Fact Meets Theory

John Sexton posted an article at Hot Air today about some parents who decided to try to raise their children ‘without feeling a lot of cultural pressure related to gender.’ It was an interesting experiment–eventually nature took over.

The article reports

At a time when more kids and teens are raising questions about the meaning of gender, Bonnie and Brian made a point of bringing up their children — Eliot and his sisters Toni, now 10, and Lena, 7 — in relatively gender-neutral ways. “It irked me when people said you can’t play with that because it’s a boy toy, or you can’t play with that because it’s a girl toy,” Bonnie says. They didn’t dress the girls in fancy pink baby clothes, for instance.

But no matter what Bonnie and Brian did, what happened looked a lot to them like nature taking over. The first time the family went to the local children’s museum, the parents laughed as 3-year-old Toni discovered princess dresses for the first time. She pulled them on with astonishment, as if to say, “Can you believe this?” Eliot, not yet able to talk, toddled away from her and right over to the train table.

“It’s funny,” Brian says. “I feel like I read stuff and listen to interviews with people that are like ‘Disney executives are driving little girls to want princess dresses!’ And I’m like, ‘Nope, little girls love this, and Disney’s making money off it.’ ” He laughs. “They just gravitated toward those things. They like what they like.”

Obviously not all little girls or all little boys will gravitate toward the same toys, but it is interesting to know that in most cases, there are some very basic differences between boys and girls. We need to recognize that all children are different and although they will have different strengths, there is more to the concept of gender than just a label.

The Fact That Something Offends You Does Not Make It Illegal

September 11, 2001, was a horrible day for America. Everyone in the country was touched in some way by that event–either they knew someone who was injured or killed, or they saw the pictures of people jumping out of buildings and understood the horrors of the attack. There were some amazing stories that came out after the attack about people whose courage and clear thinking saved lives and people whose faith upheld them as their world literally collapsed. One of the most moving things was the ‘cross’ found in the rubble that became a place where people prayed and left flowers. That cross was slated to be included in the memorial museum remembering September 11th. The atheist group American Atheists protested and sued. A federal judge in the Southern District of New York threw the case out of court. American Atheists appealed.

Yesterday, Fox News posted an update of the story.

The article reports:

The appeals court ruling Thursday cites an amicus brief filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in church-state law and protecting the free expression of all religious traditions.

“We’re thrilled that the court picked up on this issue,” said group lawyer Eric Baxter, whose brief argued that American Atheists had no right to bring a lawsuit in the first place. “Courts should not allow people to sue just because they claim to get ‘dyspepsia’ over a historical artifact displayed in a museum.”

The museum officially opened on May 21.

The judge has now given the plaintiffs until July 14 to file supplemental legal briefs before deciding whether the case will proceed. Among the questions that must be answered in the new filings is how the offensiveness of the cross, which the plaintiffs view as a Christian symbol for all 9-11 victims, becomes a “constitutional injury.”

The other question is — if the plaintiffs indeed feel displaying the cross “marginalizes them as American citizens” — then how is that a “particular and concrete injury” compared to just “the abstract stigmatization of atheists generally.”

The judge has also asked the plaintiffs to substantiate their claim the museum and Sept. 11 memorial are getting taxpayer dollars.

If we don’t stand up for the First Amendment, we will lose the privileges included in it.

New Heights In Insanity

Yesterday the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) posted an article about their filing an amicus brief to defend the World Trade Center cross. This is the story:

The legal argument is absurd. American Atheists, which has filed a lawsuit to remove a cross from the new museum at Ground Zero, is making some astonishing claims.

The atheists say they are suffering both physical and emotional damages from the existence of the cross. That’s the right. The mere existence of this memorial has brought on headaches, indigestion, even mental pain. They even make a bizarre suggestion about erecting a “17-foot-high A for Atheists” to promote their non-beliefs at the site.

These claims are ridiculous. And so is the lawsuit. In just a matter of days, we will be filing a critical amicus brief defending this Ground Zero cross, which consists of two intersecting steel beams that survived the Twin Towers collapse on 9-11. We have a unique opportunity to not only urge the court to reject this flawed lawsuit, but to send a powerful message to the court: that more than 100,000 Americans are standing with us in this brief – urging the court to keep this powerful memorial in place.

If you haven’t signed your name yet, there’s still time to do that. Add your name to our brief now. We want to top the 100,000 mark. And we need your help to do it. Add your name here.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum already has filed papers with the court defending the cross.

According to the museum, the cross is an “important and essential artifact” that “comprises a key component of the retelling of the story of 9/11, in particular the role of faith in the events of the day and, particularly, during the recovery efforts.” As the museum correctly points out: the 9/11 Museum is “not in the business of providing equal time for faiths, we are in the business of telling the story of 9/11 and the victims of 9/11.”

Absolutely correct.

If you choose to get involved, here is what to do:

Add your name to our brief defending this Ground Zero cross now.

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Art Is Obviously In The Eyes Of The Beholder

Martin Kippenberger at his METRO-Net Subway st...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story about a cleaning woman at the Ostwall Museum in Dortmund, Germany, who damaged a sculpture while cleaning it.

The article reports:

A cleaning woman at a museum in Dortmund who mistook a Martin Kippenberger sculpture for an unsightly mess has destroyed the valuable artwork beyond recognition.

The cleaner at the city’s Ostwall Museum went to work on the Kippenberger installation entitled “When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling” which was valued by insurers at €800,000 ($1.1 million), a museum spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The late contemporary master had created a tower of wooden slats under which a rubber trough was placed with a thin beige layer of paint representing dried rain water. Taking it for an actual stain, the cleaner scrubbed the surface until it gleamed.

 I’m sorry. I find this hilarious. I guess I just don’t understand how art is valued. The cleaning lady can come to my house any time she wants–she obviously likes things clean and neat!

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