Here is a story from The Daily Signal about the Christian bakers who are being sued for $135,000 for refusing to bake a gay couple a wedding cake.
The Daily Signal has exclusively learned that the government agency responsible for enforcing Oregon’s anti-discrimination law appears to be working closely with a powerful gay rights advocacy group in its case against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
Communications between the agency, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and the LGBT organization, Basic Rights Oregon, raise questions about potential bias in the state’s decision to charge the Kleins with discrimination for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
In April, a judge for the agency recommended the Kleins be fined $135,000.
Communications obtained through a public records request show employees of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries—which pursued the case against the Kleins—participating in phone calls, texting, and attending meetings with Basic Rights Oregon, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the state.
[…][T]he Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries commissioner, who is in charge of determining the Kleins’ final punishment, met with Basic Rights Oregon on multiple occasions and purchased tickets costing hundreds of dollars benefiting the advocacy group.
[…]Communications between Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian and Basic Rights Oregon, which has actively spoken out against the Kleins, raise questions about whether the commissioner and other agency employees were using the case to benefit a political agenda, and in the process, stripping the Kleins of their right to a fair trial.
According to emails, Avakian met with Basic Rights Oregon on multiple occasions.
One of those meetings was planned for May 1, 2014, shortly before a federal court struck down Oregon’s Defense of Marriage Act.
Another meeting between the commissioner and Basic Rights Oregon occurred on or around August 5, 2014. This fell between the time a judge denied the Kleins’ first attempt to disqualify the commissioner for bias and shortly before a hearing for the case was scheduled to begin.
So the government, which is supposed to be fair to everyone, is actually collaborating with advocacy groups to punish those who disagree with the advocacy groups. It reminds me of the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS. Big government, which is funded by the taxpayers, using their power to coerce and punish taxpayers.
Related to this story, I found another story in The Public Discourse, about how the Obama administration appointed gay rights activists to push the gay agenda in the public schools.
Through his executive appointments, President Obama has helped expose American schoolchildren to activism that places them at risk.
On May 19, 2009, a few short months after his inauguration, Obama gave the green light to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to appoint Kevin Jennings to a top position to influence school policy: the post of Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, also known as the “safe schools czar.” Jennings, a powerful LGBT rights activist who is himself a gay man, was the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN is one of the largest LGBT activist organizations in the nation and is devoted to promoting homosexuality in K-12 schools. Jennings served as “safe schools czar” from 2009-2011.
Given his connection with the organization, we should not be shocked to discover that GLSEN received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 for $1.425 million over five years to promote the LGBT agenda in public schools at taxpayers’ expense. Through these publicly funded in-school programs, kids are being bombarded with the message that same-sex attraction and gender-identity confusion are innate and therefore not changeable.
[…]GLSEN knows that the elementary years are a prime opportunity to encourage kids to reject the values of their parents. The handbook outlines a variety of activities that gradually introduce and reinforce the messages that gender is a social construct, that moms and dads are interchangeable, and that anyone who says otherwise is hateful and prejudiced.
Along with lessons designed to help kindergarten through fifth-graders to “explore the definition of a family and to understand that there are a variety of family structures” and to “challenge their own and other’s [sic] assumptions about gender and gender roles,” the guide recommends a variety of books and videos to help cement the lessons.
Just think about how people on the secular left were so loud and passionate about pushing for separation of church and state, blocking even the slightest hint of free expression of religion. They didn’t want even a hint of government support for Christianity, and not a speck of Christianity in the public schools. But when the shoe is on the other foot, and the left is in power, they are only too happy to push their agenda in the schools and from the government-run censorship panels.
A reader of the Wintery Knight blog insisted that I write about this story from Canada, and he helped me with all these details of Ontario politics in this post. WARNING: This post contains graphic details of sexual deviancy committed by the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Ben Levin, the man who “appeared to have it all,” was today sentenced to three years in prison for three child pornography offences.
[…]The once-tenured professor at Ontario’s Institute for Studies in Education had a “hidden, dark side” in a “depraved on-line world” as a “deviant mentor” who made “insidious attempts to normalize the sexual exploitation of children,” McArthur noted in her 23-page reasons for sentence.
[…]A member of Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team, Levin was deputy minister of education in 2009 when he and then-minister of education Wynne developed the “equity and inclusive education strategy,” part of which was the 2010 radical sex-ed curriculum shelved by then-Premier Dalton McGuinty after parental backlash. The 2015 sex-ed curriculum is virtually the same as the 2010 version.
Campaign Life Coalition says Levin’s connection to the current radical sex-ed curriculum is further reason to reject it.
“Ben Levin’s prison sentence is another reminder to Ontario families of why they must continue to oppose Kathleen Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum,” says CLC’s Ontario president Mary Ellen Douglas. The curriculum, to be rolled out this September, prematurely sexualizes children by introducing homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7.
[…]Levin himself claimed in a 2010 interview: “I was the deputy minister of education. In that role, I was the chief civil servant. I was responsible for the operation of the Ministry of Education and everything that they do; I was brought in to implement the new education policy.”
[…]Levin pled guilty on March 3, 2015, to three of an original seven child pornography related charges.
McArthur related how in 2010, Levin created a profile on an “alternative sexual lifestyle networking site” frequenting chat-rooms on “incest” and “teens.” He subsequently “came to the attention of three undercover officers.”
In the course of sex-chats with these officers, Levin “wrote a story detailing the violent sexual abuse of a child” and “counseled another officer, posing as a young mother, to sadistically sexually assault her eight-year-old daughter.”
“Mr. Levin’s offending behavior was not isolated or impulsive,” she said. He “collected child pornography over two years. He saved the first image in March 2011 and the last just weeks before his arrest.” Levin also had a list of about 1,750 online contacts with whom he communicated on “subversive sexual interests,” primarily “sexual contact between parents and children.”
In his sex-chats, Levin “normalized the subject of the sexual touching of children.”
In his June 2013 chats with police officer Janelle Blackadar, who posed as the mother of an eight-year-old girl, Levin instructed her on how to get her daughter “used” to sex using pornography and masturbation.
[…]“Mr. Levin recklessly pursued his own selfish, sexual urges, all the while knowing an innocent child could be abused as a result. Mr. Levin’s moral blameworthiness is extremely high.”
The “sadistic overtones to the counseling adds a disturbing dimension to the offence,” McArthur stated, noting that psychiatrist Dr. Julian Gojer testified that Levin had a “pedophiliac interest in children” which was “intense” for three to four years. Gojer stated Levin “had sadistic impulses that seemed interwoven with his pedophilic interest” and “was on the extreme end of the sadomasochistic spectrum as it relates to the sexual abuse of children.”
That’s who is teaching children in Ontario schools – public, Catholic, private. There is no opt-out. Taxpayers paid for this.
Very important now to take a look at why Kathleen Wynne is the one calling the shots in Ontario:
Wynne was born in Toronto to Dr. John B. Wynne and Patsy O’Day, a musician who grew up in the Bahamas before immigrating to Canada.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Queen’s University and a Master of Arts degree in linguistics from the University of Toronto. She achieved a Master of Education degree in adult education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto).
[…]Prior to her coming out as a lesbian at age 37 she was married to Phil Cowperthwaite, with whom she had three children. She now lives with her second spouse, Jane Rounthwaite, whom Wynne has stated is to be referred to as her “partner” (rather than “wife”). They were married in July 2005 at Fairlawn Avenue United Church in Toronto. Wynne is a member of the United Church of Canada.
[…]On September 18, 2006, she was promoted to Minister of Education in a cabinet shuffle occasioned by the resignation of Joe Cordiano from the Legislature. She was the province’s first openly lesbian cabinet minister, and only the second openly LGBT cabinet minister after Deputy Premier George Smitherman.
George Smitherman is the one who brought back taxpayer-funded sex changes.
When Christian leaders focus in on a version of Christianity that is about feeling good – getting your needs met, following your heart, singing praise songs, reading devotionals by A. W. Tozer, etc. – we are in fact leaving the public square wide open so that secular leftists like Kathleen Wynne can step in and take control. Either we get serious about recognizing the value of education, career and money, or we continue to let Judeo-Christian morality slip away. The people running things in Ontario have contempt for Christians, and for traditional marriage and traditional families. But they are the ones in charge, not us. Because they put in the time to get the credentials.
If we continue to make Christianity about fun, thrills and seat-of-the-pants “plans” based solely on the “fear of missing out” and “you only live once”, then secular Ontario is our future. We have to get serious about studying things that matter, getting real jobs, and doing hard work, so that we can have an influence from the top-down. Self-denial, self-sacrifice, wisdom – that’s what we need if we hope to make a difference in this world.
If you want to read what is happening to Christians in Canada, this article from the leftist CBC (government-run, like our own leftist PBS) has a good rundown. This is what’s coming here for us.
Here’s a post from Christian apologist Terrell Clemmons about efforts by gay activists to redefine Christianity so that it is consistent with homosexual behavior. This particular post is focused on Matthew Vines. NOTE: Matthew Vines has tweeted to say that he is not engaging in any sexual behavior, so we are criticizing his position, not his personal actions. I have updated my comments to make it about behavior, not Matthew.
In March 2012, two years after having set out to confront homophobia in the church, Matthew presented the results of his “thousands of hours of research” in an hour-long talk titled “The Gay Debate.” The upshot of it was this: “The Bible does not condemn loving gay relationships. It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to support homophobia have nothing to do with LGBT people.” The video went viral (more than three quarter million views to date) and Matthew has been disseminating the content of it ever since.
In 2013, he launched “The Reformation Project,” “a Bible-based, non-profit organization … to train, connect, and empower gay Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on homosexuality from the ground up.” At the inaugural conference, paid for by a $104,000 crowd-funding campaign, fifty LGBT advocates, all professing Christians, gathered for four days in suburban Kansas City for teaching and training, At twenty-three years of age, Matthew Vines was already becoming a formidable cause célèbre.
Terrell summarizes the case he makes, and here is the part I am interested in:
Reason #1: Non-affirming views inflict pain on LGBT people. This argument is undoubtedly the most persuasive emotionally, but Matthew has produced a Scriptural case for it. Jesus, in his well-known Sermon on the Mount, warned his listeners against false prophets, likening them to wolves in sheep’s clothing. Then switching metaphors he asked, “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” The obvious answer is no, and Jesus’s point was, you can recognize a good or bad tree – and a true or false prophet – by its good or bad fruit. From this, Matthew concludes that, since non-affirming beliefs on the part of some Christians cause the bad fruit of emotional pain forother Christians, the non-affirming stance must not be good.
Terrell’s response to this is spot on, and I recommend you read her post to get the full response.
Matthew Vines in particular, and LGBTs in general, appear to be drivingly fixated on changing other people’s moral outlook. But why? Why are they distressed over the shrinking subset of Christianity that holds to the traditional ethic of sex? Note that Matthew found an affirming church in his hometown, as can most any LGBT-identifying Christian. Affirming churches abound. Gaychurch.org lists forty-four affirming denominations – denominations, not just individual churches – in North America and will help you find a congregation in your area. Why, then, given all these choices for church accommodation, are Matthew and the Reformers specifically targeting churches whose teachings differ from their own?
One gets the sense that LGBTs really, really need other people to affirm their sexual behavior. Certainly it’s human to want the approval of others, but this goes beyond an emotionally healthy desire for relational comity. Recall Matthew’s plea that non-affirming views on the part of some Christians cause emotional pain for others. He, and all like-minded LGBTs, are holding other people responsible for their emotional pain. This is the very essence of codependency.
The term came out of Alcoholics Anonymous. It originally referred to spouses of alcoholics who enabled the alcoholism to continue unchallenged, but it has since been broadened to encompass several forms of dysfunctional relationships involving pathological behaviors, low self-esteem, and poor emotional boundaries. Codependents “believe their happiness depends upon another person,” says Darlene Lancer, an attorney, family therapist, and author of Codependency for Dummies. “In a codependent relationship, both individuals are codependent,” says clinical psychologist Seth Meyers. “They try to control their partner and they aren’t comfortable on their own.”
Which leads to an even more troubling aspect of this Vinesian “Reformation.” Not only are LGBT Reformers not content to find an affirming church for themselves and peacefully coexist with everyone else, everyone else must change in order to be correct in their Christian expression.
This is the classic progression of codependency, and efforts to change everyone else become increasingly coercive. We must affirm same-sex orientation, Matthew says. If we don’t, we are “tarnishing the image of God [in gay Christians]. Instead of making gay Christians more like God … embracing a non-affirming position makes them less like God.” “[W]hen we reject the desires of gay Christians to express their sexuality within a lifelong covenant, we separate them from our covenantal God.”
Do you hear what he’s saying? LGBTs’ relationships with God are dependent on Christians approving their sexual proclivities. But he’s still not finished. “In the final analysis, then, it is not gay Christians who are sinning against God by entering into monogamous, loving relationships. It is we who are sinning against them by rejecting their intimate relationships.” In other words, non-affirming beliefs stand between LGBTs and God. Thus sayeth Matthew Vines.
The rest of her article deals with Vines’ attempt to twist Scripture to validate sexual behavior that is not permissible in Christianity.
One of the things I love about Terrell is that I am so used to Christian women, especially single Christian women, being incredibly wishy washy and lame on every issue you can imagine to Christians, from foreign policy, to economics, to business, to abortion, to same-sex marriage. Just absolutely dominated by the secular culture, straight down the line. That’s why Terrell’s article was like water in the desert for me.
I think the trouble with Vines needing affirmation stems directly from his advocacy of sexual behaviors not permitted by Christian teaching, which naturally result in a desire to get people to approve of it, so that the sinner can delude himself into thinking that what he is doing is not wrong. I.e. – if I can get lots of people to agree with me and silence those who disagree then what I am doing will be right. I am a chaste man now in my late 30s. I have not so much as kissed a woman on the lips. There is no celebration for what I am doing, not even in the church. Most of the Christian women I meet think that the purpose of relationships of is for the man to make the woman happy, or else she can divorce him and take all his wealth and future earnings. But you don’t see me complaining that people need to validate my choice to be chaste. And the reason is, that even if the entire world were against me, the morality of chastity is self-authenticating. It doesn’t matter how many people make me feel bad about what I am doing, I have the direct experience of doing the right thing – and it comes out in the way that I love women upward, giving them my whole heart.
Matthew Vines is annoyed that we expect homosexuals to work through their same-sex attractions, abstain from premarital sex, and then either remain chaste like me, or marry one person of the opposite sex and then confine his/her sexual behavior to his/her marriage. But how is that different than what is asked of me? I have opposite sex-attractions (boy, do I!), but I am also expected to abstain from premarital sex, and either remain chaste, or marry one woman for life, and confine my sexual behavior to that marriage. If I have to exercise a little self-control to show God that what he wants from me is important to me, then I am willing to do that.
Believe me, I understand what it is like to be without a woman’s love and support. I started out with a cold, distant, selfish, career-oriented mother. I dreamed about marriage since I was in high school – I remember praying about my future wife, even then. No one that I know has a stronger need for validation and encouragement from a woman than I do. Yet if I have to let that go in order to let God know that what he wants matters to me, then I will do it. I have been rejected by women because they refused to understand that what God has entrusted me with (education, career, wealth, health) is NOT for them to control for their own enjoyment. I am open to a woman telling me, logically and with supporting evidence, how to use my resources (or pool our resources) to serve God better. But I am not willing to marry if it means that the resources that God has entrusted to me will be redirected to fun and thrills, as her feelings dictate. I already have a Boss. I am not the boss. I don’t need a different boss. My relationships, if I am going to have any, are going to reflect what God wants, not what I want, and not what she wants.
My service to God is not conditional on me getting my needs met. And my needs and desires are no less strong than the needs of people who engage in sex outside the boundaries of Christian teaching. We just make different decisions about what/who comes first. For me, Jesus is first, because I have sympathy with Jesus for loving me enough to die in my place, for my sins. I am obligated to Jesus, and that means that my responsibility to meet expectations in our relationship comes above my desire to be happy and fulfilled. For Matthew, the sexual needs come first, and Scripture has to be reinterpreted in light of a desire to be happy. I just don’t see anything in the New Testament that leads me to believe that we should expect God to fulfill our desires. The message of Jesus is about self-denial, self-control and putting God the Father first – even when it results in suffering. I take that seriously. That willingness to be second and let Jesus lead me is what makes me an authentic Christian.
Matthew Vines and Michael Brown had a debate on the Bible and homosexuality, and I summarized it and commented on it in this post. Note that at the time of writing, I thought that Vines was engaged in the behaviors he was advocating for. There is also a good debate featuring Robert Gagnon and a gay activist in this post. There’s another debate between Michael Brown and Eric Smaw in this post.
On Thursday BSA President Robert Gates announced that the BSA will soon invite men who have sex with males (MSM) to become troop leaders. “The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” Gates disingenuously claimed, indicating that to maintain the BSA’s century-old proscription on “out” homosexual men would spell “the end of us as a national movement.”
This, of course, is hyperbolic nonsense and simply reflects a continuation of Gates’ long-standing pro-homosexual activism. While serving as secretary of defense he both advocated for and oversaw the implementation of the full repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. This has resulted in rampant anti-Christian discrimination and an explosion (a 33 percent spike) in male-on-male homosexual assaults. Does any honest, sane, thinking person imagine that a comparable increase in homosexual assault will not befall the Boy Scouts?
[…]Parents, the BSA is about to place political correctness above your child’s safety. This is not an opinion. It’s an empirical, quantifiable certainty.
Consider, for instance, a study published in the left-leaning Archives of Sexual Behavior, of over 200 convicted pedophiles. It found that “86 percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual.” This demonstrates, observes Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council: “Since almost 30 percent of child sexual abuse is committed by homosexual or bisexual men (one-third male-on-male abuse times 86 percent identifying as homosexual or bisexual), but less than 3 percent of American men identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual, we can infer that homosexual or bisexual men are approximately 10 times more likely to molest children than heterosexual men.”
This makes perfect sense when coupled with another 2001 study in the same peer-reviewed publication. It found that nearly half of all “gay”-identified men who participated in research were molested by a homosexual pedophile as boys: “46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender.”
The connection between homosexual abuse and “gay identity” is undeniable. Although clearly not all “gay”-identified men and women abuse children, or were abused as children, the reality is that an alarmingly high percentage of them do and were. As with most forms of abuse, the cycle is both circular and vicious.
If I ever have boys, I certainly will not enroll them in the Boy Scouts. And I am sorry for the children who will suffer as a result of this decision that puts little children at risk.
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It’s not often that an atheist and a Christian, who have just had a debate on campus, can be brought into agreement by a group in the audience. But the Graduate Queer Alliance (GQA) at Stony Brook University has managed to do that. Their letter to the editor on April 30 was so full of false assertions and totalitarian demands that we, Dr. Michael Shermer (an atheist) and Dr. Frank Turek (a Christian), felt compelled to write this letter together in response.
The central assertion of the GQA is that anyone who expresses a negative opinion of same sex marriage or homosexual behavior is guilty of “hate speech” and should be barred from speaking at Stony Brook University. The GQA says this while also claiming to believe “that a university should provide an open forum for controversial ideas to be discussed and debated.” We both wonder how the GQA can hold these two contradictory opinions at the same time. After all, they say they are for the debate of controversial issues, but apparently only if both debaters hold the same position and that position agrees with the GQA. Some debate!
How is disagreement over controversial moral and political issues “hate speech?” If it is then GQA’s position is “hate speech” because it disagrees with people who believe marriage should be defined in other ways. Calling people names or characterizing their arguments as “hate speech” is not good public discourse designed to discover the truth; it is bullying—the very thing GQA should be against.
If you remember my post, the clip I played had some back and forth on gay rights in it. I guess the GQA didn’t like hearing any ideas contrary to their own.
The true motives of the GQA are revealed by what is not in the letter: the arguments made by Dr. Shermer in support of same sex marriage, arguments he made with great passion that elicited equal passion—on both sides of the issue—from the audience. If those in the GQA are so interested in advancing their position through sound reason and science—which was Dr. Shermer’s point—why would they not highlight the arguments offered in support of it? Instead, the GQA seems to think they have a right not to hear an opposing opinion lest they be challenged!
It’s a shame that those in GQA appear so uninterested in evidence.
I think the letter from the gay activists and the response are particularly interesting, especially given what Dr. George Yancey said in his essay on educational dogma, which I talked about yesterday.
For the dogmatic, ideas that violate the notions defended by education dogma are deemed “dangerous” and too much for the tender ears of our students. So in additional to shouting down speakers there have been calls for “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” so that individuals do not have to listen to dangerous ideas. The true danger of these ideas is their threat to certain dogmatic beliefs of our students. These students are unwilling to consider the possibly that they are wrong, or perhaps not as right as they might believe. .
For all practical purposes the students saw the speaker as a heretic. The use of the term heretic can bring up images of torturing, imprisoning and killing of those who disagree. This is not occurring. However, it is reasonable to ask whether the seemingly restraint of the students from such drastic actions is due to their moral compass or to the fact that they do not have the social power to engage in such actions. Education dogma has led to attempting to kick offending businesses off campus, attempts to fire professors, and the official “shunning” of students who hold the “wrong ideas.” Those with education dogma do punish those who violate their beliefs to the highest extent possible given their current level of institutional powers.
Dr. Yancey was talking about a different group of college leftists, but I think that’s exactly what’s going on here, too. For now, it’s shouting down and writing letters and getting people fired (which actually happened to Turek, before). But will they stop there?