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Archive for December 2008

Presidential Inauguration Prayer

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With all of the attention that President-Elect Obama and Rick Warren are receiving over the presidential inauguration prayer, I felt that it would be a good idea to provide some sources from news to commentary.

For General Coverage:

Warren’s Inauguration Prayer Could Draw More Ire – Associated Press, Tuesday, December 30.

This article addresses the issues surrounding praying in “Jesus Name.”  From Evangelicals insistence upon their leaders praying in the name of Jesus, to the failure of Michael Newdow’s lawsuit against Presidential inauguration prayers and endorsement of religion, this article provides a good introduction into the topic. 

I’m a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray…Prayers are not to be sermons, speeches, position statements nor political posturing.  They are humble, personal appeals to God.

It is a good thing that he will be praying the only kind of prayer that he knows how to pray, but I wonder what he means by prayers being humble and personal appeals to God?  Of course prayers are not categorically sermons or speeches; however, prayers do derive from our foundational beliefs which include our religious and political positions. 

Will Rick Warren Invoke Jesus in Obama Inauguration Prayer – U.S. News and World Report, December 31.

This is for those of you interested in further coverage on Warren and him potentially praying in “Jesus.”

The High Cost of Being and Staying Cool – Rick Warren in a Whirlwind – Albert Mohler, December 19.

Dr. Mohler provides great commentary on from a conservative Christian perspective. 

Choice of Pastor Aims to Bridge Divide – Wall Street Journal, December 19.

This article not only provides coverage and commentary, but includes perspectives on why some Christians may disagree with Rick Warren being considered a leader of Christendom and why others would refuse to pray the inauguration prayer. 

Here is a statement from Rick Warren himself regarding his invitation to pray the inaugural prayer. 

From this release, I would like to bring your attention to his following statement,

The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history.

Yes, I agree with Pastor Warren that we are to pray for our leaders because we are commanded to do so.  What I’m concerned about and would like to have further clarification on is what he means by praying for God’s blessings on the Presidential office and that the Lord would provide wisdom. 

Is he asking that God would bless some of the proposed actions by President-Elect Obama, such as the signing of the Freedom of Choice Act and placing the full weight of his administration behind eradicating the Defense of Marriage Act and expanding hate crime and employment nondiscrimination to include a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity?  Or does he desire for God to bless President-Elect Obama’s desire to provide financial support to embryonic stem cell research? 

Also, when we pray for the wisdom of God, we are in a sense praying that God would lead us to walk in His ways, not our own.  Therefore, if our ways are in defiance to God’s way’s as specifically revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, then it is imperative that we repent from the evil of our ways and turn to Him for forgiveness through Christ.  Is this the type of wisdom that Pastor Warren is praying for?  You be the judge. 

For further analysis of why some evangelical Christians would not offer the Presidential Inauguration Prayer, read Dr. Albert Mohler’s thoughts here.

Further Food for Thought:

What to Expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homsexuality in 2009

President-Elect Obama and the Freedom of Choice Act 

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Written by Jesse Wisnewski

December 31, 2008 at 9:07 pm

A Special Message From the FPCWV

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Written by Jeremy Dys

December 31, 2008 at 4:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Civil Unrest Continues in California

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Opponent of Prop. 8 take out their anger on innocent citizens.

 

 Discrimination in any form, for any reason is an ugly monster that seemingly refuses to die. And somewhere along the way the idea of free speech and freedom of expression vanished in a fog of political correctness and inclusion.

 

Appalling examples of discrimination and downright illegal behavior are abounding out of California in the wake of the passing of Proposition 8. And, if it were simply people voicing their disagreement, their disappointment, even their concern with the ballot measures passing; I would have no issue at all. But it is the blatantly hateful, and certainly illegal acts of violence, intimidation, and threatening that are so disgusting.

 

A recent worldnetdaily.com article highlights some of the cases taking place:

 

A worker at a financial company was repeatedly asked how he voted on Prop. 8. When it was learned that he voted “yes,” he was written up and fired.

 Two radio show hosts were fired for questioning a local politician’s call to boycott businesses supporting Prop. 8.

 A local coffee shop manager was forced to resign because of her $100 donation to help support Prop. 8

 

Unfortunately these are just a few of the many cases that are coming to light in California; and all because people voiced their opinion, and made a decision based on their opinion. Will someone please tell me what good freedom of speech and freedom of any kind is if the result is violence? Perhaps people would prefer to eliminate elections altogether and just let the politicians make all the decisions for us. Hmm…sound a bit like socialism to me.

 

And I for one do not begrudge one person for choosing to boycott a business because it supported or did not support something. I do the same thing. I patron places of business that have the same values as I do, and I avoid places that stand for things I do not believe in. But I do it in peace. I do not hold angry protests outside the businesses, or yell and scream at people who choose to patronize those establishments.

 

A similar story in the Wall Street Journal tells of others who have been discriminated against because of their views.

 

Scott Eckern, director of the California Musical Theater, was forced to resign for his donation to the Prop. 8 campaign.

 Richard Raddon, director of the L.A. Film Festival was also forced to resign for his support of Prop. 8.

 Isn’t it ironic that the homosexual community is screaming about discrimination for not allowing them to marry, and yet they are doing the exact same thing to people who simply voiced their opinion! What if every person disagreeing with the homosexual lifestyle fired their gay employees?

 

Here’s the point. Doing any kind of harm or violence to a person for simply holding to an opposing viewpoint is ridiculous; not to mention illegal. People are free to disagree. What makes freedom and democracy so great is the ability to disagree and still live peaceably with our neighbors. To do otherwise, anything less, is to rob citizens of their fundamental right to their own opinion and reduces the citizenry to rhetoric spewing robots produced by governments. This will most certainly produce an unrest never experienced in this country, but well-known to socialist and communist countries.

 

Is that the path we want to choose?

 

Further Food for Thought:

Free Speech is Going to Cost You.

 

Does the Bible Support Same Sex Marriage, Part 3

 

Why Marriage is Inherently Heterosexual

 

 

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Written by Nathan Cherry

December 30, 2008 at 8:48 pm

What to Expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality in 2009

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While sitting before a live audience with Chris Matthews on their college tour of Hardball, President-Elect Obama was asked by a student where he stood on gay marriage.  In response to this question, he said, “I’m not in favor of gay marriage, but I’m in favor of a very strong civil union” (Click here for video). 

Not only was his position on marriage questioned here, it was also brought up by Rick Warren during this year’s Saddleback Forum.  When asked by Pastor Warren how he defines marriage, President-Elect Obama responded, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.  For me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union.” 

In following up to his response, Rick Warren further asks, “Would you support a Constitutional Amendment with that definition of marriage?”  In response. President-Elect Obama said no, because this matter has been settled by the states, and not the Federal Government.  He goes on to say that he “doesn’t promote same-sex marriage,” but believes in Civil Unions (Click here for video).

Does President-Elect Obama really “not support gay marriage?”  How solidified is his belief that the institution of marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman?  Does he really believe that each state should settle the matter themselves?  If so, what is he doing to ensure that this is the case? 

Let’s consider his position on this issue and what he has previous vowed to do as he steps into the Presidency on January 20th.  From here, we will consider what to expect in 2009 and beyond.     

President-Elect Obama on the Defense of Marriage Act

For those of you unfamiliar with DOMA, it is a piece of federal legislation that “defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex” (Legal Resources and Information).  What this means is that the Federal Government is inhibited from recognizing same-sex unions as marriages and individual states do not have to treat a same-sex union as a marriage, even if it is considered one in another state. 

DOMA was passed by Congress and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton on September 21st, 1996.

According to what President-Elect Obama told Rick Warren about states having the right in settling the issue of marriage themselves, it appears that DOMA would be a perfect form of Federal Legislation for him.  However, this is not the case at all.   

During his candidacy for the Illinois State Senate, President-Elect Obama had the following to say about DOMA:  “For the record, I opposed DOMA [ the Defense of Marriage Act ] in 1996.  It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor.  I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.  This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted …”  Not only does he oppose it, he went on to say that DOMA itself is “abhorrent” (Windy City Times). 

This is why no one should be surprised in 2009 to see President Obama encourage Congress to overturn DOMA.  When this occurs, same-sex marriage that is accepted in one state will have to be accepted in another state.  Why will states such as West Virginia be required to accept and endorse same-sex marriages from other states?

The reason why states would be required to accept and endorse same-sex marriages from others states is due to Article 4, Section 1, of our Federal Constitution, which is titled “Each State to Honor all others.”  This clause is known as the Full Faith and Credit act, and reads as follows: 

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof (U.S. Constitution).

When DOMA is overturned and rolled over-the-hill as a proverbial snowball, it will roll and pick-up speed and size until ever state is required to approve and endorse same-sex marriage. 

President-Elect Obama on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In regards to Federal sexual orientation laws, President-Elect Obama previously vowed, that “as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity” (Equality is a Moral Imperative).  In a general gist, President-Elect Obama desires for hate crimes and employment nondiscrimination to include a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity (see below for details).   

If a person merely glances over hate crime and employment nondiscrimination ordinances without delving into the depths of their implications, they may come away with the notion that they are not bad forms of legislation and will have no personal bearing on them whatsoever.  Is this really the case?  Is the expansion of legislation in these two areas innocent in nature? 

No, this is not what you think.  The expansion of hate crime and employment nondiscrimination ordinancesare not innocent in nature.  They do not create tolerance and equality.  If we simply take these matters skin deep we will overlook the cancer that lies beneath.  There are a number of issues raised with these matters and need to be considered before allowing anyone to put the weight of their administration behind them.  

Here are 5 for us to consider.    

One, the expansion of hate crime legislation to cover a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity will lead to making statements against homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage via any means legally liable.

Consider these two international examples:

Bill Whatcott was fined 17,500 Canadian dollars by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in a complaint by four homosexuals who charged he “injured” their “feelings” and “self respect” in pamphlets denouncing the “gay lifestyle” as immoral and dangerous (World Daily).

Ake Green, pastor of a Pentecostal congregation in Kalmar, Sweden, was sentenced to one month in prison on a charge of inciting hatred against homosexuals. Pastor Green was prosecuted for his sermon in a January hearing, where he was found guilty of “hate speech against homosexuals” for a sermon preached in 2003 (Criminalizing Christianity).

Proponents in favor of expanding hate crime legislation may argue that such instances will not occur here in America.  They will point out that Section 8 of H.R. 1592 contains the following verbiage: “Section 8 Provides that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit expressive conduct or activities protected by the First Amendment” (Library of Congress).  Although this is the case, there are two points to be made.

First, under Section 7 of the same bill, which is titled Prohibition of Certain Hate Crime Acts, contains the following clause:

OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR DISABILITY (Library of Congress, bold mine).

What we see is that a crime against a person doesn’t actually have to be committed, it simply has to be “perceived” by the victim.  With such language included within the same bill, how can anyone rightfully say that a person’s First Amendment Rights will be protected? 

Consider the following example made by Jeremy Dys, our President and General Counsel, from his comments upon a similar bill presented to the West Virginia State Congress, “the language ‘whether actual or perceived’ within its definition of ‘sexual orientation’ may lead to lawsuits based on no overt action whatsoever.  It is sufficient that one merely perceives discrimination.  Thus, the following scenario may be true: a religious employee, while on her lunch break is silently reading her Bible in the corporate break room.  A homosexual employee witnesses this and because he perceives the Bible as discriminatory towards homosexuality can sue the company under the state’s Human Rights Act” (White Paper on the Implications of S.B. 600).

Do you see how the expansion of hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity would impede First Amendment Rights and Religious Freedom?   

Second, the expansion of the Federal Hate Crime Law of 1969 to include sexual orientation and gender identity is simply extending special legal protection to a specific segment of the population that lessens the protection of many Americans (ACLJ).  People should be prosecuted based upon the actual crime committed, regardless if it is a crime against a heterosexual or homosexual.  If this expansion occurs a hierarchy of victims will be created with crimes committed against self-identified homosexuals taking precedence over every other person, regardless if they are a man, woman, or child. 

Two, employment nondiscrimination ordinances will inhibit non-profit organizations, small business owners, private practices, and corporations alike.  Consider the following examples on how this will create additional liabilities:

Non-Profit: The Boy Scouts of America were sued and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2000 to explain why they had “violated” New Jersey’s law against discrimination against homosexuals.  Though the Scouts won by a razor-thin 5 to 4 margin, the writing on the wall was clear: homosexual activists have pressured local and state governments into giving homosexuals special legal protection instead of securing the inalienable religious and associational rights of private organizations (Daniel Garcia and Rober Regier, Homosexuality is Not a Civil Right)

Small Business:  In New Mexico, a Christian-owned studio was fined more than $6,000 for refusing to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony (see The Family Research Council).

Private Practice:  In Georgia, a counselor was fired because she referred a woman in a same-sex relationship to another counselor for relationship advice. The second counselor provided service that the woman herself characterized as “exemplary.” Yet she still demanded—and obtained—the first counselor’s termination for her lack of moral approval (Austin Nimocks).

Large Corporations:  A former employee of Shell Oil Company was awarded $5.3 million in actual and punitive damages after the company terminated his employment for leaving in the copy room copies of sexually explicit materials detailing “house rules” for “safe sex” practices at a homosexual party he had hosted the previous weekend (Collins v. Shell Oil Company,1991 Cal.App. LEXIS 783 (1991).

Corporations will be inhibited from enforcing dress codes that require men to dress like men and women to dress like women.  Call me crazy?  Well, consider this.  In Northern Indiana a small business owner is in court defending the termination of one of its employees that failed to abide by the company dress code that did not permit men to dress as women (Creed v. Family Express).

Not only is this the case, but corporations and other organizations will find it difficult to determine men and women restrooms and locker rooms.  You see, a court in Pennsylvania said a company violated the Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Ordinance by to refusing to permit a male employee to go to work in a dress and shower with his female co-workers (See www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/aug/05081602.html).

I imagine there are many hormone-driven teenage guys that can’t wait for this bill to pass.   

Three, the expansion of such legislation will lead to the removal of the Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  Therefore, the military will be forced to accept and embrace homosexual behavior, regardless of the implications involved.  

Four, full adoption rights will be granted to same-sex couples and every organization will be required to provide them services, even if it is contrary to their religious beliefs. 

Consider that Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law.  After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill “condoning discrimination” — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006 (NPR). 

Five, many believe with that the blurring of the definition of marriage will serve as the first step to including other forms of relationships, such as polygamy and pedophilia (see Robert Gagnon). 

In the End…

The overturning of DOMA and the expansion of hate crimes and employment nondiscriminatory ordinances will lead to the normalization of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage throughout every sphere of society.

From an article entitled, “What Same-Sex Marriage has done to MA, we see how this will be the case:

In 2006 the Parkers and Wirthlins filed a federal Civil Rights lawsuit to force the schools to notify parents and allow them to opt-out their elementary-school children when homosexual-related subjects were taught.  The federal judges dismissed the case.  The judges ruled that because same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, the school actually had a duty to normalize homosexual relationships to children, and that schools have no obligation to notify parents or let them opt-out their children!  Acceptance of homosexuality had become a matter of good citizenship! (What Same Sex Marriage has done to MA, bold mine).

Once homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage is endorsed by the government, both Federal and State, Robert Gagnon argues that these practices will receive the “ultimate governmental and cultural seal of approval.”  He goes on to observe that,

All newspapers will have to post “gay weddings.” Any time the subject of marriage is taught in schools or institutions of higher learning “gay marriage” will have to be embraced as the law of the land and as equal in all respects to male-female marriages. Churches that allow couples to use their buildings to get married will have their tax-exempt status put at risk for not allowing “gay marriages.” Those who believe in a male-female prerequisite for marriage are immediately institutionalized civilly and cultural as bigots. American society is not likely ever, this side of heaven, to return to the view that homosexual unions are intrinsically immoral (Obama’s Coming War on Historic Christianity over Homosexual Practice and Abortion).

The reason that such events will occur is because the government will be required to enforce the moral approval of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage.  In the words of Austin Nimock, “moral approval goes well beyond fairness or tolerance.  It requires you to look upon the homosexual behavior of another and say to yourself and others, ‘That’s a good thing.’  Moral approval means that you plan to teach it to your kids as righteous and true, and not just as something that other people do (and then secretly pray that you never find your kids doing)” (Townhall). 

Although President-Elect Obama said that he “does not” support gay marriage and that individual states should settle their own position, it is clear through his previous affirmations and present vows that he has contradicted himself on both of these points. 

Further Food for Thought:

President-Elect Obama and the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)

From Tolerance to Intolerance:  How the Normalization of Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage WILL LEAD to the Suppression of Freedom

Settling the Issue:  Same-Sex Marriage IS NOT a Civil Right

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Written by Jesse Wisnewski

December 30, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Judge, General, and Excommunicated

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California AG Brown follows political trend of making the law up as he goes.

By Nathan A. Cherry

 

Martinsburg – Does the will of the people and the outcome of a statewide vote even matter? If State Attorney Generals can violate their oath of office and Supreme Courts can ignore a legal vote to play party politics then what is the point of having a vote in the first place?

 

Recent news out of California has stunned many as California Attorney General Jerry Brown filed his own brief for why Proposition 8 should be struck down. This comes after he pledged to uphold and defend the ballot measure that passed in November as part of his constitutional duty.

 

In reaction to this news the General Counsel defending Prop 8, Andrew Pugno said,

 

“It is disappointing that the Attorney General has refused to defend the vote of the people as the law instructs him to do. It will take some time to digest this new and unusual legal argument he has created.”

 

And while Andrew Pugno is disappointed, Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, finds the news “astounding.” He further commented in an article on the Pacific Justice website,

 

“Just when you hope Attorney General Brown might even half-heartedly fulfill his constitutional duty to defend Prop. 8, he judo-flips the voters. His brief actually calls those who voted for Prop. 8 the ‘tyranny of the majority.’ With the state’s chief law enforcement office becoming a law unto himself, I believe we have a constitutional crisis in our state.”

 

And what is the “unusual legal argument” that Andrew Pugno needs to digest? Attorney General Brown is saying that since the states constitution guarantees the “inalienable right of liberty,” that that right must take precedence over all other aspects of the state constitution, including Proposition 8. And, in essence, what AG Brown is asserting is that the civil rights of homosexuals are being violated and they are not receiving the liberty guaranteed them by the state constitution of California via the passage of Proposition 8.

 

But the telling part of AG Brown’s brief is when he stated that he “does not suggest that the Framers contemplated that liberty interests included a right to marry that extended to same-sex couples, the scope of liberty interests evolves over time as determined by the Supreme Court.” Click here for full article.

 

I’m afraid that AG Brown has bypassed the most legal and reasonable point, the fact that liberty interests do not include a right to marry for same-sex couples, and dovetailed an egregiously erroneous statement to it, “liberty interests evolve over time as determined by the Supreme Court.”

 

It is not the Supreme Court’s job to determine what is and it not a “liberty interest.” It is the Supreme Court’s job to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and to protect the will of the people. Mr. Brown has not only missed that point entirely, he is helping to usurp the will of the people altogether and give legislative powers to a court system dizzy with power.

 

But the fact remains that marriage of any kind is not a civil right, it is not a guaranteed liberty to any person. And the definition of marriage has been determined for centuries by the people, that definition is, one man and one woman.

 

Maybe if AG Brown got off the political bandwagon for a few minutes he could apply his law training to upholding the law instead of trying to rewrite it. It is the duty of the Attorney General and the Supreme Court to defend and protect the will of the people. That’s the law, that’s all anyone needs to know. 

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Written by Nathan Cherry

December 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Merry Christmas

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From all of us at Family Voice and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Written by Jeremy Dys

December 25, 2008 at 2:40 am

Posted in Christmas

Free Speech is Going to Cost You

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The intended understanding of “free speech” is nearly non-existent in America today.

 

Is free speech, as intended in the First Amendment a reality in America today? In my opinion it is perhaps the most misused, misunderstood freedom we have. And, incidentally, if we are not careful, it could very well disappear altogether.

 

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says that we do indeed have the “freedom of speech.” (Click here to view the Amendments to the Constitution.) Now, I am certainly no English scholar but, in my understanding that means I am allowed to say what I want to say without fear of retribution. That does not means that people have to like what I say, nor do they have to agree with what I say, but I am nonetheless free to say what I want to say.

 

So, for example, if I am preparing to graduate from school, whether high-school or college, and I want to thank Jesus for helping me to get through my studies and helping me to achieve academic success I am free to do so. Or, if I am at work and I share my opinion that homosexuality and the civil rights struggles of African Americans are in no way similar, I should once again be free to do so.

 

And if I were to share my beliefs or my opinions on these or any number of other topics and someone were to threaten me, intimidate me, or in any way try to coerce me to change my view or recant what I said, I should reasonably expect to be outraged and be promptly defended by some great champion of civil rights like the ACLU…right?

 

Try telling that to Erica Corder, Ryan Dozier, or Crystal Dixon.

 

Erica Corder is the Colorado Springs Valedictorian who was told to issue a letter of apology for mentioning Jesus Christ in her graduation speech before she would receive her diploma. After being intimidated by school administrators to write the letter of apology, which included the words “I realize that, had I asked ahead of time, I would not have been allowed to say what I did…” Corder was “allowed” to graduate. The case has been taken up by the Liberty Counsel and is headed for appeals court.

 

Ryan Dozier is the Yuba College student who was disciplined for speaking to fellow students on campus about his faith in Jesus Christ. He was told that “free speech” was allowed only on Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 12 and 1PM, and that if another incident occurred he could be expelled. The Alliance Defense Fund has taken up the case and a state court has ordered the college to suspend enforcement of the restrictions that are currently under challenge.

 

Crystal Dixon was an administrator at the University of Toledo before being fired for submitting an editorial to the local newspaper as a private citizen. Her article disagreed with a previous article that the struggles of homosexuals and the civil rights struggles faced by African Americans are at all similar. The university first suspended her, and then fired her for her article. Her case has been picked up by the Thomas More Law Center.

 

In each of these cases Christians are being harassed and persecuted for their personal beliefs. If you don’t think so then consider the following. Would Erica Corder have been forced to write a letter of apology if she would have mentioned Allah in her graduation speech? Would Ryan Dozier have been punished and threatened with expulsion for telling his fellow students about his faith in Islam? Would Crystal Dixon have been fired for writing an article sharing her support for the gay community? The answer is an obvious and deafening no!

 

So, essentially, what has happened is that each of these people have been punished for their own personal beliefs, which, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, are shared by a majority of Americans. And the message that has gone out with each of these cases is that we are certainly free to speak our minds…as long as what we say is “politically correct” and agrees with the mainstream thought on each topic. Forget personal opinion and diversity of thought, let’s just all say the same thing whether we agree or not.

 

But the ACLU did come to the rescue of one person whose first amendment rights were violated. Big Bear High School student Mariah Jimenez was ordered to change her t-shirt by her teacher and then her principle, or be forced to stay in the office all day. What did her shirt say that prompted the action? Her shirt read “Prop. 8 Equals Hate.” Mariah was expressing her opinions on a subject and was told she could not.

 

Now, for the record, I do not agree with Ms. Jimenez. But I will stand firmly by her side and defend her right to express herself. I will stand with the ACLU on the issue, though I disagree with much of what they do and what they stand for. Because, in the end, the fact is that Ms. Jimenez’s right of free speech was indeed infringed upon.

 

You see the idea behind free speech is that we are free to disagree. Why did the framers of our Constitution put that Amendment in there? Simply because they were tired of being told by the King of England what they had to believe and what they could and could not say. They knew that in order for a society to really thrive it must have a diversity of ideals. There must be the free exchange of ideas and conversation. Without this element all that exists is a society of robots who repeat everything they are told. What’s so great about that?

 

Why is it that the right to truly free speech seems available only to the rich and powerful? Anyone in Hollywood, in professional sports, or in a position of fame seems allowed to say anything they want with zero risk. And on top of that we are expected to fawn and slobber over every word simply because this person can act, or can dunk a basketball. Well whoop-de-do. Just because a guy can strap on a helmet and catch a football does not qualify him as an authority on social issues. And just because a woman can bare her soul and perhaps other parts of herself in front of a camera does not mean she is an expert at public policy.

 

But, if it is ok for these people to speak out and share their views then it should be ok for everyone. And the grand thing about free speech and democracy is that we do not have to agree. We simply have to respect the ideas and views of others in a civil way. I detest threatening and vandalizing churches for supporting Proposition 8 just as much as I detest “gay bashers.” I will stand and denounce the idea of murdering unborn children just as loudly as I will denounce murdering doctors for performing such procedures. Two wrongs never make a right, as my parents use to tell me.

 

I am disappointed that the ACLU would pick up the Jimenez case for being an egregious violation of free speech and choose to overlook the Corder, Dozier, and Dixon cases simply because they are religious in nature. Religious speech, much to the dismay of the politically correct crowd, is just as protected as any other speech in this country.

 

If you cherish the right to speak your mind every story in this article should outrage you.

 

Further Food for Thought:

Could Democracy Be Getting a Black Eye?

 

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