Religious Freedom In America?

Fox News posted an article today about the confirmation hearings for Omaha-based lawyer Brian Buescher who is nominated for the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.

The article reports:

Two Democratic senators are scrutinizing a federal judicial nominee over his membership in the Knights of Columbus, drawing a stern rebuke from the Catholic organization.

Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, raised concerns about Omaha-based lawyer Brian Buescher’s membership as part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s review of his nomination by President Trump to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, as first reported by the Catholic News Agency.

In a series of questions sent to Buescher, Hirono asked whether his membership in the Knights of Columbus would prevent him from hearing cases “fairly and impartially” and, if confirmed, whether he would end his membership in the Roman Catholic charitable organization.

“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” Hirono said in the questionnaire. “For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”

Have we reached the point where taking a Biblical stand on marriage is considered extreme? I guess so.

The article continues:

Harris, in her questions to the nominee, called the Knights of Columbus “an all-male society” and asked the Nebraska lawyer if he was aware that the group was anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage when he joined. The California senator also referenced Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson’s statement that abortion amounted to “the killing of the innocent on a massive scale” and asked Buescher if he agreed with the statement.

Buescher responded that his involvement in the group consisted mostly of charitable work and community events at his local Catholic parish. He indicated he would abide by judicial precedent regarding abortion.

The Knights of Columbus maintained that its positions reflect Catholic teachings, and suggested that the senators’ scrutiny amounts to criticism of the Catholic faith.

Senator Harris wants to run for President. I am sure that in challenging the right of a member of the Knights of Columbus to sit on a U.S. District Court will win her votes on the extreme left. However, I am not sure it will win her votes in mainstream America. This is the equivalent of a religious litmus test of a nominee, which is unconstitutional and illegal. Being a member of a recognized church group should not disqualify a person nominated for a U.S. District Court.

The Legal Double Standard

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article about Kim Davis, the county clerk for Kentucky’s Rowan Country.Ms. Davis is now in jail because she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because it was against her religious beliefs. There are some people who believe that because she is an elected official, her religious beliefs are not allowed to influence the way she does her job, but there is a bit of inconsistency here.

The article reports:

We don’t recall President Obama insisting on “the rule of law” when his then Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced in 2011 that he wouldn’t defend challenges to what was then the law—the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton—in the courts. Nor did we hear about upholding the law when mayors such as Gavin Newsom in San Francisco issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state laws.

Officials such as Messrs. Holder and Newsom were as guilty as Ms. Davis of elevating personal preferences over the law. Yet they were lionized by those now holding up an obscure Kentucky clerk as a national villain. Meanwhile, five of Rowan County’s six deputy clerks say they will start processing licenses for same-sex couples Friday, but Miss Davis says she will not authorize them.

I don’t have the answer to this dilemma. I do believe religious beliefs should be protected, but I am not sure how that would play out in this situation. I suspect our Founding Fathers would come down on the side of Ms. Davis. However, the past behavior of the Obama Administration seems to indicate that if you disagree with a law, you don’t have to enforce (or follow) it. Obviously you can’t have it both ways.

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.

Listen To The Words Used

One of the easiest ways to win an argument is to redefine the definitions of the words used. One of the arguments used by the gay community in its search for gay marriage has been that it is a civil right and that to oppose gay marriage is discrimination. Notice that there is no room in that definition for a Bible-based view of marriage or a religious objection. So what is the goal of the militant gay community now that they have achieved the goal of gay marriage? Paul Strand‘s interview of Rea Carey, an American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activist, shows us the next step. The interview was shown in the first three minutes of CBN’s the 700 Club on Friday.

Paul Strand describes Ms. Carey as a national gay leader who can help stop the targeting of Christian bakers, florists, wedding photographers and such who don’t want to service gay weddings. He asked her if she’d consider a cease fire after the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. He describes her answer as a pretty firm, “No.”

Ms. Carey stated:

“We will continue to do work in the country to make sure that everyone’s right to their own personal beliefs are protected, but that people actually do get to celebrate, that they get to choose who they want around them when they get married, that they get the cake they want, the flower they want, so religion should not be used as a means to discriminate against others, it should be one’s own personal beliefs.”

Take a look at that statement. The LGBT movement will not stop until Christians and others who hold a view supporting traditional marriage are not allowed to practice their beliefs in the public square. Ms. Carey is defining religion as a personal belief that is not permitted in the public square or the business community. Christian beliefs in the public square or the business community are not to be honored. We are losing the free exercise of religion stated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Is anyone paying attention?

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.

Equal Rights Does Not Mean That You Have The Right To Deny Me My First Amendment Rights

Equal rights means equal rights. The First Amendment allows Americans the freedom to practice their religion. The implication is that Americans are allowed to live their lives according to their religious beliefs. That is their rights. As I have explained before, I do not care about gay marriage–marry anyone you want to. However, I do care about the violation of my First Amendment rights. What do I mean? If I am a Pastor who holds the Biblical view of marriage, or a baker who holds a Biblical view of marriage, or a florist who holds a Biblical view of marriage, I should not be forced to support your gay marriage. I don’t care if you get married, but I don’t have to be a part of that process. To me, that is what the law should be. Oddly enough, there are actually people who agree with me. (Not the ones who wrote the article I am about to refer to, but the ones who actually voted on the issue).

The Winston-Salem Journal reported today that the North Carolina House of Representatives has overridden Governor Pat McCrory‘s veto of a bill allowing employees who issue marriage licenses to refuse to complete paperwork for gay couples on religious grounds. In other words, the employees can exercise their First Amendment rights. The gay people can also get married–there will be someone there to do the paperwork. Everyone’s rights are respected.

The newspaper does not agree with my conclusion. The article states:

Gay rights groups and some Democrats said legal challenges were likely to come soon for the new law, the second of its kind nationwide. Utah passed one this year.

North Carolina‘s law took effect as the state House voted to override Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s earlier veto. The Senate already had voted for the override. McCrory said though he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, no state employee should be able to break his or her government oath. His position puts him at odds with social conservatives aligned with his party.

Under the law, some register of deeds workers who assemble licenses and magistrates who solemnize civil marriages can decide to stop performing all marriages — for both straight and gay couples — if they hold a “sincerely held religious objection.” Employees with a religious objection must stop performing all marriage duties for at least six months.

This is not a perfect law–employees with a religious objection are being penalized for having that objection–that is not in keeping with their First Amendment rights.

The article goes on to list the inconvenience of the law going into effect. I wonder if the newspaper would be so quick to list the inconvenience if its First Amendment rights were taken away.

 

 

It’s Getting Harder To Know Who To Believe

Yes, I know that should be ‘whom’ to believe, but who sounds better. Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about another scientific fraud. For those of you who still believe that you are responsible for global warming, please see any post at wattsupwiththat to find out how climate scientists have been fudging their data. For those of you concerned about statistical information concerning support for gay marriage, stay tuned.

The article at Power Line states:

New York magazine has a terrific piece up this weekend that tells the whole story of how the Green-LaCour Science magazine article on changing support for gay marriage by way of a canvas was exposed as a fraud—by another graduate student. It’s a long piece, but worth an extra-grande latte and a good slow read. In addition to the details of the fraud itself—which involved LaCour fabricating emails with a non-existent senior executive at the survey company he said he used—there are some clear subtexts of this article that reveal endemic problems within the world of academic political science.

The article at Power Line is complex and takes time to read. It is worth it to take the time to read the entire article, but if you are impatient, this is the conclusion:

Even if the data had been gathered legitimately, there is simply no way to assure data quality in a survey exercise of this sort, and by its very design it likely pre-determined the outcome. Even if legitimate, this study was close to useless for the serious business of settling our moral disagreements about gay marriage. That ought to be as much of a scandal to academic political science as fake data. For all of its statistical sophistication, this study was entirely superficial.

By the way, for further reading, here is the devastating review (PDF file) of the LaCour-Green paper that Broockman and two co-authors produced.

Again, the things that we are told are scientific facts are not always as they are explained to us. It is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish science from politics.

 

The Intolerance Of Those Who Call For Tolerance

On Thursday the Daily Haymaker posted an article about some recent events in North Carolina that are an affront to the concept of freedom of speech. Recently New Hanover County school board member Tammy Covil posted an opinion on a closed Facebook page.

This is her post and one of the replies after it was screen captured and sent to the Democrat party:

covil

She posted this on a Facebook page that was supposed to be for a closed group. It is her personal opinion. Obviously it does not agree with the person who replied at Equality NC, but are they both not entitled to their opinions?

The article concludes and suggests a course of action:

The left sees Covil as a big problem.  She is serving on the state’s Common Core study commission. My New Hanover sources tell me she is a possibility for superintendent of the school district there.

Covil has spoken out against the teaching of nonsense like “gender fluidity.”  (I’ve heard about that in some amphibians and reptiles, but not in humans.)

The lynch mob has already set up a Facebook page aimed at shutting Covil down.

If you live in New Hanover County, do what you can to help this woman out.  If you don’t live there, talk to any of your friends who do.  Donate money to her campaign. Leaders like Tammy Covil — who dare to stand firm on their principles — are our only hope for saving our society, our culture, and our country.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gay marriage, there is no reason to shut down free speech on the issue. Ms. Covil is a conscientious person who is doing a good job in her role as a New Hanover County School Committee member and as a member of the Common Core study commission. What she said, essentially, is that she holds a Biblical view of marriage. She is as entitled to her belief as those who oppose her are to theirs. The difference is that she is not trying to shut down their right of free speech.

And The Next Step Is?????

There is such a thing as a slippery slope. In terms of upending the concept of traditional marriage–a union between one man and one woman– that slope began with Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. This was the case that struck down sodomy laws in Texas and thirteen other states. While I question the idea of the government having any jurisdiction in what goes on between consenting adults in their own homes, this case opened a true Pandora’s Box. Those who support homosexual marriage say that there will be no further definition of marriage other than to allow homosexual couples to marry. However, that does not seem to be the case. Yesterday World Net Daily posted a story showing a situation that should give pause to all of us.

The story reports:

Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak, father and son, though not biologically, will soon be husband and … whatever, reports the Patch of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The pair, both in their 70s, have been together for 50 years and registered in New York City as domestic partners in 1994. But when they moved to Pennsylvania, they discovered their domestic partnership wasn’t recognized, and legalized same-sex marriage was nowhere on the horizon.

…When the United States District Court declared unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s marriage laws prohibiting same-sex marriage unconstitutional in 2014, Novak and MacArthur wanted to tie the knot in marriage, but their earlier legal gambit now became an obstacle. Pennsylvania law doesn’t permit marriage between parents and children.

…So, a week ago, the father and son’s Petition to Vacate Adoption Decree was approved, and the pair simply became two single men now allowed to marry.

So let’s look at this. They were not actually father and son, so they were able to dissolve that relationship in the courts. However, what would happen if a parent and child wanted to marry? Could the parent disown the child and proceed? Homosexual marriage redefines the traditional definition of marriage. To people who hold a Biblical view of homosexuality and of marriage, it is not acceptable. To people who simply believe in tradition, homosexual marriage in not acceptable. There are two possible answers here that might make things a little more palatable for both sides–one is to simply make marriage a civil matter and let the churches perform whatever marriages they choose (no penalty to churches who do not want to perform homosexual marriages) or to give civil unions the same legal rights and benefits as marriage. Neither is a perfect solution, but I believe both are fair to each side of the argument.

The gay community needs to understand that there are people in our society that simply do not condone what they are doing–just as they often do not condone the practice of Biblical Christianity. Equal under the law is not a concept that allows people to randomly sue other people who do not share their views. Unfortunately our society has forgotten that. We have had thousands of years where marriage was between a man and a woman. This has been an important building block of our civilization, and I believe we tamper with that building block at our own risk.

 

 

A City Recognizes Freedom Of Religion

On Sunday I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two ordained ministers who run the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel.

I quoted a Daily Signal article which reported:

Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

It seemed to me that the ruling did not respect the Knapps right to practice their religious beliefs freely. Evidently the town in Idaho had second thoughts on the decision and has changed its mind.

The Washington Post is reporting today:

The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers doesn’t have to perform same-sex marriages….

[City Attorney Michael] Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit.

“After we’ve looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation,” Gridley explained.

One has to wonder who the city attorneys talked to before they decided that the ministers were not breaking any laws.

The article concludes:

As I’ve argued before, I think more than just religious freedom is at stake here — the Free Speech Clause protects the right not to participate in verbal ceremonies, whether religious or otherwise, and whether they are pledges of allegiance (even ones without “under God”) or the conducting of wedding vows (even ones that are secular). A secular freelance writer, for instance, has a Free Speech Clause right to refuse to write news releases for religious groups that he disapproves of (even if he generally takes commissions from the public), or articles praising ceremonies that he disapproves of. Likewise, a wedding officiant has a Free Speech Clause right to refuse to lead wedding ceremonies that he disapproves of. But at least I’m glad that, in this instance, the city has agreed that the ordinance doesn’t apply.

I believe that the freedom to practice religion is under attack in America. The Bible is very clear on the subject of homosexuality, and those Christians who believe in the Bible should be free to practice their religion. If the state chooses to marry homosexuals, that is a civil matter. If the state orders Christian pastors to perform gay weddings, the state is then infringing on the rights of Christians.That is the problem with the homosexual agenda–it discriminates against people who have a Christian worldview.

What About The Right To Practice Your Religion?

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two ordained ministers who run the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel.

The article reports:

Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

I hope the Knapps have good lawyers working on this–it is blatantly unconstitutional.

The article explains the balance that is needed in this case:

States must protect the rights of Americans and the associations they form—both nonprofit and for-profit—to speak and act in the public square in accordance with their beliefs. It is particularly egregious that the city would coerce ordained ministers to celebrate a religious ceremony in their chapel. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion arguing that this action “violates [the Knapps’s] First and 14th Amendment rights to freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, substantive due process, and equal protection.”

Citizens must work to prevent or repeal laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We must also insist on laws that protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience.

It is not my concern whether or not homosexuals marry. It is my concern when the rights of Americans are violated in order to give special privileges to any group. We need to get back to the place where the rights of all Americans are respected–the rights of religious people and the rights of homosexuals.

 

 

 

 

Does The Debt Matter?

The chart below was posted at zerohedge.com on Thursday:

Debt-vs-GDP-101713

The article cites what it considers the most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shut down, that should raise some concerns by both political parties:

“We must increase our debt limit so that we can pay our bills.”

When you think about it, that is an amazing statement.

John Hinderaker at Power Line made the following observation yesterday:

The declining deficit is due to the election of a Republican House in 2010, which led to the sequester, and to tax increases. But in historical perspective, a $650 billion deficit is nothing to celebrate: the U.S. has never run a deficit anywhere near that big in any fiscal year when Barack Obama was not president. Don’t be fooled by Democrats who try to attribute FY 2009 to George Bush. The Democratic Congress didn’t pass spending bills covering the vast majority of FY 2009 spending until Obama was safely in office, and FY 2009 includes the Obama/Pelosi/Reid “stimulus” spending, with which George Bush, obviously, had nothing to do. The largest deficit of the George W. Bush years was $459 billion, in FY 2008, the year when financial markets collapsed. The largest deficit of the Clinton years was $255 billion; of the George H.W. Bush years, $290 billion; and of the Reagan administration, $221 billion.

As Americans, we need to be concerned about the deficit. Until we get the deficit under control, it acts as a ticking time bomb that will eventually destroy the American economy. We need to elect people who will bring spending under control. If we do not do that, then we are responsible for our own demise.

 

 

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Why Civil Unions Make More Sense Than Gay Marriage

The idea of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that these documents protect the rights of all Americans. Theoretically no person or group has more or less rights than any other person or group. However, some recent decisions by courts and lawmakers have put the idea of protecting the rights of all Americans in danger. Britain is learning a lesson that I fear America will soon be learning.

On Saturday, the International Business Times reported the story of Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow.  In 1999, these two men were the first gay couple to be named as parents on a British birth certificate when they adopted a baby. The men entered a civil partnership in 2006. Now they are ready for the next step.

The article reports:

Now the pair, who entered a civil partnership in 2006, are planning to take another pivotal step forward for gay rights in the UK, after running out of options in their attempts to get married in church.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said: “I want to go into my church and marry my husband.

“The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the Church.”

Although the government lifted the ban on same-sex marriages in July, David Cameron promised Britain’s religious institutions they will not be forced to conduct gay weddings.

So why am I bringing this up? If a church believes what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, doesn’t the Pastor have the right to refuse to perform gay weddings based on his right to practice his religion? The only way to avoid this dilemma is to put marriage under the jurisdiction of civil law and let church weddings be a private church issue. If a church chooses to perform a gay wedding, they should be free to do so, but it is wrong to use the law to coerce a Pastor to do something that is against a fundamental belief.

Civil unions for everyone is one way to protect everyone’s rights on the issue of gay marriage. We need to protect the rights of Americans to practice their religion.

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He Was Right, But No One Believed Him

On June 26, 2003, the New York Times published a story with the headline, “Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy.” The case was Lawrence v. Texas.

The article reports:

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent and took the unusual step of reading it aloud from the bench this morning, saying “the court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda,” while adding that he personally has “nothing against homosexuals.” Joining Justice Scalia’s dissent were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Justice Scalia said he believed the ruling paved the way for homosexual marriages. “This reasoning leaves on shaky, pretty shaky, grounds state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples,” he wrote.

He was right, and no one believed him.

I need to explain some of the reasons I oppose Gay Marriage. I don’t oppose Gay civil unions, and I don’t oppose gay people. I oppose Gay Marriage because it can easily infringe on the rights of people who believe what the Bible says about homosexuality. When Massachusetts legalized Gay Marriage, all the Catholic adoption agencies left the state because their right to run their agencies in accordance with their religious beliefs was taken away. What about their right to practice their religion? Would Bible-believing pastors be forced to perform gay weddings? Would their rights be violated? In my opinion, calling civil unions gay marriage opens up many more legal questions than it solves. I am willing to give gay partners the full rights of married people–I am just not willing to let them trample on the religious rights of others.

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Taking A Stand For Traditional Marriage

Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue–it is a cultural issue. I have no problem allowing civil unions for same-sex couples to insure they have the same rights as married couples, but as soon as you allow same-sex marriage, you create a problem of discrimination against those of us who believe what the Bible says. If same-sex marriage is legal, is it legal for a Bible-believing Pastor to refuse to marry a gay couple when the Bible tells him that what they are doing is a sin? Is it legal for a wedding photographer to refuse to photograph the wedding because he believes in the Bible, which says that what they are doing is a sin? Yesterday CBN News reported that a Christian photography studio was found guilty of discrimination by a New Mexico’s Court of Appeals because the studio refused to take pictures of a gay commitment ceremony . What about the First Amendment rights of the photography studio?

Yesterday the Quad-City Times reported that the Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines is resigning as branch president of the Iowa/Nebraska branch of the NAACP because of the national organization’s decision to endorse same-sex marriage.

The article reports:

Earlier this year, the national board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People voted to support marriage equality.

During a Statehouse rally in March 2011, Ratliff said his support for traditional marriage was biblically based, adding, “This isn’t a private interpretation, a Burger King religion, and by that I mean a ‘have it your way’ religion.”

Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue–it is a cultural issue. If the Democrats who support same-sex marriage can convince the rest of us that it is a civil rights issue, they will win the argument. If those of us who support civil unions to give equal rights to gay couples but stop short of endorsing same-sex marriage will speak out and protect First Amendment rights, everyone’s rights will be protected.

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Is This News ? Not Really. Is It Important ? Maybe.

Wednesday morning President Obama stated in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America‘s” Robin Roberts, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

He cited an evolution involving his Christian faith for the reason for changing the position he held in 2008. Needless to say, various spiritual leaders across the country are making statements saying that the position he is supporting is not the Biblical position.

Today’s Weekly Standard points out:

But what this might actually mean in terms of policy is a little murkier. Perhaps most pressing is the issue of a so-called “nondiscrimination executive order” that gay-rights groups have been pushing. The president has refused—and continues to refuse—to sign it.

“The order, which has been drafted for months awaiting the president’s signature, would prohibit discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Washington Post reported. “It has become a major focus for gay-rights groups, but in recent weeks activists began to worry that the White House might opt against approval.”

Why do I not consider this news? The President worked to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” The President stated that his Justice Department would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Why is his statement a surprise to anyone?

There is one thing about this discussion that concerns me. If gay marriage becomes legal, will there be a conscience clause that allows people who hold the Biblical view of marriage to opt out of performing or supporting gay marriages in any way?

The U. S. Constitution has always supported the right of Americans to practice their religion freely without government interference, will the President’s statement on gay marriage change this?

Gay marriage changes thousands of years of cultural tradition. I need to mention that I am not opposed to Civil Unions–I want gay couples to have healthcare rights, visitation rights in hospitals, legacy rights, etc. I just think that if gay marriage is legalized, the rights of Bible-believing Christians will be compromised.

 

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