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Category Archives: Free Speech

Did This Councilman Really Just Tell Millions of New Yorkers They're Unwelcome There? Yes. Yes He Did.

We've shared with you before this insightful article by Ryan Anderson at Heritage about the recent resignation of Brendan Eich from Mozilla. In it, Ryan remarked:

The debate over the meaning and purpose of marriage will continue. We should conduct it in a civil manner. Bullies may win for a while, but theirs is a scorched-earth policy. They poison democratic discourse and fray the bonds on which democracy itself ultimately depends.

Even those who disagree with each other about morally charged issues of public policy need to be able to live together.

Councilman Daniel DrommBut lest we think that Eich's ouster is an outlier, a rare case, consider this more recent news out of New York City. Via the Huffington Post, a gay city councilman is quoted as protesting the entrance of an unwanted new presence into his city. From his remarks here, who might you guess he's talking about?

"We don’t need bigots coming to New York City," Councilman Daniel Dromm, who is openly gay, told HuffPost. "They are not welcome here unless they can embrace all of New York's diverse community, including the LGBT community."

What radical group could provoke such a fiery response and merit being slurred as "bigots", you ask? Well, unbelievable as it may seem... Chick-fil-A. And yet the company hardly seems like it should be so unwelcome to a sane observer.

Of course, the reason for Dromm's intolerance of the company is that its CEO personally values biblical beliefs about marriage as solely being the union of one man and one woman.

Chick-fil-A, NYC

But what's most horrifying in Dromm's remarks is his final say on the matter. You would think that maybe his first statement of unwelcomeness was a knee-jerk and misinformed reaction. What if he were told that Chick-fil-A's CEO has repeatedly said that he has no intention of bringing the company into the political debate surrounding the issue of marriage?

From HuffPost [emphasis added]:

... Dromm, the city councilman, said there was no place for Chick-fil-A in New York, even if it remains out of the political fray.

“We don’t need bigoted people even keeping their opinions to themselves,” he said. “They need to wake up and see reality.”

Not only is the sleight of "bigot," directed toward those who hold marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, completely unfair, mean-spirited, and wide of the mark. More than that: here we have the most compelling proof one could want of Ryan Anderson's assertion that the gay rights community is engaged in a "scorched earth" policy of bigotry and intolerance.

It is a "thought policy" regime in the making, and if anyone thinks a lesson was learned with the Mozilla controversy, he or she needs only consider this later story to realize that Eich's treatment was only a template for the radical homosexual lobby's plans for the future. For now, it's chilling enough to know that an elected city councilman in New York has just told millions of his fellow residents that they are unwelcome there simply on account of their pro-marriage values.

Hollywood's "New Blacklist"

HollywoodIn case you missed it, at National Review Online on December 23rd, John O'Sullivan wrote of "The New Blacklist" in Hollywood, giving a name to the elephant in the room to which the Duck Dynasty dust-up has called attention.

O'Sullivan explains:

[W]hat GLAAD has been operating is a classic blacklist operation.

Its object is not to persuade those who disagree with it over the morality of same-sex relationships to change their minds. Nor is it principally intended to prevent such views being expressed publicly (though that is one of its purposes). Its main purpose is to drive those who hold such views out of their professions and to deprive them of their livelihoods unless they recant, promise not to offend in future, and remain within the boundaries of acceptable opinion laid down by the blacklist operators. And if that is done, it should make anyone think twice or three times before using his freedom of speech to express similar views.

Read the rest here.

Quack On! Share a Flier to Support Phil Robertson

For those interested in sharing a flier to encourage others to support Phil Robertson and the right to share our beliefs in the public square, feel free to download one here. Whether you're at work or school, your place of worship or simply around town, these fliers are a great way to spread support for the Robertson family and let the executives at A&E know that the majority of Americans stand with Phil.

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 5.42.00 PM

If you haven't signed the petition to support Phil, please do so here.

[A]ll good with God and the Bible when it suits their agenda and business needs, but…

The backlash against the cable channel home of “Duck Dynasty” A & E continues with fire hose pace and pressure.

Phil RobertsonWhile probably not the most recent given the torrent of criticism against the network, here’s yet another take on the inconsistency of A&E’s action against Phil Robertson.

Richie Laxton on the Tea Party Nation website writes.

My Thoughts on A&E Suspending Phil Robertson...

Aside from the silliness of A&E putting Phil Robertson in time out like he's a mis-behaving 5 year old, I find this whole thing rather curious. Phil recently released his book "Happy, Happy, Happy" and he didn't hold back on a lot of controversial topics including matters the Bible addresses as sin. A&E network chiefs had no qualms then. Perhaps they assumed Southern Rednecks don’t read books and D. C. to New York elites won’t touch anything with ‘camo’ on it. But, when Pa-Paw Phil answers a question from a GQ reporter bluntly and in accordance to his Biblical beliefs, even quoting verses from the New Testament, suddenly A&E gets weak in the knees. This is glaring inconsistency on their part. Certainly they have a right as a business to do what they feel is best for their brand, Nevertheless, they knew full and well who and what the Robertson clan was all about when they signed them up.

In Phil's book, he made it clear that they told A&E execs that prayer, Bible and Christian points of view were going to be part of the show. A&E agreed to those terms and even ceded much creative control to the family regarding the series. Now this???

So, I have to conclude that A&E is all good with God and the Bible when it suits their agenda and business needs. But, when it doesn't, put a Lady GaGa meat dress on the Christians and open the lion cages. Typical, elitist, media hypocrisy in a wretched guise they fraudulently label as 'tolerance.'

Love him or hate him, at least Phil was consistent; A&E wasn't. However, after looking at A&E's Facebook page, they are the ones who are getting bit the hardest.

Prager: "In the name of tolerance, the left is eroding liberty in America."

Writing in Human Events, author and radio host Dennis Prager observes that "'Tolerance' Now Means Government-Coerced Celebration."

Tolerance

Prager gives the opinion in reference to the recent Colorado court decision that compels a Christian baker to provide wedding cakes to same-sex 'marriage' ceremonies and other such events which he objects to on religious grounds.

Prager makes many salient arguments for why this ruling is poorly reasoned, as well as dangerous in its implications for the future. For instance, he observes:

[The baker] is not discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. He readily sells to people he knows to be gay. What he is unwilling to do is to participate in an event that he opposes for legitimate religious reasons. Until, at the most, 10 years ago, no one would have imagined that a person could be forced to provide goods or services for a same-sex wedding.

Read his entire piece today.

Hundreds of Thousands Rally for Marriage in Taiwan

On Saturday, between 200,000 and 300,000 citizens turned out to protest a bill that would delete the reference to "man and woman" from the civil law defining marriage in Taiwan (known as "Civil Law 972").

Pictures from the event are remarkable:

Taiwan Rally2

According to LifeSiteNews.com:

President of the Control Yuan party, Wang Chien-shien, marched with the protesters, saying that while he has “respect and support all homosexual people,” he fears that amending the marriage laws will “affect the healthy marriage system and healthy families, which are the foundations of a stable country,” reported The China Post.

The ruling Kuomintang party (KMT) urged in a Nov. 29 press conference for a postponement in the review of the amendment.

"The KMT do not oppose gays or lesbians and we want to treat them legally and protect their human rights as well. But we need to be more careful when it comes to our traditional virtues that concern our families," said KMT spokesperson Lin Te-fu, reported Want China Times.

Taiwan Rally

[IMAGES SRC]

The coalition to oppose the bill amending Civil Law 972 has already been formed, and over half-a-million signatures have been collected. [Read more here.]

Crisis Magazine - The Persecution of Christians

ChristianityIn the aptly named Crisis Magazine, Stephen Beale has begun to chronicle the persecution of Christians as they take public stands through their businesses against the redefinition of marriage.  NOM has chronicled many of these for you, but the article is a timely reminder of the growing threat to our free exercise of religion as marriage is redefined.  Beale quotes, Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of The Thomas Moore Law Center:

These cases represent a new battlefield in the clash between the freedoms of Christians and the “radical homosexual agenda”…Despite their relatively small numbers, radical homosexuals wield enormous power. They dominate our cultural elite, Hollywood, television, the mainstream news media, public schools, academia, and a significant portion of the judiciary…As a result of their power, homosexual activists are able to intimidate and silence opposition.

Read more here.

The IRS Is Having a Tough News Day

In addition to the important announcement today that NOM has filed suit against the IRS, two other stories are drawing heat for the Government agency today:

IRS-HRCAs part of the shutdown of the Federal government, the National Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) - which describes itself as "Your Voice at the IRS" - has shuttered its doors, and this has potential ominous consequences for citizens. Forbes reports:

Shutting down TAS could have some serious consequences, according to [the service's head, Nina Olsen]. With our voice at the IRS cut off, “the government can harm the taxpayer with impunity and the taxpayer has no redress”.... According to Olson, the advocate service routinely handles cases from distraught taxpayers who threaten suicide if their disputes with the IRS cannot be resolved expeditiously, as well as cases in which a lien on property ties up funds a taxpayer needs for lifesaving medical help. Apparently, the entire lien process has not been shut down.

You can read the full story here.

And if anyone knows the importance of having an avenue of redress when it comes to dealing with the IRS, it's the subject of the other story worth noting today: Dr. Ben Carson.

According to The Washington Times:

Just months after he gave a speech earlier this year that challenged America’s leadership in President Obama’s presence, Dr. Ben Carson was targeted by IRS agents who requested to review his real estate holdings and then conducted a full audit without finding any wrongdoing.

“I guess it could be a coincidence, but I never had been audited before and never really had any encounters with the IRS,” Dr. Carson said in an interview Thursday.... “But it certainly would make one suspicious because we know now the IRS has been used for political purposes and therefore actions like this come under suspicion.”

Go read more about Dr. Carson's situation, and let's hope that this powerful agency finally faces appropriate scrutiny and is held accountable to the American people.

"The IRS Needs to Pay" - NOM to File Suit Today

At The Washington Times, Stephen Dinan reports that "The National Organization for Marriage will sue the IRS on Thursday, saying it has evidence that someone within the agency leaked the organization’s private donor list to its political enemies in 2012 but that nobody has been held responsible" [emphasis added].

IRS

Dinan spoke to attorney Cleta Mitchell of ActRight Legal Foundation which is handling NOM's case. She said:

Somebody did this deliberately and it was planned, and we need to know who it was. The IRS needs to pay. Ultimately, the IRS is responsible for the damages.

Dinan also quotes NOM's chairman, Dr. John Eastman, explaining how the fact that the leaked documents had internal IRS markings on that that had been hidden makes for a compelling case:

It suggests to me that this thing was deliberate and at high levels — head of the division, a political appointee, somebody. And darn it, we’re going to find out who did it, and we’re going to wrap it up with a bow and send it over to the Justice Department and keep the pressure on.

You can read Dinan's entire piece here.


And don't forget that you can hear John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell both speaking today at The Heritage Foundation as part of their ongoing series, Preserve the Constitution.

The event will be live-streamed from 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT, and you can sign up for an email reminder here.

Oh, and the topic of the event? "Political Speech and the IRS: Protecting the First Amendment." Surely, this one is not to be missed!

Eviscerating our First Amendment Freedoms

"It's an evisceration of our freedom of association," said John Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage...

We’ve been saying for years that one of the first casualties when you redefine marriage are our first amendment rights of religious liberty, free speech, and association.  Now even the mainstream media has picked up on the growing list of attacks on the rights of businessmen and woman who wish to run their enterprises by the tenets of their faith.  The Wall Street Journal reported,

Erasing the First Amendment

As more states permit gay couples to marry or form civil unions, wedding professionals in at least six states have run headlong into state antidiscrimination laws after refusing for religious reasons to bake cakes, arrange flowers or perform other services for same-sex couples.

The issue gained attention in August, when the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that an Albuquerque photography business violated state antidiscrimination laws after its owners declined to snap photos of a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony.

Similar cases are pending in Colorado, Illinois, New York, Oregon and Washington, and some experts think the underlying legal question—whether free-speech and religious rights should allow exceptions to state antidiscrimination laws—could ultimately wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Read more)

However, there is a easier way to resolve this issue than going to the US Supreme Court – Don’t Redefine Marriage in the first place.

Military Chaplaincy Remains a Major Front in Battle Over Marriage

Yesterday, from Deseret News, a story about the continuing battle surrounding our military's chaplain services in the wake of the Supreme Court's fateful DOMA decision this past June:

The Catholic Church has joined Southern Baptists in directing its military chaplains not to witness or bless same-sex marriages nor offer marriage counseling to gay couples.

The rules issued last week by the Archdiocese of Military Services also prohibit chaplains from acknowledging a spouse of the same gender at a retirement or promotion ceremony, or from assisting at a funeral if it would "give the impression that the Church approves of same-sex 'marital' relationships."

The guidelines also give direction on how to comply with implementing federal employee benefits for same-sex couples under their command.

You can read more here.

Unfortunately, we know that these challenges for our chaplains will only continue unless Congress acts decisively either to pass aggressive and sweeping conscience protection legislation or to undo the Court's strike against DOMA by passing a Federal Marriage Protection Amendment.

In the meantime, please join us in praying for our brave men and women in uniform and the chaplains who serve them.

Huffington Post Admits We’re Right

Whenever we talk about the effects of redefining marriage -- the normalization and legalization of polygamy, threats to religious liberty, lawsuits against small business owners, etc. -- same-sex marriage advocates counter by insisting these threats aren't real. They claim we're overreacting so that they can falsely assuage the legitimate concerns of Americans who value their first amendment rights. But the truth is, most SSM activists know exactly what's in the cards once marriage is redefined.

HuffPo:

UKThe ink is not yet dry on David Cameron's gay marriage Bill and already two stories in the news this week show that the Bill's critics have been proved right. A wealthy gay couple say they "have launched" legal action to force gay weddings on the Church of England; and the BBC is cheerleading for polyamory (mutiple-partner relationships).

...During the passage of the gay marriage Bill, I was one of those saying that the Church would face litigation. I was accused of scaremongering and of whipping up hysteria. It'll never happen, they said with a straight face. Perhaps they meant it. Perhaps they honestly couldn't see the danger. Perhaps, but I doubt it. The thing is, many people could see the risk, including the Church itself (initially) and leading human rights lawyers.

The First Amendment Not Only Protects Free Speech, But the Right Not to be Coerced into Speech

Dr. Frank Turek is an award-winning author and courageous marriage defender who was fired - twice! - for his beliefs. With his unique perspective, he makes a point to speak out often about the importance of our first amendment rights.

Check out Frank's latest article on New Mexican photographer Elane Huguenin, who was sued by a same-sex couple after standing strong on her marriage beliefs as well.

Frank Turek's StoryAlthough the lesbian couple that brought the complaint easily found another photographer, Elane Photography now must pay nearly $7,000 in court costs for merely exercising her First Amendment rights.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was put in place to prevent exactly what the New Mexico Supreme Court has done: using the strong arm of government to force citizens to advocate (not just tolerate) ideas and behaviors that contradict their religious or moral convictions. Forcing people to support same sex weddings or commitment ceremonies is forcing them to advocate same sex behavior.

Even the U.N. Human Rights Committee recognizes a universal human right not to be coerced into advocating any idea. (You know our country is stuck on stupid when our courts are getting human rights lessons from the U.N.!)

Now, if you justify this decision because you disagree with Elane Photography's religious or moral position, you're not thinking like an American (or a U.N. person). Imagine a homosexual videographer being forced to video a speech that a conservative makes against homosexual behavior and same sex marriage. Should that homosexual videographer be forced to do so? Of course not! Then why Elane Photography?

It is important to understand that Elane Photography was not refusing service because of the "sexual orientation" or sexual attractions of the couple. In fact, Elane Photography was happy to work with lesbian clients on other projects that did not involve advocating homosexual behavior (for example, taking professional head shots). In this case however, she declined service because she did not want to use her artistic talents to advocate sexual actions that went against her moral and religious beliefs.

Finish reading at The Christian Post.

Reverse 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'?

Don't Ask, Don't Tell may just be alive and well in the military. Only now it applies to Christians.

The Right Scoop:

Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, who’s been in the Air Force for 19 years, was relieved of his position and reassigned because he disagreed with his openly gay commanding officer about gay marriage. Monk’s commanding officer wanted to strictly punish a subordinate Airman for mentioning to his trainees that he disagreed with same-sex marriage. Monk apparently thought her punishment was to harsh and it came out that he also disagreed with same-sex marriage. He was later reassigned.

“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” said Monk.

 

FOX News Interviewer: How worried are you that Christians in the military are caught in a really tough spot now, in trying to balance tolerance and acceptance of their fellow men and women who are serving with them, but also to be able to express their own views based on their religious beliefs?

Kelly Shackelford [attorney representing Sergeant Monk]: This is really concerning. What happened here to Sergeant Monk is a violation of Air Force policy. It's a violation of DOD policy. It's a violation of the Constitution. And as you mentioned, this is a trend. For instance, if you were to go to libertyinstitute.org and look at Sergeant Monk's facts, you'd see a link to numerous other recent attacks on our soldiers and our airman, and that shouldn't be happening. That violates the law, and our soldiers deserve a lot better. They're giving service for us to protect these freedoms, so I think the least we can do now is stand with them when they come under attack.

Why Is It So Difficult to Discuss Marriage?

As a forward to the 2006 book "The Meaning of Marriage", prominent ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain, who passed away earlier this week, wrote this insightful piece on the marriage debate.

The Public Discourse:

One reason, of course, is that we all have a stake in the debate and its outcome. No one is left untouched by marriage, including those who never marry, because marriage is such a pervasive institution in our society. One recent estimate indicates that 88 percent of women and 82 percent of men will marry at some point.

Don't TalkGiven the importance of marriage as an institution for individuals and for society, the thoughtful citizen has every reason to expect, and even demand, a deep and thoughtful debate as the precondition for any change in how we understand marriage and encourage it to take shape. One need only reflect on previous alterations in the regulation of marriage in order to understand that changes in marriage law have consequences that intellectuals, politicians, and citizens alike should think through thoroughly before endorsing.

When one looks back on the debates that took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s over changing the divorce laws of this country—leading to the wide-scale institutionalization of no-fault divorce—there was much debate about the rights of women stuck in unhappy marriages. There were few serious discussions about what effects no-fault divorce would have on the institution of marriage; how social perception of marriage as a normative institution would subsequently change; how its purpose in society might be altered; what historical and philosophical roots anchored the movement; what effect widespread no-fault divorce might have on how we raise children and prepare them to become responsible citizens. Certainly people did not consider the negative impact no-fault divorce would have on women themselves!

But we have now learned that divorce is strongly associated with the immiseration of women: studies indicate, for example, that between one-fifth and one-third of women fall into poverty in the wake of a divorce. At the time, there were a few who argued that no-fault divorce would have significant social repercussions, but the ensuing highly-charged debate, again narrowly cast in terms of individual rights, muted their voices. Any opposition was construed as anti-feminist, despite the fact that many of the concerns expressed were precisely about the well-being of women who faced divorce.

...Responsible social scientists and political theorists always caution that major social change—and same-sex marriage involves something more basic than no-fault divorce—always trails negative unintended consequences in its wake. It follows that this recognition, for which there is a mountain of compelling evidence, should caution us to move with great care if we aim to alter the fundamental human institution that has always been the groundwork of social life.