Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Debunking the Gender-Wage Gap

You've heard it over and over: "Women make $0.78 on the dollar to their male counterparts."

Actually, no, not really. Guys, that lady sitting next to you who started the same time as you, has the same education and same experience as you, doesn't make $.78 for every $1 you make.

The problem is that the statistics on "wage gaps" do not compare apples to apples within what employees earn.  It's not that two doctors at the same hospital with the same experience, one male and one female, who started at the same time, make different amounts. Male Dr. Dorian and female Dr. Reed who started at the same time are making about the same money (adjusting for job performance).

What's really going on is that Bob the Engineer (a more male-dominated field) makes more than Jane the Social Worker (a more female-dominated field) and so forth -- not because of gender but because Engineers make more money than social workers.

(Please, spare me the speeches about why Job A should make more than Job B based on some meta level theory of importance to society.)

Important to note is this is a choice. Men aren't being blocked from Social Work and women aren't being blocked from Engineering; in fact in some cases there are larger opportunities for men in female dominated fields and women in male dominated fields. (Want an example? Google "the need for more male elementary school teachers.")

There are other factors as well. Despite the Left's attempt to eliminate concepts of natural gender tendencies, there are still certain instincts that are strong in men and women. (Could it be because that's how God created us?)  Let's look at parents, specifically. Men still tend to be more focused on working to provide for their families. Studies have shown that men tend to work longer hours to succeed, while women tend to leave at 5 pm to go home and care for their families. (There is 100% nothing wrong with either choice, btw.)

There's also the matter of time of to have children.

As I have mentioned, my wife and I are expecting our first child in July. In my department there is a woman who is about my age who is also expecting a child. Both of us will undoubtedly be taking time off when each of our children are born. Here's the difference, written right into our company policies:

As a new mother, she will be given ten weeks of paid time off. Doesn't even come out of vacation time. That's the company policy on maternity leave. The company policy on paternity leave is that new fathers may either a) take whatever available vacation time they wish starting when their spouse or significant other goes into labor b) take unpaid time off as part of the Family and Medical Leave Act or c) a combination of A and B.

Look, I'm fine with that, ok? I believe in families and I appreciate that my company is willing to do such for a new mother.

What I'm saying is a woman who choses to take that time of say 3 times (to have 3 children). If this woman and I start at the same time, but she takes 30 weeks off to have her kids meanwhile I take my vacation time for the birth of my three kids I'll have worked 60% of a year longer than said person.
And that leaves out the fact that some jobs will let a mother take a full YEAR off and returning to their position at the same pay. (Meanwhile their male counterpart worked that year.)

Add in the fact that typically fathers are more willing to stay late, come in early, etc -- while typically mothers are the ones who head home right on time to care for their children.


The bottom line is this: liberal talking points generally miss out of the details that make something NOT about racism/sexism/literally anyone being oppressed. (I guess they don't fit on a bumper sticker.)

Gender wage gap? MYTH BUSTED.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nobody is "Hiding" that Jesus went to Hell: An Open Letter to Ed Simon

Dear Ed Simon,

Seriously, have you ever actually been to church or read the Bible?
I ask this because of your recent claim on Salon.com that Christians don't understand or teach the doctrine that Jesus went to Hell after his crucifixion prior to his Resurrection.

Jesus went to hell: The Christian history churches would rather not acknowledge

It's not actually a secret. Let me ask you something: do you know WHY Jesus died on the cross? It was to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. Literally, Jesus bore the sins of all mankind on himself.

If you read the Old Testament, you will find that the entire reason for animal sacrifices was to pay the penalties for sins already committed (both known and unknown) by a person. The animal's death took the place of the person who had committed the sin.

When Jesus died on the cross, he was dying for all humanity's sin -- both that had already happened and that would happen until the end of time. Every bit of it. That means Jesus literally died with that sin on him. In the eyes of the Father, Jesus literally died a sinner. As Romans 6:23 tells us, "The wages of sin is death."

Now, there is a deep theological question as to when the moment of atonement happened from Christ's Passion and Resurrection. I'm inclined to believe it was at the moment Jesus died, because Christ's penultimate words from the cross were "It is finished." Also he said to the repentant thief who was crucified with Him, "surely I say that today you will be with Me in Paradise."

That being said, Jesus would have gone to Sheol. We don't know which part of Sheol. (It may or may not have included Hell.)

The Old Testament and New Testament speak both of what we would today call Hell as well as a place called Abraham's Bosom located in Sheol. The latter is surmised to be a place of comfort and rest where the righteous went at death prior to Jesus' once and for all sacrifice on the cross and Jesus went to Heaven "to prepare a place for us." It is believed by many theologians that Jesus brought Abraham's Bosom, and it's residents, to Heaven to reside in the Father's house -- possibly while He was in Sheol.
Was Jesus subject to the punishments of Hell? I don't know the answer to that. I'm inclined to think that the very name of Jesus and His presence took Hell hostage -- but that's just speculation.

The difference between Jesus and anyone else in Hell is that death couldn't keep Him. after 3 days he rose again, glorified and spotless and making sinners into His saints and creating a path for all mankind to abide with him in Paradise.

So yes, Ed Simon. We all know Jesus went to Hell (well Sheol, anyway). It's not news and it's certainly not a secret. It's just not an important doctrine.  That's like saying the church doesn't want you to know about King David's son Shephatiah. Really, Shephatiah just wasn't that important compared to some of his brothers.

But since you're so big on "breaking news" from the Bible that you think the Church is trying to hide...I've got your breaking news story here!

Wait for it...

Keep waiting...

It's totally worth it...


Oh. Sorry. That's also common knowledge.

My bad.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Brace Yourselves -- We're All About to Be Accused of Being Sexist.

We're back to the fictional War on Women as we prepare for another Presidential Election -- this time with a woman as the presumptive Democratic Nominee in Hillary Clinton.

The latest came on Tuesday, April 7th when Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced his candidacy for President when Planned Parenthood chose to describe Senator Paul as "anti-woman" because of his Pro-Life stance.

I've written about this before on Biblical Conservatism back in 2013. To quote from one such article:

People have the right to do pretty much any LEGAL thing in their own homes. If you want to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, participate in any form of consensual activity between adults in your own home, as long as it does not harm another human being, I do not have the Constitutional right to stop you.

That being said, abortion does not fall under that criteria of "does not harm another human being." It is doing the highest form of harm to another human being...destroying him or her. Clich├ęs about "a woman's body" are a false premise...it's actually NOT her body. It's that baby's body!"

Liberal Rhetoric 101: The False Premise
This was just the beginning. Then, Rand Paul was accused of being "anti-woman" because he verbally rebuked a liberal reporter who happened to be female because -- get this -- she asked him the same stupid abortion questions about "exceptions" and Paul turns it around and asks the reporter to go ask Democratic Chairman Debby Wasserman-Shultz.

Look -- the narrative is in place and it's coming. We've spent the better part of eight years being told how racists we conservatives are for having the audacity to disagree with poor President Obama. Now that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic Nominee, we're about to be called sexists instead.

(Because you cannot disagree with a liberal based on their policies, ever.)

Liberals are not creative. Their playbook is shorter than Coach Herman Boone in "Remember the Titans."  It will be the same routine we've listened to about race.

First we will all be, without an ounce of evidence, told that we clearly must be sexist by opposing Hillary. Then after a while we'll be told how we're sexist without even knowing it. Finally we'll start hearing stories of "Male Privilege."

It's not hard to read. We will forever hear these lines when it's the "first" anything. We already had the first black President -- that was the template. When we do get the first female President, we'll all be accused of sexism. When we get the first Latino President, we'll be back to be racists. When we someday get the first gay President, we'll all be homophobes and hear about "Straight Privilege."  The first modern unmarried President we'll hear about "Married Privilege." It won't stop.

Of course there is a caveat: Absolutely zero of this will apply if one of these firsts is a Republican. If we elect Ted Cruz, no such leniency will be given to the "First Latino President."

And well meaning Neighborhood Liberals won't see the problem.

You've been warned.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

On the Indiana Religious Freedom Law

Last week the news cycle was absolutely dominated by the state of Indiana's newly passed Religious Freedom Act. There's been panic on both sides of the argument based on whatever news story their source of choice (which generally complies with their personal leaning, whether right or left) instead of -- and I know this is crazy -- actually reading the law.

Before I continue, I'm just going to leave this link here:

                             Here it is: The text of Indiana's ‘religious freedom’ law

Please don't continue until you take the necessary five minutes (at most) to read the law.

Did you read it? No? GO BACK AND READ IT.

Do it now.

I'm serious.

OK did you FINALLY read the law?

Good. Now we can continue.

Like many of you, I've spent the past few week in deep discussion with friends on both sides of the issue. Some see it as a necessary protection for us Christians and other people of faith.  On the other side, I've heard more than a few people attempt to compare this law to Jim Crow in the segregated South.  A quick aside about that:

No person has been denied service in general from any business because of their sexual orientation, nor does the law allow that to occur. Rather it presents a scenario where a business can decline to participate in an event (in this case the wedding ceremony of two same-sex partners) because of a moral objection -- which still to me seems like a reasonable choice that a person should have the right to make without being forced to either a) participate against their morals or b) close down their business.

I'm going to give an example which is admittedly a far more extreme scenario -- chosen specifically because I want to craft a scenario that all reasonable people, liberal and conservative, can understand how they personally would react -- to help people understand the thinking of someone refusing an event (so please skip the comments calling me a bigot for comparing homosexuals to Nazis):

A photographer being asked to be the photographer at the big Ku Klux Klan rally or a baker being asked to bake a Swastika shaped cake for the Illinois Nazi Bridge Rally. (Look that last part up kids so you can see how clever I am.) If I were that photographer I would absolutely, unequivocally say no to photographing the Klan rally and if I was that baker I would decline to bake the Swastika cake because I am morally opposed to the actions of both the Ku Klux Klan and the National Socialist Party (that's "Nazis" for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL).

Frankly nobody would call me a bigot for that -- mostly because it's acceptable to 99.9% of Americans (at least) to find the Klan and the Nazis immoral. Now if Joe the Nazi or Bubba the Klansman want to come in and buy a birthday cake or a dozen chocolate chip cookies from my display case, I'd sell them those things without question because their money is green and I'm in business to sell those things. What's the difference? One is turning participation in a specific event. The other is refusing to sell to a person because of who they are.

Nobody would get mad if I refused those jobs. But if you really boil it down, it's not much different than saying no to being the baker, florist or photographer at a same-sex wedding. It's an event. It involves some level a direct participation in an event. One should be allowed to say no to being part of an event if they morally feel they should.

More importantly, when you read the law, (you know, that link above that you promised to read?) it states that a business may use religious objects as a defense in court. It doesn't say it will be accepted.  I liken it to a claim of self defense when someone is on trail for murder. It can be argued, but you have to prove it for it to be accepted.  The reality is that people may initially try to use this law as an excuse to discriminate -- but ultimately the certain high level of failure of this defense will ensure that this claim is used only when appropriate.

Thankfully I'm lucky that I have a couple of politically informed friends who are able to discuss such issues in a rhetorical manner in an effort to discover the truth behind the talking points. A few legitimate issues did come up, such as:
  • What is the line between refusing an event and refusing to serve a person?
  • What is an event? Is a gay couple going out to dinner an event?
  • Can we make an accommodation only for small Mom and Pop businesses?
  • What about larger businesses? Can a major grocery store chain refuse to be the wedding cake provider because the CEO or some member of the board has a moral objection?
  • Is there room for reasonable accommodations to be made for individual employees at a major business like we offer for workers with disabilities, so that the consumer can still purchase the item/service they desire but the individual with the objection can be excused from participation?
  • What are the limits of these accommodations? Can a devout Catholic refuse to complete a customer's check out at the grocery store because he is a box of condoms? Can a devout Vegan refuse to complete checkout of a customer because he has a box of steaks?
  • How to we ensure these protections for businesses aren't allowed to turn into legitimate segregation?
With these in mind, I suggest the following proposal for a religious liberty protection law.

1. It is prohibited for any business, regardless of size, that is open to the general public, to refuse sale to any person normal day to day service or product within the confines of the business' location based on their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, etc.
A. Day to day business is defined as any normal service or product available at that store as a stock item, menu item, or standardized service offered within the location.

B. Open to the general public is defined as a business available to all people, or all people who have attained a certain age (such as bars and casinos), or to all people who meet a singular criteria of membership as set out by said organization (such as an athletic club for women or a fraternal organization for men).

C. Non-profit organizations, certified religious organizations, and private membership organizations such as fraternal organizations are exempted from the above, regardless of size, as required by law.

2. It is prohibited for any business with ten or more employees to refuse any standard off-site service (such as catering, decoration, etc.) that they would otherwise provide to any person or group based on their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc.

3. Businesses under ten employees may refuse to take part in an off-site event (such as catering, decorating, etc.) based on personal objections to such event including but not limited to religious beliefs, political beliefs, or secular moral beliefs.

4. Businesses with under ten employees may refuse to incorporate certain symbols, images, uniforms, etc. into the design of products or on images that they are contracted to create -- but may not refuse to serve said person because of the customer's race, age, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, etc.

A. For example, a photographer may refuse to photograph an individual wearing their Ku Klux Klan robe and a baker may refuse to put a Swastika on a cake. However, the same photographer may not refuse to photograph said individual wearing clothing other than the objectionable uniform. Likewise, the baker must still bake the customer a cake that lacks the objectionable symbol.

5. Businesses with ten or more employees shall, to the best of their ability, provide reasonable accommodations to individual employees on a case by case basis to employees who offer personal objections to a task or assignment.

A. Reasonable accommodations is defined by accommodating the employee in a way that does not interfere with the moment to moment service received by customers. For example, a reasonable accommodation would be a Vegan employee requesting to not be station at the grocery store deli counter and instead requesting to be stationed elsewhere.  An unreasonable request would be a Vegan cashier refusing to cash out a customer purchasing steaks and requesting that a new cashier be called in to complete that customer's order.

Nice and simple. Takes up less than one page. Replete with reasonable compromises and accommodations to protect the rights of EVERYONE, not just select interest groups. Nobody is getting everything they want -- but everyone's rights are protected.

Nobody is stopping that same-sex couple from having a wedding with a cake and a photographer -- but Mom and Pop bakery (owned by people of faith) can have the right to not be a part of that wedding. That said, the aforementioned same-sex couple is still welcome to come into the bakery and purchase some delicious goodies on display in the case and order their friend's birthday cake without being refused service. 

Joe the Vegan and Fred the Hindu can both ask not to be stationed in the deli at the big supermarket chain while customers can order their honey roasted ham and smoked turkey breast without any delay and also have their purchase checked out by a cashier as normal.

Yes, somebody may still find their feelings are hurt, and in short, that's too bad. The Constitution exists to protect the rights of all -- not the feelings of all -- even if the person exercises said rights to be politically incorrect.

As a country, we must be sure to tread the oh-so thin line between personal freedom and discrimination. I believe the above law does just that.

What do you think? Do we need to add a detail or two? Did something get missed? Discussion is always welcome in the comments or on the Biblical Conservatism Facebook Page.