Tag Archives: Free Speech

Christian NHS worker who gave a book to Muslim co-worker loses her appeal

Judge Jennifer Jane Eady, Queens Counsel
Judge Jennifer Jane Eady, Queens Counsel

The UK Telegraph reports on the state of religious liberty in the United Kingdom.

Excerpt:

A Christian NHS worker suspended for giving a religious book to a Muslim colleague has lost her appeal against a ruling that the decision to discipline her was lawful.

Victoria Wasteney, 39, was found guilty by her NHS employer in 2014 of “harassing and bullying” a work friend for giving her a book about a Muslim woman’s encounter with Christianity, praying with her and asking her to church.

She was suspended for nine months and given a written warning, even though the woman had been happy to discuss faith with her and never gave evidence about her allegations to the NHS.

Ms Wasteney, a senior occupational therapist, challenged the decision by East London NHS Foundation Trust at an employment tribunal last year, but it ruled that her employer had not discriminated against her.

A judge gave her the chance to appeal against that decision, saying it should consider whether the original ruling had correctly applied the European Convention on Human Rights’ strong protection of freedom of religion and expression.

But at a hearing in central London on Thursday, Her Honour Judge Eady QC dismissed the appeal.

Following the decision, Miss Wasteney, from Epping, Essex, said: “What the court clearly failed to do was to say how, in today’s politically correct world, any Christian can even enter into a conversation with a fellow employee on the subject of religion and not, potentially, later end up in an employment tribunal.

“If someone sends you friendly text messages, how is one to know that they are offended? I had no idea that I was upsetting her.”

[…]The woman, who quit her job shortly after making the complaints, never gave any evidence about her allegations to the NHS or later to the employment tribunal.

It sounded to me like the Muslim woman encouraged the Christian woman and the Christian woman was later surprised by the complaints. I think most Christians can take no for an answer, but Christians are caring, and they see offering to pray and offering to bring someone to church as a caring thing to do. If they don’t hear a no, then they keep right on doing what comes naturally to Christians – talking about spiritual things and trying to lead others to the Lord.

It was much easier to do this in the past, before people got more concerned about not feeling offended than they were about discussing what is or is not true. So now, even in a country like England, you can be anything you want to be as long as you’re not behaving like a Christian in public. I think this is especially the case when the people who adjudicate these cases are more focused on feelings… the person who feels the most offended seems to win all the time.

Before I had an alias, I had experience dealing with co-workers who did not much like me talking about spiritual things at work. Some types of people are more risky than others, I’ve found. That’s when I started to make rules based on my experiences, about who was and who was not safe to talk to. And that’s when I decided that to really say what I wanted to say, I’d have to get an alias, and not tell too many co-workers about it.

So who is dangerous? Obviously, people who are committed to a sinful lifestyle already are dangerous to talk to. I don’t talk to people about anything interesting if they are committed to a sinful lifestyle, because they will feel obligated to discuss issues defensively, rather than in a truth-focused way. I also avoid people who are more focused on feelings, family and community above truth. They tend to be more focused on feeling good and getting along, and they are the worst people to disagree with. The safest people are people who like to argue about what is true, and who respond to evidence.

So how to detect who is safe? Well, If the person talks about themselves a lot, and about their feelings, and happy experiences, and their vacations, their families and popular culture fluff, then I would avoid them. Don’t say a word to them. The ones who are safer are the ones who accept disagreements and don’t just rush to agree with you while hiding their own opinions in order to be liked. You also want to avoid people who take everything personally, instead of debating the outside world with a focus on what is true.

I am terrified of people who try to agree with me on everything, or who cannot explain both sides of an issue respectfully. I watch what people watch on TV in the gym – if it’s sports, housewives of beverly hills, or other shallow life enhancement fluff, then I don’t talk to them. If it’s news or business, then it’s safer to talk to them – because then you can talk about facts. Beware of people who try to jump to agreement quickly, without showing any evidence or reasons for their view. It’s always better to talk about issues in the abstract, rather than offering to pray or asking someone to church. For example, you can discuss whether the universe had a beginning, or which books of the Bible were written early. Christians need to learn how to do that – how to talk about facts.

A good question to ask to test a person is to ask where they get their news. If there is no balance there, then it’s a good sign to avoid them. Two of my leftist co-workers this week asked me why I thought that the Washington Post and the New York Times were “radically leftist”. I asked them to name conservative columnists at either paper. They couldn’t name a single one. One tried to google it right in front of me! I named Arthur Brooks, Ross Douthat, Jennifer Rubin, etc. and explained why they weren’t conservative. Then I listed off a half-dozen liberal names at the Washington Post. If the person you are talking to is in a bubble, then they are too risky to talk to. Pretty much everyone on the secular left is that way, and you should check first by seeing what they read for news. If they’re not safe, then get yourself an alias and write something online, instead.

Todd Starnes: Ted Cruz is the best candidate to defend religious liberty

Ted Cruz explains policy to little girl who wants to be President
Ted Cruz explains policy to little girl who wants to be President

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, my second favorite think tank behind the Heritage Foundation, is advising the Ted Cruz campaign about religious liberty issues. They’ve actually made a list of things for him to do if he is elected President. Since this issue is the core of my being – it animates my whole life plan – I was curious to see what Cruz intends to do about religious liberty.

Here is Todd Starnes of Fox News writing about it:

America’s Christian bakers and florists and wedding planners will be safe under a Ted Cruz presidency.

“I am absolutely convinced in my discussions with the senator that religious liberty will be a lot better off in America with a Cruz administration,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and Chair of Cruz’s Religious Liberty Advisory Council.

The council released exclusively to me its initial recommendations for both legislative and executive actions that will restore the nation’s First Freedom – the freedom of religion.

[…]The council, made up of prominent religious leaders, recommended 15 action items that will protect Americans from discrimination by the federal government on the basis of their view of marriage and also protect employers threatened by the HHS contraception mandate.

[…]The council is also calling on Cruz to direct a review of the IRS’ treatment of religious organizations and to direct federal agencies to respect the free exercise of religion.

The list includes measures to promote religious liberty at the Department of Education, the IRS, the Department of Health and Human Services, the armed forces, and in the federal government as a whole.

Cruz has a record on defending religious liberty:

Cruz has been a passionate advocate of religious liberty for years. He’s been in the front line trenches defending our First Freedom – helping secure courtroom victories to preserve the Texas Ten Commandments monument and the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial.

“As president, I have pledged on my first day in office to rescind every single one of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions, and to direct every federal agency to respect and protect the religious liberty of every American,” Cruz said.

His vow is certainly welcome news to American Christians who have been subjected to eight years of vicious attacks by militant LGBT and atheist groups – not to mention the Obama administration.

“Our constitutional liberties should not be subject to the whims of the current administration, and – whether Hobby Lobby or the Little Sisters of the Poor – people of faith should not be made to bow down at the altar of political correctness,” Cruz said.

I took a look over the names of the people on his panel of policy advisors, and was surprised to see people I actually know on it. You probably know these names as well: Jay Wesley Richards, Everett Piper, Bishop Harry Jackson, Ken Blackwell, and Jason Benham. Jason Benham has had to face discrimination himself, when his show was pulled because of his Christian worldview. If I had to pick a scholar who has the same interests as me across the board, it would probably be Jay Richards. So, needless to say, I’m pretty pleased with this. Seems to me like we have been losing, losing, losing at religious liberty for the last 8 years under Obama and his Democrat allies in the House, Senate, federal government and Supreme Court. If Cruz wins, thins are going to change for us on this all-important issue. I just want to be free to be me, and not to be punished for disagreeing with other people on issues of morality and conscience.

I guess it goes without saying that Donald Trump is the polar opposite of Cruz on all of these issues. That’s why it’s important to me that someone with a record of standing up for religious liberty at the Supreme Court wins the nomination. I don’t want someone who only has talk – and Trump’s talk isn’t even that encouraging. He’s promised gay rights activists “forward motion” on gay rights. I think we’ve had enough of #NewYorkValues already under Obama, Mr. Trump.

By the way, if you’re not listening the Family Research Council Washington Watch Weekly podcast, please subscribe. They cover everything from social issues, to fiscal issues, to foreign policy. One of their frequent guests is retired Lt. General William G. Boykin, who is also on Cruz’s foreign policy advisory committee, which I blogged about before.

Related posts

In New York, you could be fined $250,000 for not using a transgender person’s preferred pronoun

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

This article from the Daily Signal makes me wonder why anyone would live in a garbage state like New York.

Excerpt:

The new legal guidance, issued Dec. 21 by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, came as part of an expansion of the city’s 2002 Human Rights Law, which protects against discrimination in a range of categories. The updated policy specifically protects transgender and gender non-conforming individuals from discrimination in areas of employment, public accommodation, and housing.

[…]Under the new policy, landlords, employers, and businesses can face civil penalties up to $125,000 per violation and up to $250,000 “for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”

[…]The guidance has the support of prominent LGBT groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York City Anti Violence Project, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

[…]New York City Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis promised to “aggressively” enforce the protections in order to ensure the safety of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

“Today’s guidance makes it abundantly clear what the city considers to be discrimination under the law and the commission will continue to aggressively enforce protections to make that promise a reality,” Malalis said. “Every New Yorker deserves to live freely and safely, free from discrimination.”

Her undergraduate degree is in Women’s Studies, I noticed. I wonder if that has anything to do with her sensitivity to feeling offended?

What would you have to do to get slapped with that fine?

This:

Intentionally failing to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun, or title. For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman “him” or “Mr.” when she has made it clear that she prefers female pronouns and a female title.

Or this:

Refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities, such as bathrooms or locker rooms, and participate in single-sex programs, consistent with their gender identity. For example, barring a transgender woman from a women’s restroom out of concern that she will make others uncomfortable.

Or this:

Failing to providing employee health benefits that cover gender-affirming care or failing to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals undergoing gender transition, including medical appointments and recovery, where such reasonable accommodations are provided to other employees. (Federal and New York laws already require certain types of insurance to cover medically-necessary transition-related care.

Wow. This is what New York politicians think is a big problem? No wonder so many people are leaving their lousy state.

Look:

More people move to Texas than any other state, according to data released by the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS collects data based on year-to-year address changes from tax returns to see which states individuals leave and where they subsequently move.

From 2012 to 2013, which is the latest data available, Texas had the largest positive net migration of 152,477 individuals. This is calculated by subtracting the number of out-migrant tax returns from the number of in-migrant returns.

Following Texas, Florida ranked second with a positive migration of 73,789 people. South Carolina was third with 28,905 people, Colorado fourth with 26,380, and North Carolina fifth with 25,911.

Conversely, New York ranked last among the states with a negative net migration of 113,861 people. Following New York were Illinois, California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Look, Americans love America because they want freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom to work and earn and run your business. New York thinks that they can take away that freedom, and that people will stay to live like that. But they don’t. They move to Texas. They move for freedom.

Ben Shapiro speaks out against “microaggression” oversensitivity at U of Missouri

Nearly 400 students showed up to hear Ben Shapiro speak
Nearly 400 students showed up to hear Ben Shapiro speak

My favorite political podcast is The Weekly Standard, and my favorite cultural podcast is Ben Shapiro. I really recommend subscribing to both and listening to them. The video of this lecture shows you what makes Ben Shapiro special. (H/T Kevin the Super Husband)

Lecture:

Question and Answer:

And here’s a news article for those who cannot watch from Breitbart News.

Excerpt:

Ben Shapiro’s speech Thursday evening at the University of Missouri was a galvanizing moment for the campus and community that became the national focus of media attention in early November after a group of radical black liberation activists, assisted by leftist faculty members, forced the resignation of the university’s president and chancellor.
The event marked the first large, public backlash to the political correctness gone wild that had overtaken Mizzou in the past several months.

Towards the end of his rousing speech, Shapiro discussed how the “micro aggression” culture of taking offense at minor, even unintended things leads to real aggression. Shapiro said, “There’s never been a bad person on planet Earth who has not felt justified in doing his or her bad thing. All colleges do now is give people reasons to feel justified in doing the bad things that they want to do.”

Shapiro lit into the very real aggressions that had played out at the University of Missouri, including the story that Breitbart News covered of Mizzou faculty member Dr. Melissa Click, who blocked a student reporter with a camera when he attempted to enter a public space on campus that #ConcernedStudent1950 activists had declared a “safe space” for themselves.

[…]The audience of over 350 responded immediately with applause that lasted several seconds. The crowd’s applause showed the cathartic impact of someone speaking the truth out loud at the University of Missouri.

Shapiro was invited to speak by the Young America’s Foundation. My first thought when I see an event like this is why aren’t Christian churches more involved in applying the Bible and Christian theology to the culture. My pastor almost never applies the Bible to anything that is happening in real life. He almost never references anything that is happening in the culture, much less current events.

Thank goodness there are brave conservatives like Ben Shapiro who are willing to put rounds downrange onto the target, rather than focus on pious language doesn’t equip anyone to declare or defend their conservative beliefs. There are so many ideas that are undermining the life plans of Christian men these days – feminism, postmodernism, relativism, global warming alarmism, socialism, pacificism, unilateral surrender and appeasement, and so on. And yet so few pastors can see these threats and how they differ with the Bible’s teachings. Even those that see seem to lack the courage of those who speak out about them. We need to be talking about what is happening in politics and in the culture, so that we can make a world where it is safe to speak out about Christian things without fear – even if the truth makes people feel “offended”.

Pew Research: 40% of millenials oppose free speech

Pew Research: the next generation opposes free speech
Pew Research: the next generation opposes free speech

First, let’s see the data, then we’ll talk about who made this happen, and what Christians can do about it.

This is the raw data is from the leftist Pew Research Center.

It says:

American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.

We asked whether people believe that citizens should be able to make public statements that are offensive to minority groups, or whether the government should be able to prevent people from saying these things. Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.

[…]In the U.S., our findings also show a racial divide on this question, with non-whites more likely (38%) to support government prevention of such speech than non-Hispanic whites (23%).

Nearly twice as many Democrats say the government should be able to stop speech against minorities (35%) compared with Republicans (18%). Independents, as is often the case, find themselves in the middle. One-third of all women say the government should be able to curtail speech that is offensive to minorities vs. 23% of men who say the same.

Furthermore, Americans who have a high school degree or less are more likely than those with at least a college degree to say that speech offensive to minority groups should be able to be restricted (a 9-percentage-point difference).

Now why is this happening? This is happening for two reasons.

First, we have a retreat from masculinity. A significant part of being a man is being able to tell the truth about good and evil, as well as telling the truth about spiritual things. That’s why whenever I list the male roles, I start with protector and provider, but I also mention moral leader and spiritual leader. It’s no accident that men are more conservative than women on issues like abortion and gay marriage, especially married men. Just look at the 75% of young, unmarried women who vote Democrat. Men are more comfortable with conflict, and more comfortable with expressing views that offend. Men are more likely to speak out for the truth regardless of how other people feel about it. Men are more likely to stick to their convictions in the face of peer-disapproval. But in a society where women dominate the education system, and discourage masculinity, the next generation is naturally going to shy away from speaking the truth on moral and spiritual issues, and everyone will focus more on feelings and compassion. One last point: we should not be supporting policies that get fathers out of their homes and away from their children, e.g. – no-fault divorce, single mother welfare benefits, sex education curriculum designed by Planned Parenthood, etc.

To illustrate this first point, recall a post that I wrote before about a day care worker who explained in the Washington Post how she teaches children, especially boys, not to make moral judgments, by shaming them.

Second, Christian parents retreated away from apologetics, and integrating Bible teaching with worldview concerns like politics, economics and current events. Parents, rather than fighting for policies and moral values that make Christianity viable, and focused on feelings and piety divorced from evidence.There is no emphasis on teaching that Christianity is true, nor that Christian teachings about morality are true. Without a focus on showing why speech is true, younger Christians start to believe that words are just things that make them feel good. They learn that speech is not true or false, but just about good feelings from the parents. And so, naturally, when someone from the secular left comes along and tells them that speech is not allowed if it makes someone feel bad, they go along with this. They don’t see that speech is supposed to be about truth and falsehood, they learned from their parents dismissal of apologetics and worldview that it is about piety and feelings and peer-approval.

To illustrate, recall a post that I wrote before about my own journey to a robust, lasting Christianity, in which I gave the example of a Christian mother who thought that apologetics was pointless, and that’s what she taught her kids.

So there are two solutions to this. First, we need to be mindful of how female-dominated schools crush the ability of men to stand up for what they believe, and second, we need to be careful to teach our children about Christianity with an emphasis on truth and evidence, not on feelings and dogma.