Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Iowa - Religious Conscience Protection Act | Marriage bill dead but door left open for resurrection, Republican says – by Jason Clayworth, February 9, 2011 –

A legislative proposal to allow Iowans to deny service to people whose marriages they disapprove of is dead, the chairman of the House Judicial Committee said today…

The bill, known better as the “Religious Conscience Protection Act,” was intended to allow organizations, businesses and people to deny services to married gay people.  That within itself is deeply troubling, multiple civil rights groups said.

However, additionally troubling was that the bill was so broad that it would legalize a wide spectrum of other discriminatory acts, constitutional scholars and civil rights advocates said…

“My recollection of history is that religion has been used to demonize and to keep people down,” said Alicia Claypool, an Iowa Civil Rights Commission member said to Anderson at today’s meeting. “Religion was used to say blacks were inferior under Jim Crow laws; religion has been used to say that women could not handle being in public life or even voting because this was inappropriate for their role in society.”…
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Authoritarian ≠ Authoritative,
Unsubstantiated Antigay Teachings ≠ Well-informed Conscience

Well-informed Conscience
Any good Catholic knows that they are to follow their conscience, however, that is a well-informed conscience. No one is allowed to blindly follow anyone. Each individual is responsible for his or her actions. No one is allowed to say "I was just following orders." This excuse was not acceptable at the Nuremberg trials of the military and political leaders of Nazi Germany, what is known as Superior Orders (often known as the Nuremberg Defense or Lawful Orders).

The Policy Context of International Crimes
Herbert C. Kelman
Harvard University

Genocide, mass killing, torture, ethnic cleansing, and other gross violations of human rights are defined as war crimes or crimes against humanity under international law. To develop an adequate explanation of such actions, which is the task of social psychology, and an adequate legal response to them, which is the task of international law, requires going beyond the characteristics of individual perpetrators or even of the situations in which these practices take place. It requires close examination of the political system and of the policy process in which these actions are embedded and that provide the larger context for them.

Crimes of obedience

As a first step in this examination, we must define the special nature of the crimes under consideration. Some instances of such crimes may well constitute “ordinary” crimes—that is, crimes committed in violation of the expectations and instructions of authority. Participation in massacre, torture, or ethnic cleansing would be an ordinary crime in this sense if it were carried out by individual perpetrators on their own initiative and in disregard of the policies and orders of the authorities under which they function. Even a crime committed in the context of an authorized activity—such as a military operation or interrogation of prisoners—could be treated as an ordinary crime if the perpetrator went beyond legally permissible limits: if, for example, a soldier on a reconnaissance mission indiscriminately shot civilians, or if an interrogator used means of pressure in excess of what the rules permitted.

The essence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, however, is that they are not ordinary crimes, but crimes of obedience: crimes that take place, not in opposition to the authorities, but under explicit instructions from the authorities to engage in these acts, or in an environment in which such acts are implicitly sponsored, expected, or at least tolerated by the authorities…

When does an ordinary crime become a crime of obedience?... To be sure, those who commit these crimes with enthusiasm and initiative are more culpable, from a legal and moral point of view, than those who commit them reluctantly in response to explicit orders. However, whether the action is caused or merely justified by explicit or implicit orders from superiors, it can be described as a crime of obedience, on the presumption that it would not have taken place without authorization.

Recognizing these actions as crimes of obedience immediately directs our attention to the other side of the coin: to the crimes of authority that invariably accompany crimes of obedience. For every subordinate who performs criminal acts under official orders or with the encouragement or toleration of the authorities, there is a superior—or typically an entire hierarchy of superiors—who issue the orders and who formulate the policies that require or permit these acts. Higher-level superiors may in fact not have issued specific orders to engage in these criminal acts, but they are the ones who formulate the policies, create the atmosphere, and establish the framework within which officials at intermediate levels of the hierarchy translate general policy directives into specific orders and actions on the ground.

The fact that crimes of obedience take place within a hierarchical structure makes it especially difficult to pinpoint responsibility for them. Subordinates deny responsibility by reference to superior orders. Superiors are often able to deny responsibility because they are various steps removed from the actions themselves and can claim that the initiative was taken at a lower level or that their instructions were misunderstood. The top leadership is protected by the difficulty in establishing causal links between the general atmosphere and policy directives they convey and the practices designed and carried out at lower levels of the hierarchy…

The important question in determining responsibility is not “who is responsible?” —the actor or the authority—but “who is responsible for what?” When the question is framed that way, it becomes clear that both ought to be held responsible. The actors themselves are properly held responsible for the actions they perform and the harm they cause, even if they are acting under superior orders. Since the adoption of the Nuremberg Principles after World War II, which have been incorporated into the military codes of all Western states, superior orders cannot be used as an absolute defense for criminal actions on the part of subordinates
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Herbert C. Kelman



1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject Authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the Authoritative teaching of the Church.55 Catechism of the Catholic Church


1. favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom: authoritarian principles; authoritarian attitudes.

2. of or pertaining to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.

3. exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others: an authoritarian parent.

1. having due authority; having the sanction or weight of authority: an authoritative opinion.

2. substantiated or supported by documentary evidence and accepted by most authorities in a field: an authoritative edition of Shakespeare; an authoritative treatment of a subject.

3.having an air of authority; accustomed to exercising authority; positive; peremptory; dictatorial: said with an authoritative air.

Authoritarian parenting

The parent is demanding but not responsive.
Authoritarian parenting, also called strict, is characterized by high expectations of conformity and compliance to parental rules and directions, while allowing little open dialogue between parent and child. "Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive style in which parents exhort the child to follow their directions and to respect their work and effort." Authoritarian parents expect much of their child but generally do not explain the reasoning for the rules or boundaries. Authoritarian parents are less responsive to their children’s needs, and are more likely to spank a child rather than discuss the problem.

Children with this type of parenting may have less social competence as the parent generally tells the child what to do instead of allowing the child to choose by him or herself. Nonetheless, researchers have found that in some cultures and ethnic groups, aspects of authoritarian style may be associated with more positive child outcomes than Baumrind expects. "Aspects of traditional Asian child-rearing practices are often continued by Asian American families. In some cases, these practices have been described as authoritarian." Often if the demands pushed too forcefully upon the child, the child will break down, rebel, or run away.

Authoritative parenting

The parent is demanding and responsive.
Authoritative parenting, also called balanced parenting, is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity. Authoritative parents can understand their children’s feelings and teach them how to regulate them. They often help them to find appropriate outlets to solve problems. "Authoritative parenting encourages children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their actions." "Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturant toward the child." Authoritative parents are not usually as controlling, allowing the child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning.

Authoritative parents set limits and demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parent will explain his or her motive for their punishment. "Their punishments are measured and consistent in discipline, not harsh or arbitrary. Parents will set clear standards for their children, monitor limits that they set, and also allow children to develop autonomy. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behavior of children." They are attentive to their children’s needs and concerns, and will typically forgive and teach instead of punishing if a child falls short. This is supposed to result in children having a higher self esteem and independence because of the democratic give-take nature of the authoritative parenting style. This is the most recommended style of parenting by child-rearing experts.

Classroom Management Styles
ISU Physics Teacher Education Program
(updated 11/10/08)

According to Baumrind (1971), the authoritative style encourages independence, is warm and nurturing, control occurs along with explanation, and adolescents are permitted to express their views. The authoritative approach is the best form of classroom management style because it is the one most closely associated with appropriate student behaviors.

The authoritative style is characterized by behavioral principles, high expectations of appropriate behavior, clear statements about why certain behaviors are acceptable and others not acceptable, and warm student-teacher relationships.

The authoritarian style tends to be characterized by numerous behavioral regulations, is often seen as punitive and restrictive, and students have neither a say in their management, nor are they seen to need explanations; the teacher's character is sometimes perceived as being cold, even punishing.

Authoritarian in an adjective.  It means

Authoritative is an adjective.  It means 
possessing due or acknowledged authority

Stephen Dinham and Catherine Scott

There is a vast body of research confirming the important influence of the classroom teacher on student achievement (see Hattie, 2002, 2003, 2007; Mulford, 2006; Rowe, 2003).

A key issue then, is that of how the quality of teaching and learning within individual classrooms can be influenced and improved.

Based upon findings from a range of research projects investigating aspects of quality teaching, we believe that two key, related influences on classroom achievement are educational leadership and teachers’ professional learning. This paper concentrates mainly on the former (see Dinham, 2007b for more on the latter).

Educational leadership, like teaching and life generally, is heavily dependent upon relationships. There are two fundamental dimensions to relationships: responsiveness and demandingness (Baumrind, 1991).

This paper considers the two dimensions in the contexts of parenting, where these were first proposed, and then teaching and educational leadership, where we believe the typology has equally valid and valuable application.

A postscript considers how responsiveness and demandingness may have shaped and can explain educational change since the early 1960s.

Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 3-6 September 2008
Stephen Dinham and Catherine Scott
(Australian Council for Educational Research)
(Swinburne University of Technology)

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Related Links:

Different Styles of Classroom Management

The Authoritarian Personality


The section above from the Catechism of the Catholic Church clarifies the responsibility of each individual to actively educate him or herself in the life long process of maintaining a well-informed conscience. A key principle in the Catechism is the understanding of the authoritative teachings of the Church. Authoritative authority is based on “substantiated or supported by documentary evidence and accepted by most authorities in a field: an authoritative edition of Shakespeare; an authoritative treatment of a subject.” This is a major difference from authoritarian authority “favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom: authoritarian principles; authoritarian attitudes.”

Benedict XVI is an authoritarian leader, because he gives no substantiated facts to backup his thoughts on homosexuality, which goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church. Benedict XVI history of homosexual activity is an authoritarian approach, he demands complete obedience to his teaching on homosexuality, though his teaching is not “substantiated or supported by documentary evidence and accepted by most authorities in a field.” With all due respect, Benedict XVI describes homosexual orientation using terms as “intrinsically evil,” “intrinsically disordered,” “condemnation of homosexuality,” "deep-seated," "objectively disordered," or to “sublimate one’s sexuality” none of which are substantiated or based on any accepted authorities in the world. This makes Benedict XVI and all those who blindly follow him who publicly speak against homosexual orientation totally liable for the psychological and physical harm they cause to millions of children and adults. Benedict XVI and all who blindly follow his teaching on homosexuality are being unfaithful and disobedient to Catholic teachings. A true Catholic, a follower of Jesus Christ, requires that every individual be personally responsible to put in the effort of acquiring a well-informed conscience on homosexuality and human sexuality. By not doing this and then speaking against homosexuality is a grievous sin against God and all of humanity. 
"They are blind guides of the blind and if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit" Matt:15:14. What makes this sin worst is that it harms millions of children. Jesus was most clear about the importance of children, so before anyone speaks out publicly against homosexuals be sure, be very sure you have done and are continually doing your homework thoroughly studying both the science and biblical understanding of homosexuality.
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Iowa’s Catholic Bishops urge legislators to Discriminate Against Adults and Children Who Are Gay 
Bishops Lack Substantiating Evidence To Support Claim
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