Archive for April 2009
Our good friend from the Alliance Defense Fund, Austin Nimocks, makes several excellent observations in his recent editorial published yesterday in a Vermont newspaper.
Give the whole article a read, but here are some highlights:
As we have expanded our societal tolerance for sexual behavior in recent years, the ongoing debate over same-sex “marriage” has actually started to bring about some agreement from both sides of the aisle. Agreement by same-sex “marriage” proponents and foes? Yes, you heard me right. And this agreement is worth exploring…since it will likely shape the same-sex “marriage” debate in Vermont and nationally for the next several years.
No, it’s not agreement on same-sex “marriage” itself. The agreement is that a serious conflict exists between same-sex “marriage” and religious liberty. On this point, there is no debate, except among the uninformed. Even same-sex “marriage” advocate, and Georgetown law professor Chai Feldblum understands this principle, if you read her Web site and writings. The question then becomes, “What do we do about it?”
. . .
Now, before you stop reading because you think you’re not “religious,” let me assure you that everyone is. That is, everyone has a set of values or beliefs by which we order our thoughts, values, and lives. Some of us follow a Judeo-Christian ethic, while others follow one grounded in purely secular principles. However, whatever the source of your religion, you’re entitled to hold those beliefs and order your life accordingly. And whether you support or oppose same-sex “marriage” is beside the point. Either way, you should unequivocally support the right of all Americans to disagree if they choose to disagree. This means that you should be able to disagree in spirit, word, and deed. And even if you’re not passionate about the same-sex “marriage” debate in and of itself, you should care about how this conflict is handled because the next great social debate could surround something about which you do care. If freedoms for all aren’t upheld in this battle, the legal precedents that flow might affect you next.
If H.R. 1913 becomes law, the protections perceived will not be the protections in reality.
Due to an ambiguity in the meaning of the phases “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” pedophiles may be granted protection, but grandmas and veterans won’t. In other words, if the same crime is perpetrated on a pedophile, grandma, and veteran, the criminal victimizing the pedophile will receive harsher penalties than that for his crimes against the grandma and veteran.
The crime remains the same. The status of the victim is the only difference. All violent crimes deserve equal justice. There should never be second class victims.
Jan LaRue, writing on the American Thinker, quotes from Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
“The House of Representatives will vote this week, possibly tomorrow, on a hate crimes bill championed by gay groups that includes pedophiles under the rubric of sexual orientation. This is the ultimate confession: liberal Democrats think of pedophiles as indistinguishable from homosexuals.
“When this subject came up last week in the House Judiciary Committee, an amendment to the hate crimes bill that would have excluded pedophilia from the definition of sexual orientation was defeated by Democrats along party lines, 13-10. This was considered good news by gay organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, left-wing groups like the ACLU and various Jewish groups like the ADL.
“The debate is over: for liberals, child molesters should be given the same rights as homosexuals. Moreover, they should be given more rights than pregnant women and veterans; the latter two categories were explicitly denied coverage under the hate crimes bill. Even worse, an amendment that would bar prosecution based in whole or in part on religious beliefs quoted from the Bible, the Tanakh (Judaism’s sacred book) or the Koran was defeated by Democrats along party lines, 11-8. In other words, religious speech may be denied First Amendment protection.
Has Iowa’s Supreme Court left you scratching your head and asking, “How did the Iowa Supreme Court make such a decision? It’s Iowa!?!”
Yeah, me too. In fact, it’s left me saying, “If this can happen in Iowa, why not here in WV too?”
Looks like we’re not alone. Jennifer Roback Morse tackled the issue and provides good insight for those of us in the Mountain State wondering if our SupCo would like to follow the progressivism of the Hawkeye State:
By now, everyone knows that the Supreme Court of Iowa has imposed same-sex “marriage” on the heartland of America, a mere 10 years after the people of that state had expressly voted against it. What very few people know is exactly how unfair this fight really was. Not only was the lineup within the courtroom imbalanced, but the trial court refused to hear relevant evidence. When the case made its way to the Iowa Supreme Court, they didn’t behave much better.
This case, known as Varnum v. Brien, began with a half dozen same-sex couples applying for marriage licenses in Polk County, Iowa. The county clerk, acting in accordance with the law, refused. Mind you, the state of Iowa did not go bothering unassuming people who were minding their own business. This was a staged case. These couples went to the clerk’s office intending to be refused. They sued Timothy Brien, Polk County recorder and registrar, an ordinary county employee.
The plaintiffs, that is, the people who complained, were not exactly average citizens battling the big mean state of Iowa all by themselves. They had the backing of homosexual-rights establishment organizations. The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund took in $20 million in 2007. Lambda Legal is a nonprofit devoted solely to bringing legal challenges like these.
By contrast, Polk County, Iowa, has a budget of $15 million for the entire court system.* One of the attorneys of record for Lambda Legal has degrees from Yale and Columbia. Iowa’s law was defended not by the state’s attorney general, nor even by the county attorney, but by two assistant county attorneys.
The case wasn’t a fair fight: It was more like David and Goliath without the benefit of divine intervention.
Read the rest via How Iowa Happened: National Catholic Register.
But, don’t take my word for it:
House Democrats have announced a vote could come as early as tomorrow on a “hate crimes” bill that supporters admit might allow federal officials to prosecute Christians who speak out against homosexual behavior.
. . .
When a nearly identical plan was developed in the last Congress, Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., admitted during a hearing on the bill it could be used to prosecute pastors merely for preaching against homosexuality under the premise that they could be “inducing” violence in someone.
. . .
WND reported previously that the plan was introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who said, “The bill only applies to bias-motivated violent crimes and does not impinge public speech or writing in any way.”
. . .
However, critics cite United States Code Title 18, Section 2, as evidence of how the legislation could be used against people who merely speak out against homosexuality. It states: Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.
In a day and age where “human rights” are thrown around willy-nilly, Colson urges a re-examination of where those rights originate. Read the entire article that concludes:
The principle is set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the cornerstone of American government: “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
When health-care professionals refuse to perform or assist in an abortion because it violates their conscience, they are obeying a Higher Authority and His laws—the laws to which He holds every human being.
This is a principle articulated by great saints like Augustine and Aquinas and at modern times by Martin Luther King, who, in his famous letter from a Birmingham jail, echoed Augustine: “An unjust law is no law at all.”
To argue that human law must always supersede conscience is an invitation to tyranny. The Bill of Rights is an acknowledgement that certain rights—like freedom of religion—are simply, or should be, beyond government’s reach.
Sign the Family Research Council’s petition here.
This story gets more and more fascinating by the minute. For a recap, see the previous entry. For an update, watch the video from this morning’s Today Show, here.
For the full story from NBC, go here. Below is the conclusion to the online story that is worth reading and re-reading:
“It’s not about being politically correct; for me, it was being biblically correct,” Prejean explained. “When I’m asked a specific question, I’m going to give a specific answer. I’m not going to stand in the middle. I’m going to take one side or another.”
. . .
“I was true to myself, and I know now I can go out and speak to young people about standing up for what you believe in and never compromising anything, for anyone or anything, even if it is the crown of Miss USA,” Prejean said.
Beauty Queen 1, Blogger 0.
If anyone in West Virginia is interested in the recently concluded Miss USA 2009 contest, it is likely because of Cabell County native Jessi Pierson being crowned, “Miss Photogenic” and “Miss Congeniality.”
But, the dominating story is not Ms. Pierson, West Virginia, or the value of the Miss USA scholarship. And, while we admittedly have had little interest in the competition (and wouldn’t have even known it had occurred had it not been for our careful monitoring of the news), our interest was piqued by the answer of Miss California and the antics of Perez Hilton.
For those who got a “D” in Pop Culture 101 and think we may be misspelling the hotel heiress’ name, Perez Hilton is the author of a pop-culture blog of the same name. He deals mainly in celebrity gossip, Hollywood intrigues, and mostly things West Virginians have very little cause for concern. Mr. Hilton also lives an openly homosexual lifestyle. And, more to the point, Mr. Hilton was asked to be a judge for the Miss USA contest.
Now, our “C+” in Pop Culture 101 says that we know enough about the Miss USA contest to know that at some point, the contestants are asked some questions. Their answers are judged along with their talent and, well, that’s about all we know about the Miss USA competition.
So, why is the blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia bothering to talk about Miss USA and Perez Hilton? Because of Judge Hilton’s question to Miss California at the end of last night’s competition. Actually, it was not so much his question as her answer that has received the attention. Mr. Hilton asked whether Miss California believed in same-sex “marriage.” Her answer? According to FoxNews.com:
When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”
We find this whole episode entirely intriguing. First, the resulting controversy has been that politics was inserted into a beauty pageant. Yet, the complaint about politics was lodged against Miss California and not Perez Hilton. A contestant gives the proper definition of marriage – as settled by the voters of the state she represents and supported by an overwhelming number of Americans – and she is castigated for inserting politics into a pageant. Hilton is given a pass. Most pundits credit this answer for the loss of her crown (which is notable in and of itself), but the controversy-inducing Hilton is painted the hero. Odd.
Second, let’s face it, the stereotype (not that we condone such stereotypes) is that beauty pageant contestants aren’t always . . . how to put it . . . well-read. But, Miss California gives a simple, convincing answer filled with timeless Truth that speaks volumes about her personal conviction and, in this day and age, personal bravery. The easy solution for Miss California would have been to toe the politically correct line in front of a watching world, win her crown and scholarship, and move on. But, this would have compromised her conviction – not to mention upbringing. For that, she undoubtedly deserves a crown of a different sort.
Third, though Mr. Hilton has lashed out on his blog today and on You Tube calling Miss California “a dumb *****” and explaining that she lost because of the poorly worded answer that dodged the question, Miss California nailed it. Mr. Hilton’s question asked whether “every state” should follow California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in legalizing same-sex “marriage.” According to Hilton, he was looking for an answer that would have said it was a state’s rights issue. To him, her answer missed that. But, did it?
Her immediate answer was to say, “I think it’s great that Americans can choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex “marriage” or opposite.” This is what we hear: It’s the people’s right to decide the definition of marriage. In this, Miss California would likely agree with the 94% of West Virginians that believe voters – not judges or politicians – should decide the definition of marriage in West Virginia. We find it appalling that Mr. Hilton would deride such a democratic answer. We don’t find it surprising, however.
Finally, that she cites her family upbringing as the source for this conviction is likewise telling. While it may be “en vogue” to appear as all things to all people, this young woman reflects the care and concern of a family who was willing to teach what is right and what is wrong and how to know the difference. Moreover, she reflects the boldness the comes from a family that has discussed difficult topics, wrestled with a proper responses to tough issues, and come away with simple wisdom and steely conviction. It is in the core unit of the family that we learn our worldview so that whenever we arrive at the whatever world-stage is set in front of us, the natural, effortless thing to do is to simply default to what we learned around the kitchen table, on our grandfather’s knee, or during family devotions.
We applaud Miss Calfornia, Carrie Prejean, for her courageous answer. And, we note to those elected officials who want desperately to be able to have it both ways (and therefore appease no one) the courage of a beauty queen.
For how you might be involved in defending marriage in West Virginia, go to www.wv4marriage.com, a project of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.
Many people in America are appalled and outraged at the action of judges in recent years who have taken it upon themselves to make up the law and do as they please to suit their own political agenda. This current climate of judicial activism has left many people shrugging their shoulders and scratching their heads.
The latest legal debacle comes out of Iowa where the State Supreme Court made the decision on April 3 to allow same-sex marriage despite a majority opposition from residents. Without a vote and against the will of the majority of Iowans the state court usurped the people and made a decision that would affect the entire state.
One Governor hopeful, Bob Vander Plaats, is fighting back.
Vander Plaats has stirred up a controversy with his remarks at a rally, during which he said that if he had “the opportunity to serve as your next governor, and if no leadership has been taken to that point, on my first day of office I will issue an executive order that puts a stay on same-sex marriages until the people of Iowa vote…” And now his comments, reported in the Des Moines Register, have created mixed emotions among locals.
Elsewhere, New York City Governor David A. Paterson is planning to waste the tax-payers time and money by introducing legislation which would legalize same-sex marriage. Why is this a waste of time? Because such a bill does not even have strong support among the local lawmakers, much less the voting citizens. So instead of focusing on the things that really do matter to New Yorkers, Governor Paterson is adhering to his own agenda.
It seems to me that State Supreme Courts and judges and Governors have forgotten the most important aspect to their public office, the fact that they serve the people and not their own political agenda. Many of our public servants have ignored the fact that their primary function is to serve as the voice for the people they represent. That is what we claim to have after-all, a representative form of government. Who are they representing when they ignore the very people that elected them?
Instead, these career politicians have decided that it would be better to tell the people exactly what would be best for them and then push for that outcome regardless of whether the people like it or not.
Such an example of this insidious politicking came out of West Virginia just recently where, despite overwhelming support for a voter-approved marriage amendment to permanently define marriage as between one man and one woman, two state legislators took it upon themselves to ignore the voice of the people and dictate what would and would not be allowed to be voted on by the people. Consequently, the over 90% of West Virginians who believe in traditional marriage are being ignored by their own lawmakers and not being given the right to decide what is and is not law in their own state.
Our current political climate is nothing short of an out-of-control temper tantrum. Judges are subverting the Constitution in order to be “all-inclusive,” lawmakers are acting as if they are above the law while they decide what is and is not legal, and Washington is more interested in saving plants and animals than in preserving the morals and ideals that this country was founded upon.
I believe it is important now more than ever that we the people speak up and speak out about the principles that matter most to us. Consistently the polls show that the majority of Americans believe in traditional marriage, want abortion laws tightened and to see abortion made illegal, and want the freedom to worship and exercise their faith.
It is our responsibility to hold our lawmakers accountable for their decision. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Vander Plaats when he said, “Who is to balance the courts? Who says that courts get the final say?”