Examples of Intolerance and the use of Rhetoric from the Political Left

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Keene Sentinal reports that a conservative Catholic group, the Saint Benedict Center of Richmond, New Hampshire, has won a $1.15 million settlement over the town’s unconstitutional zoning restrictions.

The case stemmed from the center's proposal to build a 10,000-square-foot school and chapel on its Fay Martin Road property. After a series of hearings, Richmond's zoning and planning boards approved the plan, but attached a list of 30 conditions the center had to complete to build.

In October 2009, Cheshire County Superior Court Judge Philip P. Mangones ruled it would be impossible to meet all those conditions, and that meant the center was being denied its constitutional rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

Unnecessarily difficult administrative obstacles such as this were used in the South in order to prevent and frustrate building and community projects initiated by African Americans. What this blog post intends to focus on however are the issues of speech and belief.
According to the The Alliance Defense Fund, which defended the group, the judgment compensates the Saint Benedict Center "for years of unconstitutional restrictions that made it impossible to finish the construction of its church and school building." The Alliance Defense Fund is a firm which seeks to defend conservative issues in litigation, so its reporting deserves some scrutiny, more than this author has time for. Still, the ADF reports the following

Those who see themselves as the paragon of inclusion and tolerance are not above human frailty, especially when they have the power to engineer the society it desires. Between these two articles, one is given the impression (perhaps accurately?) that a left-leaning local culture has used its administrative power to frustrate the efforts of a conservative religious group. With their use of the word "abhorrent" this would be a perfect example of how liberal activist culture uses morally charged language to demonize anyone who disagrees with them, especially those that espouse strong social morals.

"Abhorrent" is used merely for its emotional and propaganda value. The word "progressive" has been used in the same way to the extent that its true meaning has been lost. Since even the political Left will apply double standards in favor of promoting its agenda (one of pseudo-tolerance), it can be said that it (the liberal side of the political spectrum) is not the inheritor of Bill of Rights' legacy or the civil rights movement, much less their guardian.

It would have been impossible for the Bill of Rights and our legal system to have emerged from such a political mentality (where religious groups are held to a litmus test) had it existed 200 years ago.


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I teach them all the good I can, and recommend them to others from whom I think they will get some moral benefit. And the treasures that the wise men of old have left us in their writings I open and explore with my friends. If we come on any good thing, we extract it, and we set much store on being useful to one another. - Socrates, Memorabilia
What we maintain is that in none of the problems of life can men afford to lose sight of the storehouse bequeathed to them by the ancients. In the complexus of everything which differentiates man from the brute creation, the voice of antiquity must be heard...

-H. Browne, quoted in "Classics and Citizenship" The Classical Quarterly, 1920