Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mea Maxima culpa!

Mea Maxima culpa! That’s Latin for “My GREATEST fault.”

In my last post I referenced an article from the New American without researching any further into the background of the New American or any further developments of the case being discussed. On the first point, it turns out that the New American is the voice of the John Birch Society. That’s not an organization I consider to be either reliable or to which I’d have my name attached. I received the article via email from a valued friend and considered it trustworthy on that basis alone. I doubt she even realized the connection with JBS. My failure was in looking any further beyond that.

On the second point, Colleen Nestler’s restraining order against David Letterman was eventually vacated as frivolous. That, too, should have been reported.

However much I failed in these two points, though, they do not detract from the overall message of what I had to convey. Consider these statements:

From ifeminists .com, written by Wendy McElroy,

In Oregon, DivorceNet provides advice on TROs. As in most states, an applicant need only assert a “fear” of violence even if none has occurred. Some applications can be made by telephone.

Wikipedia notes:

Volokh's colleague, David Kopel, used the case as an opportunity to condemn the restrictions Federal Temporary Restraining Orders place on their targets in terms of self-defense, and the “feminist community” that supports such restrictions and encourages “the authorities always to ‘believe the victim’ who complains of intimate partner abuse.’ Kopel believes that the case shows that such restraining orders are issued too readily and are too restrictive.

McElroy strikes at the issue with clarity and acute insight:

The seeming ease with which TROs are issued constitutes a problem for those who wish all restraining orders to be taken seriously. Any court order that can be obtained over the phone by stating a fear, or picked up at Window 3 in a little over an hour, trivializes the process.

But a TRO is not trivial. It is a legal constraint upon another human being’s freedom. It should be issued only in the presence of a real threat. False or frivolous applications should be viewed in the same manner as are false police reports.

False police reports—much like Potiphar’s wife’s report to the palace guards against Joseph—still result in the restraint of a person’s freedoms when they are received as though they are the truth. This is why this issue is one of the Eighth Commandment.

It is sad that we Lutherans no longer read the Apocrypha as often or as eagerly as we once did in Luther’s day. The books serve well as devotional material, to teach the soul and train it well for spiritual warfare. Luther found the story of Susanna a good illustration of the Eighth Commandment, and used it as such in his Catechism.

So while I do not stand by my previous source, I do stand by what I wrote. The facts of Colleen Nestler’s TRO against David Letterman can be verified through several resources. The New American need not be one. I should have also included the conclusion to the story. My apologies for not doing so. But unless convinced I’m wrong on other points, I’ll not apologize for anything else I wrote. There are two sides to every story, no matter who’s telling the tale.


Thursday's Child said...

Absolutely! Just because one source of information is "tainted" doesn't mean that the issue is should be disregarded entirely. While I support legislation to protect women from abusive situations we shouldn't assume that women never lie or use the system for revenge. (Or in this case, are just plain nutty.)

Anonymous said...

Why do you assume that The John Birch Society's material is unreliable? Have you read something from them that has been incorrect in the past? I am a long-time member of the organization and I know many of the writers for their magazine. They may draw conclusions that some may disagree but they are conclusions based on facts.

The New American is a magazine based on Godly principles. It has high standards for its writers as well as its advertisers. It should be a valuable tool for any Christian.

Please do your research. As a Christian, you have a mandate not to bear false witness.

Hal Shurtleff

Hal Shurtleff said...

Follow-up to my comment:

I would be happy to provide any reader a PDF issue of our magazine and let them judge for themselves.

Hal Shurtleff


Dcs. Emily Carder said...

Hal, you are correct.

Please read my following post, "Reading Wisely."

I have to admit this has been a rough week for me physically. Please be patient with me, folks. That doesn't excuse any sin on my part, of course. It simply puts it into context that I was posting in part "not in my best form."

I repent!