0

Constitutional Studies visiting fellow discusses threats to religious freedom

first_imgDaniel Mark, visiting fellow with the Constitutional Studies Program, called for a defense of religious freedom in the face of global and national threats during a lecture Thursday.“We have before us the underlying question of whether people have the right to choose and live their faith free of interference by the government or whether the limits of religious freedom are determined solely by judgements of prudence such as whether encroachments on religious freedom will detract from a state’s international standing,” he said. “In other words, we have the question of whether people have a right to religious freedom in principle or only in practice when it suits the state.” Ann Curtis | The Observer Visiting fellow Daniel Mark presents a lecture Thursday in Jenkins-Nanovic Hall on modern threats to religious freedom around the globe and domestically from both the left and right sides of the aisle.Mark said he sees a “landscape that is deeply worrisome” when looking at religious freedom today and that he believes religious freedom is a right granted by God.On a global scale, Mark said totalitarianism, both religious and secular, threatens religious freedom. Mark cited Saudi Arabia and Iran as examples of this totalitarianism.“What critical to remember about those places is that the problem isn’t just religious freedom for minorities; it’s religious freedom for everyone,” he said. “ … [No one] is free to dissent or change or deny … The theocratic ways of these countries deprive the entire population, not just minorities, of religious freedom.”To have religious freedom, Mark said everyone must have the freedom to choose which religion to follow.“Religious totalitarianism ultimately aims to control the entire person, even down to one’s thoughts,” he said.Mark said the other global totalitarian threat, secular totalitarianism, “fears the true God” rather than “false gods.”In secular totalitarianism, Mark said, countries such as China suppress religion in the name of security.“In these countries, through elaborate systems of registration and approvals, the governments regulate and monitor all religious activities,” he said.In the U.S., Mark said, we must be grateful for our religious freedom and be vigilant in defending it.“We’re not inherently better or more deserving of religious freedom than anyone else in the world, and we should not take our good fortune for granted,” he said. “Rather, we must work hard to preserve the cultural and political and legal conditions that make religious freedom possible … We should neither exaggerate our problems here and forget how good we have it, nor should we exaggerate our blessings and neglect our defense of religious freedom.”Mark said the threats to religious freedom in the U.S. from the left are “more obvious and better known.”As an example of one recent trend, Mark noted that the fastest growing religious group in America is the “Nones,” or the people who do not identify with any religion on surveys.“My concern about this trend is that people who do not value religion are unlikely to value religious freedom,” he said.Mark said the underlying idea of many actions on the left “rejects anything that stands in the way of radical personal autonomy, not only to choose unrestrained what we do but even what we are.”“Having abandoned the proper grounds for human rights in order to make room for the ever-expanding list of demands, they’ve left the concept of rights so thin and so watered down that the very idea is in danger,” he said.In the U.S. on the right, Mark said there are two threats to classical liberalism, otherwise known as modern-day American conservatism. One of these is the alt-right, which Mark said represents a form of “identity politics that rejects the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings.” The other, Mark said, is a group of critics within the conservative movement that rejects classical liberalism and believes American democracy is “fatally flawed and bound to fail.”While he said the ideas of classical liberalism must be balanced with other values, Mark said individual rights are still important.“Is [classical liberalism critics’] goal to build a newer, better, likely smaller Christendom, or is their goal to create just enough space to build a Christian culture within a classical liberal world?” he said.Mark said he believes virtue and religion are necessary in today’s world. Citing a difference between liberty (“the freedom to pursue the good”) and license (“the freedom to do whatever you want”), Mark said the right to religious freedom must be grounded in the good of religion.“Once we know what is truly good for our nature, what is truly part of human flourishing, then we can know which rights are real and which aren’t,” he said. “ … Religious freedom is essential to the good of religion because in order to be genuine it must be freely chosen. The rights protect the goods.”Tags: classical liberalism, Constitutional Studies Program, religious freedom, totalitarianismlast_img read more

0

Removal of Bodies ‘Not Relevant’

first_imgThe over 2,000 residents of Upper Johnsonville, Kpekpeh Town, near the Kissi Camp Community, outside Monrovia, are say they are suffering from the offensive smell of corpses recently dumped in the nearby Kpanwein River.In response, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Morris Dukuly, whose agency has now been tasked with the disposal of bodies, told this paper via mobile phone that there is no corpse exposed to create health hazard or environmental concerns for the residents.“We bought the parcel of land in question through my Deputy for Administration, and so, nobody tells anybody that the bodies will be removed since its being underground for over a week,” said Minister Dukuly.MIA Deputy for Administration, Rennie B. Jackson, who spoke through his Director for Communications, D. Emmanuel Wheinyue, failed to disclose the name of the person that reportedly sold that parcel of land to the MIA for burial of the dead Ebola victims as they claimed, and or the amount of money that allegedly changed hands.“The issues of who sold the land and the removal of the bodies from that area because of the environmental concerns are not relevant for now,” said Mr. Wheinyue, who failed to answer questions regarding whether residents can bury their deceased relative/s anywhere anytime once they have bought and deeded a parcel of land.Over a week ago, guarded by a heavily armed platoon of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as well as Police Support Unit (PSU) officers, two mini trucks conveyed corpses believed to be victims of Ebola at different locations across the country. The bodies were dumped on the west bank of the Kpanwein River. They were intended to be buried in mass graves dug by a hired yellow machine, but the machine unfortunately got stuck in the mud, where the property meets the mangrove.The Kpanwein River connects the Kpeh-Kpeh Town Community to Whein Town in the east and Chicken Soup Factory on Somalia Drive in the west, as well as Upper and Lower Johnsonville and many other communities.Since the first truckload of corpses arrived Saturday, August 2, residents of the nearby communities have vehemently rejected the use of their land for the disposal of the bodies. An aggrieved Kpeh-Kpeh Town resident, Carey Daniel, told the Daily Observer that the exact plot of land where the graves are dug is a wetland on the bank of the river that is the source of water for many surrounding communities. They fear that their wells – from which they get water for drinking and domestic use – might be contaminated, exposing them to other diseases.Two school teachers, who are also residents of the area, Emmanuel G. Wonleh, and William S. Zuogbay, are among other inhabitants that have expressed fear of contracting diseases apart from Ebola as a result of the offensive odor that saturates the air over Johnsonville.They are concerned as to when the government, through the authorities of the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare and Internal Affairs, will come to remove the bodies and take them to the crematorium in Marshall or at an appropriate cemetery for ‘proper burial.’The order to dump the corpses on the land came against the backdrop of the government’s recent announcement that it would “consider cremating” (burning) the corpses of those who have died from the deadly Ebola virus. In the wake of the pronouncement, the burial team from the MOH/SW and Internal Affairs on Saturday, August 2, dumped at least 45 bodies in Kissi Camp, near the Kpeh-kpeh Town Community, Upper Johnsonville, just northwest of the City of Paynesville. A resident, Carey Daniel, was among those allegedly brutalized by soldiers accompanying the burial team. Nursing his bruised left eye over the weekend, Daniel wondered as to who selected the land on which the bodies were dumped since the land designated for the disposal of the corpses in Johnsonville is privately owned, with cornerstones conspicuously (clearly) planted and marked.One of the landowners, a businessman, T. Emmanuel Cole, said he was never contacted regarding the use of the piece of land he had purchased with a probated deed for his son, Joseph F. Dolo (cornerstone marked: JFD). “I’m not asking them to pay me [money] for my land.  I’m going to take the authorities to task for illegally using my land to bury dead bodies,” he said.Enraged that they had not been informed prior to the dumping that their community would play host to such a burial site and the implications involved, youth from Kpeh-kpeh Town and nearby communities started felling trees across the road, denying passage to the vehicles en route to bury the dead. For his part, Johnsonville Township Commissioner, Melvin Bettie, told the Daily Observer that he was indirectly connected to the dumping of the bodies, because, when approached by the MOH/SW authority, he could not immediately provide a burial site for corpses. According to him, he was not the one who ordered the execution of the burial exercise, but “because of my job, I assigned the Land Commissioner to supervise the process.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

0

Photos – The Danica Patrick Story

first_imgAdvertisementDanica Sue Patrick (born March 25, 1982) is an American former professional racing driver.She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing—her victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only win by a woman in an IndyCar Series race.Born to a working-class family in Beloit, Wisconsin, Patrick began karting at the age of ten and achieved early success by winning her class in the World Karting Association Grand National Championship three times in the mid-1990s.She dropped out of high school with her parents’ permission in 1998, and moved to the United Kingdom to further her career.Patrick competed in Formula Vauxhall and Formula Ford before returning to the United States in 2001 due to a lack of funding.In 2002, she competed in five Barber Dodge Pro Series races for Rahal Letterman Racing. Patrick later raced in the Toyota Atlantic Series for the next two years.Her best effort was third in the championship standings for the 2004 season where she became the first woman to win a pole position in the series.In 2005, Patrick married physical therapist Paul Edward Hospenthal, whom she met at his office in 2002 when she was recovering from a hip injury she sustained during a yoga session.They divorced in 2013.From November 2012 to December 2017, Patrick was in a relationship with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Patrick has been in a relationship with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers since February 2018.Image Courtesy – Danica Patrick (Instagram)Advertisementlast_img read more