Tag Archives: Liberty

Gay marriage collides with freedom of conscience and religious liberty in the UK

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

It’s not just happening in Canada and the United States.

Here’s the UK Telegraph article.

It says:

The Christian bakers taken to court for refusing to make a cake promoting gay marriage say their experience is like living in a dystopian “science fiction” world where the state orders people to say things they do not believe.

[…]The family firm, based on Newtonabbey, near Belfast, found itself at the centre of an international storm in summer 2014 after cancelling an order for a cake featuring the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie with the slogan “support gay marriage”.

[…]The McArthurs, who are evangelical Christians, said they could not in conscience make the cake because they believe same-sex marriage is against the teaching of the Bible.

[…]But Mr Lee, backed by the Equality Commission, a state-funded body which operates in Northern Ireland, said it amounted to discrimination under laws which ban refusing to provide services on grounds of religion, race or sexual orientation.

[…]Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that refusing to produce a cake calling for the change did amount to discrimination against Mr Lee.

She said the McArthurs did not have the right to ‘manifest’ their belief in a commercial setting.

You don’t have a right to act like a Christian outside your church. When you are outside your church, you have to act like a progressive atheist. That’s “neutrality”. Progressive atheists have to act like progressive atheists in public, and  Bible-believing Christians have to act like progressive atheists in public. That’s “equality”, according to the taxpayer-funded “Equality Commission”. That’s their job, actually – converting the taxes collected by Christian taxpayers into witch-hunts against those same Christian taxpayers.

But look, there is more hope in the UK than there is here:

Speaking to The Telegraph, the couple said they had received hate mail and online abuse but had no regrets.

It came as Peter Tatchell, the veteran gay rights campaigner, emerged as a surprise supporter for the McArthurs’ appeal.

He said that, while he totally disagreed with their views on gay marriage, it is a basic “infringement of freedom” to force people to promote ideas to which they conscientiously object.

See? Now look here. I have no problem with gay people living how they want, signing contracts about wills and hospital visitation, and so on. But what I do object to is their desire to redefine marriage for all of us, so that people like me who have a different view of what marriage is have to be fired, pay fines and go to jail – all for disagreeing with their view. Well, excuse me, but I am allowed to have a different view.

At least one gay activist (Tatchell) has sense enough to be tolerant of those who disagree with him. That’s real tolerance, not like these secular leftist fascists in the UK government. I hope there are more like him.

Last point. How did the Christians feel about it?

Excerpt:

Speaking to The Telegraph, the couple said they had received hate mail and online abuse but had no regrets.

[…]Mr McArthur said he had been bewildered to find himself up against the courts and a state equality body for supporting what is currently the law.

[…]He insisted that, rather than discriminating against a gay customer, the family were themselves effectively suffering discrimination by being denied the right to refuse to endorse gay marriage.

“For us, I think it means you have to leave your Christianity at your house and in your church, once you go out the door in the morning you can forget about your Christian beliefs,” he said.

[…]but [our faith affects] every part of our lives.

“It is impossible for us not to bring it with us during the day.”

He added: “It is our human right to live according to those beliefs and we can’t do something that goes against those beliefs, we can’t be forced to do it.

“That is basically what the Equality Commission expect us to do, they expect us to go against our Christian beliefs despite how we feel.”

“It is like something out of a science fiction book: ‘you have to do this, there is no choice … you must do this, no matter what your conscience tells you, no matter how hard, never mind that you couldn’t do that, you have to do it we demand it of you’.”

So, UK taxpayers must pay taxes to the government that wants to silence and coerce them. I wonder that anyone who claims to be a Bible-believing Christian could support overreach by a bloated secular government. We need small, limited government where government is focused on its Constitutional responsibilities – not on using force to make us all think alike.

I don’t think that most people of other religions, except perhaps Orthodox Jews, really understand what is required of Bible-believing Christians. We are expected to honor God in everything we do, and acknowledge him in all of our thinking and decision-making, including decision-making about morality. Although most secular people think morality is illusory and that truth takes a backseat to hedonism, that is not the Christian view.

Jesus says this:

Matthew 10:32-33:

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

You may not believe that, but don’t push your views on us, using the power of government. Christians are not like you. We are not here to have a good time on Earth. Our religion is not a community activity that is engaged in for social cohesion of feelings of comfort. Bible-believing Christians think that Christianity is true – objectively true. You’re not just trying to get us to try a different flavor of ice cream when you push your different morality on us – you’re trying to get us to live a lie. And your “feeling offended” by our disagreement is not justification for using the government to coerce us (which is fascism, by the way). If we Christians are right, the worst thing that a non-Christian person can do is to discourage us from pursuing God in Christ. You do not want to face God if you are the person who causes a Christian to turn away from God. That is the worst thing you can do. And yet so many people on the secular left do exactly that… in the public schools, in the university, in the court rooms, in the media, in Hollywood, etc. Stop it.

What builds character? A job in a capitalist economy, or campus “safe spaces”?

Dennis Prager liked this article so much that he discussed it on Friday AND Monday. A lot.

I read the article, too. And I think there is a lot to learn from it. Let’s take a look at some of it, and then I’ll make a point.

Excerpt:

During Customs week, in PAF sessions, and in everyday discourse here at Haverford, we are taught to ask for help when we feel we need it, speak up when we feel uncomfortable, and prioritize our own well being over most other things. At McDonald’s, acting in this way could have cost me my job, a job I needed to afford college. There, I, as an individual, was insignificant: The most important thing was that the customer walks away satisfied, and it didn’t matter what I had to go through to make that happen. There is something ironic about this: In order to do what was necessary to be a Haverford student, I had to act in un-Haverford-like way.

Because I worked the front counter, whenever there was a problem with an order — even though I never made the food — I was the one who was verbally abused. “One must never interrupt the customer,” and “The customer is always right,” so I would stand and listen to the entirety of elaborate rants, trying to put aside the attacks on myself, on McDonald’s, on America, and on capitalism, so that I could report the relevant details to those who actually had the power to correct the problem. These issues were usually simple, like a missing piece of cheese from a McDouble, or whipped cream on a milkshake when they hadn’t wanted any.

The customer is always right, and how you feel about the “injustice of it all” doesn’t matter. In fact, if you put your personal feelings about the need of the business owner to grow his business, you’ll probably get a talking to about how the customer is always right and to toughen up and take it.

She concludes:

I’m grateful to have worked at McDonald’s: It taught me how better to handle my anxiety and how to put myself last in the name of efficiency and a common goal. McDonald’s strengthened my character, my work ethic, and expanded my capacity for resilience, valuable lessons which could not be learned in the “safe spaces” of Haverford’s campus. We must remember that putting oneself first is the essence of privilege, and that, in order to grow, we must leave this selfish mindset behind.

So what can we say about this?

In a free market, you can't make money by greed alone
In a free market, you can’t get rich by greed alone

I don’t know if most young people really understand that the essence of the free market / free enterprise / capitalist system is that in order for you to make money, you have to make something or do something for someone else that they find valuable. You cannot greed your way to a fortune. There is no filthy capitalist dog in a top hat, twirling his long mustache and laughing evilly as money magically appears. In a free market, you have to give something to someone to get their money. And you have to give them more value for less cost than all the other competitors they can choose from. So, people in businesses have to be nice to you. That’s why Amazon and Costco don’t ask questions when you return stuff. They want a relationship with you for life, and questioning you would make you go somewhere else. And all their employees are taught that – the customer is always right.

The opposite of free market competition is monopoly. Monopolies do exist in the world, but not usually in the free market. Where do monopolies exist? Well, they exist in the government. Think of what the service is like at the department of motor vehicles, or immigration office, or the social security office, etc. The customer service is lousy, the lines are long, the unionized government workers are uneducated and rude, and they get too many benefits and too much salary for the value they offer. How are they allowed to do that? Simple. You can’t go anywhere else to get the stuff you need from them. That’s why they can underperform, and you can’t do a thing about it.

Anyway, the main point is that you should always encourage your children to take the most demanding job in the private sector they can handle. And by the way, if you know an irresponsible college student who insists on having fun, thrills and travel, the best thing you can do is encourage them to get a job that they hate. It will help them to grow their character and build their finances at the same time – making them ready for the responsibilities and obligations they will face from marriage and parenting. Working in a capitalist system is magic for your character. Even if you didn’t have the best parents, you can still grow up right just by showing up for work every day.

Between 1993 and 2013, gun ownership soared, but gun violence declined

This story is from CNS News. I think it’s important because this is one of those things that everyone thinks they know, yet the facts are completely different from what they think.

It says:

According to data retrieved from the Centers for Disease Control, there were 7 firearm-related homicides for every 100,000 Americans in 1993 (see light blue line in chart). By 2013 (most recent year available), the gun homicide rate had fallen by nearly 50 percent to only 3.6 homicides per 100,000 population.

Here’s the chart:

Gun ownership up, gun violence down
Gun ownership up, gun violence down

More: (links removed)

Based on data from a 2012 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report… the number of privately owned firearms in U.S. increased from about 185 million in 1993 to 357 million in 2013. Adjusted for the U.S. population, the number of guns per American increased from 0.93 per person in 1993 to 1.45 in 2013, which is a 56 percent increase in the number of guns per person that occurred during the same period when gun violence decreased by 49 percent (see new chart below). Of course, that significant correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation, but it’s logical to believe that those two trends are related. After all, armed citizens frequently prevent crimes from happening, including gun-related homicides, see hundreds of examples here of law-abiding gun owners defending themselves and their families and homes.

It turns out that criminals are rational – if they think that their victims are armed, then they won’t try anything. The only places left where they can go on a shooting spree are gun-free-zones.

Makes you wonder why the Obama administration is so interested in taking the guns of law-abiding people, doesn’t it? Well, when crime goes down, the government can’t meddle as much in our lives, with security cameras, searches, etc. They can only justify taking our freedom away when there is lots of crime. That’s one reason why we should be detering crime ourselves, and vote to keep that right of self-defense.

Learn about the issue

To find the about guns and self-defense, look in the academic literature. Here are two books I really like for that.

Both of those books make the case that permitting law-abiding citizens to own firearms for self-defense reduces rates of gun violence.

Wage gap: are women paid less than men because of discrimination?

Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help
Hillary Clinton thinks that women are not paid fairly compared to men: is it true?

Liberal feminist Hanna Rosin takes a look at this question in the far-left Slate, of all places.

Excerpt:

The official Bureau of Labor Department statistics show that the median earnings of full-time female workers is 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers. But that is very different than “77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” The latter gives the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That’s not at all the case. “Full time” officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35.

How to get a more accurate measure? First, instead of comparing annual wages, start by comparing average weekly wages. This is considered a slightly more accurate measure because it eliminates variables like time off during the year or annual bonuses (and yes, men get higher bonuses, but let’s shelve that for a moment in our quest for a pure wage gap number). By this measure, women earn 81 percent of what men earn, although it varies widely by race. African-American women, for example, earn 94 percent of what African-American men earn in a typical week. Then, when you restrict the comparison to men and women working 40 hours a week, the gap narrows to 87 percent.

But we’re still not close to measuring women “doing the same work as men.” For that, we’d have to adjust for many other factors that go into determining salary. Economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn did that in a recent paper, “The Gender Pay Gap.”.”They first accounted for education and experience. That didn’t shift the gap very much, because women generally have at least as much and usually more education than men, and since the 1980s they have been gaining the experience. The fact that men are more likely to be in unions and have their salaries protected accounts for about 4 percent of the gap. The big differences are in occupation and industry. Women congregate in different professions than men do, and the largely male professions tend to be higher-paying. If you account for those differences, and then compare a woman and a man doing the same job, the pay gap narrows to 91 percent. So, you could accurately say in that Obama ad that, “women get paid 91 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.”

I believe that the remainder of the gap can be accounted for by looking at other voluntary factors that differentiate men and women.

The Heritage Foundation says that a recent study puts the number at 95 cents per dollar.

Excerpt:

Women are more likely than men to work in industries with more flexible schedules. Women are also more likely to spend time outside the labor force to care for children. These choices have benefits, but they also reduce pay—for both men and women. When economists control for such factors, they find the gender gap largely disappears.

A 2009 study commissioned by the Department of Labor found that after controlling for occupation, experience, and other choices, women earn 95 percent as much as men do. In 2005, June O’Neil, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, found that “There is no gender gap in wages among men and women with similar family roles.” Different choices—not discrimination—account for different employment and wage outcomes.

A popular article by Carrie Lukas in the Wall Street Journal agrees.

Excerpt:

The Department of Labor’s Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap.

[…]Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women’s earnings are going up compared to men’s.

When women make different choices about education and labor that are more like what men choose, they earn just as much or more than men.

Now back to Hillary Clinton. How much does she pay the women on her staff?

The Washington Times reports:

During her time as senator of New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton paid her female staffers 72 cents for every dollar she paid men, according to a new Washington Free Beacon report.

From 2002 to 2008, the median annual salary for Mrs. Clinton’s female staffers was $15,708.38 less than what was paid to men, the report said. Women earned a slightly higher median salary than men in 2005, coming in at $1.04. But in 2006, they earned 65 cents for each dollar men earned, and in 2008, they earned only 63 cents on the dollar, The Free Beacon reported.

[…]Mrs. Clinton has spoken against wage inequality in the past. In April, she ironically tweeted that “20 years ago, women made 72 cents on the dollar to men. Today it’s still just 77 cents. More work to do. #EqualPay #NoCeilings.”

Think of this next time Hillary Clinton talks about “the wage gap”. She is talking about the women on her staff, and no one else.

If you want to know what’s ahead for America, look north to Canada

Canada election results 2015
Canada election results 2015 (click for larger image)

A friend of mine pointed out this post by a pro-life woman based in Calgary, Alberta named McKenzie. As you all know, Canada lurched hard left last Monday, electing a strongly pro-abortion Liberal Party government, led by a man who insisted that candidates in his party swear their allegiance to abortion on demand, through all 9 months of pregnancy.

I took a look at some of the pro-life Members of Parliament and noticed that a bunch of them stepped down this election, and many others were defeated by Liberals. So, McKenzie is looking forward and seeing where the pro-abortion Liberal Party is going next now that they have a majority government.

She writes:

As tempting as it is to write a semi-encouraging post about the state of affairs for the next two to four years, the reality is that the political sphere of the pro-life movement has been dealt a treacherous blow in seeking to protect the most defenseless lives among us.

In the foreseeable future, here are three possible federal pressures we can expect from our Parliament over the next few months and years:

1. Legislation inhibiting, directly or indirectly, the freedom and mobility of life-affirming organizations, including pregnancy resource centres, and their ability to reach women seeking abortions. We’ve had zero laws restricting abortion access throughout all nine months of pregnancy since 1988, but that hasn’t stopped our new Prime Minister from enforcing a strictly pro-choice view among his party. The question at the front of their minds seems to be, “how much further could we go in promoting abortion in our society – and overseas?” A reasonable prediction is that the CRA and Human Rights Commissions will put additional pressure on Christian or pro-life charities to comply with any new laws enacted, regardless of their protections under the Charter – similar to our friends in California presently forced to give out abortion information alongside life-affirming options at pregnancy resource centres, though abortion clinics are not required to reciprocate.

CRA = Canada Revenue Agency, their IRS. We’ve already had a scandal where the IRS, probably under the direction of the White House, went after charities that were working against the Democrats on certain issues like stopping voter fraud. She is expecting to see the CRA used similarly to go after pro-lifers. As you know, the Human Rights Commissions are tools used by the secular left to punish conservatives for offending people on the secular left. The laws are only ever applied against conservatives, and they almost always lose their cases. Well, pro-lifers are offensive. McKenzie thinks that the HRCs are going to go after them.

Another one:

3. Economic policies directly and/or indirectly inhibiting our ability to donate towards charities and charitable causes, especially pro-life or pro-family causes. Less money in the hands of private donors (especially those in the middle class) in a recession, coupled with higher redistribution through taxes, hits families the hardest when men and women are in their peak income-earning years. Less resources to go around means less charitable giving when mom and dad need to put their own needs for bills, food, and shelter first.

This is not surprising. The left is always anxious to go after charitable giving, because people are giving their money to causes they care about and the left doesn’t get any benefit. What the left prefers is that they take the money from potential charitable donors and then use it to buy votes. Obama’s latest budget of 2015 was the latest attempt to limit charitable contributions. She is expecting that pro-life donors will be targeted by the new Liberal majority government. And she undertstands that whatever impact she is going to have as a Christian is going to be funded by her own efforts to work for money, he husbands efforts to work for money, and the charitable donations she can get. The government never funds the efforts of Christians and/or conservatives to push Christian or conservative views. Which is why it makes zero sense for Christians to vote to expand the federal government outside of its Constitutional responsibilities.

So what are my thoughts on all this?

Well, I wish more pro-lifers down here were as aware of the effects of laws and policies on life plans. If you read the rest of her post, McKenzie clearly has some kind of pro-life plan there, and it’s a good one in that it’s practical and evidence based. She intends to get results. But she’s not looking inside at her own feelings and thoughts when she makes these life plans, she’s looking at politics and laws and trying to anticipate where the threats will come from, and how to adjust. I wish pro-lifers here were more like that… especially when it comes to size of government. We need to keep our own money and not give it to the government. We need to keep the government away from our rights, e.g. – free speech and religious liberty.

Anyway, if you follow the gay rights vs religious liberties battles we are having now with florists, bakers, photographers, etc., then you might recall that similar things were happening in Canada 10-20 years ago. Canada was going through these problems in the late 90s, early 2000s, when the Liberals were in charge. It sort of died out when the Conservatives took over, but there’s no reason I can see for it not to come back now that Canada has elected a Liberal majority. I’m going to be watching the situation closely up there, because whatever the Liberals do up there now is likely to make its way down here in the next 10-15 years – if we elect Democrats.

In fact, with respect to what she said about restricting pro-lifers, the Democrat Party already introduced a bill to remove all restrictions on abortion at the state and local levels. This is what they do. Laws, taxes and politics do matter.