Tag Archives: Godless

Federal appeals court rules that Christians can’t be forced to act like atheists

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

The state of Minnesota is one of the most progressive states in the union. A while back, they passed a law making it illegal for Christians to exercise free speech or religious liberty. For example, the atheists who run Minnesota wanted to force a Christian couple to operate their business as atheists. Or go to jail. So the Christian couple took them to court. They lost. Then they appealed.

The Daily Caller reports:

A federal appeals court has revived a legal challenge to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), ruling for the first time that religious business owners can invoke free speech rights when refusing to service a same-sex wedding.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Carl and Angel Larsen, a Christian couple who operate a video production company called Telescope Media Group. The Larsens want to expand their business to include weddings, but state officials say the MHRA requires the Larsens to accommodate both same-sex and opposite sex partners.

“Minnesota’s interpretation of the MHRA interferes with the Larsens’ speech in two overlapping ways,” Judge David Stras wrote for a divided three-judge panel. “First, it compels the Larsens to speak favorably about same-sex marriage if they choose to speak favorably about opposite-sex marriage. Second, it operates as a content-based regulation of their speech.”

[…]Elsewhere in the decision, Stras wrote that the MHRA regulates speech based on content, another violation. The majority said the safer course for the Larsens would be to avoid the wedding business altogether, a type of “compelled self-censorship” that violates free speech rights.

But the appeal decision was not unanimous. A radically-leftist Obama-appointed judge dissented:

“What they cannot do is operate a public accommodation that serves customers of one sexual orientation but not others. And make no mistake, that is what today’s decision affords them license to do.”

So, if you run a business in America, then the atheist judges who rule over you can compel you to run your business like an atheist.

I found a short 6-minute video of the couple on the ADF YouTube account:

I was thinking about this decision overnight, and wondering if atheists also can compel pro-life doctors or nurses to act like atheists against their consciences.

And the answer is yes – at least in states run by the Democrat party.

The Federalist explains:

The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has put the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) on notice after employees reported being forced to help with abortions against their moral objections.

A Catholic nurse at UVMMC was allegedly forced to assist with an elective abortion, despite previously telling her employer that she objects to participating in abortions for reasons of conscience. According to HHS’s investigation, the nurse was told she would be treating a patient who had experienced a miscarriage. When she walked into the procedure room, the doctor allegedly said to her, “Don’t hate me.” The nurse asked for a replacement, but was allegedly told no. The abortion was not an emergency procedure, but an elective one. Fearing losing her job, the nurse relented.

“This should never happen in America. There is room for disagreement on these issues without having to coerce people to choose between a career dedicated to supporting life versus instances or circumstances where they are being forced to take a life,” Roger Severino, head of HHS’s Office of Civil Rights, told reporters on Wednesday.

The hospital began performing elective abortions in 2017, but did not inform all employees, “many of which had already informed” the hospital of their objections to assisting in abortions, Severino said.

[…]UVMMC recently created a new policy that allows punishing staffers who refuse to participate in abortions when the hospital is short-staffed.

Vermont is, of course, a state dominated from top to bottom by the Democrat party.

When the state engages in barbarism, they are made uncomfortable by the presence of conscientious objectors. The easiest way to make those dissenters go away is to threaten them with starvation by taking their jobs. And if that doesn’t work, you can always go full fascist and move on to imprisonment, or execution. It would not be the first time these things have happened in regimes run by the secular left. In an accidental universe, where humans evolved by accident, there are no human rights, and no objective standard for how humans ought to act. Secular leftists are very sure of themselves, and they feel warranted in forcing their views on others. This sort of thing has happened many, many times in places where the political leaders had kicked God out of their minds.

Was the Trump-Russia Steele dossier the FBI’s “insurance policy” against Trump?

Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?
Why do people think that CNN are biased leftist clowns?

This is an article from the venerable Andy C. McCarthy, writing for National Review. He knows something investigations of this sort, having investigated and successfully prosecuted the men responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. What does he think about the Trump-Russia dossier that dominated the far-left mainstream media news cycle for months after Trump’s election?

He writes:

The FBI’s deputy director Andrew McCabe testified Tuesday at a marathon seven-hour closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. According to the now-infamous text message sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok to his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, it was in McCabe’s office that top FBI counterintelligence officials discussed what they saw as the frightening possibility of a Trump presidency.

That was during the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, no more than a couple of weeks after they started receiving the Steele dossier — the Clinton campaign’s opposition-research reports, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, about Trump’s purportedly conspiratorial relationship with Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia.

Was it the Steele dossier that so frightened the FBI? I think so.

There is a great deal of information to follow. But let’s cut to the chase: The Obama-era FBI and Justice Department had great faith in Steele because he had previously collaborated with the bureau on a big case. Plus, Steele was working on the Trump-Russia project with the wife of a top Obama Justice Department official, who was personally briefed by Steele. The upper ranks of the FBI and DOJ strongly preferred Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, to the point of overlooking significant evidence of her felony misconduct, even as they turned up the heat on Trump. In sum, the FBI and DOJ were predisposed to believe the allegations in Steele’s dossier. Because of their confidence in Steele, because they were predisposed to believe his scandalous claims about Donald Trump, they made grossly inadequate efforts to verify his claims. Contrary to what I hoped would be the case, I’ve come to believe Steele’s claims were used to obtain FISA surveillance authority for an investigation of Trump.

There were layers of insulation between the Clinton campaign and Steele — the campaign and the Democratic party retained a law firm, which contracted with Fusion GPS, which in turn hired the former spy. At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they’d be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era’s Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden.

This is what we know about who paid for the Trump-Russia dossier (the Clinton campaign), and who passed the dossier to the news media (the Clinton bloggers).

I think we need to read these resignations the same way as we read the resignations of high-ranking Obama officials who were investigated and discovered to be using their political positions as weapons to attack Republicans, e.g. – Eric Holder, Lois Lerner, etc.

Basically, the lesson from all of this is that Democrats are no different than corrupt left-wing politicians in other communist regimes. They don’t understand any sort of standard of morality that would require them to do their jobs with integrity. To be a Democrat is to think that morality is a delusion, and that anything is permissible. This is a consequences of abandoning God as author of objective moral values and duties. And that’s why we should not be electing secular leftists to have power over us. It’s too dangerous to let godless people have that kind of power. We shouldn’t see the abuses of power in other left-wing regimes of the past as something different and distinct from the secular leftists in our own country.

Fascism in Canada: grad student dragged into kangaroo court for showing debate clip

Criminalizing speech that makes people feel bad is illegal in Canada

Brace yourself for the most blatant infringement on a student’s rights by a secular-leftist university administration that you have ever heard with your own ears. This story comes to us from Ontario, Canada, home of the famous fascist Ontario Human Rights Commission, which prosecutes people for having thoughts that are not approved of by government elites.

A news story appeared in the National Post. (H/T Amy)

Excerpt:

During a seminar with first-year communications students, Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd screened a TVOntario debate to illustrate the sometimes-controversial politics of grammar.

The video, an episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin, included University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson presenting his case against the use of non-gendered pronouns. It also included panellists taking the opposite viewpoint.

Nevertheless, after an anonymous student complained, Shepherd found herself reprimanded for violating the school’s Gendered and Sexual Violence policy. In a subsequent meeting with university officials, she was accused of creating a “toxic” and “problematic” environment that constituted violence against transgendered students. She was also falsely told that she had broken the law.

Shepherd recorded the meeting. Audio and selected transcripts are below. The voices are of Shepherd, her supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana, another professor, Herbert Pimlott, as well as Adria Joel, manager of Gendered Violence Prevention and Support at the school.

Just so you know, TVOntario would be the equivalent of your local state-level PBS. This is a government-run, publicly-funded TV station. Fully licensed by the CRTC.

Here’s a clip from the transcript, where the Communication Studies professor threatens the student with criminal prosecution:

Rambukkana: …[Peterson] lectures about critiquing feminism, critiquing trans rights —

Shepherd: I’m familiar. I follow him. But can you shield people from those ideas? Am I supposed to comfort them and make sure that they are insulated away from this? Like, is that what the point of this is? Because to me, that is so against what a university is about. So against it. I was not taking sides. I was presenting both arguments.

Rambukkana: So the thing about this is, if you’re presenting something like this, you have to think about the kind of teaching climate that you’re creating. And this is actually, these arguments are counter to the Canadian Human Rights Code. Even since … C-16, ever since this passed, it is discriminatory to be targeting someone due to their gender identity or gender expression.

Debate on secular left dogma is not permitted in Canada, because it’s their state religion:

Rambukkana: Do you see how this is something that is not intellectually neutral, that is kind of “up for debate,” I mean this is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Shepherd: But it is up for debate.

Rambukkana: You’re perfectly welcome to your own opinion, but when you’re bringing it into the context of the classroom that can become problematic, and that can become something that is, that creates an unsafe learning environment for students.

Shepherd: But when they leave the university they’re going to be exposed to these ideas, so I don’t see how I’m doing a disservice to the class by exposing them to ideas that are really out there. And I’m sorry I’m crying, I’m stressed out because this to me is so wrong, so wrong.

That’s right – these left-wing fascists actually made her cry.

The professors tell her that being neutral and showing both sides is also a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code:

Rambukkana: Do you understand how what happened was contrary to, sorry Adria, what was the policy?

Joel: Gendered and Sexual Violence.

Rambukkana: — Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy. Do you understand how —

Shepherd: Sorry, what did I violate in that policy.

Joel: Um, so, gender-based violence, transphobia, in that policy. Causing harm, um, to trans students by, uh, bringing their identity as invalid. Their pronouns as invalid — potentially invalid.

Shepherd: So I caused harm?

Joel: — which is, under the Ontario Human Rights Code a protected thing so something that Laurier holds as a value.

If you want to share a quick news clip on social media, here’s a quick 12 minute news report from one of Canada’s most famous free-speech warriors, the irreppressible Ezra Levant:

You can hear 10 minutes of the recording here:

The full recording is here. (42 minutes)

Imagine that this happened to you, and conducted by an institution that you paid for twice: with your taxes, and with your tuition money. You would literally be paying the thought police to make you cry for not agreeing with the politically correct approved Canadian thoughts about transgenderism. When Americans vote Democrat, we are walking along a path that will turn our entire country into a place like Ontario, Canada. There will be none of the freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Canada doesn’t have those freedoms, and that’s where the American left wants to take us. To be on the political left is to be a fascist. By definition. The Democrat Party simple IS the party of fascism. That’s their agenda. It doesn’t matter whether individual Democrat voters disagree with fascism, they are voting to take the country towards the fascism that we already see in Canada.

By the way, let this be a reminder to you to never drop math, and always study STEM subjects in university, with the best areas being engineering, especially petroleum engineering and computer science. Stay away from areas that are disconnected from reality. If it can’t be tested (English, Education, Communication Studies, Lesbian Dance Theory) then it shouldn’t be studied at a secular-leftist gulag. Communication Studies is what people study when they have no marketable skills, and don’t aspire to do meaningful private sector work. You need to avoid being part of the fascist big government machine, and that means having marketable skills.

Rejecting Christian theism because it’s just too much work

On J Warner Wallace’s Please Convince Me site, I saw that Al Serrato was discussing the possibility of eternal life with an atheist, and I thought some of her response were very helpful to understand why some people are atheists.

Al asks whether it is worth her time to investigate the God question.

She replies:

No, I don’t think it’s worth my investigation. I also don’t think I should spend my time investigating UFO’s, zombies, or Big Foot. I hate things that require lots of time and thought where you are virtually guaranteed not to accomplish anything or get a definitive answer.

Al asks her why she is coming to conclusions before examining the evidence.

She replies:

“Well,” she said, “you are assuming people meet god; that’s a pretty big leap too. Who do you know who has met him? And I think most believers do so blindly; I don’t believe most of those people do any scholarly inquiry and draw conclusions based on evidence. They believe what they raised on, like me, or what they want to believe.

That’s the genetic fallacy, discredit a belief because of the origin of that belief, instead of whether the belief is true or false.

Al then writes this:

“The fact that people believe what they were raised to believe,” I countered, “does not amount to a real argument. It’s a variant of the genetic fallacy. You’re trying to prove why believers might be wrong – they just were raised that way – without first proving that they are wrong. So, if I told you that I believed the earth was flat, and I was raised that way, you wouldn’t just shrug your shoulders and say I’m entitled to that belief. You would show me evidence that the earth is round and expect me to use reason to conform my view to the evidence. If I told you that you were entitled to that belief but you just believed it because you were raised by some round earthers and you never saw the whole earth so you couldn’t really know, then… you’d start to see how I feel.”

“One last analogy. Let’s say this was 50 years ago, and when I saw you, you were chain smoking cigarettes with your kids always nearby. I know where medical science is headed, so I tell you that you are hurting yourself, and your kids. You respond that no one can really know those things; after all, you can point to doctors who advertise cigarettes and smoke them themselves, and you feel fine when you smoke. I point to other doctors who think that its really bad for you. You respond, ‘see, it’s a tie, so stop bothering me. Each believes what they were raised to believe. Plus, other things can kill me too, so why should I worry about cigarettes? Or, maybe you say that even if I am right, you’ll be one of the lucky ones who won’t be hurt by it.

Do you see that the conflict between the doctors should not lead you to conclude that neither is right, or that the answer is not knowable? As a friend, should I keep trying to bring you back to the truth about cigarettes, or should I let you persist in believing something that is, in the end, hurting you and your loved ones?”

And here is her response:

Have you ever noticed how so many things are bad/wrong only at certain points in a cycle? Eat eggs, don’t eat eggs; give your kids soy, soy is bad; babies should sleep on their backs, no their stomachs, no their sides, no their backs etc., etc. When my daughter was born I would put her on her back to sleep and when I left the room my mother would put her on her side and when my mother left the room my grandmother would put her on her stomach. Over time the answer comes full circle. Why go around and around with it? What I am saying is not just throw up your hands and quit; what I am saying is that I do what feels right to me and that is the best I can do. Sometimes I listen to friends (and doctors) and sometimes I don’t. I think the ‘answer’ to many of these things is unknowable. At one time it would have been totally unacceptable to all of society for a mother to work and put a child in daycare 10 hours a day. Now, 10 hours of daycare is the norm. I get that most people think that daycare schedule is fine, but I don’t. I make up my own mind by doing what feels right. Have you ever considered that the answer doesn’t matter? Maybe the search is the whole point and maybe I am done already and you’re just slow.

I don’t think you can prove God like you can prove that the world is round. To prove the world was really round and have everyone believe, we needed real-time pictures from space. Bring me a picture of god and we’ll talk.”

Al then replies to her.

So what do we get from this? Well, here are the five reasons she gave. 1) she knows in advance, before investigating, that there is no definitive answer to the question of whether God exists, 2) people believe what they are raised to believe and want to believe, including her, so your beliefs aren’t under the control of evidence anyway, 3) facts change all the time so it’s pointless to try reasoning about what is true on the basis of what the facts are today – so I don’t really care what anyone in authority says since they all change their minds the next day anyway, 4) I don’t think anyone can construct an argument for God’s existence based on evidence, 5) the burden of proof is on others to show me the evidence for God, I don’t have to look into myself, my job is to do what feels right to me, and I don’t conduct any inquiries into the evidence that might override what feels right to me.

How can you know in advance of inquiry that there is no definitive answer? You can only assume that there is no definitive answer, since you admit that you haven’t looked into it yourself. And this person seems to have made the decision without evidence that there is no definite answer, and that looking into it is not worth her time and effort. What I am trying to emphasize is that those are decisions. And you can be held responsible for making decisions. Notice how she is able to get around the authority of someone who talks about the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning, the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion, just by saying that expert opinions change all the time, so no expert has to be listened to, (unless it feels right to her). In fact, she is not even aware of these arguments, but she has already pre-judged them as less authoritative than her feelings.

So often, we Christians get caught in the trap of judging atheists based on whether they do good deeds, by which we mean, they make other people feel good – they are nice. We neglect to ask whether they are being good to God – by puzzling about his existence and character, and by regularly dialoging with believers to see if they might not be mistaken. Heaven is for people who desire God, and who spend time studying the evidence so that they can make an informed decision about his existence and character. Heaven is not for people who are content doing what feels right to them without any desire to know what God thinks about it, because they just don’t think his existence and character is important at all. To me this is just another way of saying, I want to do what feels good and learning that there is another person there might override my right to do what feels good, so I don’t want to know whether there is another person there.

When you see atheists like Lawrence Krauss, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens get that deer in the headlights look the first time they hear William Lane Craig’s arguments in a debate, and his citing of peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support his premises, it becomes immediately clear that these people are not atheists because they know God doesn’t exist, but because they don’t want God to exist. And avoiding the arguments for Christian theism is an important part of keeping God, and his moral demands on us, at a safe distance.

What does the Bible say? Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I think that the first part of loving God if you are not sure he is there is to have an open mind about his existence and character, and a willingness to re-prioritize your life in case he is there and has a personality different from yours. People have a rational obligation to conduct an inquiry without pre-judging what the outcome will be. If God exists and Jesus rose from the dead, then people ought to care what Jesus thought about things.

I think that non-Christians understand what Christianity would require of them if it were true – radical abandonment to God’s calling on their lives. And they turn away from investigating the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus precisely in order to keep their freedom to do what they feel is right, without having to care about conforming their will to an objective state of affairs where there is another person there that they have to care about. Whatever guilty feelings they have for doing this can be dealt with by adopting a new moral standard, maybe involving recycling, vegetarianism, animal rights activism and yoga. Whatever it takes to make the people around them call them “good”, so that they feel good. Do what feels right, don’t worry about what is true – that’s too much work and we don’t want to find out anything that’s going to take away our ability to do what feels right – to us.

20 questions that atheists need to be able to answer

Here are some puzzling phenomena that every person should try to struggle with, and find the answers. (H/T Justin Brierley)

Here’s the full list:

1.What caused the universe to exist?

2.What explains the fine tuning of the universe?

3.Why is the universe rational?

4.How did DNA and amino acids arise?

5.Where did the genetic code come from?

6.How do irreducibly complex enzyme chains evolve?

I’m leaving out numbers 7 and 8 because they lack specificity.

9.How is independent thought possible in a world ruled by chance and necessity?

10.How do we account for self-awareness?

11.How is free will possible in a material universe?

12.How do we account for conscience?

13.On what basis can we make moral judgements?

14.Why does suffering matter?

15.Why do human beings matter?

16.Why care about justice?

17.How do we account for the almost universal belief in the supernatural?

18.How do we know the supernatural does not exist?

19.How can we know if there is conscious existence after death?

20.What accounts for the empty tomb, resurrection appearances and growth of the church?

So here’s the deal. It seems to me that there we can either search for and find answers to these questions, and then adjust our behavior to fit even if we will be less happy and fulfilled, or we can make our happiness and personal autonomy in this life the most important thing, and invent answers to these questions that are speculative. Either we live consistently with the evidence we have now, or we live how we want and hope for future evidence that will overturn the evidence we have now.

I think that this is the choice that we are facing as humans. Either we make truth the top priority, and let our lives change in order to respond to the evidence we have right now or we make our happiness the top priority and speculate that the universe is other than the way it is so that we can pursue happiness unencumbered by the obligation to know the Creator and Designer of the universe.

Everyone always talks about “the meaning of life”. I’ll tell you what the meaning of life is. It’s to puzzle about the questions above and get into an intimate, loving, self-sacrificial relationship with the Creator and Designer of the universe – a relationship bounded by facts, not feelings. What is so objectionable with the idea that there might be a Person out there who has a claim on us? So long as his intentions are good, why are we so unwilling to be his friend and to take his character into account when we decide what we will do with our lives?