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Federal Judge: ‘Gay’ and ‘Straight’ Don’t Exist

The noose tightens around the necks of Christian colleges and universities: [1]

The federal ban on sex discrimination in education includes a ban on sexual orientation discrimination, a federal judge in California ruled this past week.
U.S. District Court Judge Dean Pregerson’s ruling appears to be the first time a federal judge has made this ruling as it pertains to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal ban on sex discrimination in education.

Without much fanfare, advocates and federal officials in recent years, with support from some courts, have undertaken a significant effort to expand the reach of existing federal anti-discrimination laws — primarily Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX — to cover lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination.

The California case was brought by two women who allege that Pepperdine University “discriminated against and harassed them” because of their perceived sexual orientation.

Discussing “the line between discrimination based on gender stereotyping and discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Pregerson wrote, “the Court concludes that the distinction is illusory and artificial, and that sexual orientation discrimination is not a category distinct from sex or gender discrimination.”

Read the whole thing [1]. The full text of Judge Pregerson’s ruling [2] provides more grist, including:

Simply put, the line between sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination is “difficult to draw” because that line does not exist, save as a lingering and faulty judicial construct. …

In sexual orientation discrimination cases, focusing on the actions or appearance of the alleged victim of discrimination rather than the bias of the alleged perpetrator asks the wrong question and compounds the harm. A plaintiff’s “actual” sexual orientation is irrelevant to a Title IX or Title VII claim because it is the biased mind of the alleged discriminator that is the focus of the analysis. This is especially true given that sexuality cannot be defined on a homosexual or heterosexual basis; it exists on a continuum.

So there’s no such thing as homosexuality or heterosexuality? Really? If Judge Pregerson has defined homosexuality and heterosexuality out of existence, then no wonder he sees no distinction between discriminating on the basis of male and female, and discriminating on the basis of same-sex romantic relationships.

To be sure, Judge Pregerson’s ruling only allows the case against Pepperdine to go forward. He has not ruled on the ultimate merits of the claim against Pepperdine, a Christian university,, only that the claim does have sufficient merit to proceed forward to trial.

If Pepperdine is found guilty of a Title IX violation, it could lose federal funding, though that has never actually happened; what is more likely [3]is that the school would have to pay damages to the plaintiffs. The precedent would be chilling, though, for religious liberty, and set up a major First Amendment clash in the courts.

It’s all happening so fast, isn’t it? How can you dispute these people when they and their allies change the rules on, well, reality, in order to get what they want? People send me e-mails all the time pointing out that we orthodox Christians have to stay in the public square and fight for our liberties, not do a Benedict Option withdrawal. I point out to them that nothing about the Benedict Option says we are obliged to quit fighting; in fact, I think it’s very important that we fight, even though the odds are stacked against us, if only because the fight delays the inevitable, and gives us time to prepare. The Benedict Option is in part our plan for when we have been defeated in court. What then? For the faithful, what form does the resistance take?

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94 Comments To "Federal Judge: ‘Gay’ and ‘Straight’ Don’t Exist"

#1 Comment By EngineerScotty On December 21, 2015 @ 4:38 pm

@Franklin,

BYU does EXACTLY that. A few years ago, a BYU men’s basketball team that was a #1 seed IIRC going into March Madness and considered one of the top contenders for a NCAA title, essentially forfeited its tournament prospects when it kicked the star center off the team.

His infraction? Having consensual sex with his girlfriend. That’s it.

#2 Comment By Devinicus On December 21, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

EngineerScotty has a point worth considering here:

Ironically, I suspect, if Pepperdine promulgated and published an explicit policy of banning active gays and lesbians, possibly requiring prospective students to sign and agree (as BYU does do with its Honor Code), they would be on a much firmer legal footing, particularly if they avoided any inquiries into the plaintiffs sexuality without evidence that the disclosed policy was in fact being violated.

That being said, how long before BYU is subject to a Title IX lawsuit over its honor code, in particular its “ [4]“. As these standards are clearly and self-consciously gendered, the university is clearly open to a Title IX lawsuit — at least as long as Obama is in office.

#3 Comment By Fran Macadam On December 21, 2015 @ 4:56 pm

“For example, I believe Kinsey defined sexuality on a six point spectrum, not in terms of a binary.”

Oh, yeah, Kinsey also created the world in six days.

#4 Comment By John On December 21, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

Christian colleges would be wise to accept NO federal funding.

Christendom College, for example, does not accept a penny of federal funding:
[5]

Perhaps you’d consider sending them a Christmas donation to support their courageous stance?

In Christendom College’s explanation of their rejection of federal funds (see link above), the college notes the following:
“The Supreme Court has long held that when Congress attaches conditions to funds, it creates something akin to a contract.
When the federal government gives money through grants, loans, spending legislation or contracts, it has the right, just like any other person or business, to ask for almost anything in return.
Spending conditions can be used to achieve policy objectives that are outside the enumerated powers specifically granted to Congress in the Constitution.”

#5 Comment By Stephen Hall On December 21, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

“Take the initiative, and divorce themselves from all government funding.”

“As for what objecting Christian institutions can do–well, they can stop taking Federal funds, for starters. That’s what give’s the government the proverbial foot in the door.”

This is very cute, what’s to stop the government from just regulating away anyway? If recent events are proof, the government will get what it wants regardless of what the other party does.

“My guess is the elite/lgbt lobby is no longer interested in any carve outs or exemptions from their desired “anti-discrimination” laws. They will seek to have them fully enforced in all areas of society, including within religious schools and churches. There will also be no way for these institutions to compromise, voluntarily giving up any federal funding or tax exemptions will end up being futile gestures. Schools will lose accreditation regardless, and churches will still be subject to full employment “anti-discrimination” law whether they pay taxes or not. ”

I know some people seem to have trouble remembering what exactly makes a totalitarian society, well, totalitarian. No amount of legal trickery or barriers will stop totalitarians from attempting to make sure you conform or else. This is a fundamental distinction that those who advocate divesting from federal funds do not seem to get, or refuse to get.

#6 Comment By Stephen Hall On December 21, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

“If you don’t want to abide by federal non-discrimination laws then don’t take federal money. It’s really that simple. Religious colleges aren’t forced to take federal money.”

But everyone in that college are forced to pay taxes, no? Isn’t this nothing more than a federal version of highway robbery?

#7 Comment By Anglocat On December 21, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

Carl Eric Scott,

I’m not entirely following your comment; you suggest that the survival of “past-ACLU-liberal Religion of the First Amendment Maximally Interpreted” is not holding (agreed, with regret), and link its survival to the flourishing of originalism on and in discussions around the Supreme Court, even though the most severe blow was struck by the Court’s most thorough originalist, Scalia. The biggest judicial advocates of protecting free exercise have been liberals–Blackmun, Brennan, and Marshall, dissenting in Smith, and the liberal majority of the Warren Court.

In regard to Free Exercise, what is to suggest that originalism is its friend?

#8 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On December 21, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

If you don’t want to abide by federal non-discrimination laws then don’t take federal money. It’s really that simple. Religious colleges aren’t forced to take federal money.

If there’s any silver lining to the hetero-dhimmitude it’s that progressives have become proponents of limited government. If we ended federal involvement in student loans completely we wouldn’t need to worry about any of these contentious issues and every one would just get along and hug each other and stuff. We should probably tax secular schools as well. Probably some thoughtcrime going on somewhere out there. And the Ivies are basically 0.00001%ers so they have it coming. Religious schools would get a pass, or course. What with separation of church and state and all.

#9 Comment By JonF On December 21, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

Re: But everyone in that college are forced to pay taxes, no? Isn’t this nothing more than a federal version of highway robbery?

No. Everyone in this country (Well, maybe not very young children or severely disabled and institutionalized people) pays taxes for things they do not approve of and.or which do not benefit them. So what? If 100% approval of government actions were required, we’d have anarchy.

#10 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 21, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

Clint and Elite: I have no choice but to ask of you your credentials in the social sciences. My citation of Kinsey is based on mainstream literature — which, by the way, clearly lays out the scientific objections to his work, not deriding it from personal or religious motivations — and has significant support within his branch of behavioral science.

Scotty: good for them. They walk their talk. However much one can disagree with their beliefs — and I’ll summarize my opinion of them with don’t get me started 😉 — they lay it out and stick with it.

Christian institutions would do well to follow that example, is my main point.

#11 Comment By grumpy realist On December 21, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

Heck yeah. If I can chose where my taxes are going to go, not a penny towards the military, please.

#12 Comment By TR On December 21, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

To G. Scalas and others: I know more about male friendship and agape than most, being a student of 19th century literature. I also know that post-modernity has very little to do with the issue, unless you consider Freud to be a post=modern. And notice I was defending the rather common idea of a sexual continuum. I never said–nor do I think–that there were any fluids exchanged between Newman and friend. But that kind of intense male friendship, except between practicing homosexuals, almost completely disappeared in the 20th century. As did the idea, beloved of Dickens (and used by Shelley for corrupt purposes) that the highest thing you could say to your future spouse was that you love her like a sister.

#13 Comment By Stephen Hall On December 21, 2015 @ 8:02 pm

“No. Everyone in this country (Well, maybe not very young children or severely disabled and institutionalized people) pays taxes for things they do not approve of and.or which do not benefit them. So what? If 100% approval of government actions were required, we’d have anarchy.”

So, how isn’t that highway robbery as well?

#14 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On December 21, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

No. Everyone in this country (Well, maybe not very young children or severely disabled and institutionalized people) pays taxes for things they do not approve of and.or which do not benefit them. So what? If 100% approval of government actions were required, we’d have anarchy.

Setting aside the fact that half of us either don’t pay taxes or pay taxes at such low rates as to hardly qualify as the painful experience that taxpaying should rightly be, this is just an excuse made by courts to promote the policy of endless war. We survived for a century and half without a federal income tax. I’m pretty sure even massive noncompliance in the federal tax system would not lead to a dissolution of the state. And if it did that would be quite a bonus.

#15 Comment By Bobby On December 21, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

This makes perfect sense. There may be some underlying orientation of some sort, but the discrimination itself is against gender-role non-conformity. After all queer theorists have consistently demonstrated, we’re never attracted to people in the abstract. Our fundamental attractions are to social narratives, and out attractions to people are to what those people symbolize within those social scripts.

I’ve never found the “born that way” argument to be very persuasive. I think most “gay” people are perfectly capable of experiencing attractions to people of the opposite sex within the right social context.

But we don’t generally have the power to force society to make scripts available to us that would otherwise permit us to be attracted to–and be viewed as attractive to–members of the opposite sex. As I mentioned in a thread last week, I have no problem attracting women when I travel to my company’s main office in Switzerland. But in the US, where we have fairly structured scripts for normative masculinity, I’m not viewed as attractive. So, while an opposite-sex arrangement may work fine for me in Geneva, it may not work well for me in the US.

So, what this judge said makes perfect sense. We in the US need to loosen up a lot more on trying to cram everyone into normative gender roles.

I do think that there may be something called a sexual orientation that’s distinguishable from gender-role conformity. But, in a social context, there’s a lot of overlap. Thus, when one discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, one is often also discriminating on the basis of sex. Why is this rocket science? If schools don’t like it, they can request one of those “bigot passes” (i.e., Title IX exemption).

#16 Comment By KD On December 21, 2015 @ 11:37 pm

The real BS, in a country which is 70% tax-paying Christians, in which a majority the supports the rights of religious schools to operate consistent with their traditions, is that we even have to go through this nonsense because of some un-elected judges and some un-elected bureaucrats are consumed by an irrational hatred of Christians.

The Emperor wears no clothes, and its legitimacy was always based on the impression that elites knew what the heck they were doing–which the experience of the last 20 years taught us was not the case. Its time for a government that reflects the beliefs and values of its own people.

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 21, 2015 @ 11:38 pm

Individual federal district judges do all manner of crazy things. That is why there are courts of appeal. This opinion may be adopted by other courts as persuasive, but it is mandatory in none.

The judge is primarily proclaiming his own incompetence.

#18 Comment By KD On December 22, 2015 @ 12:08 am

Constitutional law may be a discipline, but in 1905, paying a minimum wage violated the Constitution, “separate but equal” was the law of the Land, and Ida Craddock was dead by her own hand rather than face jail as a result of her distributing obscenity (some kind of sex manual) through the US mail, and state police departments had carte blanche to extract confessions by torture in the eyes of federal courts. Unlike sex manuals, drugs are still completely legal. The mental health profession is obsessed with stopping the problem of self-abuse.

In 1955, you had the Brown decision in the prior year, starting desegregation, but some states still have blasphemy laws, abortion and contraception is illegal (at least in CT), every school day starts with a prayer. Lenny Bruce had yet to be arrested and prosecuted for obscenity. You can fire and hire whoever you like, for whatever reason you like, and you can refuse accommodations to any you like. Many state laws bar inter-racial marriage, and divorce is permitted only in cases of fault.

However, all that freedom of contract under the Federal Constitution (used to legitimate yellow dog contracts and strike down minimum wage legislation) lost to the sands of time, merely a footnote to a libertarian political wishlist.

If you want to see “Constitutional Discipline” wait Fifty Years.

#19 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 8:51 am

About taxes…

No one gets to be happy. This is the sole ubiquitous reality of the cost of government.

I am as guilty of this as the rest of you commenting on taxes: it is a complex and dynamic process, which changes over time or, if it doesn’t change, creates its own unique set of problems. Property taxation is the poster child for that. In the meantime, any commentary that fails to address the complexity fails completely in being valid.

My perspective is unusual (not meaning that it lends me even the veneer of expertise). I spent my first career, 14 years, dealing with corporate and personal income taxation. I spent the 25 (and counting) years of my second career writing code in response to tax and other regulations.

In relative terms, what I know would fill volumes and that still isn’t saying very much.

So, relax the jerking knees. Seek out a wider perspective. We have what we have, we have no valid “what-ifs” to offer, and we are left with two basic facts.

1) Our elected government representatives control our taxes.

2) If we don’t pressure them with our votes, we will not get them to act as we demand.

#20 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 8:58 am

The first motivation for exempting religion from taxation was a direct consequence of the statutes that comprise the concept of separation of church and state.

The first change that made the original statutes inadequate was the advent of religious institutions dealing with employee compensation, revenue and profit.

The long and tortured history of that change and the statutes that have been enacted and repealed to address it gives you an excellent example of how failing to effectively adjust to change causes problems.

Yes, I was being simplistic when I said that religious institutions should divorce themselves from governmental sources of funding. It remains a valid starting point to the entire discussion, and is supported by the fact that when churches are exempt from paying taxes, they have a net increase in available funds compared to any business.

Don’t go after government, as Stephen Hall appears to enjoy doing, when those churches fail to manage their funds effectively.

#21 Comment By Bobby On December 22, 2015 @ 9:17 am

Also, for those who object to the notion that there’s overlap between issues of gender-role conformity and issues of sexual orientation, just spend some time checking out the works of noted religious experts on human sexuality.

Tim Bayly, an Indiana pastor, is probably the leading evangelical scholar on these issues. He was the first executive director of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and is credited with shaping much of CBMW’s “complementarian” theology. If you spend any amount of time on Bayly’s blog or the CBMW website, you’ll see that the primary evangelical objection to gay sex is that it upsets the natural gender-role hierarchy, where men must always take a leading role in sex and women must always take a passive role. So, at least for evangelicals, the impropriety of same-sex relations is largely about their failure to conform to restrictive, “biblical,” gender roles.

#22 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 10:16 am

KD, your recent posts are precisely what Tocqueville warned against with his phrase “tyranny of the majority”.

“…{A} government that reflects the beliefs and values of its own people” that deliberately rejects the beliefs and values of its minorities is a dictatorship. Further, a government that dictates the beliefs and values of its minorities, imposes such things upon them, is exactly the government our founders and framers wanted to prohibit.

If the United States had such a government when my parents were considering their next steps, we wouldn’t be allowed to have this conversation and I’d be speaking Italian.

#23 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 22, 2015 @ 11:00 am

A few years ago, a BYU men’s basketball team that was a #1 seed IIRC going into March Madness and considered one of the top contenders for a NCAA title, essentially forfeited its tournament prospects when it kicked the star center off the team.

One could consider it stupid to sacrifice an NCAA championship over a star player having consensual sex with his girlfriend… or, if one takes chastity seriously, one could call this a profile in courage, putting principles over money, prestige, and hoopla.

I’m kind of agnostic on that… I think sex is much healthier within a framework of mutual commitment made publicly in front of God and everybody. I’m not sure the many and inevitable transgressions are a big deal. But, I can see this either way — stupidity over minutiae or profile in courage.

If you spend any amount of time on Bayly’s blog or the CBMW website, you’ll see that the primary evangelical objection to gay sex is that it upsets the natural gender-role hierarchy, where men must always take a leading role in sex and women must always take a passive role.

So CBMW is voluntarily providing Bobby with the straw man of his dreams. Why should any of the rest of us take CBMW seriously as the paradigm for what is significant about homosexuality?

#24 Comment By JonF On December 22, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

Re: So, how isn’t that highway robbery as well?

Oh, good grief! It’s something we implicitly agree to when as a condition of living in a society with other human beings, some of whom we disagree with vehemently (and they with us), as opposed to living some sort of solitary hermit life. Don’t like it? Then leave society. No law, of man or nature, requires your presence, or participation, in it.

But really: one of the realities of human life is knowing that one must accept things one does not like because one is not, after all, God Almighty and has no right to rule the world to one’s own pleasure. I have always found Vergil’s advice to Dante concerning the fate of the lukewarm useful in this regard: Non raggiam’ da loro, ma guarda e passa. (Very loosely, “Don’t sweat it, just look and move on”).

Loudon: the notion that “half of us do not pay taxes” is a fable so erroneous it qualifies as a blatant lie told for propaganda purposes. And if you think the dissolution of the state would lead to a world of bliss you are A) ignoring history and B) indulging in looney-tunery of the highest order. Like it or not, government is a necessity for civilized life. Grow up and deal with it.

#25 Comment By KD On December 22, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

Franklin Evans:

When a minority, like Southern Slave Owners, tried to impose their way of life on the rest of the Country through control of the Supreme Court, the result has not been chalked up as “tyranny of the majority” but rather the steady march of Justice.

#26 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 22, 2015 @ 1:59 pm

Charles Cosimano, on December 21, 2015 at 11:56 am, won the thread. There was enough egregious behavior alleged against the Pepperdine U. coaching staff that a judge would be hard pressed not to find a way to allow the suit to continue. The legal reasoning is somewhat bizarre: sex discrimination was part of the law long before anyone thought of it meaning anything other than discrimination based on biological gender. However, that reasoning is no more bizarre than corporate personhood and money = speech. Lawyers and judges of all political stripes have a long history of making it up as they go along. Law is not science — it’s the art of inventing and creatively bending rules.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 22, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

“Clint and Elite: I have no choice but to ask of you your credentials in the social sciences. My citation of Kinsey is based on mainstream literature — which, by the way, clearly lays out the scientific objections to his work, not deriding it from personal or religious motivations — and has significant support within his branch of behavioral science.”

Hmmmm,

I am tad caught off guard here. This is a peculiar push coming from you. I am unclear if you are asking for my academic credentials or something else. While I am not sure that I buy that such is
neccessary given my observation — which is very consistent on what occurred at the PA conference and it includes Kinsey’s continuum, and not at all related to faith and practice.

The objections to Dr. Kinsey’s work should have made any shifts in policy via the APA or legislatively impossible. If in fact, one takes the objections seriously. His conclusions are but speculative and not at all supported by his data. The issues of sample categorizations, contmination, cross-over and personal influence to name by=ut a fall his research into question, more his conclusions.

It is widely aknowledged for it’s scope, which I would grant is extensive, if one excuses his shortcuts in other areas and accepts the numbers as proffered. But the sampling was nt random, which for me isn’t a problem if you acknowledge that it is not and why. But he used targeted populations and then concluded that those targets represented the general, when clearly the definitions would not be applicable.

Hardly a a methodology one would use to design a contiguous scale.

So if you press me for my academic training, I will do so reluctantly. I might even include the name of my own multiple regression scale analysis on a social construct. I would prefer not to get into these types of discussions unless they are relevant and given that you acknowledge the information challenging the report, one’s credentials are hardly a factor. The data sets and critiques as peer reviewed are readily available.
____________________

Attempting to get the media to attend to the methodlogical details of a study on human sexual behavior is like trying to stiop a cat from eating fish. The issue took on a life of its own and those who ignored the meta-analysis used the conclusions as science fact. Including members of the psychological and psychiatric community, who no doubt were taken about the sample size and leaped into the material minus the scientific critiques required to lend it credibile science or factual information.

Which is why the 1973 remains a pivotal moment. The APA community did not discuss the science, they were caught completely off guard by what would be called today acts of terror. Scare tactics and intimidation to press for the adiption of phenomenological and personal narrative to make the case for for shifting the APA classification. A classification considered science by those who rely on testimony and research from the community. So here is a judge some fifty years later citing a construct devoid of any real data driven truth/fact.

#28 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

JonF:

In 2008, the IRS collected data from tax returns that showed that the top 50% measured by Adjusted Gross Income (AGI, the basis for calculating income tax liability) paid 97% of the taxes collected.

Loudon’s assertion is arguable for semantics — the bottom 50% did pay taxes, those above the AGI floor for the first tax bracket — but in terms of taxes collected his statement is accurate.

You can find their charts and tables by searching the irs.gov website. The links I saved don’t work any more.

#29 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On December 22, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

Loudon: the notion that “half of us do not pay taxes” is a fable so erroneous it qualifies as a blatant lie told for propaganda purposes.

I assume you’re being serious here. To make sure we’re on the same page, and this CBO data is kind of stale likely because the current administration is not interested in having accurate data regard the distribution across classes of federal tax payments, but at the height of the Bush tax cuts (which rates are still in effect for the poors and middle class) the average effective federal tax rate for the bottom 60% of American taxpayers was 9.57%. So I’ll stand by the statement that a majority of Americans are not subject to a sufficiently high rate of taxation for it to sting, and certainly not sufficiently high to deserve much of any say as to how the money is spent (particularly when you consider that the 60% in question is only footing 14% of the federal tax bill). That’s like saying you’ve paid for the meal because you offer to leave a tip (and a pretty measly tip at that).

But out of deference to your concern for anarchy, I’ll amend my position to state that while the bottom 60% percent shouldn’t have any say as to how their tax dollars are spent, anyone with an effective federal rate in excess of 30% should.

#30 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 3:33 pm

Elite, my objection to your contribution here is based on this statement, my emphasis added: It has been and remains the role of psychiatry and psychlogy to engage in very speculative notions and tout them as scientific fact. Such is the case of the continuum of relational behavior.

I know you better than my initial (and knee-jerk) reaction: that you are simply ignorant of scientific methodology and buy into the lie that scientists claim facts in like manner to clerics claiming the existence of God, ex cathedra.

Every social scientist of my acquaintance, especially those under which I studied — and I remind you that my credentials per se are non-existent — was fully and often painfully aware of the difficulty in meeting the methodological standards that the physical sciences take for granted. The phrase I bolded is an outright lie, and I will state that regardless of the respect I hold for the person saying it.

If you should own up to academic standing in either psychiatry or psychology, and you insist on standing by your statement, I would extend my request for credentials to documented citations to support it.

Of all the sciences, behavioral science is by far the most politicized and most often cited as support for propaganda. I agree that this covers the APA as well as the judge.

I will soften my criticism only with this: my citation of Kinsey was neither phrased nor meant to be authoritative, and I do hereby clarify that it supports my personal opinions. Should you wish to clarify your statements in like manner, I will immediately offer an apology for assuming that your generic assertions were meant to be statements of scientific fact.

#31 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

Loudon: I meant my supportive post to also suggest that your approach to the notion is flawed, even while your assertion itself is valid on its face. You could not have seen that post when you posted your reply… but even the most recent data show that the highest effective tax rate is around 27%, not 30%.

The bottom line (ahem, puns intended) is that those with the highest incomes contribute the most to US tax revenues. The problem is and shall remain that those with the highest incomes continue to see increases in their incomes while the rest see stagnation or decreases, all adjusted for the cost of living. That disparity makes any changes to taxes a serious threat to the propagandized “other half”, and no amount of foolish rhetoric by their advocates changes that fact.

#32 Comment By Oakinhou On December 22, 2015 @ 5:57 pm

“In 2008, the IRS collected data from tax returns that showed that the top 50% measured by Adjusted Gross Income (AGI, the basis for calculating income tax liability) paid 97% of the taxes collected.”

That is true, but income taxes are not the only taxes collected. Payroll taxes, paid by all taxpayers, fund more than half the Federal Budget: Pensions (25%) and Health Care (27%). ( [6] )

#33 Comment By Bobby On December 22, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

@SJ

A straw man doesn’t actually exist. By contrast, CBMW is a well-funded organization, and is unofficially housed within the leading seminary of the US’s largest Protestant denomination.

#34 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 22, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

A warning to anyone tempted to respond to Oakinhou or take the linked website seriously: It calls all governments, federal, state and local “federal” and uses combined numbers to produce the bogus percentages in Oakinhou’s post.

This is egregious fantasy peddled as serious debate. Engage it at your peril.

#35 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 22, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

Bobby, please note that there are people who post here under the designations “SJ” and “SJay” who are NOT me. So please be careful with your abbreviations. I am not now and have never been a member of the Society of Jesus.

I used the reference “straw man” because you were tarring EVERYONE who has ANY reservations about what is loosely and crudely termed “the gay agenda” with the specific perspective of this small, if well funded organization, that most Americans know little or nothing about and could care less what they have to say. If you had dreamed up your own straw man, nothing could have suited you better.

Talking about the U.S.’s largest Protestant denomination is a bit like talking about Trump’s percentage of likely Republican primary voters. A whole lot of smaller Protestant denominations add up to a lot more Protestants than the church in which the sad lot you cling to as evidence is informally housed. ‘I don’t belong to any organized body of religious doctrine — I’m a Protestant.’

#36 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 22, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

“I know you better than my initial (and knee-jerk) reaction: that you are simply ignorant of scientific methodology and buy into the lie that scientists claim facts in like manner to clerics claiming the existence of God, ex cathedra.”

I am going to be very frank here. Nonsense. Methodlogy of any construct is subject to scrutiny by those in the field and those s and one course stats as I recall. My comments are based largely on the ecritiques of those in the field as well as other statisticians — I have taken three courses in research methods and those courses leaned heavily on the APA guidelines. The idea that anyone need have adegree in any field to note flaws in research is almost ludicrous.

First all one need do is read what other psychiatrists in the field have already noted. This is an incredibly bozarre comment from you. But let’s just look at wha I have a problem with.

Sample size is not an issue. But sample construction is. If I conducted a study on pagans believe of some five thousand people, and 600 hundred of them were Batists another 300 were Catholics. You’d pitch a conniption fit because I skewed the data. I could of course respond to that you just don’t know enough about quantative analysis to have any opinion at all. And that would false. All you have to do know is that I interviewed a large enough segment to skew the data sets. You don’t even have to take a course in research, quantative analysis or math to understand the logical flaw. atholic and upon wathing the interviews or noting the questions engaged face to face, you might very well challenge the objectivity of the method and conclusions.

You are just flat out wrong here. Your suggestion wold eliminate any scrutiny by anyone of any construct unless they were so schooled in the field. The ere osno doubt that Dr. Kinsey’s study is revelatory. But whether or not and to what extent is is generalizeable in another matter.

Look, It’s not as if Dr. Kinseys reserach methos are a secret, though it was attempted. Every researcher eventually must submit not only their conclusions but their method, the historical content, defin9itions, parameters for scrutiny. Whateer conclusions they derive should flow from the data sets and the internal workings therein.

Yor comments are just out of line. The idea that people who graduate from a faith based academic system are not required to do arch analysis based on standard researh expectations of the community ar large is incorrect. As is any assumption that those who graduate fom faith based institutions are somehow intellectual inferior to those of the secular schools.

Note: When I make my comment I had no idea you had cited Dr. Kinsy’s reserach. My response was to the article and the judge’s refernce. It has nothing to do with your comments. Which I have yet to read. As i just got in from my ride.

Your comments are not unfamiliar. In my field, a behavioral science there is a huge debate on what constitutes generalizeable scientific fact. Kinsey’s research would fall into the realm of nonverbal behavior. Because he is talking about specific behaviors with multiple factors: age, gender, upbringing, faith, single, married, and a dozens upon dozens of factors as you it would requre a very complex research model. His interview process wjile extensive while informative has some serious problems.

Let’s say for the moment that you are correct. I don’t have any background worthy for my own assessment — false in my view and I don’t doubt for a minute that my own professors in faith based institutions and secular would think the idea, quite incorrect. Let’s rest on what other’s have said.

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Note: at the time of the report, dr. Kinsey was crtiqued by secular research. They did not introduce their faith based issues. Nor have I.

note: Being christian does not invalidate anyone’s academic credentials. So even if the critiques were made only by people of faith what matters is te content of their critique, not their faith. Caveat: unless the critique was purely faith based in nature.

As I press the issues surrounding APA conferences, especially 1973, what I can tell you is that dr. Kinsey’s reserch is problematic for the reasons noted. Further the (going by memory here on the researcher) Bloom study, also based conclusions that were counter to te data sets.

That homosexuality is a innate behavioral response to one one’s chemostryNA or other biological factors is uncorrobaorated hence my continued use of the term urther in numerous conversations on the subject, resrach continues to contradict that the behavior is a steady state — stable.

The continuum is a scale that assumes it’s conclusions. It is not supported by data, because at its core it too rests on the assumption that sexual behavior is not a choice, but contained with some innate construct.

As such both are speculative. Now you seem to have a negative view of speculation in this regard. I do not. Speculative conclusions often termed as implications are a valid component of reserach. As long as they remain in their proper form — they are speculations based on certain obsevrvations. In otherwords, ot is possible that —

It is possible that Dr. Kinsey’s continuum is correct, but his date sets don’t support it. Now you might say, “Aha,the continuum is not assuming a innate trait. It is purely psycholgical. Then you have to indicate via the data sets that make it generalizeable. To whit, one must examine the nature of the questions and most importantly justify the means by which one creates a scale based on the varient behaviors of of the respondents. The scale is going to evident among the respondents in full, not partial or one could never make a scale that is , again generalizeable. For example, at what point does one’ thoughts constitute a note on the scale if at all. Here I am going to tread lightly. Because it requires more discussion that I desire to engage in — not for personal reasons, but it would be speculative. As s my vew of Dr. Kinsey’s conclusions. In either case, it would not be fact.

On a personal note, while I wish I could claim christian faith, my bitterness prevents me. But I do use what I know and think I comprehend, knowing full well, it’s mighty thread bare, far nore than it ought. But I would not back away from my conclusions or other comments.

I am not seeking, nor do I expect an apology whether you agree or not. You are well within your rights to claim I am unqualified based on whatever standards you so choose. I have ventured too far here on the questions of research. I am not now nor have aI questioned the ground breaking or monumental task of the study. There are other problems, however, that would require more than I care to investigate. Trying to unravel the consequences of Dr. kinsey’s study which has largely been accepted into the main would be difficy=ult. But t no smal amount, it has been very damaging. And that is my opinion. Here I speculate, a study of speculation and one in which facts generalized which are in fact, ungenrizeable is a very seriously problem, such tat even a sitting hudge makes use of it.

Finally this, and it is the effectiveness of such research, eaecially from an intrapersonal and interpersonal perspective — it may be helpful in self understanding as is wonderful, but to the general, it’s a dicey proposition at best.

Having rambled on enough. On a personal note — I see you as I always see you. As a man whose intent is bent on integrity. It is as always my hope, that you come to Christ in a one one one manner such as to accept his saving grace.

Other than that — good greif, stop being a liberal, it’s beneath your integrity.

#37 Comment By EngineerScotty On December 22, 2015 @ 10:17 pm

While I won’t defend the website linked by “Oakinhou”, there is a valid point. The federal INCOME tax is progressive.

Many other taxes, are not. The federal PAYROLL tax is regressive (being levied only against work, not against investment income or rents, and being capped). Many state taxes, particularly sales taxes, are likewise regressive in their effect. (And many public services are funded by fees rather than from the general fund–to the extent these are necessary, this also serves as a regressive tax).

At any rate, the idea that the poor pay little taxes, is without merit.

#38 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On December 22, 2015 @ 10:45 pm

Franklin: That’s true with respect to the top quintile as a whole, but the top 1% is over 30%. My not entirely serious suggestion was that the 1% should direct how their tax expenditures are spent, or have the opportunity to opt out if they disagree with federal priorities (at some point the highest of the highest earners probably dip below 30% owning to a disproportionate portion of their income coming from capital gains).

Oakinhou: The CBO numbers above calculating effective rates include federal income tax (which, of course, is negative for the bottom quintile), employee-side FICA, the corporate tax implicit in capital gains, and excise taxes. It doesn’t include any state taxes which tend to run regressive, but that’s a problem for individual states to fix (at least for poors in Texas they can get a federal deduction for state sales taxes in the unlikely event they itemize).

#39 Comment By Loudon is a Fool On December 22, 2015 @ 10:52 pm

And, Franklin, I completely agree that middle-class wage stagnation in the face of soaring income for professionals is an enormous social problem (and the only reason the President’s class warfare rhetoric gets any traction). I just don’t think that problem can be fixed through the tax code or any scheme of redistribution (unless we’re indirectly redistributing shareholder profits through tariffs and other limitations on the global mobility of labor and capital). Sorry for the getting off topic comments.

#40 Comment By panda On December 23, 2015 @ 8:50 am

“In 2008, the IRS collected data from tax returns that showed that the top 50% measured by Adjusted Gross Income (AGI, the basis for calculating income tax liability) paid 97% of the taxes collected.

Loudon’s assertion is arguable for semantics — the bottom 50% did pay taxes, those above the AGI floor for the first tax bracket — but in terms of taxes collected his statement is accurate”

*Income Tax* collected, or in other words, not including the payroll tax. Also, Loudon’s statement ignores state and local taxes, that tend to be regressive. Looking at the total amount of various taxes paid by Americans show that even on the federal level, pretty much every decile of income pays taxes:
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And if you count state and local taxes, overall tax burden on Americans ranges between 40% for the top 1% (making $428,713 AGI, and 13% on the bottom 10% of income earners (making 11,000 and lower), according to a conservative estimate (I’ve seen estimates that show significantly less progressive picture of overall taxation, but can’t seem to find them).
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#41 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 23, 2015 @ 9:57 am

Elite, I surrender the field to you.

Taxation… c’mon, people, the first point is that we simply cannot lump every single tax into a unified comparison, the first reason being that once one descends from the federal scope, the variations for states and municipalities is not much short of chaotic.

I was an actuary for 14 years, in the areas of insurance analysis and pension plan administration. This means, from my direct witness professionally, that any statistical analysis for any cohort of smaller size than a regional population is going to be falsified. Employee compensation was my bread and butter, individual and corporate income tax my professional concern. There are two things one must address in this dynamic process:

What is the relative purchasing power of the individual measured by location? (Technical term: income replacement after retirement.)

For each dollar withheld or collected, what amount will the individual see later in the form of spendable income? (Cost-benefit parity, no formal term I’m aware of.)

FICA payroll taxes — which includes both Medicare and Social Security — is a statistical wash. For that minimum-sized cohort, the median “return” will exceed the median withholding, albeit for very different sets of criteria. It can be observed over time, just for example, that a cohort that doesn’t receive compensation for medical claims will live longer and receive pension payments beyond their statistically determined mortality.

That, by the way, is not evidence for argument. It is data that informs the reality of the process. One can easily find individuals who suffer inconvenience or worse within the process. One can then propagandize that individual and prove what I’m calling the [Aaron] Sorkin Axiom (quoting from his movie and TV writing): You tell them to be afraid of it, and tell them who’s to blame for it. That is how you win elections.

The truth and the facts under the simple light of reality, have no bearing on any of it.

By the way, some simple arithmetic for you:

From the standpoint of a full cohort — which means that “but what about this poor sap?” is argument by exception with zero validity — the fact of half the cost of benefits being paid by employers combined with survivor/spousal benefits means that everyone will receive more from Social Security than they had withheld from their paychecks. The problem with simple arithmetic is not that politicians don’t get it, the problem is they can’t sell it. That last, by the way, is a paraphrasing of another Sorkin line.

#42 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 23, 2015 @ 10:08 am

Taxation other than directly based on income — property tax, sales tax, arguably fees for government services like licensing — is what I consider to be the critical focus in the living wage debate.

Calls for a “universal” minimum wage miss the point of state and local sovereignty. A government that ethically serves its citizens will do the local analysis, and require $18 or more per hour in a New York City, or set it to $13 or $14 in a Baton Rouge or Milwaukee. $15 is just a number. It must have a context, and that context cannot be federal.

That local analysis will include all living expenses, not just local taxation. I’d bump that minimum up a bit for Phildelphia, which collects an additional 2% on sales over the state. I’d drop it down more than a bit for Delaware, which has no sales tax.

In my personal opinion, reasons already stated, rolling these other taxes into the federal picture is not just false, it is going to be detrimental to those who are in need of the very relief being debated.

#43 Comment By Quidpro On December 24, 2015 @ 8:32 am

The judge denies any ontological status to sexual orientation. Queer is as queer does. And now that gender has become divorced from any biological grounding, does this not spell the end of sexual discrimination cases? How can we discriminate against those that engage in homosexual actions if one’s “sexual orientation” can be changed as often as one’s clothes? If one’s “sexual orientation” is not immutable, as LGBT activists insist, then discrimination has lost any objective basis.

#44 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 27, 2015 @ 3:35 am

I was going to jump in o some numbers for Ca and San Diego County economics. Suffice it to say, no wage should be imposed outside what an economy can support.

That economy includes debt ratios. The county of San Diego has a pension fund that is based not on taxes, but investments. Curently they are unable to meet those debt requirements by 3 billion dollars. Further exasperated by debts by pensioners for borrwoing even as the pension took financial hit in 2008, which remains unpaid. The pension income is ranked at 85 out of 100 and investments continue to have negative returns. For city employees, it would be nigh impossible to demand a wage based on fluctationg investment incomes and maintain them without accounting for the fluctautions.

The average salary is 49k and a median of 67k the gap here is fairly large even accounting for the differences in average (mean) and median data sets. The variables in determining the median income (most frequent) as on this page:

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Covers a good many of the factors to consider save one, is a living wage sustainable based on how one is defined for this community and how such it ensured across the population. Below is a living wage calculator for San Diego.

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If one examines the scales of salaries — the method for the redistribution of wealth so that the 49k standard woud be interestig.

The average apartment rental price in the county is 1850.00 with a median range between 950.00 and 1350 (2013)

These are but a few factors that would be needed in any calculus of a minimum or “living wage”. Curently, the minumum wage is 9.00 an hour. Whether the economy in the region could support a wage hike of any imposition would be dependent on what constitutes a “living wage” and who defines that standfard.

For example does a living wage mean a bank account of x liquidity or does a zero or debt balance count to that end. The affordable housing and what those housng standards per residentare that accounts for such a wage.

I guess, what I am saying is that econmic context does matter. How that context is defined and by what matters. I am nt sure what would be encompassed in an ethical expectation. Imposing a “living wage” on an organization that could not remain in business by its application is ethical based on what goal(s).

Creating a standard hat places downward pressure to hire illegal immigrants to stay in business, underctting the employ and tax benfits to citizens as an ethical consideration has its obvious down sides.

The numbers in the San Diego region are offset by large federal employees that contribute to the local economy. Those are in essence huge federal tax dollars invested in the region. That would be an outlier when examining the private sector contribution.

I fully understand the sentiment around trusting the markets by recent events. But what those events tells us is that the market was not trusted. There were vast amounts of manipulation of market systems all of which have contributed to protect the upper tiers as opposed to leaving them subject to focres which would balance out something as basic as cost of living prices.that should refelct the general ability of the community to pay. The end result has been a society that is increasingly dependent on government, such is the living and minumum wage contends that impose a standard which may or may not be sustainable unto itself.

Interestingly enough, San Diego has a living wage ordinance, that is applied to county and city employees, I don’t think it should be lost that all of the guranteed increases are nt subject the local ecnomic facors nor in the case of government employees, including contractors the dips in pension investments or other local economic down turns.

The issue is not just the math, but what factors one puts into any formula and more what justifies the imposition. Ethics in my view cuts both ways. And without any measures to curb or redress special interests up or down the system. My comments are not suggested as a means of winning, they represent my reasons or concerns about a system deeply in trouble because the level of manipulation.

I think the intervention here has been on the wrong toggles. i.e. Bailouts should not be engaged. Capitalists are well aware of the mechanisms by which they can refinance their mistaken strategies. That would have included real time adjustments in their own expectations in the market general and wages, prices would have responded accordingly. Even if that meant the hits were spread thoughout the economy as they should have been.

We are still best served by a capitalist economy. Now if we could just start by enforcing capitalism integrity on the capitalists. I woud agree that context matters. The economy of Seatthe Washington is not the same as Hays Ks.