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E-Pluribus | July 17, 2023
The attack on faith-based health care; depolarizing America from the ground up; and the Biden administration sees a boom in make-work jobs.
A round-up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Chris Faddis: The Political Assault on Faith-Based Health Care
The issue of separation of church and state has long been a contentious one, and recent actions by the Biden administration are aggravating the situation, writes Chris Faddis at National Review. The administration is returning to the progressive playbook of using funding and “equal access” to try to bully religious health care providers into violating their principles and beliefs.
The faith-based health-care sector is now experiencing persistent attacks from the Left and is enduring pressure from the Biden administration and its ideological allies. The administration’s dangerous agenda has even reached the nation’s largest Catholic nonprofit health-care system, CommonSpirit Health, where some doctors are performing sex-change operations and providing hormone suppression and puberty-blocking drugs to young patients. CommonSpirit staff are also participating in “pronoun training” under guidelines set by the far-left Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
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Patients, whether they consider themselves religious or not, should be very concerned that Catholic-affiliated medical institutions are pressured into offering procedures so misaligned with their faith and existing scientific evidence.
As the administration and its political allies ignore key scientific findings, they maintain their shameful track record of targeting people for their religious convictions. Not long ago, President Obama’s HHS implemented rules and regulations such as the contraceptive mandate that forced Catholic nuns to pay for birth control and abortifacients in their health insurance plan. The nuns had to defend their religious freedom rights all the way to the Supreme Court, but thankfully, won. And Biden’s White House recently persecuted pro-life Oklahomans by attempting to withhold grant money from the state for refusing to use the funds to fund abortions or gender-transition surgeries.
This ongoing religious persecution from elected officials who are intent on injecting radical left-wing politics into health care demonstrates the heightened need for alternatives; alternatives that allow people of faith to access and receive health care that is both ethical and comprehensively life affirming — as well as provided by doctors and medical professionals who believe in the dignity and worth of every individual.
Read the whole thing.
Price St. Clair: A Grassroots Movement to Depolarize the U.S.?
Sometimes the way to think big is to first think small. This seems to be the idea behind Braver Angels, a grassroots, non-profit organization that is trying to get people of different backgrounds and political beliefs to see others as people first rather than simply through the lens of their ideologies, reports Price St. Clair for The Dispatch.
Braver Angels was founded by three men who knew each other through their work on marriage and family issues. After the 2016 election, David Blankenhorn noticed that his New York City neighbors were despondent over Donald Trump’s victory. Meanwhile, in South Lebanon, Ohio, Lapp observed the opposite mood prevailing. They recruited 10 Trump voters and 11 Clinton voters in the blue-collar town to participate in a structured weekend conversation, with Doherty designing and leading the proceedings.
Since that initial “red-blue workshop,” the nonprofit has continued to focus on interpersonal relationships and political culture, helping “reds” and “blues” see one another as neighbors rather than enemies. But that doesn’t mean trying to make them agree on a particular political agenda.
“It’s not about changing how people see the issues, it’s about changing how they see each other,” says Mónica Guzmán, a former journalist who now works for Braver Angels full time and credits the group’s programming with helping her and her Trump-supporting parents better understand each other. (She and her father sang a duet they wrote, “I Never Thought of It That Way,” at one of the convention’s sessions.)
The national organization has only a handful of full-time staff, while the bulk of the work is carried out by unpaid volunteers throughout the country—many of whom have sought to tailor the basic principles of the “Braver Angels Way” to their local circumstances, giving rise to the variety of “experiences” the group now offers, such as workshops for faith communities as well as the parliamentary-style debates that have been particularly attractive to college students and reds. Doherty and debates director April Lawson oversee the development of new programs, which are field-tested before being rolled out more widely by trained moderators.
“I’ve never seen so much spaghetti thrown at so many walls,” Jonathan Rauch, a founding board member, tells The Dispatch. “Some of it is sticking.”
Read it all.
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Allysia Finley: Bidenomics and the Boom in DEI and ESG Jobs
Unemployment during the Biden administration remains at historically low levels, but Allysia Finley at The Wall Street Journal writes that too many of those jobs are counterproductive, or at least non-productive. Finley says the Biden administration has been particularly good for the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) sectors.
For years America’s political class has lamented that too many college grads are working in low-paying jobs that don’t require post-secondary degrees. The diversity, equity and inclusion and environmental, social and governance industries—DEI and ESG, respectively—are solving for this problem while creating many others.
In the modern progressive era, young graduates are finding remunerative employment as sustainability coordinators, DEI officers and “people partners.” Instead of serving up pumpkin soy lattes, they’re quantifying corporate greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring employers don’t transgress progressive cultural orthodoxies.
[ . . . ]
Progressives won’t admit it, but sustainability disclosures are effectively make-work projects. Shovelling out paperwork does nothing except support other similarly wasteful ESG jobs. A whole industry has grown around these disclosures.
Take the case of businesses buying carbon offsets to mitigate their emissions. This practice often entails paying loggers not to cut down trees for lumber, which allows businesses to claim they are locking up carbon in forests. To estimate the CO2 value of these offsets, companies hire “consulting foresters” to measure the girth and height of trees. Auditors then must review their calculations.
Businesses thus claim they are reducing their CO2 emissions even though they aren’t. The result is higher lumber and housing prices—and overgrown forests and out-of-control wildfires. Many trees in Canada and California that companies paid to preserve for carbon offsets have gone up in smoke during recent wildfires.
This is a good metaphor for the ESG and DEI industries. They destroy productive economic investments while creating deadweight losses across the economy.
Read it all here.
The Free Speech Union points out that it’s been a pretty short trip from asking people for their pronouns to telling them what their pronouns are:
And finally, a recent tweet from presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a good reminder that, as Abraham Lincoln said, you can’t trust everything you see on the internet: