Consider this story from the Daily Signal, and keep in mind that these are only the documented cases.
Freedom of religion isn’t as protected as some Americans may think. In fact, reported attacks on religion are increasing in the U.S. and, according to First Liberty Institute, the evidence is undeniable.
The 2017 edition of a First Liberty report called “Undeniable” shows threats to Americans’ First Amendment rights spanning the past five years.
The number of documented incidents of religious discrimination grew 15 percent in 2016 compared with 2015. The number of incidents increased by 133 percent, from 600 to more than 1,400, between 2011 and 2016.
“We’re in a battle right now for religious freedom in the future of our country,” First Liberty President Kelly Shackelford said in a Facebook Live video Sept. 12.
Justin Butterfield, editor-in-chief of the study, said in an interview with The Daily Signal that much of the data comes from court filings from across the country.
The research team also collects reports from news outlets and other organizations, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group.
Butterfield, who has a law degree from Harvard, said researchers specifically looked for instances where someone was illegally restricted from, or prosecuted for, practicing his or her faith.
Some people like to think that gay rights are a wonderful thing, but you can’t expect people who are involved in a sin to treat those who disagree with them with respect. Sin causes people to want to coerce and silence those who disagree.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a brief Monday with the Washington Supreme Court asking it to take up the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a floral artist whom the state and the American Civil Liberties Union sued for acting consistently with her faith.
ADF filed notices of appeal in April on behalf of Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, after a lower state court ruled that she must pay penalties and attorneys’ fees for declining to use her artistic abilities to design custom floral arrangements for a long-time customer’s same-sex ceremony. Rather than participate in the ceremony, Stutzman referred the customer, whom she considers a friend and had served for nearly 10 years, to several other florists in the area who would provide high-quality arrangements and wedding support.
[…]“Government is supposed to protect freedom, not intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith and conscience,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The two lawsuits have the potential to financially devastate Barronelle’s business and personal assets – including taking this 70-year old grandmother’s retirement and personal savings – simply for acting in accordance with her faith. We hope the Washington Supreme Court will review this case not only because of the important legal and constitutional implications, but also because of the devastating impact the lower court’s ruling has on Barronelle.”
Barronelle just asked to not be forced to celebrate something that she didn’t believe in, and the attorney general of Washington thought that an appropriate response to her refusal to celebrate gay marriage was to take everything she owned, and block her from earning a living in the state of Washington.
It’s very important to people who are behaving immorally that they not be judged or shamed by religious people for their immoral choices. How far would social liberals go to stop religious people from judging them? Well, in America, they resort to lawsuits, censorship, coercion, vandalism and even violence. You’ll recall the attack by domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins against the Family Research Council building. Corkins was, of course, a social progressive and in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and opposed to religious liberty.
The main thing I remember about this man is that he strongly pushed for gay marriage in the state of Washington, and that he was celebrated by atheists when gay marriage became the law in Washington. Everyone was proud of him, proud of gay marriage, and proud of their state, because this is the kind of morality that atheists champion.
The mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray, said on Tuesday that he would resign after announcing in May that he would not seek a second term. Several men have comeforward to accuse Mr. Murray of sexually abusing them decades ago, when they were underage.
The announcement came just hours after The Seattle Times published a story with an account by a fifth man, Mr. Murray’s cousin, who said Mr. Murray had abused him in the 1970s.
[..]Mr. Murray, 62, a Democrat, is the city’s first openly gay mayor, and had served in the State Legislature for many years before being elected in 2013.
[…]The liberal Mr. Murray is generally considered a father of Washington’s same-sex marriage law, which he pressed in the State Legislature for years.
The radically-leftist New York Times isn’t about to tell you what this Democrat gay-marriage activist actually did – that’s not news that’s fit to print. For that you have to go to Life Site News.
Not the first time
Here’s some Democrat concern for the chldren, reported in the far-left CNN, of all places. Headline: “Obama backer, Democratic fundraiser Terry Bean charged in sexual abuse case”.
A prominent supporter of President Barack Obama and co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign was arrested last week on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse related to what authorities said was an encounter with a juvenile male.
Terrence Bean, 66, a major Democratic donor and a celebrated gay-rights activist, was indicted on two felony charges of sodomy and a misdemeanor count of sexual abuse by a grand jury and arrested in Oregon Wednesday, according to a statement from the Portland Police Bureau.
[…]The charges relate to an alleged encounter the two had with a 15-year-old boy in Oregon last year, The Oregonian reported. Bean’s attorney has denied the charges and said in a statement that Bean is the “victim of an extortion ring.” CNN is not naming the alleged victim because the network does not identify minors or victims of sexual assaults.
[…]Bean, a real-estate developer and co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, is a powerful figure in Democratic politics.
The Oregonian reported that he helped raise more than half a million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and Federal Election Commission records show he’s contributed thousands to Democrats, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others.
Photos posted online show him with the Obamas, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and aboard Air Force One with the President.
In remarks at a 2009 Human Rights Campaign dinner, President Obama thanked Bean, calling him a “great friend and supporter.”
This goes right to the top of the Democrat party. Gay activists are connected to people at the top of the Democrat party. When a person votes Democrat, they’re either pedophiles themselves or they are (effectively) voting for increased normalization of pedophilia.
Pedophilia is nothing but the elevation of the desires of selfish adults over the protection of children. And we already know where the Democrats stand on that – we just have to look at how they reconcile irresponsible recreational sex with the right to life of the unborn. This is the party of adult selfishness. They don’t care about the needs of children at all. They see children as commodities, instead of people made in the image of God in order to know God.
Objective morality for atheists
I have a friend who is an atheist who tells me that he doesn’t need God to ground objective moral values. He is a good person, he says. He supports gay marriage. He was proud when the Seattle mayor got gay marriage passed in his state. He says that objective moral values are easily grounded on atheism.
Let’s review what objective morality (moral realism) really means in practice for atheists:
In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
Whatever morality atheists try to claim, the truth is that their worldview cannot ground it rationally. This universe is an accident. There are no objective human rights. There is no objective morality. There is no free will nor moral agency. There is no judge of our actions when we die. Other human beings are just lumps of matter to be used for our own pleasure, as long as we are powerful enough to escape the disapproval of those accursed Bible-believers. Assume that every atheist is either like the Seattle mayor or is proud of what he is doing. That’s what atheists vote for, after all. This is the world they want to actualize through their voting. The whole point of atheism is to get rid of moral restraints on the pursuit of pleasure. The great virtue that motivates young atheists to turn away from the Bible is just “I want to get drunk and have premarital sex without consequences”. End of story. It’s not intellectual.
This story was the topic of the most recent episode of the Reasonable Faith podcast. Basically, a conservative, apologetics-friendly church had a homosexual person who wanted to be openly gay and still be accepted as a member. After he was told by the church that he could attend the church, but not be a member, he decided to write the mainstream media to shame the church.
I want to first focus on the letter written by the gay man:
Dear Watermark Community Church,
Today I celebrate a very interesting anniversary with you. It was exactly one year ago when you told me that I was no longer worthy to serve, be in a community group, and be a member of your church.
I spent years in your church battling against my homosexuality. I believed with all my heart that God would change me; I prayed for change almost daily. But when I wasn’t able to change, you turned your back on me.
You say our “sin” is not unique, but you treat us in a unique manner; this is unacceptable behavior. We are actual people that have actual feelings.
Here we are a year later and you are still doing to others what you did to me. You are tarnishing the name of God to Christians and non-Christians alike; you should be ashamed of yourselves! Do not forget, Jesus was a angry with people just like you who said certain groups of people were not worthy to be followers of Him.
Thank you for removing yourself from my life! I am who God made me to be. I cannot change my sexual orientation and nor would I want to. I now have internal peace and happiness unlike ever before.
As Reasonable Faith notes, this is what he said and this is what the far-left Dallas Morning News reported. It sounds like the church was very mean to him, but is that what really happened?
Here is what the church actually wrote to him:
This is a difficult letter to write, as I am sure that it will be a difficult one to hear and receive. We genuinely care for you, love you, and want nothing more for you than to live an abundant life that is found in Jesus Christ alone.
However, in our attempt to shepherd you, we have recognised a destructive pattern that prohibits us in caring for you and playing the role you desire for us to have in your life (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28). Specifically, your desire to actively participate in a same-sex relationship with another man, and your unwillingness to heed biblical counsel from your church to turn from that relationship, has made it exceedingly difficult to shepherd you during this time.
As we noted during our time together last Tuesday (9/29/15), and through the years, we have gently & repeatedly brought these patterns to your attention and, at times, you have heeded this counsel and repented. But now, this is no longer the case. So, in obedience to Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Corinthians 5:11, we are left with no other option but to remove you from our body and treat you as we would anyone who is living out of fellowship with God…and we lovingly, but firmly, call you back to repentance. This means that you are no longer a member of our body at Watermark. We are praying that repentance comes quickly and that you do not continue choosing a path of destruction and one that leads you away from the authority and care of the church.
We recognise that these patterns are only symptoms of a heart that is either unwilling or unable to fully trust God in every area of your life, including your sexuality. We plead with you to run to the Lord and allow the Spirit of God to begin to transform your heart in a mighty way (Titus 3:3-7).
In order to help you through this time, we would like to make some tangible recommendations that we hope will serve as a catalyst for true repentance and heart-change in your life. They are:
1. Faithful attendance of Re:Generation targeting the above issue, while following counsel to not be in a dating relationship during that time.
2. Meet with a Watermark staff member who shares in the same struggle (same sex attraction) who has found freedom, healing, and victory through our Savior Jesus Christ (just let Brandon know when you’re ready to meet with him).
We affirm your many gifts, your heart of kindness, and we value the way God has uniquely formed you (Psalm 139:13-14). We all pray for your repentance and full restoration so that your gifts and passions can be fully unleashed for the Kingdom of God. We love you, Jason, and stand at the gate for you and eagerly await God’s restoration in your life (Luke 15:20).
The Elders of Watermark Community Church
Here is what one of my friends at Watermark who was aware of the situation told me:
I think it’s clear that Watermark was very kind and loving in their discipline and can’t be called hypocritical or homophobic, and they were not trying to change the man’s sexual orientation but rather simply asking him to abstain from sexual relationships. They give lots of chances before administering discipline and the process is the same each time they go through this with members. Some repent and some turn away.
As we have seen, publicizing those who disagree with homosexuality and gay marriage is a favorite tactic of the fascist left. Sometimes, it just involves smearing (e.g. – the Southern Povery Law Center). Sometimes, it involves lawfare, (e.g. – the attorney general of Washington state). Sometimes, it involves leaking the names of pro-marriage donors (e.g. – the Human Rights Campaign). Sometimes, it involves vandalism, violence and even domestic terrorism (e.g. – Floyd Lee Corkins’ attack on the Family Research Council). When it comes to homosexuality and gay marriage, fascism is the normal response to dissent.
I’m in a situation right now where I am trying to become a member of a wonderful PCA church, which I have been attending regularly for months – but never taken communion. The PCA church is a Reformed church and they believe in infant baptism.
I am a 3.9 point Calvinist, and opposed to infant baptism. Both of these challenges came up in the new members meeting (not from me, because I don’t want to do anything in their church to annoy the leaders at all). The lead pastor said that all we have to do for salvation is to trust God, he does everything. Well, as long as that trust is a genuine free will choice, then I agree with him. He also said that you don’t have to sign off on every point of Reformed theology, especially predestination. He assured us that many of the elders were former baptists, and they had good reasons for their Presbyterian view. This was a FIVE HOUR free for all discussion with the pastors and elders! Yet, I did not feel it was my place to raise public criticisms even in a home setting. Instead, I went out of my way to try to ask questions about the parts of the church that impressed me: apologetics and public debates with atheists. Going forward, I don’t intend to express my thoughts to anyone in the church, and I certainly DO NOT want to be a leader in the church. That’s what this blog is for. I didn’t start that church, I’m just there to attend and learn.
I just find it astonishing that gay activists and other radicals on the left think that they can try to bring in the mainstream media and the law to punish the church for holding to orthodox Christian moral values. But this is why we call sin “sin”. We don’t call chastity a sin, because chaste people aren’t fascists when they hear disagreement. We don’t call caring for the elderly a sin, because caring people aren’t fascists when they hear disagreement. There is something really wrong with these behaviors that the Bible forbids, and you can see what it is when you look at the totalitarian responses to mere disagreement with the sin.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
Everyone sins. Fine. Keep it to yourself. Don’t use the law to force Bible-believing Christians to celebrate your sins. The church’s job is to help you to be more like Christ. You’re in a community where everyone is supposed to be serious about growing as a Christian and part of that involves improving your character morally. Another part means getting along with other Christians instead of being disruptive.
Regarding complaints about not being able to act on your sexual orientation, I have no sympathy. I am attracted to women, and I am a virgin, because I am not married. I am not going to church to rebel against this requirement. My job is to structure my life in such a way that it is easier to obey it, whether that involves studying the issue in the research or drawing the line long before I have to make a decision in the heat of the moment. God must be #1 in a person’s life, setting goals and policies, and our job is to make and execute effective plans that deliver results for the Boss.
Canada passed a law Thursday making it illegal to use the wrong gender pronouns. Critics say that Canadians who do not subscribe to progressive gender theory could be accused of hate crimes, jailed, fined, and made to take anti-bias training.
Canada’s Senate passed Bill C-16, which puts “gender identity” and “gender expression” into both the country’s Human Rights Code, as well as the hate crime category of its Criminal Code by a vote of 67-11, according to LifeSiteNews. The bill now only needs royal assent from the governor general.
Royal assent is a formality, it is automatic.
I have some friends who are big fans of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Liberal Party prime minister. Trudeau is a former substitute drama teacher, who was elected prime minister because of his famous last name. He knows about as much about economics and national security as this keyboard that I am typing on.
For his part, Trudeau is very pleased with this law:
“Great news,” announced Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister. “Bill C-16 has passed the Senate – making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. #LoveisLove.”
So is Canada’s attorney general – the chief law enforcement officer of the land. She tweeted:
“Proud that Bill C-16has passed in the Senate,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, the country’s attorney general and minister of justice. “All Canadians should feel #FreeToBeMe.”
Yes, everyone is free to be themselves… except when they throw you in the slammer for offending people with mental illnesses.
You’ll recall that one University of Toronto professor is in big trouble for opposing this law. He is quoted in the article:
Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto, and one of the bill’s fiercest critics, spoke to the Senate before the vote, insisting that it infringed upon citizens’ freedom of speech and institutes what he views as dubious gender ideology into law.
“Compelled speech has come to Canada,” stated Peterson. “We will seriously regret this.”
“[Ideologues are] using unsuspecting and sometimes complicit members of the so-called transgender community to push their ideological vanguard forward,” said the professor to the Senate in May. “The very idea that calling someone a term that they didn’t choose causes them such irreparable harm that legal remedies should be sought [is] an indication of just how deeply the culture of victimization has sunk into our society.”
Peterson has previously pledged not to use irregular gender pronouns and students have protested him for his opposition to political correctness.
“This tyrannical bill is nothing but social engineering to the nth degree, all in the name of political correctness,” Jeff Gunnarson, vice president of Campaign Life Toronto, a pro-life political group in Canada, told LifeSiteNews.
Should a Christian try to make a life in a country that has not only taxpayer funded abortion, but taxpayer funded sex changes, too? Seems to me that this a joke country, and people of conscience should get out as quickly as they can. It’s a clown country, ruled by amoral idiots.
A farmers market and Facebook posts have opened a new front in courtroom battles over religious freedom.
It started when Steve Tennes, who owns a 120-acre farm in Charlotte, Michigan, expressed his traditional view about marriage on the farm’s Facebook page.
This drew a warning from an official more than 20 miles away in East Lansing, Michigan, that if Tennes tried to sell his fruit at the city’s farmers market, it could incite protests.
No one showed up to protest that August day last summer, though, and Tennes continued selling organic apples, peaches, cherries, and pumpkins at the seasonal market until October, as he had done the six previous years.
Nevertheless, East Lansing moved earlier this year to ban Tennes’ farm, the Country Mill, from participating in the farmers market when it resumes June 4. The city cited its human relations ordinance, an anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation.
So Tennes and his wife sued the city for religious discrimination.
[…]Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid organization, is representing the Tenneses.
I have adjusted to this by just assuming that anyone who votes Democrat is a potential fascist, who cannot be trusted to have a civil conversation. That’s what my alias is for – so I can discuss these issues without losing my job, like Mozille CEO Brendan Eich did, when he opposed gay marriage. It’s just safer to assume that secular leftists are incapable of rational debate. So many of them clearly are not, and no one on the secular left condemns them for it.
We’ve seen a lot of Christian business owners being sued in SOGI states, and this is really an attempt to compel agreement on gay marriage through starvation. Not just the business owners, but their families, too. Of course, gay activist Floyd Lee Corkins took that a step further when he attacked the Family Research Council building with a gun – intent on mass murder. Given their indifference to basic human rights, I wonder how many gay activists really think that what he did was wrong.
Here’s another case of fascism from earlier this week, this time reported by The Federalist.
On May 6, 2017, the director of Illinois’ child welfare agency (DCFS), George Sheldon, “signed enhanced department procedures” setting “mandatory minimum standards for LGBTQ children under its authority (See Appendix K in this May 11, 2017 document. Quoted passages in this article are from Appendix K unless otherwise specified).
[…]Designed with American Civil Liberties Union assistance, the policies are problematic not only for the vulnerable children in state care but also for the kin, foster families, caseworkers, volunteers, and others trying to assist them. Consider the effects on staff and volunteers, who must pass an ideological test—to see if they are sufficiently “LGBTQ-affirming”— to mentor, serve, or care for the state’s most vulnerable children.
According to the gender guardians at DCFS, all children have a “right to self-determination of gender and sexual orientation,” and individual choices about “sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression” should be viewed as “developmental milestones, not problematic behavior.” The role of adults is simply to “facilitate exploration of any LGBTQ matters through an affirming approach…by being open, non-judgmental, and empathic.”
Thus, when children or adolescents “explore/express a sexual orientation other than heterosexual and/or a gender identity that is different from the child/youth’s sex assigned at birth,” DCFS “staff, providers, and foster parents” must “support and respect” the child’s exploration “without any effort to direct or guide them to any specific outcome for their exploration.”
In other words, all DCFS staff and volunteers must communicate a uniform message to the children and adolescents in their care: it’s perfectly normal to identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, and just as conducive to a child’s wellbeing to be transgender as to identify with one’s actual sex.
It’s always useful to look to other countries where gay rights is further along to find out what will happen next. In previous posts, I talked about how Ontario – a province in Canada – decided to allow a convicted child pornographer design their education curriculum. Parents would not be granted an opt out of the indoctrination for any reason.
Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne Liberals have passed what critics describe as “totalitarian” Bill 89 by a vote of 63 to 23 on the last day before Queen’s Park adjourns for the summer.
[…]Bill 89, or the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017, repeals and replaces the former Child and Family Services Act that governs child protection services, and adoption and foster care services.
It adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” as factors to be considered “in the best interests of the child.”
At the same time, it deletes the religious faith in which the parents are raising the child as a factor to be considered, and mandates child protection services consider only the child’s own “creed” or “religion” when assessing the best interests of the child.
“With the passage of Bill 89, we’ve entered an era of totalitarian power by the state, such as never witnessed before in Canada’s history,” says Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition.
[…]Children’s Aid agencies now have “a type of police power to bust down your door, and seize your biological children if you are known to oppose LGBT ideology and the fraudulent theory of ‘gender identity’, if for instance, some claim is made that your child may be same-sex attracted or confused about their ‘gender,’” according to Fonseca.
“We already see similar tyranny happening in other jurisdictions, such as Norway, where the main child protection service there, Barnevernet, has been involved in numerous high profile seizures of children from traditionally-principled families,” he added.
This is what happens when you let the secular left have a majority government in your country. Would you get married and have children in a country where your children could be taken from you? I would not.