Archive for February 2009
The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. With a renewed push for a “nondiscrimination ordinance (NO),” I fear our legislators may be slouching toward insanity.
For years, a legislator – in the name of being “progressive” – has introduced a bill that would make one’s “sexual orientation” a human right. Every year, it has failed. And yet, they are trying the same thing again (S.B. 238, H.B. 2454), expecting a different result.
NO’s attempt to do an end-run around the social and moral convictions of West Virginians. They are the Trojan Horse of tolerance, undermining the meaning of the family by avoiding the marketplace of ideas.
But, let us assume that this year’s attempt has a different result. Here is what the families, charities, and businesses of WV can expect:
First, you can lose your job for what you say at home. In British Columbia, such a law cost a member of the Knights of Columbus his job at Costco because he disallowed a same-sex couple to use the Catholic Charity’s hall to have a civil commitment ceremony.
In Maryland, it was responsible for the termination of a Roman Catholic, transportation employee who – outside of the workplace and on his own time – expressed his religious belief that homosexual behavior was a “deviancy.” Then Governor Ehrlich would not tolerate such belief. He explained that the exclusion of the employee and his opportunity to work was in the name of a, “commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance, and opportunity.”
Second, West Virginia parachurch charities will be labeled as “intolerant” for the sin of providing a church-related public service. That is precisely what happened when Massachusetts used such a law to force Boston Catholic Charities to either cease their efforts in placing needy children in loving, adoptive homes or change Catholic theology. Left with little choice, they chose the former.
It happened at Seton Medical Center when that Catholic hospital was sued for refusing to perform a sex change on a self-identified transsexual, in contradiction of California law.
Then you have the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. When that Methodist camp refused to allow a civil union ceremony to occur on the ministry-owned property, a NO was used in an attempt to force compliance over conviction.
Third, any “exemption” for religious belief means nothing. Usually, legislators attempt to appease the concerns of the religious community by including an exemption for religious activity. No such exemption has protected Catholic charities, Methodist ministries, or Baptist laborers.
Fourth, small businesses will comply or be the targets of politically charged lawsuits. Just ask Elaine Huguenin who, just barely out of college and trying to help support her young family, declined the business of a same-sex couple only to find her small business subject to a complaint filed before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, which then ordered her to pay nearly $7,000 in attorneys fees to the couple.
Fifth, unaccountable courts will use it to redefine marriage. Is it really that big a leap to go from defining one’s self-identified sexual orientation as a human right to demanding that the commonsense definition of marriage be re-written?
Finally, watch for absurd results. The new law would allow men pretending to be women at health clubs access to the women’s locker room. It could not prevent the gender-confused man from using the women’s restroom at state rest areas or local fast food restaurants. And, it may not even tolerate an employee reading his Bible to himself in the company break room. That could be perceived as discrimination.
Political special interests are trying to drive faith underground, seeking to cordon off churches and church ministries from the rest of society with a re-tooled Berlin wall. In attempting to end discrimination, they discriminate and cost businesses time and money, lessen the societal benefit of religious charities, and frighten families.
Help the legislators keep their sanity. Tell them that NO’s mean “no.”
Food for further thought:
Kids end up making other kids cry. This is just a reality of life. They hit other kids. They tease and poke fun at other kids. They even push other kids down on the playground. It all seems to be part of growing up and being a kid.
And generally these incidents are handled at the school, or perhaps with a quick parent teacher conference, to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again. And that’s as far as the matter goes.
Not this time.
Jasmine McCain, a five year old at a British school said something that made her classmate cry. As a result a special committee was formed to investigate the matter; all while her mother, Jennie, a part-time receptionist at the school has been asked not to come to work until after the investigation is over.
And what could a five year old have possibly said that resulted in such actions? As reported in the religionclause and churchtimes websites, little Jasmine told her friend she would go to hell without believing in God.
Granted, the prospect of going to hell is terrifying, and would cause anyone to cry in fear of the possibility. But is a governor’s committee investigation of the “incident” really necessary? Are those who speak out regarding their religious beliefs really in the same category as a suspected terrorist or pedophile?
It is as this point that freedom of religion and free speech meet head on in a collision of irreconcilable values. For, if a person is a true follower of any particular faith, especially one that believes in a literal heaven and literal hell, the only option is to share that faith with friends and loved ones in an effort to secure their eternal future. To do anything less is to passively deny the very faith one claims to adhere to.
In this collision of religion and free speech must exist a measure of tolerance. I, for example, don’t agree with the doctrine of the Jehovah’s witnesses. But I believe they should be allowed to share their faith with others. I don’t agree with Hindu’s, Muslims, or Buddhists, but they too should be protected and allowed to share peaceably with others.
And quite honestly it isn’t that difficult a case to figure out. I don’t even need a committee or investigation to conclude the matter. People should be allowed to share their faith, values, beliefs, or anything else they choose with another person. That other person then has the freedom to agree, disagree, or simply ignore what was just said. It’s kind of like having an open, honest conversation in which the free exchange of ideas is accomplished.
What does it say about us as people when we are investigating five-year old Christians for sharing their beliefs but we allow Muslims to openly practice their faith without a word? What kind of message are we sending? Are we only going to protect some religious beliefs while persecuting others?
If religious freedom is going to be granted for some, then it must be granted for all. And if we are going to ask people to be tolerant of some religious beliefs then we must be tolerant of all beliefs.
Further Food for Thought:
Earlier this week I brought you the story of Jonathan Lopez and the incident that occurred at Los Angeles City College during which he was verbally accosted, threatened with expulsion, and not allowed to finish his class speech.
Below you will find the story of a Toronto school student named Lia, who was threatened with disqualification from a speech contest because she chose to speak out against abortion. The story, reported by Chelsea Chilling for Worldnetdaily.com, evokes the same kind of angry response for the fact that her right to speak was nearly stifled because it was unpopular.
12-year-old steals day with pro-life speech: Teachers threaten disqualification, but girl chooses to speak against abortionDespite facing threats of disqualification, a 12-year-old girl took first place in a speech contest when she eloquently argued for the rights of unborn children – after an offended judge quit.
“What if I told you that right now, someone was choosing if you were going to live or die?” the seventh-grader begins in a of her speech on YouTube. “What if I told you that this choice wasn’t based on what you could or couldn’t do, what you’d done in the past or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you, you could do nothing about it?”
The girl, a student at a Toronto school identified only as “Lia,” continued:
“Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation. Someone is choosing without even knowing them whether they are going to live or die.
“That someone is their mother. And that choice is abortion.”
But what made the 12-year-old choose to speak about abortion?
“It was really a family thing,” her mother explained on the blog Moral Outcry. “I saw Lou [Engle] speak at a conference several years ago. I came back to my family with the Life Bands, and we all wore them, made our covenant, and prayed the prayer for abortion to end. … We were invited to participate in a ‘Life Tape Siege.’ Once my kids heard of this invitation, they all agreed: ‘We have to do that!’ Since then, Lia’s passion for seeing abortion end has continued.”
Despite Lia’s enthusiasm for her topic, her teacher “strongly encouraged” her to select a different one for her class presentation or she would be considered ineligible for an upcoming speech contest.
“[S]everal teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was ‘too big,’ ‘too mature’ and ‘too controversial,'” her mother wrote. “She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition.”
Lia’s mother continued, “Initially, I tried helping her find other topics to speak on, but, in the end, she was adamant. She just felt she wanted to continue with the topic of abortion. So she forfeited her chance to compete in order to speak on something she was passionate about.”
Lia’s teacher was so impressed by the speech that she allowed her student to advance as the winner. Lia presented her speech to judges in front of her entire school on Feb. 10.
The school principal and teachers called Lia’s presentation the “obvious winner” – but the judges suddenly disqualified her the following day “because of the topic and her position on abortion,” her mother said.
Lia’s father later revealed that the judges had a “big disagreement.” One was offended by the speech and voluntarily stepped down while the others reversed their earlier decision – declaring her the winner.
Now Lia plans to take her message of life to a regional speech competition, and more than 130,000 visitors have viewed her presentation online.
“We would never say that. Yet abortions are performed on 5-month-old fetuses all the time. Or do we only call them humans if they’re wanted?”
She continues, “No, fetuses are definitely humans – knit together in their mother’s womb by their wonderful Creator who knows them all by name.”
Further Food for Thought:
Professor Censors, Insults Student During Speech
Hundreds of churches from across West Virginia to address the importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Sunday, March 1, thousands of West Virginians will gather in churches across the state to participate in “Stand4Marriage Sunday.” Hundreds of churches throughout West Virginia will address the importance of marriage and reaffirm their commitment to defending and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“Same-sex ‘marriage’ is a closer reality in West Virginia than many people think,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. “Stand4Marriage Sunday is an opportunity for pastors to articulate the definition of marriage and make congregants aware of the threat the radical homosexual agenda poses to the definition of marriage and religious liberty.”
Participants in “Stand4Marriage Sunday” have been asked to spend time during their morning service to pray for strong marriages in their community, pray for their leaders, and to make the community aware of the importance of defending marriage as the union of one man and one woman by asking the West Virginia Legislature to allow a vote on an amendment to the state constitution that will protect marriage.
“The greatest obstacle to defending marriage against redefinition in West Virginia may just be that there is too much support for marriage in this state,” said Dys. “Believing, as many do, that marriage is safe from redefinition just because this is West Virginia creates the complacency that opponents of marriage depend upon in order to accomplish their agenda.”
Dys said that a marriage amendment is needed because state laws defending marriage as one man and one woman increasingly have come under attack by state and federal courts. He cited the California Supreme Court, which overturned the state’s Defense of Marriage Act that was passed by 61% of the voters in 2000, and the fabrication of same-sex “marriage” by Connecticut and Massachusetts courts. Dys also pointed to the pending Supreme Court decision in Iowa on marriage and proposed legislation to create same-sex “marriage” in New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and other states as need for a marriage amendment in West Virginia.
“The government should promote and encourage strong families,” said Dys. “The union of a man and a woman has been the fundamental social unit in every society, and strong families are the foundation of strong communities.”
More information about “Stand4Marriage Sunday” is available at www.wv4marriage.com or by calling 304-982-2803.
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.
From the American Family Association (AFA):
Two TV stations, WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, MI and WSYX-TV in Columbus, OH, have banned a television special showing how the media is silencing Christians. The stations bowed down to the demands of a handful of homosexual activists and banned the showing of our TV special “Speechless…Silencing the Christians.” The one-hour TV special was scheduled to be shown on the stations, but the stations yanked the program after agreeing to run it. AFA was paying for the time.
You can order a DVD of the one-hour TV special “Speechless…Silencing the Christians” and show it in your church. See for yourself and let your church members see the AFA special that the stations banned!
Or, order all 14 of the original 22-minute episodes of “Speechless…Silencing the Christians” with a discussion guide, and show them in your church.
Oddly enough, the TV special shows how the media censors Christians, which is exactly what these two stations did!
They said the program was “controversial.” The stations do not consider showing two lesbians or two homosexuals kissing or getting into bed with each other controversial. The stations do not consider all the profanity they air controversial. They regularly show network programs advocating the homosexual agenda, but those programs are not considered controversial. However, a special showing of Christians being silenced is controversial!
The manager of the Columbus station told AFA the station would not air the program because telling the truth about homosexuality did not represent “positive Christianity.” Are we moving to a time in the near future when local pastors whose services are broadcast will be banned because their sermons call the practice of homosexuality a sin?
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has posted an article which first appeared on World Net Daily’s website detailing the attempt to censor free speech on college campuses across America.
The article, which appears in its entirety below, shows how the new President and his administration talk a good game about how “faith can promote a greater good for all of us,” but there does not seem to be much substance to their empty rhetoric.
Stimulus to Ban Religious Worship: ‘This isn’t like a convenient oversight, this is intentional’
February 6, 2009
President Obama’s proposed economic stimulus plan makes a deliberate – and unconstitutional – attempt to censor religious speech and worship on school campuses across the nation, according to a lawyer who argued related cases before the U.S. Supreme Court 20 years ago and won them all.
“This isn’t like a convenient oversight. This is intentional. This legislation pokes its finger in the eyes of people who hold religious beliefs,” Jay Sekulow, chief of the American Center for Law and Justice, told WND today.
His was the organization that decades ago argued on behalf of speech freedom on school campuses, winning repeatedly at the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, the 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central School District decision was added, clarifying that restricting religious speech within the context of public shared-use facilities is unconstitutional.
The problem in the proposed stimulus bill comes from a provision that states: “PROHIBITED USES OF FUNDS. – No funds awarded under this section may be used for – (C) modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities – (i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or (ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission.”
The wording that specifically targets religious speech already has been approved by the majority Democrats in the U.S. House – all GOP members opposed it. In the Senate, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., proposed an amendment to eliminate it, but again majority Democrats decided to keep the provision targeting religious instruction and activities.
Critics argued schools would accept any money offered, then impose a ban on religious events.
DeMint warned organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ, Catholic Student Ministries, Hillel and other religious groups would face new bans on access to public facilities that would not apply to other organizations.
“This is a direct attack on students of faith, and I’m outraged Democrats are using an economic stimulus bill to promote discrimination,” DeMint said. “Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for siding with the ACLU over millions of students of faith.”
DeMint’s comments have been posted online and are available here.
“These students simply want equal access to public facilities, which is their constitutional right. This hostility toward religion must end. Those who voted to for this discrimination are standing in the schoolhouse door to deny people of faith from entering any campus building renovated by this bill,” said DeMint.
The senator said the stimulus bill now becomes an “ACLU stimulus” that has the goal of triggering lawsuits “designed to intimidate religious organizations across the nation.”
“This language is so vague, it’s not clear if students can even pray in a dorm room renovated with this funding since that is a form of ‘religious worship.’ If this provision remains in the bill, it will have a chilling effect on students of faith in America,” he said.
DeMint cited Obama’s statement at the National Prayer Breakfast this week that faith “can promote a greater good for all of us.”
“This provision is an assault against both. It’s un-American and it’s unconstitutional. Intolerant and it’s intolerable,” DeMint said.
The ban on religious organizations is linked to the $3.5 billion intended for “renovation of public or private college and university facilities.”
The ACLJ, which focuses on constitutional law, said the provision “has nothing to do with economic stimulus and everything to do with religious discrimination.”
“The thing is I litigated these cases on these exact issues 20 years ago,” Sekulow told WND. “Not only did we win, two of the decisions were unanimous and the other was 8-1.
“We’re seeing a rollback to the 1970s regarding church-state relations,” he said. “That’s what is troubling. It is a complete rollback that now institutionalizes discrimination through targeting religion.”
Sekulow said he already is drafting a complaint that will challenge the constitutionality of the provision, to be used if it isn’t removed.
He said under current court precedents, it will be a open-and-shut victory.
However, he also warned that the problem is the damage that can be done within the probable four years it would take to get the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court and what that court would look like at that point.
Under Obama, he said, “there will be an ideology shift.” New appointments to the bench by Obama, he said, would be “much more left of where Justices (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg and (Stephen) Breyer are.”