Tag Archives: SCOTUS

ADF offers advice on SCOTUS marriage redefinition ruling

States with non-discrimination laws
States with non-discrimination laws

(Source: ACLU)

Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defending Freedom offers advice to churches on how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage to remove the gender requirement.

He says:

[…][T]he greatest threat for churches lies in the application of the Court’s decision to believers who live in jurisdictions covered by so-called “non-discrimination” laws and ordinances. Everywhere that marriage has been redefined in the last several years has seen an awakening of non-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, or places of public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. These laws are peppered throughout the states and local governments and are a linchpin of the sexual revolution’s broader legal and political strategy: to establish non-discrimination laws at all levels throughout the country and to to “ensure that religion is not used as an excuse to discriminate.”

In coming days, the threat from these non-discrimination laws will materialize in numerous ways as same-sex couples marry. But there are proactive steps your church can take to protect itself.

I put the map from the ACLU above. I think that’s what he is talking about when he says non-discrimination states. Keep in mind that the ACLU supported redefining marriage, and opposes religious liberty.

Erik’s article covers 3 areas:

  1. Church’s statement of faith
  2. Pastors officiating same-sex marriage ceremonies
  3. Church’s facility usage policy

Part 3) was the most interesting to me:

3. Churches should ensure their facilities usage policies are revised to allow only uses consistent with the church’s religious beliefs.

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, some churches may be approached by same-sex couples seeking to be married in the church facility. Churches should not feel as if they have to close their doors to the community just to prevent wedding ceremonies with which they disagree. Churches must continue to be a welcoming presence in the community and can do so through updating or revising their facility usage policy. The key point is to tie usage of the church’s facility to the statement of faith and religious beliefs of the church. And then to make clear that uses inconsistent with those religious beliefs will not be allowed. Alliance Defending Freedom has a sample facilities usage policy available in our Protecting Your Ministry manual.

So you update your statement of faith, and then tie usage of the the facility to that statement of faith. Simple.

I took a quick look at the booklet, and it also talked about tying employment within the church and church membership to the statement of faith.

Denny Burk summarizes those:

2. Religious Employment Criteria

Your church can best avail itself of the First Amendment’s protection in employee disputes if you create and faithfully enforce religious employment criteria for every employee. That requires churches to do at least two things: (1) require all employees and volunteers to sign a statement affirming the church’s statement of faith and standards of conduct, and (2) create written job descriptions for every employee and volunteer position.

4. Formal Membership Policy

If your church does not have a membership policy, you need to change that. Biblically, this should already be a priority for your church. You need to specify what the requirements for membership are, how one joins, how one resigns, and the procedures for church discipline. If all of this isn’t spelled out up front, your church could be exposed (see ADF guide pp. 17-18).

So what to make of this? Well, the ADF is an organization that I admire and trust. I cannot abide Christians who do not want to understand the details of what is happening with religious liberty in their country. The ADF has first class lawyers from the top law schools, and they defend religious liberty at every level of our justice system, up to and including the Supreme Court. If you want to help your church protect itself from prosecution, then you must point them to the ADF booklet linked above.

And this is especially true if you are in one of those states in the map above. In looking over the map, I noticed that much of the trouble we have been having with Christian businesses getting sued are in states that have these laws… Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, New York, and so on. Pay attention to that map and make decisions about where to live accordingly.

Supreme Court vacates lower court ruling against religious liberty

Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood
Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood

Life News explained what was at stake in the “Little Sisters of the Poor” case decided yesterday by the Supreme Court:

The Little Sisters of the Poor are asking the nation’s highest court to ensure they do not have to comply with Obamacare’s abortion mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

Without relief, the Little Sisters would face millions of dollars in IRS fines because they cannot comply with the government’s mandate that they give their employees free access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

Religious liberty champion David French writes about the decision in National Review.


First, the Supreme Court vacated the lower court ruling holding that the Little Sisters had to facilitate access to contraceptives and denied that the mandate substantially burdened their religion. Speaking as a person who’s argued a few cases in courts of appeal — when the court vacates the ruling you’re challenging, that’s a win.

Second, the Supreme Court provided a roadmap for an excellent resolution to the case…

[…]the Court suggested an accommodation that was far more respectful of the Little Sisters’ religious liberty than the challenged Obamacare regulations, and the government will now have extreme difficulty credibly arguing in lower courts that the Supreme Court’s own suggested compromise should be set aside.

Third, this ruling was unanimous. That means the DOJ should be far from confident that it can simply wait out the new presidential election and pursue its original claims with the same hope for success — especially if it spent the intervening years rejecting a compromise that it already seemed to accept.

Fourth, we can’t forget the context. This the second time a unanimous Supreme Court has turned back the Obama administration’s regulatory efforts to restrict religious freedom (Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC was the first), and it represents yet another setback for the administration’s contraception/abortifacient mandate. The Obama administration has pushed hard against religious liberty — on occasion too hard even for the Supreme Court’s more liberal justices.

The case will now go back to the lower courts again, but SCOTUS was clear on what they expect the ruling to be – a compromise that protects religious liberty and achieves the administration’s goal of providing contraception and abortifacient drugs. Unfortunately, that’s what a Democrat administration thinks is a priority.

It’s not a complete victory, but an 8-0 decision should be solid until Trump or Hillary packs the court with pro-abortion liberals. I expect either candidate will do that, since both candidates are “very pro-choice”, and both favor partial-birth abortion.

Man uses legally-owned concealed carry handgun to prevent robbery

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns are for self-defense against criminals

Another in my series of posts to help non-Americans understand why Americans are passionate about the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the right to bear arms.

The news story is from the Washington Free Beacon:

A good samaritan saved a 7-11 clerk on Sunday by shooting a hatchet-wielding man who had attacked the store.

A 60-year-old man with a valid concealed carry license was drinking his morning coffee when a masked man, later identified as 43-year-old Steven Blacktongue, entered the convenience store and began attacking the clerk, Kuldeep Singh. The attacker slashed Singh across the stomach several times without saying a word. At that point the concealed carrier drew his firearm and shot Blacktongue, killing him.

Police said that the concealed carried did nothing wrong and ended up saving lives.

“This could have been disastrous. Had this [customer] not shot, who knows what would’ve happened,” King County Sergeant Cindi West told KIRO. “We might have a dead clerk right now and instead, we have a dead bad guy. We do not see any wrongdoing on the part of the customer.”

“In fact, he probably saved lives in this case.”

Singh said he feared for his life during the attack and is glad to be alive. A friend of his, who also works at the convenience store, told the news station that the concealed carrier was a “good guy” for intervening and stopping the attack. The concealed carrier was not expected to face any charges.

Here’s the news report from KIRO 7 News:

This happened in ultra-leftist King County, Washington, of all places. I’m surprised they even let law-abiding people who pass a background check carry firearms, there. But at least this story leaves no doubt about why concealed carry permits exist.

Merrick Garland and the Second Amendment

This might be a useful story to send to Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee – a radically leftist who opposes the second amendment.

Washington Free Beacon again:

Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has a record of opposing gun rights as a federal judge, which includes a vote to undo a landmark gun rights ruling.

Garland was one of four judges who voted to rehear the case of Parker v. District of Columbia with a full ten-judge panel after a smaller panel struck down the District of Columbia’s total ban on handguns. Garland’s vote for this en banc hearing indicates that he may believe the decision to strike down the city’s gun ban was mistaken.

The other six judges on the appeals court voted not to rehear the case, and the Supreme Court went on to rule in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms in the case.

So, he’s a radical on gun control, well outside the mainstream.

As usual, we end all second amendment posts with an examination of the peer-reviewed literature on gun ownership and rates of violent crime. This evidence is not generally understood by people on the left, who tend to be guided more by emotions and peer approval than evidence when forming their views on controversial issues.

The peer-reviewed research

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.


Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[…]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people. The book by economist John Lott, linked above,compares the crime rates of all U.S. states that have enacted concealed carry laws, and concludes that violent crime rates dropped after law-abiding citizens were allowed to carry legally-owned firearms. That’s the mirror image of Dr. Malcolm’s Harvard study, but both studies affirm the same conclusion – more legal firearm ownership means less crime.

Polygamy is next: Montana throuple applies for wedding license

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

The Supreme Court redefined marriage so that it no longer means one man, one woman, for life. What follows from attaching the word “marriage” to people who have temporary feelings of love for other people?

Here’s the story from MSN.com.


A Montana man said Wednesday that he was inspired by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage to apply for a marriage license so that he can legally wed his second wife.

Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage. Montana, like all 50 states, outlaws bigamy — holding multiple marriage licenses — but Collier said he plans to sue if the application is denied.

“It’s about marriage equality,” Collier told The Associated Press Wednesday. “You can’t have this without polygamy.”

[…]The Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday made gay marriages legal nationwide. Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them.

Meanwhile, this lady writing in The Federalist explains how she wants polyamory to come next after the gay marriage. Why? Because she and partner don’t always feel “in love”. Her solution is that she be able to add people to her current relationship so that she can have those “in love” feelings.

She writes:

The problem is, fires don’t burn indefinitely unless you keep adding more wood. They start with a spark, work their way up to a roar, then calm back down to a crackle. When the crackling gets too quiet, someone throws another log on, and the flames flare back up. The cycle repeats over and over again, as long as there are more logs, more fuel.

Our fuel is running out. Brad and I have tried all the tricks. We’ve fanned the flames. We need more logs—new energy, a fresh perspective. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, or that we are done with each other. It just means we need something new.

[…]Four years into our relationship, we found ourselves in the typical rut of co-dependence, resentment, boredom, and fighting over the grocery bill. We’d had an unplanned baby, I’d quit my job to do attachment parenting full-time, and Brad was working long hours in a dungeon of a warehouse. I was stuck at home washing dishes, folding laundry and talking to a two-year-old, bored out of my mind. If we didn’t have anything to fight about, we’d find something, just to make life a little more interesting.

Now for the part that’s interesting to me. I have heard this same reasoning from so many formerly Christian women:

I had freed myself from the grips of government, religion, and parents. The only chains left to throw off were those on my sexuality—particularly the chains of monogamy.

The first authority I came to see as illegitimate was government, shortly after discovering Ron Paul in 2008. I stumbled upon his campaign like a rabbit hole that led me to question all of society’s rules. Soon after, I started to question my religion—Christianity. How much of it had been made up, twisted, and contrived—in collusion with the government—to support the powers that be?

Along with the fear of God, I cast off any respect for parental authority I once had. Since the punitive, authoritarian man in the clouds was no longer real to me, who was to say children should obey their parents?

[…]Then, one day, I came across an article about polyamory. One article led to another, and soon I was watching documentaries about polyamorous triads and quads. I became obsessed with the reality TV show “Polyamory: Married and Dating,” and ordered the book “Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships.”

“This is it!” I thought. I’d finally found what seemed like a desirable alternative to the wedded misery I saw all around me.

She exchanged the God of the Bible for a reality TV show about polyamory. And do you think it was because she worked through all the arguments for Christian theism? No – it was because she wanted to throw off the authority of God and her parents.

This focus on self-centeredness and personal autonomy will work for her for a while, too. It will work until she hits 40 and loses the only thing that gives her value to the men she prefers – her youth and beauty. She has not used her youth to take responsibility, accept obligations and develop the skills, work experience, assets and character traits that will make her a good wife and mother. She is headed for a disaster once her youth and beauty fades. When she is cast off for being too old, it will be too late for her to turn back and rebuild the character traits that a marriage-minded man values no matter how old a woman is. A typical man is willing to put up with self-centeredness for a beautiful, young woman, but not for one who loses that beauty and youth.

That’s why we had marriage, so that a woman learned to love a man with more than just looks and youth, and a man learned to look beyond looks and  youth, because he knew he was committing to a woman for life. Marriage (prior to no-fault divorce) was society’s answer to the fading of a woman’s youth and beauty. Since marriage was for life, men looked for more than just fun and thrills from a woman, they looked for character and ability as a wife and mother. And women responded to men by minimizing youth and beauty, and trying to cultivate skills, work experience, assets and character traits that would help her support and encourage a man in his life plan.

Supreme Court rules against EPA’s job-killing tax on electricity

Atmospheric temperature measurements though April 2015
Atmospheric temperature measurements though April 2015

If you have to pay your own electricity bill out of your own earnings, then I have some good news for you.

The Daily Signal has the story.


Today, the Supreme Court in Michigan v. EPA held that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly ignored costs when it decided to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants. The court, in this 5-4 opinion, struck down this extremely costly rule, known as Utility MACT or Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, which applies to power plants, the EPA administrator shall regulate if the regulation is found to be “appropriate and necessary.” According to the EPA, they didn’t have to consider cost when deciding to regulate, even though the statute specifically says that the regulation has to be “appropriate.”

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, explained, “[a]gainst the backdrop of this established administrative practice [consideration of cost], it is unreasonable to read an instruction to an administrative agency to determine whether ‘regulation is appropriate and necessary’ as an invitation to ignore costs.”

The EPA was going to ignore an astonishing amount of costs. The EPA estimated the costs to be $9.6 billion annually. This compared to benefits of $4 million to $6 million annually. As pointed out by Scalia, “[t]he costs to power plants were thus between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” As the court succinctly explained, “[n]o regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

Unfortunately, energy prices are still going to go up, and jobs are still going to be lost as a result of previous EPA regulations.

The Stream says:

While this is a major legal win for the coal industry, it may have come too late. Power plant operators have already slated to retire 13 gigawatts of coal-fired power by the end of this year. Coal plant owners also must ready themselves to comply with upcoming ozone and greenhouse gas regulations.

Well, it’s been a rough week, but we have to take our victories where we can. A win’s a win. Hopefully, the next President will abolish the EPA and the Department of Energy entirely, so that those clowns have to get real jobs doing something useful for a change.