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Category Archives: Politics

Victory for Religious Freedom in Indiana!

ThinkstockPhotos-466956854Here's some great news out of Indiana! The Indiana House has passed a bill with a 63-31 vote to protect the religious liberty of business owners in the state.

SB 101, known as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” will be heading back to the Senate, where a similar version has already passed. If the House’s version is found in accord with the Senate's version, the bill will head to Governor Mike Pence, who has made it clear that he will sign the bill into law.

Supporters of the law attest that the law does not allow discrimination of same-sex individuals, but rather, honors the rights of business owners who for example, may not in good conscious provide wedding services to same-sex couples.

Supporters of the law say it will keep government entities from forcing business owners - such as bakeries and florists who don't want to provide services to gay couples - from acting in ways contrary to strongly held religious beliefs. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year following an appellate court ruling.

Supporter Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, tweeted after its passage in the House on Monday that the bill was a "good, tested, protective shield for all faiths."

ThinkstockPhotos-466073636While opponents claim that SB 101 would allow for discrimination against same-sex couples, what SB 101 actually achieves is protecting individuals from suffering discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Specifically, SB 101 prevents state and local governments from "substantially burdening" citizens from being able to exercise their freedom of religion, unless the government can prove that it has compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means.

Supporters of the bill explain that the measure protects people, organizations, and business owners from government intrusion.

"It's important that we allow our citizens to hold religious beliefs, maybe even those we might be appalled by, and to be able to express those," said Rep. Tom Washburne, R-Inglefield.

What is more, opponents should be aware that SB 101 is based off of a 22-year-old federal law, dubbed the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, the same act that was influential in the Hobby Lobby decision.

While this bill awaits full adoption in Indiana, nineteen other states have already adopted similar religious freedom bills, and there are several others that are considering legislation.

While the opposition will not respectfully admit defeat, bravo to the state of Indiana for recognizing the importance of religious freedom and the true right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs, both in their private and public lives. Well done, Indiana. Our founding fathers would be proud.

Ted Cruz Takes Steps to Protect Religious Liberty in D.C.

This week, Sen. Ted Cruz introduced two joint resolutions to overturn recently enacted D.C. Council legislation that undermines religious liberty.

via Sen. Ted Cruz's website:

"The D.C. Council is attempting to force religious institutions to provide services, make employment decisions, or participate in activities that directly violate their faith," said Sen. Cruz. "No government entity should be able to coerce organizations - whether they be non-profits or religious schools - into funding abortion services or promoting gender policy that is contrary to the organization's fundamental mission.

"D.C.'s legislation would require pro-life organizations to fund abortions. It would require Catholic schools to pay for abortions, in direct contravention of their faith. That is wrong, and unconstitutional. Despite pending legislation that might provide a temporary exemption limited to insurance coverage, the D.C. Council is ultimately telling institutions within the District that a day will come when they must make the intolerable choice between complying with the law and abiding by their religious convictions. Rather than discriminating against pro-life and religious organizations, D.C. should welcome diversity of thought and protect the freedom of conscience. We must stop this assault on the Catholic Church, and we must act to protect religious liberty. Congress has a constitutional responsibility to oversee the nation's capital, and I urge my colleagues in both houses to pass this resolution and affirm the First Amendment rights of all citizens."

Congressman: "I Refuse to Stand By and Do Nothing" in the Face of Redefinition of Marriage

At Townhall.com today, Representative Tim Huelskamp has a powerful column explaining why he has reintroduced a federal Marriage Protection Amendment in Congress. The whole thing is worth reading. Here's an excerpt:

huelskampThe Supreme Court will soon consider four of these cases involving the mandate of same-sex ‘marriage.’ Those decisions, expected to be handed down from on high in June, have the potential to invalidate and criminalize future debate on this issue, just like Roe v. Wade tried to do with abortion. That is why I reintroduced the Marriage Protection Amendment this Congress. This Constitutional amendment reaffirms the plain and simple truth: marriage is a union between one man and one woman and no federal judge can say otherwise.

 

Allowing unelected federal judges —whose judicial impartiality on this matter is highly suspect—to impose a radical, offensive and flatly incorrect redefinition of marriage on the whole of American society is nothing less than an affront to our Republic and the principles upon which it was conceived. I refuse to stand by and do nothing while our country and the ideals that inspired its founding are eroded under our feet.

Bravo, Congressman!

"This Isn't How the Constitution Works"

In The Daily Signal, Ryan Anderson looks at the latest "evolution" on the issue of same-sex 'marriage' undergone by President Obama, and explains why with recent waves of political 'evolutions' and activist judicial rulings, "we’re not only redefining marriage, we’re redefining our Constitution." He writes:

Constitution“Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” Obama told the New Yorker.

This is a case study in how liberals “evolve” on policy. First they embrace a policy change. If they can’t convince a majority of Americans to vote for their preferred policy, they discover that the Constitution requires their preferred policy. So, according to the Obama of today, the Obama of early 2012 held an unconstitutional view of marriage. Or, perhaps, it wasn’t unconstitutional back then but it is now.

But this isn't how the Constitution works.

[...]  Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution [emphasis added].

Read the rest here.

WATCH LIVE: Values Voter Summit 2014

The Values Voter Summit is just days away! The annual Summit—which provides a forum to inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong—will be held from Sept. 26-28 in Washington D.C.

If you're not able to attend, you can watch the live feed all weekend right from your home or office.

Friday, Sept. 26 Live Feed:

Saturday, Sept. 27 Live Feed:

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"Victory for Pro-Life, Pro-Family Catholics and Other Christians"

From Aleteia, more on the recent marriage victory in Europe:

...the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) lowered the boom on European progressives. And, the wind was taken out of the sails of American liberalism.

[...]

FamilyMoreover, whereas U.S.-based agitators for same-sex marriage have pulled off their boldest accomplishments through the judicial usurpation of politics, the European high court has challenged that angle of approach. In its ruling, it declared that no member nation can be forced to accept same-sex marriage. At least at the European level, the question about the legalization of same-sex marriage must remain a democratic or political question.

[...]

The European court's claim flies in the face of pro-same-sex marriage legal arguments so often heard here in the U.S. Those arguments object that civil unions that are not converted to state-recognized marriages impose a second-class legal status on homosexuals. Europe's court disagreed.

Read the rest here.

California Senator: 'Husband' and 'Wife' are "Outdated, Biased" Terms

From FoxNews:

Husband-Wife-StrikethroughThe terms “husband” and “wife” have been deleted from California’s marriage law under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The terms will be replaced with “spouse” to accommodate same-sex marriage, which became legal in the state last year after the Supreme Court struck down a voter-approved ban on it.

[...]

“I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” Leno said. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender” [emphasis added].

Further proof that redefining marriage is not simply about "equality" or expanding the institution to include more kinds of relationships; it is about fundamentally altering the meaning of the institution itself, and discarding terms like "husband" and "wife" to "the ash heap of history."

Bishop Conley: "May We Bring the Principles of Our Faith to the Public Square"

Most Reverend James D. Conley, bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, wrote a beautiful piece on the importance of witnessing faith in the public square.

Photo Credit: Ted Kirk, The Journal-Star

Photo Credit: Ted Kirk, The Journal-Star

Without the influence of truth on public life, the rights of the unborn, the poor, and the marginalized can be discarded.  Without the participation of religious believers, the principles of justice and freedom are replaced with reckless pursuit of comfort and pleasure.  Without active protection of rights, religious liberty—and indeed, all liberty—stands perilously close to being lost entirely.

Our democracy can serve the common good. But only when believers, capable of discerning the common good, participate in public life.

This election year, we’ll consider candidates for state and national offices.  And, if we want our state and nation to serve the common good, we have a moral obligation to vote.  And when we do vote, we ought to consider the candidates and their position in light of the received teachings of our Church. In light of justice.  In light of truth.

Catholics helped to form our nation. And over the past two centuries, Catholics have bled and died to protect it. Their legacy is in our hands. To be faithful Catholics, we’re called to be faithful citizens.  May each of us work to build a just and free nation.  And may we bring the principles of our faith to the public square, and to the voting booth.

Read the rest of Bishop Conley's article at the Diocese of Lincoln's website.

Bishop Conley is a stalwart advocate for marriage.  His compelling words about bringing faith to the public square resound with many people of faith, not just Catholics.

Religious Americans Will Keep Fighting for Marriage

Star Parker, the President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), wrote in the Washington Examiner last week that religious Americans will not give up their defense of marriage.

Same-sex 'marriage' activists have not won, Parker says, despite claims that defending marriage is pointless and the efforts of activist judges to overturn state laws protecting marriage.

Family Saying Grace before MealParker writes:

In 1831, a French aristocrat named Alexis de Tocqueville arrived in America and spent several years traveling and studying life in the communities of the new nation...

Tocqueville wrote, “There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”

And he wrote, “Of the world’s countries, America is surely the one where the bond of marriage is most respected, and where they have conceived the highest and most just idea of conjugal happiness.”

As we know, today times are changing. Religion and the institutions of traditional marriage and family are being challenged and, rather than being seen as enablers of our freedom, are now regularly portrayed as obstacles to it.

Since same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts 10 years ago, it has become legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia and is now recognized by the federal government.

The onslaught continues where laws protecting traditional marriage in many states are being overturned by courts and lawsuits are now pending in 30 states.

Even the Bible Belt has been penetrated, and recently, a judge in Arkansas struck down state law protecting traditional marriage...

However, despite the argument that “gay rights” is today’s signature civil rights battle as racial equality was the civil rights battle of the 1960’s, blacks are generally not buying it.

Newlyweds on Church StarcaseAccording to the Pew survey, support for legal same sex marriage among black Protestants at 43 percent indicates that support has increased in this community, but remains far below the national average.

A coalition of 100 black pastors in Michigan now stands in vehement opposition to a federal district court ruling in March overturning a voter-approved measure which amended the Michigan constitution in 2004 to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The pastors, along with other Christian groups, are filing an amicus brief in support of the appeal of the court decision by Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette.

Blacks, on average, attend church with greater frequency than any other ethnic group in the country. And blacks take Scripture seriously.

It is a no-brainer for many church-going blacks that discrimination because of race is very different from choices in sexual behavior.

Only 32 percent of Republicans, according to Pew, support same-sex marriage legalization. This issue, along with abortion, is not going away as a source of tension in the Republican Party.

Black pastors know first hand how moral relativism destroys communities. They are not about to buy into it.

Nor are Christian evangelicals who represent a meaningful portion of the Republican Party.

Although most blacks and Christian evangelicals have probably not read the words of Tocqueville, they appreciate the truths that he identified in 1835 about the importance of religious values to American freedom.

This fight is far from over.

Read more.

ICYMI: Black Pastors Argue Redefining Marriage Not Comparable to Civil Rights Struggle

Last week, a coalition of black pastors said that it's incorrect and offensive to compare redefining marriage to the civil rights movement.  The group held a press conference to announce an amicus brief being filed in favor of Michigan's marriage amendment.

The Thomas More Law Center filed the amicus on behalf of more than 100 black pastors from Detroit, Michigan, and Ohio defending Michigan's marriage amendment, which is headed to the U.S. 6th Court of Appeals after a judge recently declared it unconstitutional.  The Michigan voter-supported Marriage Protection Act preserves marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

BP News

Erin Mersino, the main drafter of the brief, said:

“It has been an honor working with the coalition of pastors closely to ensure that their unique voice is heard.  The coalition was upset with the notion that the voice of 2.7 million Michigan voters could be silenced by the opinion of one federal court judge.  The court drew upon legal precedent which rightfully allowed interracial couples to marry, inherently raising similarities between racial equality and same-sex marriage.  The coalition has made clear that they believe this comparison is offensive. ”

The brief criticized the notion that the fight to redefine marriage is similar to the Civil Rights Movement, noting:

 “Comparing the dilemmas of same-sex couples to the centuries of discrimination faced by Black Americans is a distortion of our country’s cultural and legal history. The disgraces and unspeakable privations in our nation’s history pertaining to the civil rights of Black Americans are unmatched. No other class of individuals, including individuals who are same-sex attracted, have ever been enslaved, or lawfully viewed not as human, but as property. Same-sex attracted individuals have never lawfully been forced to attend different schools, walk on separate public sidewalks, sit at the back of the bus, drink out of separate drinking fountains, denied their right to assemble, or denied their voting rights. Id. The legal history of these disparate classifications, i.e., immutable racial discrimination and same-sex attraction, is incongruent.”

“There is no surer way to destroy an institution like marriage than to destroy its meaning.  If 'marriage' means whatever one judge wants it to mean, it means nothing. If it has no fixed meaning, it is merely a vessel for a judge’s will. It is used as a subterfuge for judicial legislation.”

The pastors expressed their offense at the comparison of black civil rights struggles to marriage redefinition.

“To state that marriage redefinition is in any way similar to the civil rights movement is intellectually empty, dishonest and manufactured,” said Minister Stacy Swimp, founder of Revive Alive Missional Ministry.

“Judge Friedman is sanctioning the staging of a false story,” said Pastpr James Crowder, of St. Galilee Baptist church and president of the Westside Minister's Alliance, Detroit, Michigan. “On stage are many actors who pretend that redefining traditional marriage is as valid as Blacks fighting against the carnage of chattel slavery and the humiliation of Jim Crow. Never have I been so insulted. The curtain must be pulled down on this play of disinformation.”

"We want to make a statement to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that the people of the state of Michigan, particularly Black Pastors and Christians, continue to stand by the Marriage Protection Act," Swimp said.

The full amicus brief can be viewed here.

Repression: A Very, Very Dangerous Thing

Two national voices from opposite sides of the spectrum related the same opinion in the wake of the Sam Bradford draft photo uproar: “Shouldn’t you also be teaching people who are gay to be open and understanding of people?"

Newt Gingrich and Stephen A. Smith, a self-described liberal, both expressed that the wave of recriminations against people speaking out against the televised kiss demonstrates an incredible intolerance on the part of the gay community.

Newt GingrichAs was reported on TruthRevolt.org yesterday:

On CNN's Crossfire, co-host Newt Gingrich pushed back against recent recriminations against people speaking out against Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on ESPN after he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

Gingrich debated co-host Van Jones and former NFL player Jamal Anderson over the NFL fining and suspending Miami Dolphins linebacker Don Jones for Tweeting out "Horrible" after the televised kiss.  Former NFL running back Derrick Ward received death threats after he went further in condemning the gay PDA he and his kids saw during the televised draft.

Gingrich:  “You guys talk about how you want to be inclusive, except of course, if somebody tweets this, then having a death threat or ‘let’s send them off to sensitivity training.’ It strikes me, that’s repression, that’s not inclusive.”

Anderson:  “Is it repression to try to teach them to be understanding and open to other people, especially when you talk about people they have not been exposed to?”

Gingrich:  “Shouldn’t you also be teaching people who are gay to be open and understanding of people?"

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith, a self-described liberal, echoed Gingrich's sentiments yesterday when he said, "People should have the freedom to not want to be associated with that or not want that in their face. Smith also said, 'I think it’s a very, very dangerous thing when people see something and they have a problem with what they’re seeing and they express themselves, and ultimately they’re fined.'"

Marriage Wins Big at the Indiana Primaries

The headline speaks volumes, “Social conservatives post wins in Indiana legislative races,” once again proving that supporting  marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a winning political position.

According to the IndyStar,

Indiana State CapitolSocial conservatives won several key Statehouse races in Tuesday's primary, ousting two incumbents and successfully defending others…

…Two Republican House members — Kathy Heuer, Columbia City, and Rebecca Kubacki, Syracuse — were defeated by wide margins by Christopher Judy and Curt Nisly, respectively. The incumbents were targeted by social conservative groups after voting against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. [Emphasis added]…

"The overall message is that if you oppose marriage in Indiana, you take huge political risks," said Curt Smith, president of Indiana Family Action. "If you want to thumb your nose at the pro-family groups, you do so at your own risk."

NOM, the Indiana Family Institute, the American Family Association of Indiana, Citizenlink, and Family Research Council  Action had warned politicians before the marriage amendment vote in the legislature that if they did not give the people the chance to vote on marriage this year, there would be political repercussions.  After the failure of the legislature to pass the question to the voters, the coalition worked together to choose its targets, particularly the ousting of Heuer and Kubacki while protecting marriage champions.

Narrowing the Halls of Higher Education

Two stories in the news lately demonstrate chillingly how far the new orthodoxy of marriage radicalism has infiltrated the sector of society where formerly freedom and diversity of opinion were most prized: the Academy.

First, from The Daily Caller, comes news that Angela McCaskill  has been denied legal redress in court after having been targeting with harassment and intimidation as a result of having signed a petition to protect marriage in Maryland:

Angela McCaskillMcCaskill, the first black deaf woman to get a Ph.D from Gallaudet, sued the university last year for illegal discrimination based on race, religion, marital status and political views.

[...]

The acclaimed school for the deaf suspended and then demoted Angela McCaskill after a lesbian professor discovered her name on the petition to put “Proposition 6” — which would have overturned Maryland’s legalization of gay marriage — on the November 2012 Maryland ballot.

As if this weren't bad enough, a proposed Christian law school in Canada is "facing opposition from lawyers who do not like the university's stance on 'sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.'"

From the story:

The British Columbia Law Society had voted 20-6 on April 11 to approve the law school, but then lawyer Michael Mulligan convinced his fellow lawyers to sign a petition to overturn the decision. As a result, 1,300 signed to back Mulligan.

In addition, the Law Society of Upper Canada executive voted 28-21 to reject Trinity Western law grads the opportunity to practice law in Ontario, Canada on April 24. However, on April 25, Nova Scotia Barristers' Society voted 10-9 to approve the school, but only if it cancels its evangelical stance on "sexual intimacy" outside of traditional marriages.

[...]

Photo Credit: CBC News

Photo Credit: CBC News

"The idea that Trinity's law school graduates aren't really qualified is not going to get them very far, because there's no end to that argument," said [Christian Higher Education Canada Executive Director Justin Cooper]. "Are they going to give a 'religious test' to every Muslim and Hindu graduate of a law school who may hold some similar values?"

Perhaps a more incisive question would be whether an evident bias in favor of redefining marriage on the part of a given law school would subject that program to stricter scrutiny, on account of the fact that its graduates would be unlikely to remain impartial if faced with the prospect, say, of defending a religious business owner targeted with a lawsuit for declining to violate their beliefs?

It is doubtful: the same double-standards cutting through all of the institutions in society as part of the march to redefine marriage and sexuality are taking firm root in the halls of higher education, it seems, and those halls are becoming too narrow to accommodate anyone who won't step into line with the new radical ideology.

GOP Elites Out of Touch with Rank and File

A recent poll pushes back strongly against a recent 'wave' of mainstream media stories about how the GOP is supposedly abandoning its historical support for marriage between one man and one woman and that same-sex marriage is inevitable.

GOPMaggie Haberman of Politico writes that the survey of 801 Republicans and republican-leaning independents showed:

82 percent agreeing with a statement that marriage should be between “one man and one woman.” It also found 75 percent disagreed that “politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples."

These results should send the same clear message to GOP leadership that NOM has been saying for years: “Marriage is a winning issue” with the rank-and-file republican base. They also echo the support NOM found for marriage after the 2012 elections in its own polling where 60 percent of voters indicated their support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Finally, it needs to be noted that in the four states that marriage was on the ballot in 2012, traditional marriage out-polled the Romney campaign by better than ten percentage points.

According to Haberman, “[Gary] Bauer, the president of American Values [one of the groups that commissioned the poll], faulted a “misinformation campaign waged by media elites” and insisted that “public policy-makers are doing a great disservice to themselves and future generations by continuing to misread the convictions of the American people … this survey should remind political and cultural leaders that this debate is far from over. If anything, it is taking on a new sense of urgency for millions of men and women of faith.”

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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.