When The Courts Overrule The First Amendment

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Unfortunately, it seems as if many of our courts have not read the Constitution.

On Wednesday, The Conservative Tribune reported:

The First Amendment guarantees that the government cannot suppress free speech or favor a religion — but a court in New Jersey is violating both of those promises.

According to a report from the Thomas More Law Center, residents of Bernards Township, New Jersey, have been banned from bringing up the topic of Muslims or Islam at an upcoming public hearing.

That public forum is intended to determine whether a mosque should be built in the community.

How can you determine whether or not a mosque should be built if you are not permitted to talk about either Islam or Muslims at the public hearing?

The article further reports:

In response to the controversial order, the Thomas More Law Center has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Christopher and Loretta Quick, who live just 200 feet away from the proposed mosque site.

…Additionally, the lawsuit argues that the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, or “ISBR,” is permitted to make any sort of comments about Jews or Christians without restriction, but the government is actively suppressing free speech in the other direction.

“While claiming that the Township had a religious animus against Muslims, ISBR hid from the public view its animus toward Christians and Jews, by not only hiding anti-Christian and anti-Semitic verses published on its website, but also hiding its significant ties to ISNA [Islamic Society of North America],” attorney Richard Thompson explained in a news release.

“Instead of standing up to defend its citizens against ISBR’s hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bias, the Township colluded with ISBR’s ‘Civilization Jihad’ by capitulating to payment of millions of dollars to ISBR, allowing the construction of the new mosque and Islamic center in violation of zoning codes, and now even suppressing speech concerning Islam or Muslims at a public meeting,” Thompson continued.

True enough, the court-ordered settlement which forbids citizens from bringing up their concerns about Islam is clearly printed for anyone to see.

One of the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) is to institute Sharia Law over non-Muslim populations. That is exactly what is being attempted here. Hopefully this case will move forward to a judge who might have actually read the Constitution.

How Media Bias Works

Mike Adams posted an article at Townhall today illustrating how the media can slant a story, provide totally false information, and convince people that they are telling the truth. The article was written by Dr. Mike Adams, a professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, author of Letters to a Young Progressive, and host of www.RightlyOffended.com. Dr. Adams holds a Ph.D. in Sociology/Criminology.

The article chronicles how The Washington Post totally misrepresented an event that Dr. Adams was involved in.

The article at Townhall reports:

Washington Post reporter Cleve Wootson was recently given the responsibility of reporting on a lawsuit in which I am involved. The story he was assigned to write is actually quite simple. A California university unconstitutionally denied a student group’s request for funding to host a conservative speaker (me) on their campus. The decision to deny funding was a blatant case of viewpoint discrimination that is supported by a mountain of evidence. Thus, Wootson had an easy story to write if he simply stuck to the facts. Instead, his article wound up being a masterpiece of bad journalism.

Wootson begins his article with an image of campus violence that is totally unrelated to the group that invited me to speak. He then provides a list of “white nationalists” who have recently spoken on other campuses. He continues his journalistic hit piece by characterizing Charles Murray as a person who “has been called a white nationalist” – because, of course, anonymous accusations define the man. Only after sufficiently poisoning the well does Wootson get around to mentioning the point of the article.

The paragraph above is Mr. Wootson’s attempt to link a conservative speaker with the white nationalists group. That has recently been the tactic the political left has been using to try to squelch conservative speech. There is a local example of this that I hope to report on in the near future.

Dr. Adams then explains how this works:

Here is a newsflash for Cleve Wootson: Cleve Wootson has also been called a white nationalist!

Of course, I don’t have to say who called Cleve Wootson a white nationalist because I am using the journalistic standards of Cleve Wootson and The Washington Post. Nor do I need to mention the fact that Cleve Wootson is actually black. I’m not interested in accuracy. I just know that calling someone a white nationalist is the best way to impugn his character and to shut him down when he is trying to speak. What’s good enough for the Washington compost and Cleve Wootson is good enough for me!

An unsuspecting reader of the Washington Post story comes away with the idea that a white nationalist (aka racist) was not allowed to speak on campus. Since racism is ugly and does no one any good, that seems like a good thing. However, I am reminded of the time that the American Nazis marched in Skokie, Illinois, a town that included a number of Holocaust survivors. There were very few people in the town that supported their march, but they obtained a permit, and under the First Amendment, they were allowed to march. I hate that, but it is necessary to allow such things in order to insure the freedom of speech and assembly for everyone. The First Amendment protects our right to free speech. It says nothing about limiting the speech of those whose ideas we find offensive.

The article at Townhall concludes with another statement by Cleve Wootson and Dr. Adams’ response:

“Most recently (Adams) wrote an article outing a young woman, using her full name, and mocked her sexuality and religion. Adams’s followers have since begun sending death threats to the student.”

A little research would have shown that the woman I “outed” was the president of an LGBT club who regularly did media interviews on LGBT issues and publicly identified herself as a “queer.” Those are not my words. Those are her words. A little more research would have shown that the accusations of inciting violence were thoroughly investigated. Unsurprisingly, they were proven to be false. No one’s “followers” threatened the fragile social justice warrior. It was just another campus hoax that leftists pretended to believe in order to give their lives meaning.

But none of this business about “truth” matters to Cleve Wootson, who has been called a white nationalist. He got his degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, which is a school that offers fake classes to its semi-literate athletes. He also writes for The Washington Post, which offers fake stories to its semi-literate audience.

The Washington Post article about viewpoint discrimination is truly fake news. It is totally misleading.

This Is What Justice In A Muslim Country Looks Like

CNN is reporting today that Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has been found guilty of blasphemy and has been sentenced to two years in prison.

The article reports:

Ahok was detained immediately after the verdict and taken to the Cipinang detention center in East Jakarta, local media reported. He said he would immediately appeal the court’s decision.
The Jakarta governor sparked controversy in late 2016 after quoting a verse from the Quran to prove to his supporters that there were no restrictions on Muslims voting for a non-Muslim politician.
Almost no one who has been charged under the blasphemy law has ever escaped conviction, associate professor of Indonesian politics at the Australian National University Greg Fealy told CNN.
“The blasphemy law has really been a blight on the rule of law and democracy in Indonesia for decades,” he said, adding that “the fact that Ahok was charged at all was really a product of massive street demonstrations that frightened the government into acting.”
This is one way free speech can be limited in a Muslim-majority country. In America, because blasphemy is not an everyday concept, the concept of ‘hate speech’ is being used to undermine our First Amendment rights. We also have the concept of ‘hate crime’ being introduced into our justice system. Technically a hate crime judges the motive of a criminal, which the courts have neither the authority or the means to judge. However, the concept has become a part of our justice system. That also can be used as a tool to limit free speech.

This Might Be Part Of The Reason Many Of Our College Students Are ‘Snowflakes’

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about Kevin Shaw, a student at Los Angeles Pierce College. Mr. Shaw was handing out Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution in November 2016. A college administrator told him he could not distribute the document outside the campus free speech zone, an area on campus that is approximately 616 square feet. Mr. Shaw has filed a lawsuit challenging the Los Angeles Pierce College and the entire LA Community College District’s policies that it claims restricts the free speech rights of students.

The article reports:

“Students like Kevin go to college to learn and grow in conversation with their peers, but a free speech quarantine like Pierce’s threatens to punish students who speak their minds in the wrong place,” said Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, the director of litigation for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, in a prepared statement.

“The law is clear: Public colleges like Pierce can’t force students into tiny slices of campus to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Beck-Coon.

FIRE maintains the district’s unconstitutional policies are restricting speech on campus. Thirteen administrators are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

“This is a civil rights action to protect and vindicate Shaw and his fellow students’ rights to freedom of expression under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit states. “The District and Pierce College’s policies and enforcement practices unlawfully restrict these rights.”

Free speech is an important part of our representative republic. What do we gain by limiting the free expression of ideas on our college campuses? What would happen to students if they were exposed to a variety of ideas at college and forced to evaluate them logically? Is that even possible on today’s college campuses?

 

What Does The Law Actually Say?

According to the Legal Resource Library, these are the requirements to vote in a federal election in America:

  • You are a U.S. citizen (either by birth or naturalization)
  • You meet your state’s residency requirements
  • You are 18 year old. (Some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries or register to vote if they will be 18 before the general election).
You must be legally registered to vote in your jurisdiction in order to be able to vote in federal elections. State laws vary on voter requirements.

The U.S. Constitution gives citizens have the right to vote in elections. It does not give that right to non-citizens.

The following video was posted on YouTube on November 6:

This is the response to that video from Senator Jeff Sessions:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) issued the following statement after President Obama‘s comments on illegal immigrants voting in U.S. elections:  

“I am shocked that the President of the United States—who is the chief law enforcement officer for the nation and to whom all federal law enforcement officers report—failed to strongly and immediately object to a statement by an interviewer that unlawful immigrants can and should vote in U.S. elections. The interviewer proposed a radical and illegal action, which the President had a duty to condemn.

The President must immediately issue a statement to make crystal clear that only citizens of the United States have the right to vote, and that any noncitizen who votes, and anyone who assists noncitizens to vote, does so illegally and is subject to prosecution. The failure to clarify this statement will only add further credibility to the public’s concerns about the integrity of this election.” 

For those of you who may argue that President Obama was not referring to illegal aliens, why then was he discussing the fear of being deported? American citizens do not have to fear deportation.

Are We Losing Our Religious Freedom?

Yesterday Fox News reported the story of Eric Walsh, a lay minister in Georgia. The State of Georgia has asked that Dr. Walsh turn over copies of his sermons.

The article reports:

“Please produce a copy of your sermon notes and/or transcripts,” Attorney General Samuel Olens wrote to attorneys representing Dr. Eric Walsh.

…Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister had been hired in May 2014 by as a District Health Director with the Georgia Department of Public Health. A week later, a government official asked him to submit copies of his sermons for review. He complied and two days later he was fired.

His attorneys said the government was curious about sermons Dr. Walsh delivered on health, marriage, sexuality, world religions, science and creationism. He also preached on what the Bible says regarding homosexuality.

He has since filed a federal lawsuit charging state officials with engaging in religious discrimination.

“He was fired for something he said in a sermon,” attorney Jeremy Dys told me. “If the government is allowed to fire someone over what he said in his sermons, they can come after any of us for our beliefs on anything.”

Dr. Walsh has assembled a powerhouse legal team comprised of Parks, Chesin & Walbert along with First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms.

“It’s an incredible intrusion on the sanctity of the pulpit,” Dys said. “This is probably the most invasive reach into the pulpit by the state that I’ve ever seen.”

The First Amendment applies to churches. The government has no right to examine or control what is preached from America‘s pulpits. Although separation of church and state is not part of the Constitution (the concept is based on a letter from Thomas Jefferson), the Constitution states that the government does not have the right to interfere with the free exercise of religion.

This is not the first time a pastor has been asked to submit his sermons to the government. About two years ago I posted an article about a similar request in Texas.

These requests are unconstitutional. We need to make sure that they are not allowed to stand.

 

Attacking Religious Freedom In Massachusetts

CBN News posted an article today about the battle for religious freedom in Massachusetts.

The article explains the timeline of the events:

Four churches in Massachusetts are suing the state over a new anti-discrimination law that provides no exemption for churches.

Instead, the statute restricts speech that might conflict with government views on gender identity and forces churches to open their bathrooms and locker rooms to people based on their perceived gender identity.

…The state legislature added gender identity as a protected class to the state’s public accommodation law in July 2016. On Sept. 1, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination issued a “Gender Identity Guidance,” which determined that a church would be considered as a place of public accommodation “if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is handling the case for the four churches. The four churches are Horizon Christian Fellowship in Fitchburg, Abundant Life Church in Swansea, House of Destiny Ministries in Southbridge, and Faith Christian Fellowship in Haverhill.

The article reports:

“All events held at a church on its property have a religious purpose and the government has no authority to violate the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion and speech,” Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Christiana Holcomb said.

The law went into effect Oct. 1.  But opponents of the law celebrated a major win late Tuesday in their efforts to repeal it.  The Massachusetts secretary of state has certified the required number of signatures needed to put a repeal measure on the 2018 ballot.

It will be interesting to see if the issue makes it on to the 2018 ballot, even though it has the necessary signatures. A number of years ago, the voters of Massachusetts collected enough signatures to put gay marriage on the ballot, but somehow that never happened. The gay marriage law that took effect in Massachusetts was the result of a court decision–not a vote of the people. Unfortunately, I think this issue may be resolved the same way.

 

What About First Amendment Laws?

This is the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is nothing here about separation of church and state–that concept was based on a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in1802. He was reiterating the fact that the government of America was not going to establish a national religion. He was assuring the group that they would be free to practice their religion and live their lives accordingly.

Fast forward to Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Women in the World Summit on April 23, 2015:

In case you missed it:

Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.

If you want religious freedom to continue in America, you cannot support Hillary Clinton. Just for the record, pregnancy care is available to all women in America and will continue to be so regardless of who wins this election. Abortion is a million dollar industry that pours millions into Democratic campaign coffers. That is the reason so many Democrats support it. Abortion needs to be legal when the heath of the mother is threatened by pregnancy, but it should be done in hospitals under medical supervision–it should not be a million dollar industry. If you are not familiar with the percentage of minority children killed in abortion vs. the percentage of while children killed in abortion, please look up the numbers. Also look up the beliefs of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and her comments about race.

Free Speech Under Attack

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the upcoming transfer of the Internet. On September 30, the United States will transfer control of the Internet to a multi-stakeholder, nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

The article reports:

But Cruz (Senator Ted Cruz) and other critics have labeled the transfer an “Internet surrender,” and say the ceding of U.S. control will allow more than 160 countries, including authoritarian regimes, to have some influence over what is allowed and prohibited on the Internet.

During Congressional hearings last week, ICANN’s CEO and President Goran Marby told Congress that he did not believe that ICANN was bound by the First Amendment. So why are turning over something that provides an alternative to the heavily biased media we have in America to an organization that will not protect free speech? That is a dangerous thing to do–particularly right before an important election.

 

It Depends On What You Mean By Free Speech

I am about to get into the weeds here, but I want to explain what is happening to our freedom of speech in America and where the threat to the First Amendment is coming from.

In his book Catastrophic Failure, Stephen Coughlin explains, “In the United States, the initial amendment of the Constitution indicates the primacy of free expression. The framers of the Universal Declaration of Human RIghts–understanding that free expression is linked with freedom of though and conscience–mirrored the First Amendment’s intent in Article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

“The Cairo Declaration addresses free expression in its Article 22, using language that parallels that of the Universal Declaration:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.”

The Cairo Declaration embodies the Islamic definition of free speech. As you can see, it differs from the American definition of free speech. Unfortunately, there are those in America (some of whom have a great influence on public opinion) who are moving toward the Islamic definition of free speech.

The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) has released a press release stating the the AFLC has filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

The press release states:

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider[] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

…David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

Unfortunately, there is an implied threat to those speaking out against Islam. Islam in its end game is about political control. One part of gaining political control is to silence any opposition. Although I can understand the reasons for censoring speech critical of Islam (protecting assets, employees, avoiding terrorist attacks), it is folly to believe that anyone benefits from being ignorant of the goals of Islam. Some Americans have done their own research into the Muslim Brotherhood Plan for America (laid out in government exhibit 3-85 from the Holy Land Foundation Trial– the first part is in a language other than English, the second part is in English) and realized what civilization jihad is. If this is a new concept for you, please check out the centerforsecuritypolicy.org for more information. There is a move to take away Americans First Amendment rights. We need to stop that move.

 

What Did You Learn In School Today?

The following essay is taken from The East Carolinian, the student newspaper of East Carolina University:

Posted on Jul 6, 2016

by Kai Jones

Ahhh, the Fourth of July. A day where most of us get a day off to celebrate how our country violently rebelled against our mother country Britain, so that wealthy white American men could carry out genocide against the indigenous, build a country on black people’s backs, and force women to be eye candy and servants. Gotta love America!

On Monday, America celebrated its 240th blood drenched birthday. And most of us celebrated with fireworks and consuming all sorts of meat products. We celebrate a day when America proclaimed it’s freedom, as it called an entire group of people “property.” And not much has changed. Muslims are terrorist, Mexicans are “wetbacks”, illegals, blacks are criminals, women are equal yet paid less, and if you have sex with anyone that’s not conventional you don’t deserve rights.

 But “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” right? Wrong. The only people free are wealthy white men, because everyone else faces some sort of oppression. Hardly anyone in America is actually brave, because they don’t want to fight for what’s right. Everyone in America is perfectly fine with what happens, and when someone calls for change, people get afraid and call for them to be knocked off their podium.

Take Jesse Williams for instance. He stands up, calls for equality and accountability, and then someone feels the need to make a petition to call for him to be fired. A half-African-American man calls out the bigoted racist system that oppresses so many black people and he’s the racist. But as Jesse Williams said, ”If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression.”

Moving forward, my beef is not with the Fourth of July, as I enjoy the day off and spending time with my family, and fireworks and food. But plain and simple I have a problem with the attitude of the people who celebrate the Fourth with this patriotic, fake “I love America” attitude.

I understand that this attitude is mainly contributed by the people with white privilege, but celebrating a country that oppresses multiple sections of people is wrong. It’s like celebrating a serial rapist’s birthday. Because America did rape the Native Americans and the African continent and it’s people.

America is a great country…for some. But for people like me, it is a failing country that could use vast improvements.

I was made aware of this essay by the Editorial Team at the Beaufort Observer. The editors made a few very good comments on the essay:


This dude is entitled to his opinion. But he is not entitled to use our tax dollars, nor student fees, to express it. And make no mistake about it, the East Carolinian would not exist without our tax dollars and the authority given by the General Assembly and UNC Board of Governors to confiscate student fees from students at ECU. And don’t try to convince us of this nonsense that the tax payers and students with no choice have an obligation to provide the dude with a platform to spew his hatred.

…The real problem we have with this opinion piece is what it signifies about what this dude has been taught. He did not originate these ideas. He got them from a classroom or library and from professors paid by the hard earned tax dollars of the people of this state. And it is there that the new Chancellor should begin.

The article in the Beaufort Observer makes a few suggestions about how the new Chancellor at ECU might begin to change the culture at the college that produces this sort of thinking.

I, as usual, have a few comments of my own. If this student truly believes that the only people in America that are free and able to get ahead are those with ‘white privilege’, why is he bothering to go to college? If he is so oppressed, how is he able to go to college? How has his free speech been limited if he is able to publish this trash in the college newspaper? There will be no consequences for his horrid essay except that many people who truly love America will disagree with his point of view. No one will disagree with his right to state his opinion (except that it is sad that he is using a forum paid for by the government of the country he so despises). Just a side note, Jesse Williams doesn’t seem to be struggling too much under the yoke of ‘white privilege.’

Students tend to listen to and respect their teachers. They are blank slates, believing what they are told. Teachers have an opportunity to build positive, motivated future citizens who will be assets to society. Instead, many of our teachers are building whiny little self-righteous victims with an entitlement mentality. Maybe we need to clean out our teaching profession along with our government.

It’s Time To Elect People Who Have Read The U.S. Constitution

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article quoting a letter written by nineteen California legislators to the state attorney general.

The article reports:

California congressmen wrote a letter to state attorney general Kamala Harris claiming the freedom of speech “is not designed to protect fraud and deceit” of the likes being spread by oil company ExxonMobil about global warming.

Nineteen Democratic lawmakers told Harris her “investigation as to whether ExxonMobil lied about the truth of climate change and misled investors does not constitute an effort to silence speech or scientific research.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” lawmakers, including California Reps. Maxine Waters and Ted Lieu, wrote to Harris.

So these legislators want the attorney general to decide which speech is protected. Evidently they believe that only some speech is protected by the First Amendment. I think I have heard this story before in Animal Farm where all animals were equal, but some animals were more equal than others.

This Isn’t Good For Our Society

Breakpoint posted an article today about the intolerance our culture is currently showing toward those who hold Biblical beliefs.

The article includes a wonderful comment about popular conceptions of open-mindedness:

You’ve seen those ridiculous “Coexist” bumper stickers, right? You know, the ones where the word is spelled out using religious symbols from Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Gay rights, Judaism, and so on?

I call it ridiculous because, as someone once wrote: “The C wants to kill the E, X, T, and the O. The O offers peaceful non-resistance, which will be ineffective if real trouble breaks out. The E feels like it’s been oppressed, making it intolerant of the C, the X, and the T. The I and the S are numerically irrelevant, but are just necessary to spell out the word. And the sticker is mostly directed at the T (or the Christian), who ironically poses no threat whatsoever to any of the others.”

In other words, the “Coexist” bumper sticker slogan assumes that each ideology be emptied of its actual conviction if its to work. And according to Colson Center board member Jennifer Marshall, that’s what big business is currently trying to sell to the American people.

The article points out that those who claim that they are in favor of coexistence are not willing to coexist themselves. A recently-passed Mississippi law allows those who hold Biblical beliefs on homosexuality to refuse to participate in homosexual weddings and to allow their religious convictions determine their rental policies if they are landlords. The law simply prevents discrimination against those who hold Biblical beliefs on matters regarding homosexuality.

The article concludes:

“Mississippi’s policy shows that we can coexist,” Marshall says. “Why would big business oppose that?”

That’s a good question given the number of times large corporate entities have entered these hot debates just in the last few years. Think of all of the corporate-led attacks and blackmail against common-sense religious freedom legislation in Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and now Mississippi. And then think of the bakers, florists, and photographers in places such as New Mexico, Colorado and Washington State who have been forced to choose between their beliefs and ruinous fines forcing them out of business. They were not allowed to co-exist, at least not without compromising their convictions.

As Jennifer Marshall points out, true advocates of cultural coexistence seek conscience protections for all, not just those who adhere to the vision of the sexual revolution. Citing a poll that says 63 percent of state residents support the law, Jennifer writes, “Citizens in Mississippi and elsewhere are looking for solutions that defuse cultural tension over issues of sexual orientation and gender identity . . .The corporate establishment’s campaign against these common sense policies disregards all that. Citizens would do well to see through the big business marketing blitz against religious liberty. This corporate messaging puts neither the common good nor constitutional principle first.”

The First Amendment states:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Living life according to your beliefs is one example of the free exercise of your religion. The group shaming of Christian beliefs is not only damaging to our culture, it is unconstitutional.

The First Amendment Is In Danger

The First Amendment protects the right of free speech. It reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Evidently some of our state attorneys general are not aware of this law.

On Friday, The Blaze reported:

It only took a week before the warnings from free speech advocates to come to fruition about the 17 state attorneys general launching investigations into climate change skeptics, as the probe has expanded beyond an energy company to a think tank.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank in Washington, moved to quash a subpoena from the U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker.

The Virgin Islands subpoenaed 10 years worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s research on climate change and energy policy. This included private donor information. The demand is for information from 1997 to 2007.

“CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement. “It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group.”

The subpoena itself is part of several states’ investigations into whether Exxon-Mobil violated any laws in showing skepticism about climate change. Several other states, led by New York state Attorney General Erich Schneiderman, are using the racketeering statutes – commonly used to go after organized crime – to investigate companies government officials say might have misled the public about global warming.

States are investigating whether Exxon-Mobil violated laws by showing skepticism about climate change. What? Showing skepticism about something is now a crime?

On Monday, The Daily Signal reported:

Speaking at a press conference on March 29, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “The bottom line is simple: Climate change is real.” He went on to say that if companies are committing fraud by “lying” about the dangers of climate change, they will “pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.”

The coalition of 17 inquisitors are calling themselves “AGs United for Clean Power.” The coalition consists of 15 state attorneys general (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State), as well as the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Sixteen of the seventeen members are Democrats, while the attorney general for the Virgin Islands, Claude Walker, is an independent.

The inquisitors are threatening legal action and huge fines against anyone who declines to believe in an unproven scientific theory.

In the Middle Ages, I believe that those who stated that the earth was round were treated the way that climate change skeptics are being treated by these attorneys general.

The Daily Signal further reports:

The officials on hand during the announcement talked only about targeting large companies. But Anthony Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist and author of “In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail,” fears it could expand to individuals.

“RICO, to my knowledge, is meant to target organized crime, drug traffickers and illegal gambling, not energy companies,” Sadar told TheBlaze. “If it can be used to make big industries cave, then they could go after others that view long-range global climate projections with some skepticism.”

Attorney and author Chris Horner, a senior fellow at CEI, agrees.

“It is clear that, with most opposition already chilled and most support for opponents already scared off, the itch this effort is trying to scratch is the desire to coerce a massive fund to underwrite the global warming industry,” Horner told TheBlaze.

“That explains the call for civil RICO. Still, if they manage to get an investigation rolling into political speech as racketeering, nothing inherently limits it from turning into a criminal pursuit; any state or federal department of justice official who joined in in such a scheme would have already abandoned any normal restraining impulses,” Horner said. “Similarly, there is nothing inherently limiting these investigations to corporations or groups.”

It is my fondest hope that the companies investigated will sue the state attorneys general involved in this into the next galaxy. This is a total affront to free speech. It also sounds very much like a totalitarian government bringing in the thought police. This is a total misuse of the RICO statutes. There needs to be a huge pushback against the states that are involved in this.

When watching this situation, we need to remember that climate change could very quickly become a billion dollar industry. To some extent it already has. Government subsidies finance alternative energy companies, and the United Nations wants to redistribute the wealth of prosperous countries in the name of past sins that may have impacted the climate. Oddly enough, the wealth would move from free countries to countries where the  money would go to tyrants leading the country and not to the poorer people who might actually need it.

For anyone new to reading this blog, one of the most informative sites on the internet for valid information on climate change is wattsupwiththat. I strongly recommend checking that site periodically to see the next stunt attempted by those who will profit greatly if they can convince the rest of us that we cause climate change.

When Did Our Government Begin Bullying Nuns?

Yesterday CBN News posted a story about the Supreme Court case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The article reports:

The Catholic charity was founded nearly 180 years ago to “offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ.”

In the hearing, the justices appeared to be deeply divided over the Obama administration’s plan to exempt The Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based groups from being required to pay for birth control for women insured under their health plans.

The conservative justices on the high court sounded in favor of the complaint by the groups that the administration’s exemption plan goes against their religious rights.

Where does the government get the right to force a religious organization to purchase something that goes against their religious convictions?

The American Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

This is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What the Obama Administration is attempting to do is limit the ability of the Little Sisters of the Poor to freely exercise their religious beliefs in the public square.

The article at CBN News concludes:

If the court’s ruling is a 4-4 tie, that would mean four appeals court rulings in favor of the administration would be upheld. However, in parts of the country where another appeals court agreed with the faith-based groups, different rules would apply.

Another outcome of a tie could be shelving the case until after Scalia’s replacement is seated on the bench. That scenario emphasizes the importance of the judicial leanings of any nominee to the court, an issue currently hotly contested in Washington.

Although President Barack Obama nominated his pick to replace Scalia, Republican senators are trying to stall the process until a new president is in office. Republicans hope a conservative president will then nominate someone more conservative, with leanings similar to Scalia’s.

The court is expected to rule by the end of June.

If the government can limit the religious freedom of a charity organization of nuns that has helped the elderly for 180 years, they can limit anyone’s religious freedom. Regardless of how this case is decided, the religious rights of Americans are under attack and need to be protected.


If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is a children’s book published in 2013. The basic story is that if you give a mouse a cookie he will expect milk and other things to go with it. Well, a company in Wisconsin recently saw this scenario acted out in real life.

The Independent Journal Review posted an article about Ariens Manufacturing.

The article reports:

Dozens of Muslim employees at a Wisconsin manufacturing company claim that they were forced to quit this week, after the company changed its prayer-on-the-job policy to one that prevents them from participating in their daily prayers to Mecca.

WBAY-TV reported that before Thursday, Somali Muslims employed by Ariens Manufacturing were allowed to leave the producing line twice a shift in order to participate in two of the five daily prayers required by the Islamic faith.

The company offered the employees the opportunity to pray during their break time in designated prayer rooms. Note that they were willing to establish designated prayer rooms. The employees stated that praying only during their breaks goes against their religion.

The accommodation these employees were asking for would not have been granted to any other religious group–they were not singled out.

The article concludes:

Per law established by the the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission on religious tolerance in the workplace, “an employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer.”

The Council for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) is also calling on Ariens to reverse its policy, per a Tweet sent on Saturday.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Islamic people who decide to come to America need to understand that the U.S. Constitution is the basis for American law. It is not subject to Sharia Law, which would demand that the company accommodate people leaving the manufacturing assembly line several times a day. Unfortunately, those who truly practice Islam believe that Sharia Law supersedes all other law. A Democracy or Representative Republic is not a valid form of government in Islam. CAIR has gotten involved to see if they can for Americans to accept Sharia Law in this instance rather than uphold the U.S. Constitution.

The New Boss Seems No Different From The Old Boss

Paul Ryan took over as Speaker of the House in October. It was hoped that he would do a better job of opposing the liberal policies of President Obama than John Boehner. It seems to me that all he has accomplished is to advance the policies of the Republican establishment while ignoring the voice of the conservatives which form the base of the party. The more unhappy Republicans become with their leadership in Washington, the stronger the candidacy of Donal Trump for President becomes. As I have previously stated, I am not a Trump supporter, but I believe he represents a temper tantrum on the part of the Republican base, and the Washington Republicans keep adding fuel to the fire by not responding to that base.

My evaluation of the omnibus budget deal is based on two articles from Power Line. One is written by Paul Mirengoff about the impact of the bill on the Department of Education, and the other is written by John Hinderaker about the impact of the bill on American workers.

Mr. Mirengoff states:

I want to focus on one area that I care very much about — education. The omnibus bill apparently grants a 7 percent increase in the budget for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

This outfit does all it can to impose the left’s agenda at the K-12 and college levels. In doing so, it often ignores the law, defining perfectly legal conduct as unlawful.

If the OCR’s resources are stretched thin, it’s because of its overreach, based on a willful misreading of the law. By increasing OCR’s budget, Congress rewards its misconduct. The budget should be slashed, not increased.

The article lists some of the recent actions of the OCR:

1. OCR’s school discipline policy has encouraged districts across the country to adopt racial quotas in discipline.

2. OCR’s guidance purports to convert ordinary incidents of schoolyard bullying into violations of federal law.

3. OCR misstates applicable law on sexual assault and harassment on campus, encourages unfair treatment for some accused students, and allows colleges and universities to abridge First Amendment rights.

These people don’t need more money–they just need to go away.

John Hinderaker deals with the impact of the bill on American workers. He quotes Senator Jeff Sessions:

The more than 2,000 page year-end funding bill contains a dramatic change to federal immigration law that would increase by as much as four-fold the number of low-wage foreign workers provided to employers under the controversial H-2B visa program, beyond what is currently allowed. These foreign workers are brought in exclusively to fill blue collar non-farm jobs in hotels, restaurants, construction, truck driving, and many other occupations sought by millions of Americans.

At a time of record immigration – with a full 83% of the electorate wanting immigration frozen or reduced – the GOP-led Congress is about to deliver Obama a four-fold increase to one of the most controversial foreign worker programs. The result? Higher unemployment and lower wages for Americans.

…The bill also funds sanctuary cities and illegal alien resettlement, allows the President to continue issuing visas to countries that refuse to repatriate violent criminal aliens, and funds the President’s ongoing lawless immigration actions – including his unimpeded 2012 executive amnesty for alien youth.

As feared, the effect is to fund the President’s entire immigration agenda.

I suspect that there are many Americans who would have been willing to endure the non-hardship of a government shutdown to avoid these two aspects of the omnibus spending bill. It really is time for new leadership in Washington. No one there (with very few exceptions) is listening to the American people who voted them into office.

Haven’t These People Read The U. S. Constitution?

ABC News posted an article yesterday about Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s remarks in response to the killings in San Bernardino this week. The Attorney General is prepared to take decisive action.

The article reports

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch pledged that the Department of Justice will go after hate speech that might incite violence against the Muslim community, she told a crowd of Muslim-Americans and supporters Thursday night.

“Obviously this is a country that is based on free speech,” Lynch told the audience at the Muslim Advocates dinner in Arlington, VA. “But when that edges towards violence…we will take action.”

Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group, asked Lynch to address concerns about an uptick in anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes.

Since 9/11, Lynch says that the Department of Justice has investigated more than 11,000 acts of anti-Muslim rhetoric, which have led to 45 prosecutions. “I think sadly, that number is going to rise,” said Lynch.

I truly believe that these people have their priorities backwards. She is prosecuting Americans for speech. Is she prosecuting those Muslims who are terrorists for their terrorism?

As I have written before, one of the interim goals of that part of the Muslim population that espouses the idea of a world-side caliphate is to bring non-Muslims under Sharia Law. Under Islam “Defamation of Islam” is a crime which can be punished by death. Defamation is defined as any statement the hearer regards as negative. Truth has no role in this decision. Under Sharia Law even the definition of slander is not concerned with truth–it is concerned with how the statement makes the hearer feel. Sharia Law and free speech are incompatible, and any attempt to limit free speech by anyone should be looked on very suspiciously.

The article further reports:

In recent weeks, Donald Trump advocated for a national registry of Muslim Americans — which he later denied — and claimed that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated after the September 11 attacks.

“The demagoguery has to stop,” Muslim American Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN), who introduced Lynch, told ABC News. Carson said that public figures make these remarks because they “get affirmation from being provocative.”

The fist statement is an outright lie, aimed at the low-information voter (see transcript of conversation that charge is taken from), the second statement has been documented to be true by Washington Post stories and videos taken from news reports at the time.

The bottom line here is that you can defame anything you want under the First Amendment. If you slander an individual, you may wind up in court; and if you slander a race, someone may decide you are an idiot, but you do have the First Amendment right to be an idiot if you choose to do so.

The Attorney General is supposed to enforce the U.S. Constitution–not undermine it. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the country–it is his (or her) job to uphold the law and the U.S. Constitution–not make up her own law.

What Is Being Said Here?

Howie Carr at The Boston Herald posted an article today about remarks Secretary of State John Kerry made at the U.S. Embassy in Paris on Tuesday.

The article posted:

At the U.S. Embassy in Paris Tuesday, the secretary of state compared the two Muslim terrorist massacres in France this year — the shooting up of the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and then last Friday’s celebration of diversity.

“There’s something different about what happened (Friday) from Hebdo,” he says on the tape, “and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not legitimacy — but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and, ‘OK, they’re really angry because of this or that.’ ”

The implication here is that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were caused by the actions of the editors. Actually, those responsible for the Charlies Hebdo acts were the people who planned them and carried them out. Note to Secretary Kerry–nothing justifies the kind of cold-blooded murder that went on at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.

There is another aspect to this. In his book, Catastrophic Failure, Stephen Coughlin explains that one of the goals of the Islamic Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is to institute Islamic Law on non-Muslims, beginning with the concept of slander. In Islam, slander is defined to any speech that mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true, if it is negative, it is considered slander. The penalty for slander is death. We need to be careful that we do not compromise our free speech rights in this area. People who commit crimes because they do not like what is being said need to know that there will be consequences for their behavior. Unfortunately, what Secretary Kerry said implied that killing people because you don’t like what they published is understandable. Americans need to state clearly that this is neither understandable nor justifiable.

The invented word ‘Islamophobia’ is an example of the attempt to curtain the First Amendment rights of Americans. If we tell the politically incorrect truth about the goals of Islam, that word is often invoked. It is a way of avoiding the truth. It is unfortunate that our Secretary of State did not choose his words more carefully.

I Really Hate What This Child Did, But Is It A Crime?

Today’s Boston Herald posted a story about Michelle Carter, a teenager who is on trial for sending text messages encouraging a fellow student to kill himself.

The article reports:

The lawyer for a Plainville teen — accused of goading her friend via text into killing himself — is defending his client in the wake of a slew of new records released by prosecutors, insisting her callous messages to the dead boy are protected under the First Amendment.

“I continue to maintain that no crime was committed,” Michelle Carter’s lawyer, Joseph P. Cataldo, said in an emailed response to questions from the Herald. “Michelle took no actions and her speech in the form of text messages and telephone calls do not amount to a crime. … Although the district attorney’s office does not like the content of the speech, it is speech which is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment and is not criminalized under our laws.”

What Michelle Carter did was horrible–she encouraged Conrad Roy III to kill himself–complete with instructions, challenges, etc., through text messages. Many of the text messages have been released, and they paint a picture of a calloused, uncaring person who encouraged someone to kill himself. There is no excuse for that–it is horrible behavior, but is it a crime? Doesn’t Conrad Roy III have to take the responsibility for his actions?

I am not defending what this teenager has done, but what law can she be convicted under? She did not lift a hand to help her friend commit suicide–she just encouraged him. I would strongly suggest that someone get her some sort of emotional help to find out why she did such a thing and to prevent her from doing it again. But, what law was broken? You cannot convict someone of a crime unless you can name the crime. A jury is required to rule on the evidence and the law. The evidence may be clear, but what is the law? I realize that what she did was awful, but is it illegal? Should it be? You can change the law if you choose, but you cannot make it retroactive.

First Amendment Rights For All Americans?

First Amendment RightsPlease keep this picture in mind when reading the following article.

This is what the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(The italics and underline are mine.)

Today CBN News posted an interview of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Ms. Wasserman-Schultz stated:

“If you’re a religiously affiliated organization then you have wider latitude in terms of the Constitution and the protections that the First Amendment provides,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

“I think Americans make a distinction between protecting the First Amendment rights of a religious organizations or religiously affiliated organizations and being able to discriminate, broadly, simply because of one individual who owns a business and their own values and their being able to impose those values on either their employers or their customers.”

So let me get this straight–according to Ms. Wasserman-Schultz, the First Amendment only applies to religious organizations–it does not apply to individuals. So churches are allowed to act according to their religious beliefs, but people don’t have that right. Wow.

Individuals who hold traditional religious beliefs are losing their rights. Recently a gag order was put on an Oregon couple who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding (article here). A left-leaning website claimed there was no gag order. Here is the gag order:

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian added a gag order to the fine, ordering the Kleins “to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation.”

The head of the Democrat National Committee does not think individual business owners have First Amendment rights. Please keep this in mind as you consider your vote in the next election.

The Double Standard At Work

On Friday I posted an article about Aaron and Melissa Klein, who ran a bakery called Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They were fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. They were also ordered “to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation.” This occurred in the State of Oregon. I guess Michigan doesn’t do things that way.

This was posted on YouTube on April 2nd of this year:

Now that same-sex marriage is legal, will Muslim bakeries still be able to refuse to bake cakes for those weddings without any consequences?

Losing Our Rights

The Weekly Standard posted an article today about Aaron and Melissa Klein, who previously ran a bakery called Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The bakery is now closed and shuttered after the State of Oregon fined them  $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. To add insult to injury, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian added a gag order to the fine, ordering the Kleins “to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation.”

I am hoping that the gag order will be repealed. The fine should also be repealed, but I don’t see much chance of that happening in Oregon. This is another example of what is happening to our First Amendment–the concept of the ‘free exercise of religion‘ has been replaced with the idea of ‘freedom of religion.’ The concept of ‘free exercise’ allows people to practice their religion in the public square. The concept of ‘freedom of religion’ confines religion to the interior of the church. It is hard to be ‘salt and light’ in a society (as mentioned by Jesus) when you are not allowed to express your views in that society.

Recent Quotes From The Supreme Court

There have been some major cases decided by the Supreme Court in recent days. Paul Mirengoff has posted a number of quotes from the Justices in recent blog articles (here and here). The quotes have to do with the Housing Authority Case and the Gay Marriage Case. In each case, Mr. Mirengoff states that he feels that the Justices were not fully aware of the unintended consequences of their rulings.

In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Mr. Mirengoff points out that both sides of the ruling were aware of the possible consequences.

Justice Alito stated:

No one wants to live in a rat’s nest. Yet in Gallagher v. Magner, 619 F. 3d 823 (2010), a case that we agreed to review several Terms ago, the Eighth Circuit held that the Fair Housing Act (or FHA) could
be used to attack St. Paul, Minnesota’s efforts to combat “rodent infestation” and other violations of the city’s housing code. The court agreed that there was no basis to “infer discriminatory intent” on the part of St. Paul.

Even so, it concluded that the city’s “aggressive enforcement of the Housing Code” was actionable
because making landlords respond to “rodent infestation, missing dead-bolt locks, inadequate sanitation facilities, inadequate heat, inoperable smoke detectors, broken or missing doors,” and the like increased the price of rent. Since minorities were statistically more likely to fall into “the bottom bracket for household adjusted median family income,” they were disproportionately affected by those rent increases, i.e., there was a “disparate impact.” Id., at 834.

The upshot was that even St. Paul’s good-faith attempt to ensure minimally acceptable housing for its poorest residents could not ward off a disparate impact lawsuit.

Today, the Court embraces the same theory that drove the decision in Magner. This is a serious mistake. The Fair Housing Act does not create disparate-impact liability, nor do this Court’s precedents. And today’s decision will have unfortunate consequences for local government,
private enterprise, and those living in poverty. Something has gone badly awry when a city can’t even make slumlords kill rats without fear of a lawsuit.

Makes sense.

Justice Kennedy also saw the risk in the decision:

Without adequate safeguards at the prima facie stage, disparate-impact liability might cause race to be used and considered in a pervasive way and “would almost inexorably lead” governmental or
private entities to use “numerical quotas,” and serious constitutional questions then could arise.

The litigation at issue here provides an example. From the standpoint of determining advantage or disadvantage to racial minorities, it seems difficult to say as a general matter that a decision to build low-income housing in a blighted inner-city neighborhood instead of a suburb is discriminatory, or vice versa.

If those sorts of judgments are subject to challenge without adequate safeguards, then there is a danger that potential defendants may adopt racial quotas—a circumstance that itself raises serious constitutional concerns.

Somehow we have substituted the concept of equal outcome for equal rights.

In the gay marriage decision, there are serious questions as to whether the rights of Bible-believing Christians will be abandoned in favor of the new definition of marriage.

Justice Kennedy writes:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.

Justice Roberts wrote:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage.

There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It is my belief that in the future, when people who hold a Biblical view of marriage attempt to freely exercise their religion in the public square or their place of business, that freedom is going to be taken away from them, particularly in the area of a Biblical view of marriage. This happened in Massachusetts after the courts ruled that gay marriage was legal–the Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close down because adopting a child to a same-sex couple was against their religious belief. We may see that happen all over the country as a result of this ruling. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think I am.

The Need To Protect Free Speech

Free speech is something most Americans take for granted. We don’t necessarily agree with what someone is saying or approve of their language, but generally speaking, we respect free speech. Free speech is under attack in America from a number of directions. Some of them are very subtle and seem almost logical, and some are totally obvious. Both need to be dealt with quickly and openly.

As I have stated in previous articles, I am reading Stephen Coughlin’s book Catastrophic Failure, which is about the dangers America faces at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and other related groups. The book talks about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the human rights movement in the United Nations. The book explains that the OIC definition of human rights includes the provision that these rights have to be in compliance with Sharia Law. This means that any negative statements about Islam are not considered acceptable free speech, but are punishable by law and may result in the death penalty. The goal of the OIC is to bring non-Muslim countries under Sharia Law–in America that means ending the First Amendment right of free speech. We saw the OIC in action recently when Pamela Geller was condemned for a “Draw Mohammed” contest in Texas which resulted in violence. She was blamed for the violence–not the people who committed the violence. This was an attempt to turn public opinion away from the idea that all free speech is protected. There is nothing in our Constitution that protects us from being offended. However, the First Amendment does protect our right of free speech. The press response to what happened in Texas was a very subtle attack on free speech. It needs to be exposed and countered.

A more obvious attack on free speech was initiated by the U.S. Government recently against “Reason Magazine.” Reason posted an article yesterday telling the story.

The article gives the background of the attack on free speech:

For the past two weeks, Reason, a magazine dedicated to “Free Minds and Free Markets,” has been barred by an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from speaking publicly about a grand jury subpoena that court sent to Reason.com.

The subpoena demanded the records of six people who left hyperbolic comments at the website about the federal judge who oversaw the controversial conviction of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Shortly after the subpoena was issued, the government issued a gag order prohibiting Reason not only from discussing the matter but even acknowledging the existence of the subpoena or the gag order itself. As a wide variety of media outlets have noted, such actions on the part of the government are not only fundamentally misguided and misdirected, they have a tangible chilling effect on free expression by commenters and publications alike.

Yesterday, after preparing an extensive legal brief, Reason asked the US Attorney’s Office to join with it in asking that the gag order – now moot and clearly an unconstitutional prior restraint – be lifted. This morning, the US Attorney’s Office asked the Court to vacate the order, which it did. We are free to tell the story for the first time.

The article at Reason further reports:

Regardless of the legal details, the growing government demand for user data and our own experience with court-enforced silence on a self-evidently ridiculous investigation raise important questions about free speech and the abuse of power.

Reason’s unmoderated comment space is rare among comparable publications and has, over the years, developed into a forum that is by turns exciting, intellectually advanced, outlandish, cringe-inducing, and more foul-mouthed than any locker room this side of the Crab Nebula. It is something to be celebrated as a voluntary community that can be engaged or ignored as the spirit moves you (we say that as writers whose work and physical shortcomings rarely escape unscathed from any thread). However trollish many of our commenters can be, they have created a sphere of free speech that delivers on one of the great promises of the Internet, which is unbridled expression, dialogue, and argument.

We took risks by creating an autonomous zone in which our readers are left to their own devices. Some of the risk is reputational—how many other serious outlets allow anonymous commenters to run riot as we do? Some of the risk is legal, as in the current situation.

One further note about anonymity in our comment threads. Commenting on our site requires registration using a working email address (which is hidden from public view unless a commenter chooses to have it displayed). We also log IP addresses. We do both of these things in order to fight spammers and trolls–people who have shown enormous determination in their efforts to disrupt the discussion. 

Our commenters are generally a tech-savvy bunch. It is likely that those who have a desire for a very high degree of anonymity are taking control of that themselves, using anonymous email addresses and tools to prevent us from logging IPs connected to them.

But Reason.com is not the dark web. Many of our regular commenters voluntarily display either personal website information or their email addresses. In fact, three of the six commenters subject to this very subpoena voluntarily displayed public links to personal blogs at Blogger as part of their comments, one of which further links to a Google+ page. Raising the question: How can the government view these so-called “threats” as so nefarious when people posted them in such a non-anonymous fashion? 

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is an amazing saga of an out-of-control government trying to conceal the fact that it is out of control. Thank you, editors of Reason for standing up to this threat.