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Category Archives: Religious Liberty

Our Chance...



Dear Marriage Supporter,

You know what we have done together standing for the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Whether bringing nearly 15,000 diverse supporters of marriage to our nation's capital for the March for Marriage or supporting legislation that will protect our First Freedom to act and speak freely in our support for natural marriage—we are in this fight together.

Now, as we face a most dangerous time for marriage, a generous donor has stepped up to the plate and pledged to match any gifts we may get in the weeks before the decision.

It is absolutely urgent that you stand with us now as we stand boldly for the truth of marriage. We do not have billionaire donors, but rely on your sacrificial help to fund our efforts.

Please stand with us now at this critical time with your gift of $35, $50, $100, or even $500 or more.

We have spent everything in our coffers to make the March for Marriage the great success it was.

As we move forward, it is essential that we have the resources to continue this fight to the Supreme Court and beyond.

We have critical work to do that depends entirely on your support. Here are just a few examples of what we need to accomplish in the next few weeks:

  • Issuing a Presidential Pledge to the Republican candidates, to ensure they take a strong and public stance on marriage, letting you — the voter — know their commitment to defending marriage and our First Freedoms. In addition, the pledge will help raise the profile of marriage and religious liberty while the Court is deliberating the case that could determine the constitutionality of traditional marriage laws, communicating the American people's commitment to defending marriage and religious liberty regardless of what the Supreme Court says;
  • Advance legislation at both the Federal and state level to protect the right of individuals, small businesses and organizations to act in concert with their beliefs about marriage, thus taking pro-active steps to defend our First Freedoms regardless of what the Supreme Court says;
  • Organize a diverse and massive response to the Supreme Court — whichever way they rule in June. We will need to build up our grassroots education and activism programs to ensure that everyone who believes in marriage is both informed and equipped to stand up and make their voice heard — regardless of what the Supreme Court says.

Make no mistake — we are fighting for the foundation of our very civilization and the very freedoms upon which our great nation was founded. The government — in bed with lobbyists backed by millionaires and billionaires seeking to redefine marriage — is trying to take away not only what is sacred and true about marriage... but our very right to defend it!

But NOM will defend marriage — always... because marriage will always need and deserve the very best defense possible.

Won't you join us in defending marriage today with a generous gift? It doesn't matter whether you can give $20, $200 or $2,000. All that matters is recommitting to the fight to defend marriage and religious liberty at this critical time.

Thank you in advance. And please pray for the Supreme Court as they deliberate on this critical issue. May God bless you for all you do in defense of marriage.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown


PS: Remember, every dollar you donate will be matched, dollar-for-dollar by another generous donor! He is challenging us to renew as many members as possible leading up to the Supreme Court's fateful decision... because no matter what they rule, the fight to defend marriage and religious liberty will go on! Knowing that your donation will be matched, won't you please consider making a generous donation today?

A New Level of Intolerance in Canada

We are all too familiar with the reality of how anyone who does not wish to participate in celebration of a same-sex ‘wedding’ – whether they be florists, bakers, photographers, inn keepers or what-have-you – are targeted by the LGBT community. Also, they are increasingly targeted by government officials for harassment and punishment, sometimes under threat of losing all their personal assets. The message has been that the law must force everyone to participate in the “celebration” even if it violates a business owner’s deeply held beliefs. Now comes word from Canada – which has been dealing with the consequences of redefining marriage for over a decade – that it’s not even enough for a business owner merely to participate in the celebration.

ThinkstockPhotos-471991807Steve Weatherbe from LifeSite News wrote:

Nicole White and Pam Renouf liked the service they got from Esau Jardon of Today’s Jewellers in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, who took their deposit and proceeded to design and build them two engagement rings. They even recommended the store to friends.

But by the time one friend went there, the Mexican-born Jardon had put up a sign in his shop window marking Mother’s Day—and his strong, traditional Christian beliefs: “The Sanctity of Marriage IS UNDER ATTACK; Help Keep Marriage Between Man & Woman,” it read.

In redefining marriage, Canada has opened up private citizens to serious discrimination for their own personal beliefs, marking the end of freedom of speech:

Referring to recent decisions by courts and human rights tribunals against Christian vendors who refused to serve homosexuals, Dreher (Blogger at The American Conservative) concluded on an ironic note. The pressure on Jardon to return the deposit marked “the next phase in the March of Progress. You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.”

Jardon defends his right to his own opinion. “One of the reasons my family chose to move to Canada was the rights that it offered, the freedom of religion and freedom of speech, both of which at the time seemed to be very limited in Mexico,” he said.

The United States needs to pay attention: as Canada is clearly exemplifying, everyone is affected when marriage is redefined.

A Blessed And Grateful Nation



Dear Marriage Supporter,

Today the nation honors those heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, members of the military who gave their lives in defense of the principles upon which our nation was founded. I hope that each of you will take a moment to pause and pray for those brave men and women, and their families, whose ultimate sacrifice through the generations proves the truth of what President Reagan once observed, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

America Founding - Quote

At the core of the American founding was the principle of religious liberty — the right to participate in society according to your sincerely held religious beliefs. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said it brilliantly in Iowa the other day: "The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America."

We live in a challenging time, one where our national leaders increasingly seem to deny the importance of some of our founding national principles, not the least of which is religious liberty. Indeed far from being willing to fight to defend this core foundational principle so that is passed to the next generation, some national leaders seem intent on undercutting it. Indeed, we've seen baseless charges of "bigotry" and "discrimination" leveled at those with sincerely-held religious objections to participating in things like same-sex 'wedding' ceremonies and providing health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. For a large number of governmental and cultural elites, the concept of "religious liberty" is being reduced to being able to worship in private, but not to actually live your faith principles in the public square.

Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton took this even further recently when she said that the nation had to change its views on religion if we are to make progress on "women's rights" and other ideological causes favored by the left. Far from being a protector and defender of our first principles — the most important of which is a recognition that our rights derive not from government but from the divine Creator — so that they may be passed on to the next generation, she seems determined to change them to suit her vision of government.

This upcoming presidential election will thus be a pivotal moment in our nation's history. It will be, to borrow another quote from President Reagan, "a time for choosing." Will we as a nation choose to uphold the principles upon which America was founded, particularly religious liberty, that have made us the greatest force for good in the history of the world, or will we choose to follow a secularist path that effectively eliminates religious principle from social policy so that a leftist agenda can be more easily pursued?

This is not a mere rhetorical question. The next president will not only have tough decisions to make about how government policy will respond to issues of same-sex unions, abortion, gender identity and claims of sexual orientation discrimination, but he or she will very likely appoint several new justices to the US Supreme Court who will have a say in the critical constitutional issues involved.

As we embark upon this critically important national debate and discussion that will culminate in 2016 in the election of a new president, we do so with great reverence and respect, and immense gratitude, for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the principles that have made America the beacon for liberty she is throughout the world. Let us give thanks to these heroes, and pray that their sacrifice will not be forgotten, but will be protected and defended so our national principles are passed to the next generation for them to do the same.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Press Release Regarding Ireland Vote

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Saturday, May 23, 2015
The following statement may be attributed to Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage in Washington, DC: "We want to thank David Quinn and The Iona Institute for fighting the good fight running the No campaign against tremendous odds in Ireland. We are disappointed but not surprised with the apparent passage of a referendum in Ireland providing for the redefinition of marriage in that country. This is a reflection on the increasingly secularized nature of Ireland, together with the utter abandonment of principle by every political party in the nation, all of whom endorsed the referendum. This, combined with intense harassment of any group or individual who spoke out in opposition to the referendum, made it difficult for opponents. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens stood to vote to uphold the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Even with this decision in Ireland, the idea of same-sex marriage has been widely rejected by the community of nations around the world, where only 18 nations recognize same-sex 'marriage', almost all of them in the west, which represents less than 10% of the nations in the world. If there is any relevance to the Irish vote for people here in the United States, it is that the US Supreme Court should take note that the people of Ireland at least had the opportunity to vote. This is what we demand of our justices — respect the right of people to define marriage in the law for themselves. If that occurs, we are confident that the American people will continue to support marriage in the law as it exists in reality — the union of one man and one woman in order to provide the ideal environment for any children born of their union."

###

Jeb Bush Stands Up For Right Not To Be Coerced

ThinkstockPhotos-chariastThe beginning stages of the presidential campaign are starting to bring the views of the various candidates into focus. Jeb Bush recently told CBN that he supports the right of a Christian small business owner to decline to provide services for a same-sex ‘wedding.’ He correctly understands that people ought to remain free to exercise their beliefs about marriage and that this is not discrimination. He also reiterated his position that same-sex ‘marriage’ is not a constitutional right:

"A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs," Bush said.

Shouldn’t it be obvious that as our own free arbiters of what we support, we should also be able to choose what not to support? Americans being forced to conform to other people’s opinions on social issues, is a brazen attack against individual rights:

In recent months, the question of service provision, religion and sexuality has become a hot button issue, with court cases arising over incidents of people being refused service because of their sexual orientation, or business owners being forced to provide services to same sex partners despite their religious convictions.

The issue was further fanned by the recent signing of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, which allow business owners to cite religious rights as a reasons for refusing service. Gay rights group have condemned the acts, and cited them as a form of discrimination.

Source via Christian Today.

Marriage And Religious Liberty In The Early Presidential Race



Dear Marriage Supporter,

One of NOM's primary goals in the coming months and year is to raise the profile of the marriage and religious liberty issues in anticipation of the coming presidential election next year — particularly in key swing and early voting states like Iowa.

And we've been remarkably successful in the early going!

While reading through the media's "reporting" (which seems more often than not to be taken directly from sources like the Human Rights Campaign blog) is aggravating, listening to the actual Republican candidates' words has been extremely encouraging.

Boldly Speaking the Truth

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is always courageous and unintimidated when it comes to speaking the truth. Which makes following the media's "news coverage" of him a continuous exercise in frustration and incredulity.

Recently he fired back at the media for "being obsessed with sex" after repeatedly asking about same-sex marriage to the exclusion of almost every other issue, offering a fresh and direct way to respond to not-so veiled attacks on common-sense positions shared by a majority of the country and world.

You can click here to watch the video of his exchange with the reporter in question.

Ted Cruz

The most absurd and unbelievable aspect of the story is the headline that the "news" agency chose to attach to the report: "Cruz refuses to deny animosity toward gays."

The entire exchange simply highlights the ridiculousness of the media's coverage of marriage and is the clearest indication possible that the media is, indeed, "obsessed with sex."

Not Just Talk

But Senator Cruz isn't the only one championing marriage and religious liberty.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who is strongly considering a presidential run, recently took dramatic action to defend marriage and people of faith who understand its true nature.

The Louisiana state legislature cowered away from passing House Bill 707, which would have blocked the government from penalizing companies because of the owner's stance on same-sex marriage.

So Governor Jindal stepped to the plate and announced that he would issue an executive order accomplishing what the bill was aiming to do: protecting people of faith who believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman from unjust Governmental coercion and potential punitive measures for their beliefs.

The executive order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.

As I mentioned yesterday, when our elected public officials take such bold action to represent our values — knowing that they will be targeted by special interests and widely castigated by the media — they must hear from us and know that they have our support.

If you haven't done so already, please take a moment and click here to send Governor Jindal a quick email thanking him for his brave leadership in defense of marriage and religious liberty.

Governor Jindal Action Alert

And then, please forward the link to this alert to your family and friends so they can similarly take action.

But that's not all!

This week, the American Future Project launched a 30-second ad that will air in Iowa highlighting the Governor's dedication to defending our precious First Freedoms — the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech and the freedom to act in accord with our beliefs about marriage without fear of reprisal from the government.

You can watch the ad here.

Governor Jindal Ad

And all of this follows his editorial last month in the New York Times opinion page, I'm Holding Firm Against Gay Marriage.

Others Speaking Out For Marriage And Religious Liberty

Other candidates are also making strong statements to reassure the American people that they represent their values on marriage.

Governor Scott Walker was recently in Washington, DC to meet with legislators and heads of social conservative groups to discuss social issues.

I was one of those who met with him to discuss the marriage issue.

As I noted in the column linked above, while some of his past statements have left people like you and me with serious questions as to his commitment to defending the truth about marriage, his recent statements — in particular, those about backing a federal marriage amendment — should have us feeling better about his political views. We will give him, and all the candidates, a chance to concretely demonstrate their support by signing NOM's Presidential Pledge, which will be issued soon.

Similarly, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush reiterated in much clearer terms his commitment to marriage last weekend in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was interviewed by CBN's David Brody.

What is becoming clear is that as all the potential and announced Republican candidates get away from their handlers and get out talking to voters and activists, they are all realizing that marriage is a core value of the American people and worthy of defending. They are realizing that redefining marriage is presenting incredible challenges to not only our First Freedoms, but also to our future cultural and economic wellbeing.

And, perhaps most importantly, they are realizing that redefining marriage is directly at odds with our precious faith traditions. Hillary Clinton recently said as much (see her remarks at around the 8:20 mark) when talking about the left's agenda pushed over the past several years needing "resources and political will" to overcome the "deep seeded, cultural codes, religious beliefs and biases" that "have to be changed."

There you have it: you and I must be forced to change our religious beliefs to accommodate the left's radical agenda.

Thank goodness we have some brave candidates willing to stand up and defend marriage and religious liberty.

More Hypocrisy

One final note on a news story that broke recently but received very little news.

A study that came out a few months ago received widespread acclaim for its impact in helping shift attitudes toward accepting same-sex marriage. It found that a 20-minute, one-on-one conversation with a gay political canvasser could steer voters in favor of same-sex marriage. Not only that, but these changed opinions lasted for at least a year and influenced other people in the voter's household, the study found.

Of course, the media trumpeted this far and wide... it was obvious, they said. People just need to meet and talk to gay rights supporters and they will immediately become amenable to redefining marriage.

The only problem? The study was faked. The data used to support the conclusions was simply made up.

While this development is no doubt embarrassing for advocates of redefining marriage, sadly, I am not surprised by this situation.

It is reminiscent of all the phony studies that have been conducted using small "convenience" samples of lesbians and gays who have an interest in the outcome of the study showing that lesbian and gay parenting makes "no difference" for children. To no one's surprise, these studies are touted as "proof," and become fodder to redefine marriage.

But whether a study is completely faked or conclusions are just fudged, it's justified in the minds of many who want to redefine marriage. You see, to many such activists everything in life — freedom of speech, religious principles, even the truth — is secondary to the "good" of advancing their agenda.

That is why the coming election (and, indeed, all elections) matter.

I look forward to sharing our presidential pledge with you in the coming months and making an impact on next year's election.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown


PS: In case you hadn't heard, right now we have a new matching gift challenge running! A donor, incredibly enthused by the success of the March for Marriage and how oral arguments before the Supreme Court went, has offered $200,000 in matching gift funds to help us make a major statement in defense of marriage before the Supreme Court issues its ruling. Won't you please renew your NOM membership today to help us reach our goal?

Warning from Canada: Do Not Redefine Marriage

Many same-sex marriage advocates continue to falsely present the redefinition of marriage as simply providing respect and recognition to loving same-sex couples, with no consequences for anyone else. But as we have seen with the frequent attacks against supporters of traditional marriage - bakers, florists, and others - this has already been proven to be false. To get a fuller exposition of the consequences of redefining marriage, we only have to look at what has happened with our northern neighbor.

Mid adult couple holding their childrenThe article from Dawn Stefanowicz is not the first such warning we’ve had. In 2012, the backers of the proposed marriage amendment in Minnesota held a day-long seminal featuring many speakers from Canada, including a prominent Archbishop, who detailed the 300 plus cases of supporters of marriage being punished, and the constant pressure of the government to push this radical understanding of marriage on children. Dawn Stefanowicz uses Canada’s decline due to legalizing same-sex marriage as an all too apt example of what kind of fire the United States is playing with today:

We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats.

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

. . .

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.

She continues to warn Americans that a federal redefinition of marriage will authorize the “State as Ultimate Arbiter of parenthood”:

Over and over, we are told that “permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.” That is a lie.

When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, parenting was immediately redefined. Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term “natural parent” and replace it across the board with gender-neutral “legal parent” in federal law. Now all children only have “legal parents,” as defined by the state. By legally erasing biological parenthood in this way, the state ignores children’s foremost right: their immutable, intrinsic yearning to know and be raised by their own biological parents.

. . .

In effect, same-sex marriage not only deprives children of their own rights to natural parentage, it gives the state the power to override the autonomy of biological parents, which means parental rights are usurped by the government.

In addition, the rights and freedom that made our nation a land of liberty will too be disregarded if same-sex marriage is legalized:

In Canada, it is considered discriminatory to say that marriage is between a man and a woman or that every child should know and be raised by his or her biological married parents. It is not just politically incorrect in Canada to say so; you can be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, fined, and forced to take sensitivity training.

Anyone who is offended by something you have said or written can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. In Canada, these organizations police speech, penalizing citizens for any expression deemed in opposition to particular sexual behaviors or protected groups identified under “sexual orientation.” It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.

. . .

It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience. Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.

Many more issues will occur if the Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage. We recognize the flagrant lies that are told, the false “tolerance” that is being promulgated, the egregious attacks on our liberties. Our neighbor Canada knows these first-hand as well, even to a more frightening degree. We must never give up the fight for marriage, because if marriage is redefined, we know that first amendments rights will also be “redefined.”

Read the full article at The Public Discourse.

False Claim: Religious Groups Don’t Focus on Poverty

ThinkstockPhotos-180923860The other day, we shared President Obama’s demand that pastors spend more time talking about ending poverty and less time on “divisive” issues such as same-sex ‘marriage’ and abortion. The president was repeating a claim made by other liberal commentators who believe that pastors are “obsessed” with social issues. An op-ed in the Washington Post takes on this claim, and finds that studies show that pastors speak far more often about hunger and poverty than they do abortion or homosexuality.

Putnam’s comments were blasted by several commentators, including the New York Times’s Ross Douthat, who noted religious groups spend far more on charity, schools and hospitals than pro-life causes or to oppose same-sex marriage.

. . .

Just before the 2012 presidential election, a Pew Research Center survey asked regular worship attendees what issues they have heard their clergy talk about recently. Roughly 3 in 4 said their clergy spoke about hunger and poverty (74 percent), while fewer than 4 in 10 heard about abortion (37 percent) or homosexuality (33 percent).

A breakdown of the data by religious groups shows that poverty dominates discussion even at churches with strong stances on abortion and homosexuality. Abortion comes close to rivaling poverty among Catholics: 62 percent of Catholics reported hearing about abortion in the weeks before the presidential election, though a still larger 82 percent said they heard about poverty. Among white evangelical Protestants who largely oppose same-sex marriage, far more said clergy spoke about hunger and poverty than homosexuality.

The evidence seems insurmountable: religious groups are discussing the need to provide for the poor, as well as taking a stance on social issues. Public figures should take note of these findings, and stop discouraging religious groups from standing firm in their beliefs.

More Good News!



Dear Marriage Supporter,

I just wanted to follow up on my email yesterday with another quick note about some more good news coming out of Iowa.

American Future Project launched a new ad in Iowa featuring Governor Bobby Jindal speaking about the importance of stepping up and defending religious liberty!

You can watch the full ad here.

Governor Jindal

Things are moving and we are gaining momentum! As I mentioned yesterday, NOM is working hard to raise the profile of the marriage issue in the coming presidential race. And, as you can see, it's working!

The recent statements by Senator Cruz, Governor Walker, Governor Bush and now by Governor Jindal about marriage and religious liberty are adding to the momentum we've been able to create through the incredibly successful March for Marriage, the oral arguments at the Supreme Court and our work on the ground in key presidential states such as Iowa.

Won't you please help us build on this momentum and advance our plans to defend marriage by renewing your membership for the next year with a generous donation today?

I'll make a quick donation of $35.00

I'll make a quick donation of $50.00

I'll make a quick donation of $100.00

I'll make a quick donation of $250.00

I'll make a quick donation of $500.00

I'll make a larger donation...

Remember, every dollar you donate will be matched, dollar-for-dollar by another generous donor!

Thank you so much for standing with NOM to defend marriage and religious liberty!

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown


PS — Right now is the time to stand up and defend marriage! We have an opportunity to raise the profile of the marriage issue and the inherent threats to religious liberty that redefining it presents before the Supreme Court issues its decision. And any donation you make will be matched, dollar-for-dollar by a generous donor. Please help us step up and defend marriage at this critical time by making a special gift today. Thank you.

Obama Criticizes Religious Groups for Refusing to Change Their Stance on Marriage

President Obama believes that christian churches should focus less on maintaining allegiance to their position on “divisive” issues such as life and marriage, and instead focus on issues such as alleviating poverty. The irony is that President Obama’s administration has done more than any other administration in history to pursue divisive policies such as abortion on demand, as well as imposing same-sex 'marriage’ on every state in the nation. He has even adopted policies tying foreign aid to a country’s willingness to embrace gay ‘marriage’ and expansion of abortion. If the president truly wished to end the “culture wars,” then he could refrain from starting them in the first instance.

ThinkstockPhotos-451417063Basing his comments on "my own Christian faith," President Obama told the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit that churches should spend less time focusing on abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

The president said, "When it comes to what are you really going to the mat for, what’s the defining issue, when you’re talking in your congregations, what’s the thing that is really going to capture the essence of who we are as Christians, or as Catholics, or what have you, [poverty] is oftentimes viewed as a 'nice to have' relative to an issue like abortion."

The president continued his address in stating that Jesus cares more about “redistribution of wealth” than ending life in the womb and same-sex ‘marriage,’ as well as suggesting that discussion of said moral issues should be discouraged, so churches can get more followers:

The president argued last week that churches would gain more followers if they embraced the “powerful” idea of helping those in poverty. “I think it would be powerful for our faith-based organizations to speak out on [poverty] in a more forceful fashion,” he said.

"I reject his premise,” blogger Stan Guthrie, an editor at large at Christianity Today, commented. “People of faith already do far more for the poor than secular leftists.”

President Obama's comments, he said, exemplified “unbelievable ignorance on display."

With our president and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, suggesting that religious organizations should change their stance on fundamental principles, we must wonder how far they would be willing to go to force these groups to change, as well as how much religious freedom they and similar public figures would “tolerate.”

Source and quotes via LifeSite News.

Should We Accept the Consequences of Religious Freedom?

With any freedom, you must take the good with the bad, and religious freedom is no exception:

ThinkstockPhotos-180853230Is religious freedom desirable? Many Americans will quickly answer without thinking through the implications of their response. Respecting any type of freedom often comes with undesirable consequences.

By favoring freedom of speech, you are protecting the right of people to express themselves in many ways that you consider completely wrong. By favoring the right to keep and bear arms, you run the risk that, somewhere, someone will abuse that right and use a legally purchased handgun in a horrific crime.

But we as Americans have weighed the costs of free speech and the right to bear arms and determined that the desirability of those rights outweighs the negatives that accompany them.

So, is religious freedom desirable? When some people realize that this will protect the cake artist or floral artist who does not want to use their talents to help a same-sex couple celebrate their nuptials, they decide that religious freedom isn’t worth it.

But, as the Alliance Defending Freedom emphasizes:

When religious freedom is extinguished, when individuals are told to separate their faith from their work—to confine it to their home or church—our society loses something of great worth. We lose beauty, inspiration, and innovation born out of service to a higher calling.

When religious freedom is extinguished, when individuals are told to separate their faith from their work—to confine it to their home or church—our society loses something of great worth. We lose beauty, inspiration, and innovation born out of service to a higher calling.

You can read the full post at Alliance Defending Freedom.

There's Something Different About a Wedding: Same-sex Marriage Affects Everyone

In a recent article from The Washington Post, Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, defends her decision to abstain from providing flowers for her friend’s same-sex wedding ceremony:

ThinkstockPhotos-479346023I’ve been a florist in Richmond, Wash., for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve developed close relationships with many of my clients.

One of my favorites was Rob Ingersoll. Ingersoll came in often and we’d talk. Like me, he had an artistic eye. I’d try to create really special arrangements for him. I knew he was gay, but it didn’t matter — I enjoyed his company and his creativity.

Then he asked me to create the floral arrangements for his wedding. I love Rob, and I’d always been happy to design for his special days. But there’s something different about a wedding.

Ultimately, Stutzman decided to act according to her religious conscience, and had to turn down the offer:

When I told Rob, I felt terrible that I couldn’t share this day with him, as I’d shared so many with him before. I took his hands and said, “I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” Rob said he understood, and that he hoped his mom would walk him down the aisle, but he wasn’t sure. We talked about how he got engaged and why they decided to get married after all these years. He asked me for the names of other flower shops. I gave him the names of three floral artists that I knew would do a good job, because I knew he would want something very special. We hugged and he left.

I never imagined what would happen next. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued me after hearing in the media what had happened. That was shocking. Even more surprising, Rob and his partner Curt, with their ACLU attorneys, filed suit shortly thereafter. A judge ruled against me, but this week, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, I appealed.

We’ve always heard that same-sex marriage would never affect anyone aside from the same-sex couples who wanted to be married. But a judge recently told me that my freedom to live and work according to my beliefs about marriage expired the day same-sex marriage became the law in my state.

You can read the full article here.

Marriage and Religious Freedom



Dear Marriage Supporter,

The past few weeks have been a phenomenal shot in the arm for those of us who believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The March for Marriage followed by the oral arguments at the Supreme Court demonstrated incontrovertibly that the will and ability to defend marriage in America is both alive and strong.

I commented last week on the oral arguments in the Supreme Court case focusing on the definition of marriage. I touched briefly upon the answer of the Solicitor General of the United States, Donald Verrilli, to Justice Alito when the justice asked him about how changing the definition of marriage would impact the freedom of religious institutions to operate in accordance with their beliefs that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Justice Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose their non-profit tax status.

He gave the chilling reply that, "It's certainly going to be an issue. I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is going to be an issue."

It's going to be an issue.

Pause for a moment and reflect on this. Here we have a top lawyer in the Obama Administration admitting that things like tax-exempt status for religious institutions are fair game if the definition of marriage is changed.

He's not saying "it could be an issue."

He's not saying "it might become an issue."

No. It IS going to be an issue.

And just how would it become an issue? By the Obama Administration acting unilaterally or in response to some bogus claim of "discrimination" to begin to revoke the tax exemptions of religious charities, schools and other nonprofits. So when a top Obama lawyers says it will be an issue, you can take him at his word.

The Obama Administration's War on Religion

Susan Stamper Brown recently noted that senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett "praised President Obama for his huge part in accelerating the gay marriage cause heard by the Supreme Court of the United States last week."

At a reception hosted by the same-sex 'marriage' lobbyist group Freedom to Marry, she said that "the arc of the moral universe bent a little faster than even we thought it would."

Ms. Brown rightly notes that "the 'moral arc' regarding gay marriage cannot be bent without harmful consequence, but you'd never know that listening to Ms. Jarrett."

Isn't it ironic that the Obama administration now claims to be advancing a "moral arc." I don't know what the source of the administration's moral compass might be — it certainly doesn't seem connected to the views of marriage held by virtually every religion since the dawn of time — but I somehow suspect that the "arc" will continue to bend inexorably toward punishing those of us who hold to the age-old truth that marriage is one man and one woman, ordained by God, to bring the two halves of humanity together and to provide an ideal environment for children.

Protecting The Right To Support Marriage

None of us knows how the US Supreme Court will decide the marriage issue. If they follow the Constitution, they should leave it with the states to decide as they have since the nation was founded, and that would restore traditional marriage in all those states where judges imposed same-sex 'marriage.' But whatever one's position on the definition of marriage, surely we ought to all be able to agree on this:

Nobody should be forced to abandon their beliefs about marriage.

That is why the Congress must move immediately to enact the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (MARFA) which provides that no individual, business, minister or religious organization can be punished by the federal government for refusing to participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding. Specifically, the law prohibits an "adverse action" by the federal government including the denial or revocation of tax exempt status, because a person, business or group believes that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

What MARFA ensures is that people are not forced by the government to abandon their views of marriage and prevents the government from discriminating against people who hold conventional views on marriage and sexuality. Not only must Congress pass this important legislation, but states should do so as well to prevent citizen abuse and discrimination by officials like Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson who is suing a 70 year old Christian grandmother because her religious views precluded her from arranging flowers for a same-sex 'wedding.' There are plenty of florists who would happily provide flowers for a gay wedding; the government does not need to destroy a Christian grandmother because she prefers not to participate.

Please contact your state representatives to urge the introduction of MARFA in your state, and ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor the legislation. MARFA is expected to be introduced in Congress any day now.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown


PS: The next few months will be pivotal and we have just thrown everything we had into the fight — between the March for Marriage, the Supreme Court fight and our tireless efforts to communicate the truth of marriage through the media — our coffers are empty. It's imperative that the justices and the media hear from us loudly and regularly on behalf of the American people that we expect them to uphold our votes for marriage and the right of voters and legislators to preserve marriage. They need to know that any decision purporting to redefine marriage will be seen as judicial activism and be considered illegitimate.

We've come so far, but the next two months is critical to the fight. Won't you please recommit to the fight to defend marriage at this pivotal juncture by making a generous donation to NOM today?

ICYMI: Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Marriage

ThinkstockPhotos-167195559If you were unable to listen to the arguments brought before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, below is a recording, as well as a link to the transcripts of the articles that were brought forward.

No matter the outcome, the truth about marriage cannot be changed.

Please keep up your prayers and remember that the fight is far from over! As long as there are men and women willing to fight to protect marriage and religious liberty, there will always be hope.

What Opposing Religious Freedom Really Means

In The Federalist op-ed, Iowa pastor Christopher Neuendorf asserts: “Disagreements are a part of life. As we constantly hear, diversity is built into American culture, and that includes diversity of opinion. I can deal with that. I don’t need everyone to agree with me in order to be a functional member of society.”

With the recent outrage over state laws protecting religious freedom, Rev. Neuendorf identifies a grave concern: in denouncing RFRAs, the rights of any religious individual to exist in our society are being denounced.

ThinkstockPhotos-77872409I’m not exaggerating. I’m not indulging in hyperbole. This is what you’re saying when you post on social media that you are outraged with Indiana’s efforts to protect religious freedom: that I, your family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, fellow citizen, am no longer allowed to exist in your world. I must conform myself to your way of thinking, or face financial ruin and ostracism.

Consider what Indiana’s RFRA offered before Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his fellow lawmakers neutered it: if sued by a same-sex couple for refusing to provide goods and services that constitute helping celebrate a same-sex wedding, business owners might find protection from devastating lawsuits. Or they might not. It’s up to a judge, and of course we’ve learned not to hope for too much sympathy from our courts these days. But even the potential that a business owner might get away with such stand without facing total annihilation is intolerable to our passionate defenders of non-discrimination.

It doesn’t matter how much we protest that we’re not talking about denying goods and services to our homosexual neighbors as homosexuals. It doesn’t matter that any Christian business would graciously serve food, baked goods, flowers, or any other commodity to any homosexual person who might enter that establishment. It doesn’t matter that we’re talking only about those limited circumstances in which we are expected to become actively involved in the celebration of behavior that our conscience insists is sinful. Such protestations consistently fall on deaf ears.

Rev. Neuendorf has struck on the heart of the “new intolerance”: no one who disagrees is allowed to continue living and working in our society. This is a blatant attempt to justify silencing any opposition. But the “new intolerance” will never be able to change the truth, no matter how aggressively they attack. No matter what, the voices of the American people will still ring loud and clear, for marriage, for truth, and for freedom.