What Should Social Conservatives Ask of a Candidate?

A few months before the Supreme Court is likely to rule on gay marriage, the incidents causing concern about what gay marriage will mean for dissenters (especially traditional Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims) multiply:

Gordon College students are banned from tutoring public-school students, because of the college’s embrace of standard orthodox Christian rules (no sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman); the request of its college president for a religious exemption from President Obama has now triggered a possible threat to its accreditation.

Meanwhile, Marquette University (a Jesuit institution) is attempting to strip Professor Scott McAdams of his tenure and his job because he blogged critically about the way a college instructor (and grad student) treated an anti-gay-marriage student.

Kelvin Cochran, whose rags-to-riches rise from Shreveport poverty to police chief of Atlanta is as inspiring as any, was fired for self-publishing for his Bible-study class a book that contains two paragraphs exhorting his fellow Christians to live by Biblical sexual values.

In Lafayette, Calif., parents of 14-year-old public-school students are suing because their children were asked in English class whether their parents would embrace them if they were gay — and then these Christian students were publicly shamed and humiliated when they supported their parents’ values.

A Ford Motor Company worker (contractor) was invited to comment on pro-gay-rights material circulated by the company — and then fired for leaving an anti-sodomy comment on the blog.

Note the similar strategies here: invite or force public comment and then discipline those who say the “wrong” thing.

[...] If the GOP would like to leave a legacy that makes a difference, I would argue for generous anti-discrimination protections for those who favor or oppose gay marriage (unless they work for an organization whose substantial purpose is to favor or oppose gay marriage).

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The Triumph of Mark Burnett

A few days ago, I shook Mark Burnett’s hand.

That would be me and about 50 or so other adoring fans who were gathered at the Motion Picture Association of America with Comcast-NBC Universal executive David Cohen to get a first peek at the new NBC television drama A.D., which will air this Easter Sunday.

“Burnett basically invented the reality-show genre,” Cohen said. “He has 112 Emmys and eleven shows currently on the air.” Including my favorite: the groundbreaking pro-entrepreneur, investment show Shark Tank.

I became a fan the first time I watched the original Apprentice. I had no idea Burnett was a Christian or any kind of political conservative. What I noticed was the reason I found the show so profoundly and oddly compelling, despite my anti-reality-show snobbery: It tapped into a deep dramatic narrative that I almost never saw on TV or in the movie theater, the drama that once launched a series of Horatio Alger best sellers, the drama of “making it” in business. In Hollywood, the businessman was usually the villain, not the protagonist of a moral drama. This kind of story was invisible, despite being the story of so many young people’s lives.

[...] Burnett’s first venture in broadcasting. The Bible, in 2013, gained 100 million viewers and became the most-watched miniseries of the year. In introducing A.D., Burnett proudly pointed to the Academy award–winning team he is able to assemble (“This is not some crappy little Christian programming”) and called the show “The Bible meets Game of Thrones meets House of Cards.”

I should not be surprised a man of this intense creative genius knows the story he is telling. “With two shows I now have on television, A.D. and Shark Tank, we are telling the story of America: Free enterprise and the Bible!” Burnett said.

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