Tag Archives: Freedom of Religion

Democrats’ “Equality Act” will threaten religious liberty in all 50 states

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

First, let’s get the news from the left-leaning U.S. News and World Report.

It says:

Hoping to harness the momentum generated by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing gay marriage, congressional Democrats on Thursday unveiled sweeping legislation that would extend additional rights to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The Equality Act – introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in the upper chamber and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., in the House – seeks to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s protections against racial and sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

[…]The measure would prohibit discrimination against LGBT persons in categories ranging from employment and housing to education and jury service, and would broaden where discrimination would be illegal in a “public accommodation” to include everything from shopping centers and banks to travel agencies and funeral parlors.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for greater LGBT rights, 31 states do not have laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill has 190 Democrats sponsors, and 0 Republican sponsors.

In a previous post, I explained that only states that have “non-discrimination” laws are able to punish Christian bakers, photographers, florists, etc. We are seeing the punishment of pro-marriage people in the states with these “non-discrimination” laws, e.g. – Oregon, New Mexico, Washington and so on. See the map below for more.

States with non-discrimination laws
States with non-discrimination laws

But this “Equality Act” bill would make all 50 states allow these kinds of punishments against people who disagree with same-sex marriage. The laws really are anti-religious-liberty laws, because they force you to agree with the gay agenda, or else face consequences. They force you to violate your conscience, just because you don’t agree with redefining marriage. If this law passes, it means that anyone who disagrees with gay marriage being the same as child-centered natural marriage would be a potential target for the federal government.

Marriage defender Ryan T. Anderson writes about a new law crafted by the Human Rights Campaign, which I’ll talk more about later.

Ryan says:

Politico is reporting that the so-called “Equality Act” will be introduced today in Congress. The bill is the brainchild of the Human Rights Campaign—an influential, sophisticated and lavishly funded LGBT activist organization.

The “Equality Act” is a misnomer. The bill does not protect equality before the law, but unnecessarily and unjustly violates freedom by creating special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

This proposed legislation would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) to more or less every federal law that protects on the basis of race. It goes well beyond the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—which would have added SOGI only to employment law.

ENDA, which was first introduced in Congress in 1994, has been defeated each and every Congress. When it was first introduced, ENDA included only “sexual orientation,” but in 2007 “gender identity” was added to the bill. Thankfully, ENDA has never been made law.

Nevertheless, having expanded the bill from including sexual orientation to also including gender identity, activists have also extended this misguided policy well beyond employment—to “credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations.” These SOGI laws must be resisted, as I explain in chapter six of my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”

The Advocate reports that the “Equality Act’s” special privileges would apply to “public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. The bill would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend” people who believe that marriage is the union of man and woman. That’s right: the bill says that religious freedom needs to take a back seat to special SOGI protections.

The Advocate also reports that the “Equality Act” would require that “sex-segregated facilities must admit individuals in accordance to their gender identity.” That’s right: the bill would require biological males who identify as women to be able to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.

[…]SOGI laws can have serious unintended consequences. They threaten small-business owners with liability for alleged “discrimination” based not on objective traits, but on subjective and unverifiable identities. They expand state interference in labor markets, potentially discouraging job creation. They endanger religious liberty and freedom of speech. And they mandate employment policies that, with regard to many workplace conditions, violate common sense.

The ENDA bill is a nightmare for religious liberty. If Anderson thinks this bill is worse, that should tell you something about how far the left is willing to go to compel celebration of same-sex marriage.

I want to remind my readers of two things about the Human Rights Campaign, which Anderson said is behind the bill.

First, as I blogged about earlier this week, their co-founder Terry Bean has been charged with child sexual buse.

Second, after a gay activist named Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the Family Research Council with guns, the Human Rights Campaign pronounced the Family Research Council a “hate group”. The FRC is a respected conservative, pro-life, pro-family think tank. Corkins was convicted for domestic terrorism for attacking them with guns. And the HRC called the FRC a “hate group”, even after the attack. And now they are supporting this “Equality Act” bill.

We ought to be concerned.

Republicans introduce bill to protect natural marriage supporters

Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign
Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign

Ryan T. Anderson writes about it in The Daily Signal.

He says:

[…][Congress] today introduced the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) to guarantee such a scenario never becomes “an issue.”

This bill, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, is good policy in part because it is so simple. It says that the federal government cannot discriminate against people and institutions that speak and act according to their belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. That’s it in a nutshell.

[…][G]overnment should respect those who stand for marriage and the First Amendment Defense Act would do so by specifically prohibiting bureaucrats from retaliating against individuals, family businesses, charities and schools because they refuse to change their deeply held views on what marriage is, no matter what the Supreme Court or politicians may say about it in the coming days.

Now you might be thinking, “everything is going to be fine for Christians” or “we can trust the Democrats to not act like Nazis”, but let’s not talk in generalities, let’s look at the facts with a specific example where the government went after Christians:

[…][I]n July 2014, Obama issued an executive order barring federal contractors from what it describes as “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The order contains extremely narrow accommodations of religious freedom and no exceptions for contractors who conscientiously judge sexual conduct to be relevant to their mission, purpose or bathroom policies.

Such radical changes in policy in effect exclude legions of taxpayers from being eligible for federal contracts funded with their own tax dollars because they hold conscientious beliefs about sexuality and biology that run counter to the administration’s.

Similar threats to religious freedom and conscience in licensing and contracts are mounting at the state level.

Facing coercion by state governments to place children with same-sex couples, faith-based adoption agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington, D.C., have been forced to end foster care and adoption services rather than abandon their belief that children do best with a married mother and father.

In those states, refusing to place children in same-sex households would have meant forfeiting necessary contracts with the state government for foster care services or, in some situations, even losing state licenses to place any children for adoption.

So, do you think that adopted children would be better off in a home where they have an adoptive Mom and an adoptive Dad? Well, there is a lot of evidence from studies showing that both moms and dads help a child’s development in different, complementary ways. But the Democrats think either moms or dads are dispensable to kids, and so yes, they do go after Christian organizations who put the needs of the children over the needs of selfish adults. And what happens to those organizations? They shut down. And what happens to those kids? They don’t get adopted.

We have an election coming up in 2016, and it will be a time for pro-marriage voters to consider where the candidates stand on religious liberty issues. Make sure you make it a priority to find out, and to get involved in getting pro-religious-liberty candidates elected.

The Fourth of July reminds us to fight for liberty

This is called a Gadsen flag.
This is called a Gadsen flag.

John Zmirak is my favorite writer on The Stream. Here’s his 4th of July post.

He writes:

The Fourth of July is a time for celebration, but it’s also a time to recommit ourselves to champion those American principles, and to remember that those principles stand over against some very particular evils:

  • Arbitrary seizure and use of private property by the state in the name of the “common good.”
  • A corrupt bargain between the government and religion, with funds and favors flowing to the churches that toe the government line, and taxes and bans restricting the free exercise of religion.
  • Government micromanagement of the economy, with politically connected companies exploiting their crony connections to legislators and restricting the freedom of commerce.
  • Paternalistic government, which saw the common man as a hapless sheep, to be herded and sheared by elites.
  • The concentration of power in a single, national government that bullied colonies, cities and villages, imposing a single uniform policy on a diverse and various country.

Each of these things our forefathers denounced, defied and defeated. Each generation of Americans has had to re-fight the American Revolution in one way or another, hefting the leaden weight of our fallen wills that drags us down toward vice and tyranny. Ben Franklin, when asked what manner of government the infant Constitution offered, said, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Like each fresh crop of Americans before us, we find republic-keeping a bold and arduous duty. Sometimes we keep it safe in wars, at other times we keep it back from the brink of a cliff. And now we keep our republic faithful to its principles by resisting it, by refusing to obey unjust laws that betray our nation’s honor.

I think the general consensus among my friends about how to respond to the threats from the secular left is to act according to your conscience and be willing to go to jail. Then talk about what happened to you. And in the meantime, while you are not yet in jail, take the opportunity to get an alias and speak out. Studying is important so that you can learn how to speak intelligently about the issues we face. Right now, the left is winning because they speak in emotional, irrational ways. If we can articulate the reasons for our views, with evidence, that helps people to remember what liberty is and why our Founders fought for it.

I keep seeing statements about the problems we are likely to face from so many writers, and every time I see them, I think of this one Christian woman I knew long ago who told me that my speaking accurately about this threats “scared her”, and that the right response was to not be scared. Every time I asked her which fear scared her, she would not name one. So I started explaining them to her and she said that she didn’t want to hear the details. Well, surprise! Our respected conservative leaders are now joining me in being scared, and because they know the details.

John Zmirak says:

This is not the easiest time to be an American Christian, or a Christian American. The core elements of our creed are under attack from without and within, while our nation’s civic religion has been rewritten by the Supreme Court to exclude every orthodox Christian. A cabal of radicals has gained control of the government. They wish to control all our churches, and find willing collaborators in all too many pulpits. Has the American Revolution been reversed and replaced with the French Revolution?

Unless Christians stand up, unite and fight, this may be one of the last Fourths of July we can celebrate as full citizens, and the last election in which we have any meaningful voice. If the federal government moves on to punitively taxing Christian churches, how fitting would it be for us to raise the red, white and blue and shoot off fireworks to honor that government? We might be forced instead to mourn our vanished republic.

Ben Shapiro says:

With God safely shunted to the side in favor of Justice Kennedy, the next step in the gay rights movement will be the smashing of idolators — namely, those who cling to their religion and church in spite of Justice Kennedy’s New New Testament. Leftists have already moved to ban nonprofit status for religious institutions that refuse to acknowledge same-sex marriages; leftists have already sued into oblivion religious business owners who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings. It will not stop there. Religious schools will be targeted. Then, so will homeschooling programs. The secular religion of the left has been set free to pursue its own crusade against the infidel.

Matt Walsh says:

I believe strongly that real persecution awaits us down the road. I think my children will face hostility and opposition and maybe even violence on a level I haven’t yet seen. We are heading into very challenging times, but if we keep our families together and our hearts with God, we’ll be OK. No matter what happens, we’ll be OK. And, by extension, if we pour ourselves into our families and into our faith, we might be able to rescue this culture and this country from the clutches of progressive annihilation. It won’t happen quickly, and I don’t know if it will happen at all, but I know there’s a chance. America is not lost completely. Not yet.

Dennis Prager says:

Moreover, the war to replace God, Judeo-Christian values and the Bible as moral guides is far from over. What will this lead to?

Here are three likely scenarios:

1. Becoming more and more like Western Europe, which has more or less created the first godless and religion-less societies in history. Among the consequences are less marriage and the birth of far fewer children.

2. More and more ostracizing — eventually outlawing — of religious Jews and Christians, clergy, and institutions that refuse to perform same-sex weddings.

3. An America increasingly guided by people’s hearts.

If you trust the human heart, you should feel confident about the future. If you don’t, you should be scared.

You should be scared. I am scared. And yet Dennis Prager is not about to stop fighting, and neither am I. In fact, I am better equipped to fight this intellectually and financially than many of my other friends who are not scared. It’s not wrong to be scared when there really is a threat, and usually, the people who study these things more have more a more accurate view than the people who just feel confident. Blind confidence is stupid – it’s a mental disorder to be blindly optimistic in the face of a threat. Invoking spiritual language to dismiss a legitimate threat is ineffective, and therefore unwise. The right thing to do is to see the reality and then engage it and defeat it. I have been blogging about the threat to religious liberty since this blog started in 2009, and it was one of my 3 arguments in my post arguing against same-sex marriage in June 2011.

This is not the time for us to be thinking of fun and thrills. We have work to do.

Supreme Court rules for free speech and against big government

“Freedom of Speech” by Norman Rockwell

This happy Friday story is from The Daily Signal.


In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court struck down a town’s sign ordinance as an unconstitutional, content-based regulation of speech. This ruling for free speech means the government can’t pick and choose what speech deserves more protection based on the content of the speech.

Like most other towns in America, Gilbert, Ariz., regulates when, where and how signs may be displayed around town. Temporary non-commercial signs are classified by their content, and each category has its own set of regulations.

Real estate signs, for example, may be up to 80 square feet, and political signs may be up to 32 square feet; political signs may be displayed for four and a half months before an election, including in the public right of way; and homeowners’ association event signs may be displayed for 30 days.

The Good News Community Church, which holds services at different facilities such as local schools because it doesn’t have a permanent church, uses signs to invite people to services. Because the signs include directional information (i.e., an arrow pointing to the location of the service), they may not be bigger than 6 square feet and can go up only 12 hours before their Sunday services start, meaning the signs are posted late on Saturday night when they are hard to see in the dark.

The church challenged the town’s sign code in 2007 as an impermissible content-based restriction on speech in violation of the First Amendment. The district court in Arizona upheld the sign code, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding that there was no evidence that the town adopted its sign code for a discriminatory purpose.

Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Good News Community Church, concluding that these sign restrictions are content-based regulation because they define the categories of temporary, political and ideological signs on the basis of their messages and subject each category to different restrictions. As Justice Clarence Thomas points out,

If a sign informs its reader of the time and place a book club will discuss John Locke’s ‘Two Treatises of Government,’ that sign will be treated differently from a sign expressing the view that one should vote for one of Locke’s followers in an upcoming election, and both signs will be treated differently from a sign expressing an ideological view rooted in Locke’s theory of government.

The court found that these restrictions are subject to, and do not survive, strict scrutiny because the town did not demonstrate that the differentiation furthers a compelling governmental interest and is narrowly drawn. Assuming the town has a compelling interest in preserving its aesthetic appeal and traffic safety, the code’s distinctions are highly underinclusive.

Thus, the town cannot claim that placing strict limits on temporary directional signs is necessary to beautify the town when other types of signs create the same problem, and it did not show that temporary directions signs pose a greater threat to public safety than ideological or political signs.

Here’s the first amendment to the Constitution, which allows freedom of speech and free exercise of religion:

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.

Thank God that I live in a country where those words still have meaning, although you would never know it if you walked onto a university campus. Seems like free speech doesn’t apply there, because people on the secular left are so easily offended by different opinions than their own.

Why does the Wintery Knight have to have an alias?

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

To answer that question, let’s look at the latest from The Weekly Standard by Johnathan Last.

It says:

You may recall Brendan Eich. The cofounder and CEO of Mozilla was dismissed from his company in 2014 when it was discovered that, six years earlier, he had donated $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8 campaign. That ballot initiative, limiting marriage to one man and one woman, passed with a larger percentage of the vote in California than Barack Obama received nationally in 2012. No one who knew Eich accused him of treating his gay coworkers badly—by all accounts he was kind and generous to his colleagues. Nonetheless, having provided modest financial support to a lawful ballot initiative that passed with a majority vote was deemed horrible enough to deprive Eich of his livelihood. Which is one thing.

What is quite another is the manner in which Eich has been treated since. A year after Eich’s firing, for instance, Hampton Catlin, a Silicon Valley programmer who was one of the first to demand Eich’s resignation, took to Twitter to bait Eich:

Hampton ‏@hcatlin Apr 2

It had been a couple weeks since I’d gotten some sort of @BrendanEich related hate mail. How things going over there on your side, Brendan?

BrendanEich ‏@BrendanEich

@hcatlin You demanded I be “completely removed from any day to day activities at Mozilla” & got your wish. I’m still unemployed. How’re you?

Hampton ‏@hcatlin Apr 2

@BrendanEich married and able to live in the USA! .  .  . and working together on open source stuff! In like, a loving, happy gay married way!

It’s a small thing, to be sure. But telling. Because it shows that the same-sex marriage movement is interested in a great deal more than just the freedom to form marital unions. It is also interested, quite keenly, in punishing dissenters. But the ambitions of the movement go further than that, even. It’s about revisiting legal notions of freedom of speech and association, constitutional protections for religious freedom, and cultural norms concerning the family. And most Americans are only just realizing that these are the societal compacts that have been pried open for negotiation.

He co-founded the company, invented the most widely-used client-side programming language used on the Internet, and he had to step down for making a donation to the cause of male-female marriage. This guy is a hundred times the programmer that I will ever be. And yet he has not found a job since he was thrown out of the company that he co-founded and made successful.

That’s why I have an alias.  Because I want to be able express my convictions about issues ranging from abortion to marriage to intelligent design to climate change without losing my job. I need my job to be able to help other Christians, and to have any chance at all of getting married and having children.

The Weekly Standard article traces the progress of the gay agenda, quoting from gay activists in Slate, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Economist, The New Republic, etc.

Let’s look at one of them: Jonathan Rauch writing in The Daily Beast:

Then Rauch turned to the question of whether or not the creation of same-sex marriage was an obvious extension of liberty—as gay rights advocates have always insisted—or something much bigger:

Virtually all human societies, including our own until practically the day before yesterday, took as a given that combining the two sexes was part of the essence of marriage. Indeed, the very idea of a same-sex marriage seemed to most people a contradiction in terms. .  .  .

By contrast, marriage has not always been racist. Quite the contrary. People have married across racial (and ethnic, tribal, and religious) lines for eons, often quite deliberately to cement familial or political alliances. Assuredly, racist norms have been imposed upon marriage in many times and places, but as an extraneous limitation. Everyone understood that people of different races could intermarry, in principle. Indeed, that was exactly why racists wanted to stop it, much as they wanted to stop the mixing of races in schools. In both intent and application, the anti-miscegenation laws were about race, not marriage.

Why should this distinction matter today, if both kinds of discrimination are wrong? Because asking people to give up history’s traditional understanding of marriage is a big ask. You don’t expect thousands of years of unquestioned moral and social tradition to be relinquished overnight.

[…]The First Amendment carves out special protections for religious belief and expression. That does not mean, of course, that Christian homophobes can discriminate as much as they want provided they quote the Bible. It does mean, at least for a while, courts and legislatures will strike compromises balancing gay rights and religious liberty, something they did not have to do with black civil rights. This makes gay marriage more complicated—legally, socially, and even ethically—than interracial marriage. And it means gay-marriage supporters will hit a constitutional brick wall if we try to condemn our opponents to immediate and total perdition.

Got that? Gay activists do “expect thousands of years of unquestioned moral and social tradition to be relinquished” – just not overnight. Courts and legislatures can compromise on annihilating freedom of speech and religious liberty – at least for a while. The generous gay rights activists won’t condemn those of us who think that children need a mother and a father to immediate punishment of the sort that Brendan Eich got. Or the punishment that the Oregon bakery got. Or the punishment that the Washington florist got. Or the punishment that the New Mexico photographer got. Only some people will need to be punished – as an example to the others to fall in line.

Are you getting this? This is fascism.

There are three things to do to make it safe for people who believe in natural marriage to speak out without fear. First, never vote for any Democrats ever again, and make sure that the Republicans you vote for are supportive of religious liberty and free speech. Second, we need to get informed in order to be persuasive on the marriage issue. Read a book on pro-marriage apologetics. Read another book on the sociological evidence that shows the importance of mothers and fathers to children. And then read another book on the sociological evidence for the harm caused to children raised by same-sex parents. Then you will know what you have to know to be a change agent for marriage where you are. Finally, it’s never a bad idea to donate to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the team of lawyers who defend Christians in court.