BREAKING NEWS: Christians Act Like Christians


Thanks to Samaritan’s Purse for their benevolence in Iraq

Christians in Samaritan’s Purse help Muslims in Iraqi War Zones

At the Risk of Their Lives, …

OneNewsNow reported in a 1 December 2016 article that Christians representing Samaritan’s Purse have been fulfilling the command to “love your enemies” in a striking way:

“At the same time Iraqi military forces and ISIS fighters battle over the country’s second-largest city, a humanitarian group is helping refugees.

Samaritan’s Purse is at work in various refugee camps around the city of Mosul, handing out everything from blankets and food to shoes.

The well-known Christian relief organization, headed by Rev. Franklin Graham, may be best known for its annual shoe box drive for children.

Samaritan’s spokesman Ken Isaacs tells OneNewsNow the organization has been at work in Iraq since 2014, when ISIS took control of Mosul and spread its campaign of murder and torture.

” (Read more at OneNewsNow)

Christianity was born in persecution, but did not strike back.  These towns and cities have seen many killed, but one group that has been decimated has been the Christians.  Therefore, for

Christianity grew out of a heavenly love given when it was not deserved.

Oddly, when the Buzzfeed article came out
there was no indication as whether Chip or Joanna support or oppose gay marriage

Christians Stand Up for Biblical Values

In a 1 December 2016 OneNewsNow article, Chris Woodward and Billy Davis explain the hubbub around the stars of “Fixer Upper.”

“The pushback is coming from all corners after left-wing website BuzzFeed published a hit piece about a Christian husband and wife featured on HGTV.

‘BuzzFeed’s hit piece on Chip and Joanna Gaines is dangerous,’ declared a Washington Post op-ed headline written by an openly homosexual writer, Brandon Ambrosino.

The husband and wife (pictured above), who host the popular ‘Fixer Upper’ show, were criticized in a Nov. 30 story that asked rhetorically if they hold the same views about marriage as their church pastor, Jimmy Seibert.

The Gaines family attends Antioch Community Church, which the left-wing story describes as a ‘nondenominational, evangelical, mission-based megachurch.’ The church is located in Waco.

The suspected hit piece runs approximately 1,100 words. Approximately 800 words describe Siebert’s June 2015 sermon about homosexuality that followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.

‘This is almost unbelievable,’ radio show host Tony Perkins observed on his ‘Washington Watch’ radio show. ‘It appears the media thinks they have stumbled on something – that there is actually a church in Texas that believes the Bible and is not willing to surrender their views of the Supreme Court of the United States.’

It also appears, Perkins said, citing the story, that if someone attends that church, ‘they somehow have no right to host a TV show in America.’

In his op-ed piece, Ambrosino also predicts BuzzFeed is intentionally trying to force HGTV to publicly address the couple’s views.

‘They also know that if the statement is not 100 percent supportive of same-sex marriage,’ he writes, ‘the network will be pressured to drop them.’

BuzzFeed, in fact, telegraphed its intentions, asking if the Gaineses are ‘against’ same-sex marriage and, if so, would they feature homosexuals on their show.

Tim Graham with the Media Research Center suspects that BuzzFeed went after the ‘Fixer Upper’ stars due to a surge in popularity. They were featured on the cover of ‘People’ magazine and have published a best-selling book among other feats.

According to BuzzFeed’s own article, in fact, the Gaineses ‘have built a small empire, and they are not done yet.’

‘And so that becomes an excuse to say, Oh, well now that you’ve reached this level of celebrity, as opposed to where you were, I don’t know three months ago, suddenly this is a relevant issue,’ complains Graham.

Graham points out that BuzzFeed is owned by Comcast, which is known for its support for homosexual activism.

‘So there is no doubt where they are coming from,’ he warns.

Another theory about BuzzFeed’s pursuit of the Gainses is liberals’ petty, post-election anger after Donald Trump’s win. That suggestion comes after a Twitter conversation in which Daily Beast writer Kevin Fallon complained about voters who chose Trump.

‘My blood-boiling suspicion that every couple featured voted for Trump has ruined House Hunters for me,’ he observes, referring to an HGTV program.

‘And Fixer Upper,’ replies Kate Aurthur, the BuzzFeed writer who, days later, published a story about the Gaineses.

The hit piece garnered a commentary by Todd Starnes at Fox News, who published a response from HGTV about the BuzzFeed story.”

(Read more at OneNewsNow.com)

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks out in support of Chip & Joanna Gaines

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Kasich Uses the Liberal Playbook to Put Down Christians


The Liberal Method to Win an Argument Without a Compelling Case

While speaking at the University of Virginia on 22 February 2016, John Kasich made the following statement:

“I think frankly, our churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them. But if you’re a cupcake maker and somebody wants a cupcake, make them a cupcake. Let’s not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff. Move on. The next thing, you know, they might be saying if you’re divorced you shouldn’t get a cupcake.”

Later that week at the 25 February 2016 Republican debate in Houston, he further expounded after receiving the following question from moderator Hugh Hewitt:

HEWITT: Governor Kasich, back to religious liberty. You’ve been a little bit less emphatic. You’ve said, same-sex couple approaches a cupcake maker, sell them a cupcake. Can we trust you as much on religious liberty as the rest of these people?
 
KASICH: Well, you know, of course. I mean, if — look, I was involved in just being a pioneer in a new church. Religious institutions should be able to practice the religion that they believe in. No question and no doubt about it.

Now, in regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favor it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, but, look, the court has ruled and I’ve moved on. And what I’ve said, Hugh, is that, look, where does it end?

If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced.

I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior.

But when it comes to the religious institutions, they are in inviolate in my mind, and I would fight for those religious institutions. And look, I’ve appointed over a hundred judges as governor. I even appointed adjudge to the Ohio Supreme Court.

And you know what they are? They’re conservatives. Go check it out. They are conservatives. They don’t make the law. They interpret the law. That’s all they do. And they stick by the Constitution. So I will do that.

But let’s just not get so narrow here as to gotcha this or that. I think my position is clear.

First the Liberal Must Misrepresent the Problem

In both the initial statement and the response within the debate, Kasich trivializes the situation in several ways.  First, he reduces the personal involvement of the creative services providers by reducing them to “cupcake makers.”  The skills and talents required of the wedding photographer in New Mexico and the wedding cake makers in Colorado, Indiana, Oregon, or Texas not only take a great amount of effort, but also often put the service providers in the middle of the gay marriage.  With each of the bakeries, their job consists of more than just a simple matter of selling a cup cake from a rack.  Wedding cakes likely involve multiple layers that require special handling or on-site assembly, certain embellishments, and other considerations.  Therefore, forcing these people to provide elaborate products also required them to provide their products the final parts of their products in the middle of a ceremony that violated their conscience.

Far from the single-facet problem that Kasich suggests, the conflagration between gays and Christians intersects a number of discrimination, free speech, and freedom of religion concepts that have not been fully explored.  Additionally, since this is purportedly a “nation of laws,” this problem reflects a problem that must be solved to provide resolution to both the gay community and the community of faith.

To illustrate the how the situation intersects a number of unexplored legal concepts — I would suggest referring to one article in the Los Angeles Times:

The court’s opinion rejects arguments that forcing Phillips to supply a cake to Charlie Craig and David Mullins violated Phillips’ freedom of religion or his 1st Amendment right against being compelled to convey a “celebratory” message he doesn’t believe in.

But to reach those questions, the court had to reject another legal claim by Phillips that hasn’t received enough attention: that in refusing to provide the cake, he wasn’t engaging in anti-gay discrimination. Phillips noted that he was happy to provide Craig and Mullins with other baked goods. (Less persuasively, he floated the idea that heterosexual couples might also enter into a same-sex marriage.)

The appeals court was quick — maybe too quick — to accept the idea that refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding is tantamount to discriminating against customers on the basis of their sexual orientation. The court ruled that “the act of same-sex marriage is closely correlated to Craig’s and Mullins’ sexual orientation.” Therefore, an administrative law judge hadn’t erred in concluding that Phillips’ refusal to bake the cake was “because of” the couple’s sexual orientation.


 

To a lot of gay rights supporters, it’s self-evident that a refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But there are people, such as Phillips and the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, who insist on a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual activity or participation in a same-sex marriage.

And here’s another question raised by David French in the National Review: If discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is interpreted in broad terms, would a similarly broad definition of racial discrimination require a baker to provide a Confederate-flag cake for a white supremacist group lest he be accused of bias against whites? (Phillips said he also objected to baking cakes that incorporate racist symbols.)

That leaves arguments based on freedom of religion or freedom of speech …

As pointed out by the Deseret News, this social change involves two sides that need to be treated equally:

“Robin Fretwell Wilson, a University of Illinois Law School professor and director of the school’s Program in Family Law and Policy, told the Deseret News it’s essential to balance rights on both sides of the equation.

‘You’re not going to and should not get protection in the law to treat people differently,” Wilson said. At the same time, ‘Marriage is not like a hamburger or a taxi ride; it’s a deeply intimate service that’s religiously infused.’

She added, ‘This is one of the places where the law can temper bad impulses. We don’t want to run religious people out of the public square, nor do we want to drive lesbians and gays out of society.’ “

Then the Liberal should Misstate the Other Side’s Reaction

Second, Kasich trivializes the situation by suggesting that the Christian “cupcake makers” only had one option: sell or don’t sell the “cupcake.”  However, there were other options:  offer another product or direct the couple to a bakery that could provide the service.  As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Colorado baker John Phillips “noted that he was happy to provide Craig and Mullins with other baked goods.”   Likewise, as reported by the Brietbart, the Oregon bakers were willing to provide other baked goods.

Next the Liberal Trivializes the Reaction of the Opponent

Next, Kasich suggests “Let’s not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff. Move on.”

This sounds like Kasich wants everyone who has convictions to give up their beliefs and roll over whenever challenged.  It sounds like he wants everyone to ignore the “free exercise of religion” and maybe even the “freedom of speech” clauses from the Bill of Rights.  So what are Christians to do?  Do we rename those parts of the Constitution to the “free exercise of politically-correct religion” and the “freedom of non-offensive speech” within the “Bill of Liberal Rights?”

Therefore, by not bowing to any of the guiding concepts that Kasich holds dear (e.g., gay marriage, liberal supremacy, …), the opponents automatically can be branded the “unreasonable opposition.” 

Then the Liberal Blurs the Lines by Claiming Allegiance to the Concepts that were Trashed

As the fourth step in his formulaic assessment of the situation, Kasich:

  • Claims allegiance to traditional marriage (“Now, in regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favor it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, …”)
  • Abandons the concept of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government being coequal (“… but the court has ruled and I’ve moved on.”)
  • Notes his view of the futility of standing for your convictions when someone with convictions — like the gay lobby — opposes you (“And what I’ve said, Hugh, is that, look, where does it end?”)

Finally the Liberal Sticks with this Proposal Even When It cannot be Applied Equitably

As if to say “do not quote me on this and try to apply these positions to benefit any non-politically-correct group,” Kasich ends with:

“But let’s just not get so narrow here as to gotcha this or that. I think my position is clear.”

It Ain’t Over, Obergefell (Texas, February 2016 edition)


John the Baptist chained.

Texas Fights for Religious Exemptions to Gay Marriage 

As shown by a 17 February 2016 article by the Dallas-Fort Worth CBS affiliate, the fight over gay marriage has not died in Texas.  Ranging from the actions of an Attorney General who defies the concept that America is a kritarchy to a county clerk seeking to protect children to justices of the peace acting to senators writing new law,  the fight continues.  Here are the core issues from a few of the stories.

Attorney General Paxton Finds Himself Under Ethics Investigations for his Response to the SCOTUS ruling on Gay Marriage

An 11 February 2016 Newsmax article informs us:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is being probed for ethics violations for telling county clerks that they could deny marriage licenses to same sex-couples, another potential setback for the state’s top lawyer, who is already facing felony charges.

The State Bar of Texas ordered its Board of Disciplinary Appeals this week top look into Paxton, his office and Houston attorney Eddie Rodriguez said on Thursday. If Paxton is found to have an ethics violation, he could be disbarred, which means he could no longer serve as attorney general.

Attorneys who asked for the probe said Paxton acted illegally in asking that state officials violate the U.S. Constitution by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that made gay marriage legal nationally.

“Attorney General Paxton has a right to disagree with a ruling of the Supreme Court. Lawyers do that every single day. What makes a difference is that you cannot encourage people to violate that ruling and that law,” said Rodriguez, who led the call for the probe.

Paxton’s office said in a statement: “This complaint has always lacked merit, and we are confident the legal process for resolving these complaints will bear that out.”

Under its rules, the Texas Bar Association cannot confirm that a probe has been launched.

A day after the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in June legalizing same-sex marriage, Paxton put out a statement saying county clerks could deny the licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds.

Whose Rights and Whose Decisions are Supreme?

The New Civil Rights Movement shares:

“Am I obligated by law to issue a marriage license? I am. But I’m also obligated by law to issue a marriage license only between a man and a woman,” Criner said. “This is going to be something that violates my oath.”

Pressed by one senator about what she’ll do if a same-sex couple requests a marriage license from her office, Criner said, “I’ll have to evaluate that the day it happens.”
Republican Sen. Bob Estes responded by referencing the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which establishes that federal law takes precedence over state law.

GOP Sen. Brian Birdwell pointed to a case in his district, where a same-sex couple sued Hood County after Clerk Katie Lang turned them away. A federal judge ordered Lang’s office to issue the license, and granted the couple a $44,000 settlement.

“Your testimony, Ms. Criner, is telling of the circumstances we face today,” Birdwell said. “Is ‘supreme’ — in this case talking about the Supreme Court — is ‘supreme’ the adjective of court or is ‘supreme’ the noun? Is the Supreme Court the supreme branch of government and is it functioning within its role and its duties? I’m of the mind that it isn’t, because it’s legislating from the bench.”

But Birdwell then concurred with Estes, saying the supremacy clause means it’s up to federal officials “to check this the way we’re desiring them to check it.”

“I don’t have a solution directly to what we share as a concern, Madame Clerk,” Birdwell told Criner. “I do know that right now, based upon your testimony and my experience in Hood County, that those that want a license to be married can obtain it, even if the elected officeholder doesn’t wish to sign it and validate it as a person, that the office can validate it.”

In July, Criner said her deputy clerks don’t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even if she delegates the authority to them. She added that because anyone “with 10 bucks and an Internet connection” can become a licensed minister and perform same-sex marriages, clerks are “the last gatekeeper.”

Criner also made it clear that she’s willing to be a martyr. She said she had considered the potential consequences of her decision, but ultimately they didn’t matter.

“I mean no disrespect to the same-sex couples who wish the benefits of marriage for their relations — no animosity toward them. I just have to look at what God said, and I have to look at the way our Constitution was based on what God said,” Criner told The Christian Reporter News. “I hope everybody really likes me when it’s over, and I hope I still have a home, and I hope I’m not in jail, but I really can’t think about any of that. I just leave it in the hands of God.”

Justice of the Peace Bill Metzger Refuses Same-Sex Marriages

As reported in a 4 February 2016 WFAA article, one Mesquite justice of the peace has turned his back on same sex marriage:

Dallas County Justice of the Peace Bill Metzger said on his public Facebook page this week he would only conduct marriages between a man and a woman.

“Because of my faith in God as a devout Catholic, I will only be conducting traditional marriages,” Metzger’s post reads.

Metzger cites a non-binding opinion issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after the landmark ruling last June.

The opinion stated clerks and judges who perform marriages could object to same-sex marriages “so long as other authorized individuals are willing to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies.”

Retired Dallas County district judge John Cruezot told News 8 that Metzger’s position is on a shaky legal foundation.

“You don’t have to do any marriages, nobody can compel you to do a marriage,” Cruezot says.  “However, once you take on one set of individuals, you have to do it for everyone.”

A Harris County district attorney’s opinion, also issued after the Supreme Court ruling reflects that sentiment and also cites the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, which says “a judge who chooses to perform marriages must do so for same-sex couples, notwithstanding any personal religious objection.”

“If I do marriages, I do all or none,” Cruezot says. “It’s a bad signal to be a judge, even if it is a justice of the peace, and then make an independent decision that you’re going to follow the law for some folks but not for others.”

There have been no legal challenges to the one man, one woman marriage policy.

New Law Under Consideration

KEYE reports the following movements within the Texas Senate:

The debate over same-sex marriage is back at the state capitol. Today lawmakers began looking into how to protect individuals from government mandates that run counter to their deeply held religious beliefs.

This is going to sound very familiar because it’s tied to the uproar over the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding gay marriage. Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for ACLU of Texas says, “We’re going to hear people call for the right to opt out of civil liberties protections like civil rights laws, like non-discrimination ordinances.”

And that’s what we heard as the Senate Committee on State Affairs heard from people affected by laws that conflict with their beliefs. One photographer says he no longer does any weddings rather than risk being sued for refusing same-sex couples. David Postma from Houston says, “If I say no to somebody who has got a bent in proving a point they can easily take me to court and say I have to do this. And that puts me in a position against my beliefs completely.”

And a Hill Country bed and breakfast owner says she has the room to host weddings, but turns away the business for the same reason. Angela Smith says, “This property is my livelihood. It’s my retirement at some point. And I simply cannot risk putting myself through something where I could lose literally everything. My home, my business, my future.”

A proposal to protect business owners who act based on their religious beliefs failed in the last session In part because it was opposed by the Texas Association of Business. But the law’s supporters say they’ll be back. Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values says, “Our organization and many others are here saying that religious freedom is good for Texas, religious freedom is good for Texas, and religious freedom should apply to all.”
Lots of action today … and this was just a committee hearing. Just wait until the session kicks in next January.

Pastor Protection Act signed by Governor Abbott

 In a 30 June 2015 article at NBC affiliate KFOR, the station documents the signing of the Pastor Protection Act:

Senate Bill 2065, also known as the Pastor Protection Act, was signed by Governor Abbott Tuesday.

The bill, written by Senator Craig Estes, “protects houses of worship, religious organizations and their employees and clergy or ministers, from being required to participate in a marriage or celebration or a marriage if it would violate a sincerely held religious belief.”

“I am very proud that Senator Craig Estes and Senate members passed SB 2065 today,” said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. “SB 2065 protects our churches and pastors from participating in any part of a marriage that is against their beliefs.”

“Religious leaders should never be compelled to provide any kind of service that separates them from the fundamental principles of their faith,” concluded Patrick. “This bill is about protecting religious freedom across the state.”

Pastor Protection Act Also Helps Others

In a 15 June 2015 article at OneNewsNow.com, features of the Pastor Protection Act (passed slightly before the decision on Obergefell v. Hodges in the Supreme Court) are explained:

“Dave Welch of the Texas Pastor Council Action says the “Pastor Protection Act” protects hospitals, camps, and Christian organizations, along with protecting pastors from being forced to perform same-sex “wedding” ceremonies.
The bill passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law June 11 by Gov. Greg Abbott.
OneNewsNow reported in a recent story that Texas pastors rallied the state legislature to support the bill, which provides religious protection should a pending ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court make same-sex “marriage” legal in all 50 states.

While homosexual activists describe their effort as “marriage equality,” Welch says Texas pastors and clergy are protected from legal punishment for refusing to participate in a ceremony they deem sinful.


Religious freedom is constitutionally protected, says Welch, “but the reality is that we now live in a condition that we have to step out and be proactive in drawing some boundaries based on the aggression we’ve seen against the simple expression of our faith.”

Not All Who Disagree with Gay Marriage Accept Staying Silent or Refusing Work

In a 13 July 2015 article in the Dallas Observer, a Denton Justice of the Peace uses the  following method to remain true to his personal beliefs while providing service to both heterosexual and same-sex couples seeking to be married:

“I’m not going to do weddings any more, I’m going to do declarations of marriage,” DePiazza says. “For the ceremonies I’ve done in the past, I wrote the vows, they were my vows that I wrote. I wrote short vows and long vows and gave [them to] the couple to choose which vows they wanted to use. All of them are very specific to a husband and a wife.”

Couples getting married by DePiazza will no longer get the choice of vows. They can come in, affirm that they want to get married and are legally eligible to do so, and DePiazza will witness the marriage.

Anyone seeking a marriage in front of DePiazza will also have to sign a letter acknowledging that they know DePiazza would prefer not to conduct same-sex marriages. They also have to promise that there will be no “no discussion regarding [DePiazza’s] position [on same-sex marriage] before, during or after the ceremony.

DePiazza could’ve elected to stop performing marriage ceremonies entirely — justices of the peace are not required to do so — but says he wanted to do what was best for his constituents.

“I went back in forth with it, and I made the decision that, for my constituents, if that is their desire — it doesn’t matter to me what a person’s sexual preference is, what their sexual orientation is. Regardless, they’re a human being and they deserve dignity and respect. If that’s the way that they want to live their life, that’s between them, their partner and either they believe in their God or not, that’s their choice,” DePiazza says.

Offering only the stripped down ceremonies, DePiazza says, allows him to perform the duties required of a justice of the peace without compromising his personal beliefs.

Another Source Documents DePiazza 

A 17 July 2015 article in the Christian Examiner, also reports on Judge DePiazza:

“A Texas justice of the peace announced July 9 he will perform same-sex marriages if and only if gay couples acknowledge his personal disagreement with the practice and follow strict guidelines during the wedding ceremony.

Judge James DePiazza, justice of the peace for Precinct 2 in North Texas, issued a new form last week citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. On that form, Justice DePiazza acknowledged that marriage is now, as a matter of law, open to all citizens regardless of gender.

The document also claimed:

‘The result of this ruling has not changed Judge DePiazza’s personal convictions on marriage, but has changed the way he is now conducting ceremonies.’

‘Judge DePiazza will no longer be providing marriage ceremonies in the traditional manner. The ceremony will strictly be a witnessing to the declaration of marriage, presented by Judge DePiazza, by both parties under the laws of the State of Texas. Judge DePiazza prefers to NOT conduct same-sex ceremonies, but will not decline anyone who chooses to schedule with him,’ the document also said.

In addition to the statement on the judge’s personal beliefs, the document included new rules for the wedding ceremony, including a ban on photography until after the judge had left the courtroom. At the foot of the form, applicants for a marriage ceremony were expected to sign an acknowledgment of the judge’s opinion.”

It Ain’t Over, Obergefell


Thanks to OverpassesForAmerica for this photo.

Davis Loses Appeal, But Others Also Run the Race

On 17 September 2015, Kim Davis lost her appeal to receive accommodations that would allow her to execute the duties of her office while maintaining her Christian faith. As reported in the following CBN video released on 18 September, Mrs. Davis is not the only official caught in the dilemma.

Recent Past in the Fight for Religious Freedom

According to a 9 July article by Jay Michaelson of the Daily Beast, seven states hosted officials who refuse to issue gay marriage licenses.  Among these seven states listed by Mr. Michaelson (Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz have presented their case that county officials are protected by the state’s religious freedom law, which mandates government accommodation of deeply held spiritual beliefs.  Additionally, as reported on 28 June by the New York Post:

“Louisiana’s attorney general said it would wait for a final Supreme Court ‘order,’ while Mississippi, which had its gay-marriage ban overturned last year, said it awaits a decision on its appeal in that case.”

Legislators and County Clerks Push Back Against Gay Marriage

In a 22 September 2015 article, World News Daily chronicles the fight against gay marriage as it occurs on several fronts:

  • County clerks in Alabama have used existing law to stand for their religious rights
  • Tennessee legislators consider a push back that references other instances where states resisted Supreme Court rulings
  • Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin legislatures have also started to consider legislation

Alabama County Clerks Push Back

In Alabama, where the law governing county clerks’ actions concerning marriage licenses allows some latitude to the clerks:

There also are nearly a dozen counties in Alabama where officials have refused to issue any marriage licenses. The state law says officials ‘may’ issue licenses, not ‘shall’ or ‘will,’ leaving the outcome of any legal challenge uncertain.”

Tennessee Crafts a Bill

As detailed by World News Daily, a Tennessee bill considers the conduct of two Justices, reviews the history of states’ reactions to bad Supreme Court decisions, and sets forward a path for following what is right:

“Tennessee’s House Bill 1412 is described as “an Act to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 36, relative to the ‘Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.’


It states: ‘Five justices of the United States Supreme Court issued a lawless opinion with no basis in American law or history, purporting to overturn natural marriage and find a ‘right’ to same-sex ‘marriage’ in the United States Constitution.’

The bill cites Chief Justice John Roberts, who said in his minority dissent that the decision had ‘no basis in the Constitution.’

The Tennessee bill notes that just two years ago, the Supreme Court itself ruled that ‘states, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, possessed full power over the subject of marriage and divorce.’

‘Whereas, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two justices essential to the bare five justice majority in Obergefell, failed to recuse themselves from considering of the case, after demonstrating personal bias in its outcome, by officiating at and advocating for same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies, during the pendency of proceedings on the issue, in violation of 28 U.S.C 455 (‘Any justice, judge or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.’)

‘Our rights come from the Creator, not the state, and our ‘Constitution – like the Declaration of Independence before it – was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from – not provided by – the state.’ ‘

The bottom line for the state?

‘Natural marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman as recognized by the people of Tennessee remains the law in Tennessee, regardless of any court decision to the contrary. Any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges … is unauthoritative, void, and of no effect.’

The bill argues there is precedent for refusing to obey the Supreme Court, when the Wisconsin Legislature refused to file a Supreme Court mandate regarding the fugitive slave law nearly 160 years ago.

‘In addition to Wisconsin, the legislatures of Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Michigan actively nullified the Fugitive Slave Act and repugnant decisions of the United States Supreme Court by passing ‘personal liberty’ laws, making it nearly impossible to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act in those states,” the lawmakers wrote.
Tennessee’s proposal, which is expected to be discussed during the coming legislative session, points out the Supreme Court “is not the sole and final arbiter of the powers of the states under the ninth and tenth amendments, when it acts in an area outside of its jurisdiction.’ “

Arkansas Begins to Craft a Bill

Quoted in WND, Arkansas House Majority Leader Ken Bragg said:

“We refuse to simply shrug our shoulders and abandon basic principles that have guided our country successfully for the past 239 years.  We will work with other conservative leaders in our state and across the nation, strengthen the bonds of unity, and explore all available options. That certainly includes increased legislative protections for our First Amendment freedoms to exercise religion.”

Truth in Media talks about the Tennessee bill

A 17 September 2015 article in Truth in Media reveals that Tennesseans are working to buttress traditional marriage:

“At the rally, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and State Representative Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced legislation calling for Tennessee to defend current state law and the constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2006 specifying that only a marriage between a man and a woman can be legally recognized in the state. The ‘Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act’ rejects the Obergefell v. Hodges decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June giving same sex couples the fundamental right to marry and calls on the attorney general and reporter to defend any state or local government official from any lawsuit to the contrary.”

Rand Paul Advocates for Removing Government from Marriage

In the 28 June issue of Time, Senator Rand Paul argues for the removing government from the marriage:

“While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract.

The Constitution is silent on the question of marriage because marriage has always been a local issue. Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not to Washington, D.C.

I’ve often said I don’t want my guns or my marriage registered in Washington.

Those who disagree with the recent Supreme Court ruling argue that the court should not overturn the will of legislative majorities. Those who favor the Supreme Court ruling argue that the 14th Amendment protects rights from legislative majorities.

Do consenting adults have a right to contract with other consenting adults? Supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision argue yes but they argue no when it comes to economic liberties, like contracts regarding wages.

It seems some rights are more equal than others.

Marriage, though a contract, is also more than just a simple contract.

I acknowledge the right to contract in all economic and personal spheres, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a danger that a government that involves itself in every nook and cranny of our lives won’t now enforce definitions that conflict with sincerely felt religious convictions of others.

Some have argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling will now involve the police power of the state in churches, church schools, church hospitals.

This may well become the next step, and I for one will stand ready to resist any intrusion of government into the religious sphere.

Justice Clarence Thomas is correct in his dissent when he says: ‘In the American legal tradition, liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.

The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage.

Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.

Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.

So now, states such as Alabama are beginning to understand this as they begin to get out of the marriage licensing business altogether. Will others follow?

Thomas goes on to say:

‘To the extent that the Framers would have recognized a natural right to marriage that fell within the broader definition of liberty, it would not have included a right to governmental recognition and benefits. Instead, it would have included a right to engage in the very same activities that petitioners have been left free to engage in — making vows, holding religious ceremonies celebrating those vows, raising children, and otherwise enjoying the society of one’s spouse — without governmental interference.

The 14th Amendment does not command the government endorsement that is conveyed by the word ‘marriage.’ State legislatures are entitled to express their preference for traditional marriage, so long as the equal rights of same-sex couples are protected.

So the questions now before us are: What are those rights? What does government convey along with marriage, and should it do so? Should the government care, or allocate any benefits based on marital status?

And can the government do its main job in the aftermath of this ruling — the protection of liberty, particularly religious liberty and free speech?

We shall see. I will fight to ensure it does both, along with taking part in a discussion on the role of government in our lives.

Perhaps it is time to be more careful what we ask government to do, and where we allow it to become part of our lives.

The Constitution was written by wise men who were raised up by God for that very purpose. There is a reason ours was the first where rights came from our creator and therefore could not be taken away by government. Government was instituted to protect them.

We have gotten away from that idea. Too far away. We must turn back. To protect our rights we must understand who granted them and who can help us restore them.

 Native American Tribes Resist Gay Marriage

The Arizona Republic reports that LGBT attempts to use the courts to bulldoze popular votes does not seem to work with Native American tribes:

“As sovereign nations, the 567 Indian tribes within the United States’ borders are not obligated to honor the rulings of American courts. The vast majority of them — including all 22 in Arizona — have so far ignored the high court’s ruling on marriage.”

Most of those Who Broke the Law to Support Gay Marriage are Now Silent

The Daily Signal reported in a 3 September article that most of the 10 officials who who broke the law to support gay marriage have gone silent:

  1. California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom – As Mayor of San Francisco, Newsom directed city clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At that time, gay marriage was prohibited in California because of a law passed by popular vote.
       
  2. California Gov. Jerry BrownWhile acting as Attorney General, Brown decided not to respond to legal challenges of Proposition 8, which stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid.” One of Brown’s responsibilities as attorney general was the defend California and its laws in court.
      
  3. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway – After Kentucky legislated a ban on same-sex marriage, Conway said he would not appeal a ruling to recognize same-sex marriages.
     
    “I understand that passions are high on both sides of the issue, but we are a nation of laws,” … (except when you are an elected official defying the results of a popular vote) … “and no one can defy an order from a federal judge,” Conway said.
     
  4. Montgomery County (Pa.) Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes – Two years ago, Hanes issued the first marriage license to a same-sex couple despite Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage.
     
  5. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane – Kane declined to defend the state of Pennsylvania when she was listed as a defendant in a 2013 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
     
  6. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum – Rosenblum refused to defend Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    “State defendants will not defend the Oregon ban on same-sex marriage in this litigation. Rather, they will take the position in their summer judgement briefing that the ban cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review,” she said in the filings.
     

  7. California Attorney General Kamala Harris – After California’s Proposition 8 succeeded and prohibited marriage between same-sex couples, Harris decided not to defend the state law.
     
  8. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan – Rather than fulfilling the duties she was elected to complete by defending state law, Madigan requested the attorney general’s office be allowed to join in two lawsuits challenging Illinois’s gay marriage ban in 2012.
     
  9. Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto – Masto refused to fulfill his sworn duty to defend the state, claiming the “legal landscape” regarding same-sex marriage has “changed,” and that the state of Nevada could no longer defend a ban.
     
  10. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring – After his election Herring, Herring told NPR he would no longer defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Ryan Anderson Authors Truth Overruled

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation captured a number of narratives on the marginalization of anyone holding to traditional marriage and included these stories in his new book:  Truth Overruled.   In an 18 September 2015 interview, CBN News provided the following synopsis of the message:

“For years, those who campaigned for same-sex marriage claimed it would not harm their opponents or believers in traditional marriage.

A new book, Truth Overruled: the Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom by Ryan Anderson, argues that harm is already being seen.

‘The main rhetoric that we’ve heard for the past decade from those in favor of redefining marriage was that if you’re against same-sex marriage, you’re just like the racist bigots who were against interracial marriage,’ Anderson told CBN News. ‘And we’re already hearing voices say the government should now treat people who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman as if they’re racists.’

Anderson cites business owners who are already being punished for not actively supporting gay marriage or at least for not serving gay couples.

‘The fourth chapter of the book, Bake Me a Cake, Bigot, tells the story of all these professionals who simply asked to be left alone by the government to run their business in accordance with their belief,’ Anderson continued. ‘And they’ve been fined sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.’ “

Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of the popular RedState blog, says the fact that Anderson’s young is both striking and meaningful.

Because he’s younger, his perspective is ‘kind of counter-intuitive because people perceive it as being a generational issue.’

‘So here’s this young guy who has a mastery of these issues and the implications for the future of the country,’ Erickson explained.

Anderson, meanwhile, says the fight by proponents of gay marriage to punish people is a serious threat to freedom. He said he actually doesn’t know how he’d advise a person trying to decide to bake or not bake a gay wedding cake.

‘The government’s role shouldn’t be telling them what to do either,’ Anderson continued. ‘So my position on this is whether you would bake the cake or not isn’t a reason for you telling someone else that they should have to bake the cake.’

‘Freedom is actually what should be reigning supreme here and the people who are in favor of baking the cake can bake the cake,’ he said. ‘Those who aren’t cannot bake the bake, and the market can sort these things out. It’s one of the beauties of freedom.’

Even before the book was published, gay rights activists organized a campaign against it on Amazon.com.

Erickson pointed out that such folks are intolerant of any opposition to gay marriage. ‘They cannot have that,’ he said. ‘They also cannot have books and data that dispute their claims.’

‘The fact that they’ve attacked his book on Amazon to discourage people from buying it — before it even came out, they were trying to drive down its ranking on Amazon so people wouldn’t buy it — just tells you everything you need to know about the contents of the book,’ he said.

The Cost of Fighting Immorality

AlJazeera America reports in a 10 September article that:

Michigan is weighing its response to a $1.9 million demand from attorneys for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, plaintiffs in one of the four cases that went to the Supreme Court and was decided in June. In Kentucky, another state involved in the Supreme Court showdown, the bill for services rendered is $2.1 million. South Carolina has been ordered to pay $130,000, and Florida’s attorney general is fighting a tab of about $700,000.

Several states have struck agreements already. Pennsylvania settled for $1.5 million, Wisconsin for $1.05 million, Virginia for $580,000, Oregon for $132,000, Colorado for $90,000, Utah for $95,000 and North Dakota for $58,000. The varying prices reflect the length of the battles or their intensity.

Under-Reported Comment by the Pope


From the Back Pages of Publications

NBC News relayed the Pope’s message:

Pope Francis appeared to weigh in on the side of anti-gay-marriage clerk Kim Davis, saying government workers have a “human right” to refuse to carry out a duty if they have a “conscientious objection.”

While returning from his visit to the U.S., the the pontiff told reporters aboard the papal plane Monday that anyone who prevents others from exercising their religious freedom is denying them a human right.

Reuters said:

“Pope Francis said on Monday government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.”

In a 28 September 2015 video report, CBN pointed out that the Pope announced that government officials do not have to issue same sex marriage certificates if it violates their conscience.

Who Do We Obey


Kim Davis

Kentucky County Clerk Resolves to Obey God Over Man

According to the New York Times:

“A Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage was jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Ky., was ordered detained for contempt of court and later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to process same-sex marriage licenses that could have prompted her release.

Instead, on a day when one of Ms. Davis’s lawyers said she would not retreat from or modify her stand despite a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Judge David L. Bunning of United States District Court secured commitments from five of Ms. Davis’s deputies to begin providing the licenses. At least two couples planned to seek marriage licenses Friday.

‘The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,’ Judge Bunning said. ‘If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.’

The judge’s decision to jail Ms. Davis, a 49-year-old Democrat who was elected last year, immediately intensified the attention focused on her, a longtime government worker who is one of three of Kentucky’s 120 county clerks who contend that their religious beliefs keep them from recognizing same-sex nuptials. Within hours of Ms. Davis’s imprisonment, some Republican presidential candidates declared their support for her, a sign that her case was becoming an increasingly charged cause for Christian conservatives.”

Republicans See the Inequity

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Lindsey Graham Sides with Democrats

As reported in US News and World Report, in addition to the normal death threats and other forms of intimidation, gay rights activists have been calling for Kim Davis to leave her job if she cannot issue marriage licenses to gays.

According to the New York Daily News, Lindsey Graham further marginalized himself from the rest of Republicans:

“Presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham demanded Wednesday that the Kentucky county clerk who is defying the Supreme Court by refusing to grant marriage licenses to LGBT couples must follow the law.

‘The rule of law is the rule of law,’ Graham, a South Carolina conservative Republican, said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. ‘We are a rule of law nation.’

‘I appreciate her conviction, I support traditional marriage, but she’s accepted a job in which she has to apply the law to everyone,’ Graham added about Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has defied the Supreme Court and continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. ‘(She) should comply with the law or resign.’ “

As for myself, I will suspend a bit of my disbelief of Graham once he walks the President (who defied a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton) and Hillary (who has ignored a law concerning the use of non-governmental e-mail addresses that she had previously explained to her underlings) into jail.

Do You Remember SCOTUS Promising Freedom of Religion Would Remain After Gay Marriage Ruling?


This photo of Kim Davis links to USA Today.

The Supreme Court Claimed Co-Existence

Do you remember how members of the Supreme Court claimed that religious rights would not be changed by their “Gay Marriage” decision? If not, you might refer to the 26 June 2015 article in Christianity Today:

“Essentially, the majority believe the First Amendment gives religious groups and people ‘proper protection’ to ‘continue to advocate’ their beliefs on traditional marriage. But the dissenters are more skeptical, and concerned that ‘people of faith can take no comfort’ in the ruling.

Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises,’ acknowledges Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges, ‘and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.’

He explains that while that ‘sincere, personal opposition’ cannot be ‘enacted law and public policy’ without harming gay couples and violating the Fourteenth Amendment, he favors a continued ‘open and searching debate’ between those who favor and oppose same-sex marriage.

‘It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned,’ writes Kennedy in a paragraph that will likely become the focus of scrutiny by church-state experts.

‘The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths,’ he continues, ‘and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.’ Chief Justice John Roberts is less confident. In his dissent, he argues that today’s decision ‘creates serious questions about religious liberty.’

‘Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority—actually spelled out in the Constitution,’ he writes. ‘Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for dissenting religious practice.’ But he says the Supreme Court is too much of a ‘blunt instrument’ to do likewise. [Thus the evangelical argument for if you can’t beat them, amend them.’]

‘The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to ‘advocate’ and ‘teach’ their views of marriage,’ writes Roberts. ‘The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to ‘exercise’ religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.’ “

In the Wake of Gay Marriage, Religious Rights Sink

Religious Photographers, Bakers, and Florists Pay Exorbitant Fines and Penalties 

As noted in earlier posts on this blog:

The Supreme Court Insists County Clerks Must Violate their Conscience

A Kentucky County Clerk Refuses to Violate Her Conscience

According to the New York Times:

A county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds denied licenses to gay couples on Tuesday, saying she was acting “under God’s authority,” just hours after the Supreme Court refused to support her position.

In a raucous scene in this little town, two same-sex couples walked into the Rowan County Courthouse, trailed by television cameras and chanting protesters on both sides of the issue, only to be turned away by the county clerk, Kim Davis.

As one couple, David Ermold and David Moore, tried to engage her in an argument, Ms. Davis said several times that her office would not issue any marriage licenses. “Under whose authority?” Mr. Ermold asked.

“Under God’s authority,” she replied.

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After Two Months, SCOTUS Abolishes Freedom of Religion for One Class of People (County Clerks)

Also according to the New York Times:

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds to continue to deny marriage licenses to all couples, gay or straight.

In June, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court established a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The new case from Kentucky, Davis v. Miller, was the court’s first opportunity to consider whether government officials may refuse to comply with the Obergefell decision on religious grounds.

The case concerns Kim Davis, an elected clerk in rural Rowan County, Ky. After the state’s governor told county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, a federal court rejected Ms. Davis’s argument that she should be excused from the obligation given her religious beliefs.

No article could be found in the 1 September 2015 issue of the New York Times regarding how many counties in Kentucky were issuing marriage licenses to gays.