they. Though it is tempting to engage their silliness, you should simply ignore them – because they really don’t know much about music, anyway. Some older folks might be surprised or impressed that a young person is attending, and they might ask you prying questions or throw you condescending stares – seriously, it happens to me all the time – but in the end, it’s most important that you throw out all the trite stereotypes people have about the symphony in order to focus on what actually matters: the music.

Reuniting the Right

In his new book, The Conservatarian Manifesto, Charles C. W. Cooke proffers a bright and eloquent vision for the future of the political Right – one that recognizes the mistakes of Bush-era centralization, but that maintains a fierce reliance upon the great tenets of traditional conservatism. Of course, the evolutionary process is not so simple, and if one wishes to follow Cooke’s advice for forging a renewed philosophical groundwork, one has to also reject the typical pundit’s lazy predictions regarding the Right’s great, unassailable divide. Accordingly, in its refreshing and lively way, The Conservatarian Manifesto considers a few powerful reasons for doing so: On the one hand, conservatives and libertarians must recognize the importance of their mutual respect for individual rights and limited government; on the other, they must defend the concept of federalism and convince the public that what California does is not necessarily so confining for Texas or North Carolina. At the end of the day, the Right ought to draw comfort from the fact that the political environment with which it is presented is, after the Obama years, ripe for change.

The book begins, though, by clearing up some of the stickier misconceptions about political ideology within the American system: While modern liberalism effectively boils down to an ardent belief in centralizing power and in government intervention, conservatism takes the classically liberal tradition and reinterprets it in a twenty-first-century context. Many observers consider this to mean that those on the Right want to keep all sorts of traditions, going as far back as you wish; but as Cooke points out, conservatives want to preserve the radical philosophy of the Founders – not tradition for its own sake, but rather the American tradition specifically because the Constitution does a wonderful job of codifying individual rights and preserving liberty.

Inasmuch as it dislikes the slowness of conservative change, however, libertarianism is different, thoroughly rejecting the Burkean, “socially conservative” element of the Right by opposing the Drug War and defending a more secular conception of marriage. According to Cooke, a conservatarian is someone whose opinions are torn between these two philosophies, not quite finding either one of them entirely convincing – whose motivation is “to render the American framework of government as free as possible and to decentralize power, returning the important rights to where they belong.” Cooke concludes, “This way can many of the cracks between the libertarians and the conservatives be mended.”

As such, the importance of federalism cannot be overstated, especially since it may be the key to bringing about a firmer cohesiveness between Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians. With regard to social issues, for example – a conflation that Cooke finds useless because it pretends as if the answers to abortion, gay marriage, and drugs are necessarily the same – federalism means that states can adopt policies that are particularized to the proclivities of their own people, without upsetting too much their friends in adjoining states. It may be true that a conservatarian is most likely to support gay marriage, and to oppose a Drug War that needlessly interferes with the private consumption of goods; but the key is to recognize that if the federal government got out of the way, the states could act as laboratories of democracy in which localism and bifurcation of power are respected. Under such a framework, social issues would not be so divisive, and conservatives and libertarians would be able to unite around a philosophy of returned power to the states. Although a good portion of The Conservatarian Manifesto is dedicated to Cooke’s own views regarding such issues as immigration, foreign policy, gay marriage, and the Drug War, its argument’s ultimate reliance is upon the beautiful notion of federalism.

But perhaps the most inspiring takeaway from Cooke’s writing is the way in which it expresses the utter commonality of the Right: It may be difficult to say for sure whether government should recognize gay marriage, but it is easy to see how conservatives and libertarians, alike, love the Constitution. Instead of harping pessimistically about the supposed “great divide,” the media would do well to understand that Rand Paul and Scott Walker both care deeply about individual rights and free markets. And as long as this remains true, the Left ought to be gravely worried, for its vision of equality of outcome will be the Right’s common enemy – its excessive focus on bureaucratic dominance will be the scourge around which, Cooke is confident, the Right will gladly take a stand.

Liberals in Indiana

In the face of all this quackery regarding Indiana’s new and controversial RFRA – the one which takes further steps to protect religious freedoms – it is important to stay sane amongst all the leftist hysteria, to ignore the largely ignorant but nevertheless incessant whining emerging from hacks all over the web. In order to do so, however, one needs to understand the actual implications of the law, as divorced from what one might assume the law to entail.

First off, Indiana’s RFRA has been written, as I understand it, in the tradition of the federal RFRA that was signed into law by President Clinton, of all people. A slew of states already have similar laws with comparable aims – and have not received nearly as much backlash as has Indiana, because … well, you know … it wasn’t fashionable at the time to do so – showing in a definitive sense the extent to which the United States relies upon federalism. Many states may not feel that the federal provision goes far enough, or perhaps they think they need more idiosyncratic renderings of the principle in order to more fully protect their religious citizens; but whatever their reasons, the point is that as constitutionally guaranteed institutions of government, they have every right to take initiative in this area.

A second element to consider, of course, is the actual content of the law, which seems to me to have been simply enough explained by experts in the field so as to leave little room for confusion. In short, Indiana’s RFRA – according specifically to an article written for The Federalist by Gabriel Malor, an attorney in the DC area – was designed to provide courts with a framework through which they may better consider cases involving religious freedom. In the main, those who sue entities that make some claim of religious liberty for undertaking – or refusing to undertake – a particular action will have to convince judges and juries that the government has compelling reason to prevent the religious from citing their beliefs as safeguards. So, should a religious person claim that consuming a substance banned by Indiana state law is something necessarily commanded by his or her religion (to take an example from Malor’s piece), this law would force plaintiffs to provide a compelling reason to force that religious person from consuming the substance. If such an activity isn’t really affecting anyone else, then it is likely the courts will use the RFRA to protect the person’s religious liberty – not to ensure their performance of any discrimination prevented by the Civil Rights Act.

Of course, were the religious owners of a restaurant to try and refuse service to homosexuals (which they aren’t at all, in the first place), it would be very difficult for courts to use the RFRA to justify their claims – for not only are innocent third parties perniciously affected by an activity of that sort, but such would also set a dangerous precedent for the future of anti-discrimination law in the United States. But is that how the Left around the nation has consistently been interpreting the situation?

To be blunt and precise, no. Liberals have been acting as if the RFRA was drafted secretly in a church by fundamentalist law-makers who want to undermine civil-rights precedent. They know that it is not true, but it doesn’t really matter since the whole purpose of progressivism in the first place is to blankly oppose tradition in any area of life, no matter how respectable or frivolous. And so it is important to remember that which is becoming increasingly accurate when describing the Left: The true liberals in Indiana are not the ones who scream against First-Amendment protections, or who act as if any attempt to preserve America’s classically liberal traditions are necessarily discriminatory; the true liberals are those who understand the importance of allowing those with whom you disagree to carry on with their personal activity. For who wants to live in a country in which the feelings of some outweigh the Lockean natural rights of others?

Bias University Teachings

Political affiliations are often a personal choice made based on an individual’s morals, trust in the government and economic situation. Many young people usually affiliate with the same party as their parents until they get to college, gain independence, and become more informed. However, numerous academic institutions that students attend are bias towards one party and do not offer students the chance to see the aspects of both platforms.

Typically, public universities tend to favor the democratic party and focus teachings around their platforms and principles, while openly showing detest towards other ideas. Even the textbooks that are used for classes explicitly favor liberal policies and frame conservative policies as shameful and egotistic. The strong-opinionated teachings that are executed at many public universities, such as UNC, are not appropriate in order to facilitate unbiased learned that leads to self-made opinions based purely on factual evidence. Even worse, students are learning to develop a hatred for not only other parties, but also those affiliated with those parties. The universities depict the Republican Party in a singular way and mislead their students into thinking that there is only one way to be a republican. They teach that there are not diversions in ideology, when in actuality, there are many degrees of republican, just as there are many degrees of being a democrat. The professors who teach in this way are limiting the minds of students and only showing them one path, when there is a magnitude of combinations of ideologies in which the students could study. Narrowing students minds to only consider one political party and directly steering them to detest other parties is limiting the minds of future generations.

Classes should not inaccurately shame other political affiliations because many students trust the learning institution whole-heartedly and will believe whatever is taught to them. Then, their opinions are based solely off of their trust of the professor and not through their own research and findings, creating naive citizens. Students should be shown an unbiased overview of party platforms along with the positions that each party takes and the moderations that are made. Students should be able to make a decision of their party individually, without feeling ashamed for what they believe to be correct. And students should not be taught that other parties are wrong, but rather to respect each person’s opinion of why they support their chosen party, even if they do not agree.

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