Tag Archives: Freedom of Religion

Which candidate is the best at defending religious liberty: Trump or Cruz?

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

First, let’s see a story is from the Business Insider, about the latest attack on religious liberty. Then we’ll compare the candidates on religious liberty.

Excerpt:

An Illinois inn that refused to allow a same-sex couple hold their civil union ceremony on the property was fined more than $80,000 by the Illinois Human Rights Commission on Tuesday.

An administrative law judge with the commission ordered TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast to pay $15,000 each to Todd and Mark Wathen for emotional distress.

[…]TimberCreek, located about 100 miles south of Chicago, must also pay $50,000 in attorneys’ fees and $1,218.35 in costs.

“We are very happy that no other couple will have to experience what we experienced by being turned away and belittled and criticized for who we are,” Todd Wathen said in a statement.

Ah, yes. The “Human Rights Commissions” that only ever go after Christians and conservatives, never secularists and liberals. It’s now more important that gays not feel “belittled and criticized” than that Christians have their religious liberty respected. Christians must be forced by the government to act like non-Christians – that’s apparently the law. A law that many Christians voted for when they voted for Democrats.

OK, now let’s see what the presidential candidates think about the issue of gay rights vs religious liberty. Let’s start with Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz

Pro-marriage activist Maggie Gallagher reports on what Ted Cruz said about the Georgia governor’s decision to side with gay rights over religious liberty:

Ted Cruz once again proved he has the courage to go up against the GOP establishment in the person of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who sided with leftists, big business and Hollywood by claiming conscience protections for gay marriage dissenters are “discrimination”:

“I thought that was very disappointing to see Gov. Deal of Georgia side with leftist activists and side against religious liberty,” Cruz said. “It used to be, political parties, we would argue about marginal tax rates and you could have disagreements about what the level of taxation should be. But on religious liberty, on protecting the rights of every American to practice, live according to our faith, live according to our conscience, we all came together. That ought to be a bipartisan commitment and I was disappointed not to see Gov. Deal not defend religious liberty.”

Now will any reporters ask John Kasich, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the same question?

No need to ask Hillary Clinton what she thinks, she been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign – she’s a hardcore gay activist who opposes religious liberty 100%. Bernie Sanders is the same – 100% opposed to religious liberty.

But what about Donald Trump?

Donald Trump

This is from Bay Windows, which bills itself as “serving New England’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities”.

Here’s what they wrote:

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination today promised “forward motion” on gay and lesbian equality if he is elected.

In an interview with NECN’s Sue O’Connell just days before the crucial New Hampshire primary, Trump cast himself as a uniter on LGBT issues.

O’Connell, who is also Bay Windows’ Publisher, identified herself as a lesbian in a question that noted the progress the LGBT community has made in the last two decades and asked Trump if voters can expect him to continue that momentum if elected

“When President Trump is in office can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?” O’Connell asked him.

“Well, you can,” Trump answered. ” And look, again, we’re going to bring people together, and that’s your thing and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together and if we don’t we’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Recall that during the Iowa primary, Trump declared how much he loves evangelicals, and even held up a Bible he supposedly got from his mother as evidence of his genuine, authentic Christian faith. But the Iowa primary is over now, so no more Bible prop needed.

What about John Kasich?

John Kasich

Kasich considers same-sex marriage to be the law of the land, and he opposes legal protections for Christians who are sued by gay activists.

He gets an F on marriage from pro-marriage activist Maggie Gallagher for his stance on same-sex marriage:

The Supreme Court overturns the marriage laws of your state and many others by inventing a new right?  That gets a big yawn from John Kasich: “I do believe in the traditional sense of marriage—that marriage is between a man and a woman.  But I also respect the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Supreme Court of the United States made the decision, and as I have said repeatedly we’ll honor what the Supreme Court does—it’s the law of the land.”

And he opposes protections for Christians who are sued by gay activists:

What will you do, Gov. Kasich, to protect the rights of gay marriage dissenters?

[…]Gov. Kasich has refused to say whether he would support [the First Amendment Defense Act].

Ted Cruz has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, and quickly, too. No hesitation, because religious liberty is in the Constitution, and Ted Cruz is crazy about the Constitution!

The latest Wisconsin polls

A Marquette University poll from Wednesday found Ted Cruz up by 10 points against Donald Trump.

That poll might have been seen as an outlier, but then a new Fox Business poll with twice the number of people polled was released Thursday:

Cruz garners 42 percent among Wisconsin likely GOP primary voters, while Trump receives 32 percent.  John Kasich comes in third with 19 percent.

Among just those who say they will “definitely” vote, Cruz’s lead over Trump widens to 46-33 percent, and Kasich gets 16 percent.

There is a big gender gap.  Women back Cruz over Trump by a 19-point margin (46-27 percent).  The two candidates are much closer among men:  Cruz gets 40 percent to Trump’s 35 percent.

Cruz’s advantage over the real estate mogul also comes from self-described “very” conservative voters, who give him a 36-point lead (61 percent Cruz vs. 25 percent Trump). 

White evangelical Christians voting in the GOP primary prefer Cruz over Trump by 49-28 percent.   

[…]Cruz is ahead of Trump among those with a college degree (42-30 percent) as well as those without a degree (44-34 percent).

Independents can vote in Wisconsin’s open primary — and are more inclined to back Trump (37 percent) than Cruz (26 percent) or Kasich (26 percent).

Independents are typically socially liberal, so naturally they prefer Trump and his New York values, e.g. – eliminating religious liberty.

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

Where does Bernie Sanders stand on gay rights vs religious liberty?

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

Here’s an article from Robert Gagnon from the American Spectator. Dr. Gagnon is someone I trust on the gay marriage / homosexuality / gay rights issues. In this post he makes a list of all the things Sanders is doing and intends to do on the gay rights vs religious liberty issue.

He writes:

I have encountered a fair number of persons holding a more or less traditional view of marriage who are warming up to Sanders because Sanders strikes them as a “nice man” who just wants to “help the poor.” Pay attention, please, for Sanders has told us exactly what he would do to you as President (rest assured that Hillary Clinton would do the same):

First, Sanders will kill any sort of religious liberty legislation, such as the the “First Amendment Defense Act”:

1. “Veto any legislation that purports to ‘protect’ religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights” (the scare quotes are his). In other words, he is going to get you, you hateful, ignorant bigots who have a problem with supporting directly with your talents, goods, and money the full homosexual and transgender lifestyle.

Second, if anyone in your office finds out that you oppose gay marriage, Sanders is authorizing your pro-gay co-workers to have you fired on the spot:

2. “Sign into law the Equality Act,” of which he “is currently a cosponsor,” “which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.” This would include a so-called “employment nondiscrimination” legislation that renders you the moral equivalent of a racist should you utter in or out of the workplace the view that homosexual activity is harmful or immoral. Think of it as anti-Christian (and anti-Muslim and anti-Orthodox Jewish) employment discrimination legislation.

Expect lots of firings and terminations to take place. Imagine your workplace as a sort of “secret police” state, except the policing won’t be so secret. Expect there to be a full-court federal push to punish with hefty fines those who do not want to contribute their talents and goods directly to “gay weddings” (bakers, florists, photographers, caterers). Churches that allow non-parishioners to use any of their facilities will have to offer these to “gay weddings” and any other homosexual or transgender activities. In some cases white-collar employees who outside the workplace write in favor of a male-female foundation for marriage (even on a Facebook post) could be charged with creating a hostile work environment and terminated.

Pro-gay indoctrination of police officers into the gay agenda:

4. “Require police departments to adopt policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color …, and institute training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.” This is a mandate to indoctrinate forcibly police departments along the lines of “progressive” sexual ideology. Either they learn to advance the transgender cause or face discipline and termination. That means converting law enforcement into the most active enforcers of a homosexual and transgender agenda against the citizenry. You have no rights, except the right to remain silent.

Pro-gay  indoctrination of young children in the schools:

5. Pass “anti-bullying” legislation requiring indoctrination of children in the schools into the LGBT agenda. Your children will be taught to regard you as a “bully” and a “homophobic bigot” if you don’t affirm homosexual and transsexual identities. Your children will be given exercises that will urge them to declare their affinity with the LGBT cause. “If you believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, walk across the room to us, where these treats are waiting.” If your children don’t comply, they will be ostracized.

Dr. Gagnon lists a few policies favored by Sanders, and takes a look at his record on gay rights issues in Vermont. Suffice to say that if this man is elected President, religious liberty and freedom of conscience for Christians will be finished. Some voters think that forced redistribution of wealth by a secular government is more important than the right to live by Biblical sexual ethics. For myself, I’m not for redistribution of wealth by a secular big government. I believe in Biblical sexual ethics, and I believe in natural marriage. I don’t want to elect someone who would punish me for being supportive of natural marriage and traditional morality.

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.

Frank Turek lectures on the case against same-sex marriage

About the speaker Frank Turek:

Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author or coauthor of four books: Stealing from God:  Why Atheists Need God to make their Case, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of CrossExamined.org, Frank presents powerful and entertaining evidence for Christianity at churches, high schools and at secular college campuses that often begin hostile to his message. He has also debated several prominent atheists including Christopher Hitchens and David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

Frank hosts an hour-long TV program each week called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that is broadcast Wednesday nights on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek airs on 122 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern and is available continuously on the free CrossExamined App.

A former aviator in the US Navy, Frank has a master’s degree from the George Washington University and a doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary.  He and his wife, Stephanie, are blessed with three grown sons.

He’s one of my favorite speakers, and I admire him for being willing to take a public stand on controversial issues like gay marriage. He’s actually had to pay a price for that in his professional life, and I blogged about that before.

Here’s the lecture on gay marriage, featuring Christian apologist Frank Turek. It was presented in July 2015, after the Supreme Court decision.

[youtub=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3YmHAIgVfg]

Outline:

Outline of Frank Turek's lecture on same sex marriage
Outline of Frank Turek’s lecture on same sex marriage

Introduction:

  • how to present your case against marriage safely
  • Christians are required to go beyond tolerance
  • loving another person can mean opposing the person when they want to do something wrong, even if they hate you
  • what did Jesus say about marriage? (see Matt 19:4-6)
  • what did Jesus say about sexual morality? (Matt 15, Matt 19)

Summary:

  • the same-sex marriage debate is about whether to compel people who disagree with the gay lifestyle to validate and normalize it
  • P1: the government has an interest in marriage because it perpetuates and stabilizes society – this is the purpose of marriage
  • P2-4: government can take 3 kinds of stances towards behaviors: promote, permit or prohibit
  • government promotes behaviors when it has an interest in them
  • same-sex relationships should be permitted, but not promoted
  • Q1: if same-sex marriage had serious negative consequences, would you reconsider their position?
  • Q2: are heterosexual relationships the same as homosexual relationships?
  • Q3: what would society be like if everyone married according to the natural marriage definition: one woman, one man, for life?
  • Q4: what would society be like if everyone married according to the same-sex marriage definition: man/man and woman/woman?
  • Should Christians care about law and politics? or should they just preach the gospel?
  • They should care because people often get their cues about what is moral and immoral based on what is legal and illegal
  • Many of the social problems we see today can be traced back to problems with marriage and family
  • Children do much better when they have a relationship with their mother and their father
  • Same-sex marriage necessarily destroys the relationship between a child and its mother or its father
  • When a country embraces same-sex marriage, it reinforces the idea that marriage is not about making and raising children
  • same-sex marriage shifts the focus away from the needs of the children to the feelings of desires of the selfish adults
  • does homosexuality impose any health and mental health risks?
  • what has the impact of legalizing same-sex marriage been in Massachusetts to individuals, schools, businesses and charities?
  • how same-sex marriage poses a threat to religious liberty
  • how should you respond to the view that homosexuality is genetic?

My biggest concern is religious liberty, and we are seeing how same-sex marriage has proven to be incompatible with religious liberty. But I also care about children… I want them to have mothers and fathers who put their needs first. How did we ever get to this point where the ever-changing feelings and desires of adults are somehow linked to marriage? Marriage is about a commitment – it is the subjugation of feelings and desires to responsibilities and obligations. It is a promise. A promise to commit to love your spouse and children regardless of feelings and desires. It requires more self-denial, self-control and self-sacrifice. Not less.