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Posts Tagged ‘New Hampshire’

New Hampshire House Squashes Bill Allowing Vendors to Refuse Serving Gay Weddings

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Imagine that you’re a kosher wedding hall, catering exclusively to Orthodox Jewish events, and you’re approached by two gay gentlemen who are looking to hire your services to cater their wedding (just before the Sefira). Well, if your establishment were anywhere in the state of New Hampshire, you could lose your operating license for refusing to accommodate them.

The New Hampshire House of Representative Wednesday defeated by a 246-85 vote a bill that would have allowed photographers, caterers and others to turn away wedding gigs if they had a religious objection to the marriage.

The prime sponsor of House Bill 1264, Rep. Jerry Bergevin, Republican from Manchester, said no one should be obligated to provide services if the transaction is repugnant to them, because of their religious beliefs.

“This bill is written to protect a person of faith when they leave their house of worship,” Bergevin told the Concord Monitor. “If a Jewish catering company refuses to serve pork, they should be able to. If a photographer wants to photograph only heterosexual couples, he would be protected to do so. If a photographer wants to photograph only same-sex couples, he would be protected to do that.”

But Rep. Barry Palmer, a Republican from Nashua, a member of the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission, told the Union Leader the bill was unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and mean-spirited.

“I have a rough idea of what discrimination is,” he said. “This bill is illegal by state statute and illegal by federal law.”

New York legalized same-sex marriages back in June, 2011, but the New York law has a provision for businesses “being managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious corporation, benevolent order, or a not-for-profit corporation … shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges … Any such refusal to provide services … shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state or local government action to penalize, withhold benefits, or discriminate against such religious corporation, benevolent order, a not-for-profit explanation.”

“This should be a very alarming warning,” Rep. Bergevin said after the defeat of his bill. “It means we are moving into a brave new world. It may not be your ox being gored at the moment, but just wait, it will be.”

And said gored ox may not be the exclusive headache of Bergevin’s constituents. After all, “as New Hampshire goes, so goes the nation.” Political trends have a way of trickling down to the more populated states, where clashes against the background of newly legalized gay marriages could end up impoverishing religious businesses.

Book Memorializes Murdered Eight

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

           The eve of Rosh Chodesh Adar (this coming Monday) will mark one year since an Arab terrorist walked into Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem and murdered eight yeshiva students, ages 15-26. In the months following the attack people honored their memory in different ways. Some sought revenge; others sought spiritual succor in increased ritual observance.

            From the murdered boys’ schoolmates came a unique response. They compiled Princes Among Men, a book with stories, memories and divrei Torah about the murdered eight written by family, friends and teachers. The Hebrew edition came out in the summer. The translated English edition is due out next month.

             “I feel this is such an inspiring book,” said Rivkah Moriah, mother of one of the eight students, 16-year-old Avraham David Moses. “It is such a comfort that it exists.”

            Moriah, who grew up in rural New Hampshire before converting to Judaism and moving to the Holy Land 20 years ago, returned to Israel Sunday with her husband following a 10-day visit to the United States to promote the book.

            “We’re here to promote the book,” she told The Jewish Press, “but I feel this is such an incredible book that it speaks for itself. So I don’t feel like I’m promoting it as much as sharing it.”

            When she speaks publicly, she said, many people ask her how she and the other murdered students’ parents reacted in wake of the attack. “One of the tremendous sources of strength for us,” she explains, “was knowing that all of Am Yisrael really cared. So many people came to shivah or wrote – people who didn’t know us very well or didn’t even know us at all. It was incredibly comforting that we weren’t alone in our loss.”

             In addition, she said, “I coped by focusing on how grateful I am. Of course I would have liked to see my son grow older and become a Jewish leader because he was an incredible kid, and motherhood is such a gift. But I was able to also focus on what I received and not just on what I lost [My son] was incredibly devoted both to being careful about mitzvah observance and also to studying. And although I’ll never become a talmid chacham, when I look at his willingness to always go that extra mile, it helps inspire me to try and learn a little more, do another mitzvah, become a better person, become a little more careful about my own mitzvah observance.”

            Asked what initially inspired her to convert to Judaism 20 years ago, Moriah said, “I was moved by the possibility of sanctifying the mundane, which is really what Judaism is all about. It’s not about denying or escaping the physical aspect of society, but letting the holy side of how we were created affect and elevate the mundane side. And that’s something that we can do up to 24 hours a day.”

            Readers can purchase Princes Among Menat Yeshiva University’s Seforim Sale (until February 22) or at Feldheim.com starting March 1.

Chauncey Clark, Time Traveler

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003

Freshly minted Democratic heartthrob Wesley Clark has stumbled badly during his first days as a declared presidential candidate; in fact, for a fellow who’s allegedly sharp as a tack, he comes across as a spouter of shopworn cliches when speaking on message – and downright incoherent when talking off the cuff.

So unimpressive has the retired general been early on in his quest for the presidential grail that Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reasononline.com, was compelled to compare him with the mentally retarded hedge cutter made famous by Peter Sellers in the 1979 film “Being There,” based on the Jerzy Kosinski novel of the same name.

In both the movie and the book, writes Bailey, “vacuous statements made by a retarded gardener called Chauncey Gardiner get taken as profound insights by the rich and powerful around him. Is Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark the Chauncey Gardiner of 2004?

“Consider this Chauncey Gardiner-like vacuity uttered by Clark at last week’s debate among Democratic presidential candidates: “I am pro-choice, I am pro- affirmative action, I am pro-environment, pro-health. I believe the United States should engage with allies. We should be a good player in the international community. And we should use force only as a last resort.”

“Ambiguous blather! As if anyone is pro-disease or anti-environment. What about the hard voter-losing questions? What about notification of parents of minors seeking abortions? What about minority quotas in college admissions or company hiring? Does he favor oil exploration in Alaska? Does he want to socialize medical care in America? What does engaging with allies mean? Who’s against engaging with allies anyway and who wants to use force as a first resort?

“Clark utters meaningless bromides and gets a boost in his poll numbers. Why? Like Chauncey Gardiner, Clark is an empty vessel and as such Democrats can project any of their fantasies and hopes onto him. I am not saying that Clark is retarded; he is a very accomplished man. However, Clark evidently believes like almost all other professional politicians and their spinmeisters that the only way to get elected in 21st century America is to act like Chauncey
Gardiner and make a lot of pretty noises, but say nothing. I fear that they could be right.”

An insightful bit of analysis on Bailey’s part to be sure, and now comes word that Chauncey, er, Wesley, may have attended one Star Trek convention too many. Brian McWilliams filed the following little eye-opener earlier this week on Wired.com:

“During a whirlwind campaign swing Saturday through New Hampshire, Clark…gave supporters one of the first glimpses into his views on technology. ‘We need a vision of how we’re going to move humanity ahead, and then we need to harness science to do it,’ Clark told a group of about 50 people in Newcastle attending a house party – a tradition in New Hampshire presidential politics that enables well-connected voters to get an up-close look at candidates.

“Then, the 58-year-old Arkansas native…dropped something of a bombshell on the gathering. ‘I still believe in e=mc2, but I can’t believe that in all of human history, we’ll never ever be able to go beyond the speed of light to reach where we want to go,’ said Clark. ‘I happen to believe that mankind can do it…I’ve argued with physicists about it, I’ve argued with best friends about it. I just have to believe it. It’s my only faith-based initiative…’

“Gary Melnick, a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said Clark’s faith in the possibility of time travel was “probably based more on his imagination than on physics.”

“While Clark’s belief may stem from his knowledge of sophisticated military projects, there’s no evidence to suggest that humans can exceed the speed of light, said Melnick. In fact, considerable evidence posits that time travel is impossible, he said.

” ‘Even if Clark becomes president, I doubt it would be within his powers to repeal the powers of physics,’ said Melnick…”

And to think that many of the same liberals now swooning for Clark used to mock Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative as ‘Star Wars’ and worse.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/chauncey-clark-time-traveler/2003/10/29/

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