Showing posts with label Religion & the Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion & the Law. Show all posts

April 5, 2019

Religious Rights Most Bow to LGBT Laws and Human/Civil Rights

                    U.S. Constitution

Michael F. Haverluck (

U.S. ConstitutionAs Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.-Dist. 10) championed the so-called “Equality Act” in a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, he stressed that the bill would make sure religious beliefs cannot be used to “discriminate” against the LGBT community.

As the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Nadler impressed that under the Equality Act, everyone must fall subject to the LGBT agenda – with churches and religious employers, organizations and colleges being afforded no exemptions whatsoever.

“Religion is no excuse for discrimination when it comes to sexual orientation or gender identity,” Nadler asserted Tuesday in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, according to Liberty Counsel.

LGBT trumps all?

Giving testimony against the pro-LGBT bill – also known as HR 5 – was Julia Beck, who is a self-described radical lesbian feminist and the former law and policy co-chair for Baltimore’s LGBTQ Commission. She alerted the Christian community and other faith-based groups about what to expect when or if the proposed legislation passes and becomes enforced.

“This would eliminate women and girls as a coherent legal category worthy of civil rights protections,” Beck revealed, according to Liberty Counsel. “There is no way to tell if someone is lying about being transgender.”

She said that if gender identity becomes recognized under federal law, Americans can expect to see the following scenarios regularly play out:

Male rapists will go to female prisons and will likely assault female inmates – as has already happened in the UK.

Female survivors of rape will be unable to contest male presence in women’s shelters.

Men will dominate women's sports and girls who would have taken first place will be denied scholastic opportunity.

Women who use male pronouns to talk about men may be arrested, fined and banned from social media platforms.

Girls will stay home from schools when they have their periods to avoid harassment by boys in mixed-sex toilets.

Girls and women will no longer have a right to ask for female medical staff or intimate care providers – including elderly or disabled women who are at serious risk of sexual abuse.

Female security officers will no longer have the right to refuse to perform pat-down or intimate searches of males who say they’re female.

Women undergoing security checks will no longer have the right to refuse having those searches performed by men claiming a feminine identity.

And these shocking instances are by no means farfetched …

“It’s already happening,” Beck insisted. “And it's only going to get worse.”

Nip it at the bud …

Legal experts argue that the proposed legislation takes aim at wiping out Americans’ freedom of religion guaranteed by the United States Constitution – giving the LGBT community a free pass to infiltrate virtually every aspect their lives while violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.

“Members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced this bill that threatens the free exercise of religion and free speech,” Liberty Counsel announced in its news release. “HR 5 amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by striking the word ‘sex,’ and inserting ‘sex, sexual orientation, gender identity’ as protected classes throughout the federal code. This amendment applies to employment, housing, rental, public accommodation and more.”

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver indicated that the bill is nothing less than a Trojan Horse used by the LGBT community to force acceptance and its agenda on society.

“Chairman Nadler and Julia Beck gave surprising testimonies at today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing confirming that the so-called ‘Equality Act’ has nothing to do with equality," Staver argued in the release. “This bill pushes the LGBT agenda on all people and targets Christianity in every area of life – including the church.”

He wared about the repercussions of passing such a dangerous piece of pro-LGBT legislation.

“There also will be an increase of sexual assaults when males ‘identifying as females’ are allowed to use girls and women's bathrooms and locker rooms,” the legal expert added. “And that is just the beginning of unconstitutional chaos in America – and even radicals can see that.”

Dr. James Dobson – who founded Focus on the Family and the James Dobson Family Institute decades later – sent an earlier warning that the Equality Act could spell disaster for Americans – if passed in Congress.

“Make no mistake – the so-called Equality Act is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to finish off religious liberty in America once and for all, which ought to be plainly obvious – based upon a cursory reading of the First Amendment,” Dobson contended, according to WND. “Simply put, by creating a protected class of citizens out of the LGBT community, this bill places Christians who believe in traditional marriage at grave legal and civil jeopardy.”

He saw no reservation by Democratic leaders to steamroll over Christians’ rights to live out their faith in order to forward their ultra-left pro-LGBT agenda.

“I wish I could say I was shocked to see the speed with which Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have brought to committee the sweet-sounding but entirely treacherous Equality Act,” Dobson continued. “This decision demonstrates a frightening willingness by those on the left to advance a radical social agenda at a time when our nation already faces so many other divisive challenges.”

According to another conservative nonprofit group, the Pelosi-backed bill would trample the religious rights of a slew of Americans.

“The Heritage Foundation said employers, workers, medical professionals, parents, children, women and nonprofit organizations all would be harmed by the plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.),” WND’s Bob Unruh noted.

The Christian leader pointed out the left’s deception that LGBT rights are equal to the civil rights African Americans fought for decades ago during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960 – even comparing it to slavery.

“While no evangelical Christian would ever support hate or violence of any kind against an LGBT individual – or any other person for that matter – to modify the 1964 Civil Rights Act with this wrong-headed bill would not only be legally fraught – it would also put moral equivalence to the unprecedented, centuries-long struggle of countless millions of African Americans to gain freedom from slavery and the persistent, systematic oppression that followed,” Dobson stressed.

Taking another shot at Christian freedom

Besides trying to pass the Equality Act, Nadler is attacking 1993’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the religious freedoms by which Hobby Lobby and other Christian businesses and organizations able to enjoy protections as a result of its passage.

“Bosses should not be able to make health care decisions about the reproductive choices of their employees,” Nadler said in a press release statement he released on the oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Hobby Lobby and RFRA. “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was intended to be used as a shield – not a sword. No matter how sincerely held a religious belief might be, for-profit employers – like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood – cannot wield their beliefs as a means of denying employees access to critical preventive health care services [including abortion].”

Attempting to forward the LGBT agenda, he tried to argue that Christians are trying to get more religious freedoms than what have been guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

“When we passed RFRA, we sought to restore – not expand – protection for religion,” Nadler continued.” We kept in place the core principle that religion does not excuse for-profit businesses from complying with our laws. Religious belief did not excuse restaurants or hotels from following our civil rights laws in the 1960s or an Amish employer from paying into the Social Security system in the 1980s. It should not be expanded now to allow for-profit companies to override the health care choices of female employees.”

The ultra-left Democrat then implied that Christians living according to biblical teachings on human sexuality is essentially them pushing religious beliefs on others.

“To hold otherwise allows the owners of for-profit companies to impose their beliefs on others – their employees and patrons – who may not share their beliefs and who will be harmed as result. I am hopeful that the Court will confirm that these sort of discriminatory actions by for-profit companies are neither protected by RFRA nor the First Amendment.”

October 8, 2018

Many in The Gay Community Are Concerned About Brazil's Front Runner, He is Close to The Religious Right Which Want Gay Marriage Repealed

Zoe Sullivan 
NBC News

Far-right Brazilian Congressman Jair Bolsonaro has implied women who are raped “deserve it,” has said he’d be “incapable of loving a homosexual son” and has praised Brazil’s 21-year dictatorship. Now, the so-called Trump of the Tropics is leading the presidential polls in the world’s fifth-largest country.
On Sunday, Brazilians will vote for the president, all 513 members of the lower house of Congress, and two-thirds of the 81-member Senate. Support for Bolsonaro has surged in the past several days, giving the former military officer a comfortable lead over the other candidates in the race — though likely not enough to prevent a runoff election on Oct. 28 between the top two presidential contenders.
“Obviously, we’re afraid,” Toni Reis, president of Brazil’s National LGBT+ Alliance, said of Bolsonaro becoming Brazil’s next president.


Support for Bolsonaro, 63, reflects the deep frustrations Brazilians have with a stagnant economy, rampant corruption and an increase in violence. Unemployment stands at more than 12 percent, with roughly 13 million Brazilians out of work. Homicides have hit record levels, with 63,880 people killed last year alone — a 3.7 percent increase from 2016.

Image: Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), waves to supporters during a campaign rally in Taguatinga, Brazil, on Sept. 5, 2018.Andre Coelho / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Political division has deepened and hardened in Brazil since former President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016, which many on the left viewed as an expedient way for a Congress rife with corruption to remove the Workers’ Party (PT) after 13 years in power.
Brazil’s business class has even warmed to Bolsonaro, a right-wing firebrand who has spent the past 27 years in Congress, with the nation’s currency and equity markets rising along with his poll numbers. Many economists blame the Workers’ Party policies of public subsidies for the country’s economic troubles.
Bolsonaro has also made common cause with evangelical Christians, who support eliminating legal abortion and gay rights. Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world, but evangelicals now account for nearly one-third of its population, up from 3 percent in 1970. The evangelical caucus controls a fifth of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, and the upcoming elections are likely to sweep an even larger number of evangelicals into all levels of public office.


Bolsonaro’s fiery rhetoric places the blame for Brazil’s ills on gays, ethnic minorities and leftists. He has been particularly brazen, however, in his harsh views toward LGBTQ people over the years.
Back in 2002, he threatened gay people with violence after then-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was seen in a photo holding a rainbow flag at an event in support of same-sex marriage.
“I won’t fight against it nor discriminate, but if I see two men kissing each other on the street, I’ll beat them up,” he said.
Nearly a decade later in June 2011, he doubled down on his homophobic views, telling Playboy magazine he “would be incapable of loving a homosexual son,” adding, “I would prefer my son to die in an accident” than bring a man home.
Then in 2016, during an interview with actress Ellen Page for Vice’s “Gaycation” series, Bolsonaro claimed homosexuality is a behavioral issue.
“When I was young, speaking in percentages, there were few [LGBTQ people],” he told Page. “With the passage of time, with libertinism, the increase in drugs, women working, too, there was a significant increase in homosexuality.” Roberto Efrem, a law professor at Brazil’s Federal University of Paraiba, said if Bolsonaro is elected, there would be “a lot of consequences for LGBT people” — especially if his election is combined with an increase in social conservatives in Congress.
He noted that the LGBTQ community has obtained rights in Brazil — where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013 — primarily through the judicial system, not through legislation. A greater number of conservative Christians in office, he added, “would enable a new legislative configuration to propose laws against existing rights.”
Additionally, Bolsonaro has proposed adding 10 judges to the current 11 on the Supreme Court, which would give him substantial influence over the institution.

Image: FILE PHOTO: A combination of file photos shows presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad
Jair Bolsonaro, left, leads a crowded field of 13 candidates heading into the first round of presidential elections
 on Oct. 7, with nearly 40 percent of likely voters. If there is a second round on Oct. 28, Bolsonaro's opponent is likely to be Fernando Haddad, right, who is a member of the leftist Workers Party.Paulo Whitaker/Nacho Doce/File Photo / Reuters

Rivania Rodrigues, a Brazilian advocate who helped convince her state’s police to track anti-LGBTQ homicides, said if Bolsonaro and the evangelical caucus come to power, all the gains the LGBTQ community has secured over the past two decades will be threatened. Aside from gay marriage, Rodrigues said these gains include the creation of LGBTQ crisis centers, public health care for trans people and the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the military and in public sector jobs.
“I think Bolsonaro is worse than a [religious] fundamentalist,” Rodrigues said.
Reis of Brazil’s National LGBT+ Alliance said some in Brazil’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have openly discussed seeking political asylum abroad in the event Bolsonaro is victorious. However, Reis noted, this is not an option for everyone.
“We need to alert people … to this fascism that is installing itself in our country and that won’t allow us to live,” Rodrigues pleaded. “We poor people, we don’t have the money to leave Brazil and live in another country.”
“We’re going to burn at the stake like people did at another time in history,” Rodrigues warned.
If Bolsonaro, who now leads the polls with 39 percent of the vote, wins in either the first round of elections on Oct. 7 or in a runoff on Oct. 28, he would officially take office on Jan. 1.

July 21, 2018

House Votes To Make It Easier For Churches to Ask Parishioners, Others How To Vote

"People that follow other Scriptures than the Constitution will follow the others, not the Constitution. Sometimes it seems Congress does not know the Constitution or read it and forgot it" 🦊Adam

The House voted Thursday to make it harder for the government to punish churches that get involved in politics.

In a 217-199 vote, lawmakers approved legislation barring the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of churches that back political candidates, unless it is specifically approved by the commissioner of the agency. 

The provision, buried in a budget measure setting IRS funding for the upcoming year, amounts to a backdoor way around the so-called Johnson amendment, a half-century-old prohibition on nonprofits getting involved in political campaign activities.

Nonprofits denounced the measure and noted it came only days after the Treasury Department announced it was dropping requirements that most charitable organizations disclose their big donors to the IRS.

"It's now impossible for Congress and the White House to deny their objective: to politicize the trusted charitable nonprofit community by authorizing unlimited, unfettered and untraceable political money to flow through the nonprofit sector to benefit partisan special interests," said Tim Delaney, head of the National Council of Nonprofits.

"Charitable nonprofits are not in the business of partisan politics and are not here to be used to hide or launder political money," Delaney said. 

The move came as Senate Democrats forced a temporary postponement of a Finance Committee confirmation vote on President Donald Trump's pick to run the IRS, in protest of the Treasury decision to ease the donor-disclosure requirements. Democrats say that will abet the rise of so-called dark money political campaign donations, including from foreign contributors.

Later in the day, the panel approved Charles Rettig’s nomination to head the IRS on a party-line 14-13 vote.

Trump has promised to “totally destroy” the Johnson amendment, named after then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who pushed it through Congress in 1954. Republicans tried unsuccessfully last year to repeal the provision as part of their tax-code rewrite.

Targeting the prohibition through the budgetary process is sure to be controversial in the Senate. Republicans there did not include the proviso in their draft of the IRS' budget, and Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the tax committee, pledged Thursday to “use every tool at my disposal to prevent that from happening.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady argued that the ban “ought to be fully and permanently repealed.”

"We want our faith leaders to be able to exercise their free speech" without "having to look over their shoulder about what Washington might be intimidating them about," he told reporters.

Among those who’ve lobbied lawmakers on the issue are the Christian Coalition of America, Family Research Council, and National Religious Broadcasters, disclosure forms show.

Brady also defended the relaxed disclosure requirements.

“That information was never needed by the IRS to do their job — unfortunately, it had opened up avenues for abuse where the IRS could target Americans based on their political beliefs,” he said.

Under the IRS’ previous rule, nonprofits had to report the names of people giving $5,000 or more. The new guidelines still require the groups to keep that information internally and provide it to the agency in case of an audit.

The House bill would grant the tax collector an additional $186 million next year, increasing its budget to $11.6 billion. That includes another $77 million to help the agency implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1 (115), the latest installation of money Congress has provided to execute Republicans’ tax overhaul.

The bill was wrapped into a broader funding measure setting the budgets for the Department of Interior, EPA and other programs for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

May 9, 2018

Prominent Baptist Minister Advised Women to Just Pray for Their Abusive Husbands

A prominent Southern Baptist leader faces demands for his dismissal after women from his own denomination reacted angrily to the news that he once advised abused women to pray for their husbands and gave a sermon in which he defended a lewd remark about a teenage girl as "biblical."
Paige Patterson, president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has denied having condoned marital abuse. He has so far declined to apologize for his past comments and is still scheduled to speak at an upcoming Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas.
The controversy centers in part on how Southern Baptists should interpret their commitment to "complementarianism," a doctrine that holds that the Bible assigns different but complementary roles to men and women.
More than 2,000 Southern Baptist women have signed an open letter saying they are "shocked" by Patterson's comments on divorce and sexuality and warning Southern Baptist Convention leaders not to allow "the biblical view of leadership to be misused in such a way that a leader with an unbiblical view of authority, womanhood, and sexuality be allowed to continue in leadership."
The uproar was prompted by the release about 10 days ago of the recording of an interview Patterson gave in 2000 in which he counseled women who have been physically abused by their husbands to pray for them. In that interview, Patterson recounted how he had given that advice to one woman who had been repeatedly assaulted by her husband.
Returning some days later with two black eyes, the woman said, "I hope you're happy."
"I said, 'Yes, ma'am, I am happy,' " Patterson quoted himself as telling the woman. "What she didn't know when we sat in church that morning," he said, "was that her husband had come in and was standing in back, first time he ever came."
Patterson has also come under fire for a sermon he gave in 2014 about how God created women "beautifully and artistically." He related a conversation he had with a woman while her son and a friend were standing alongside. As they talked, a teenage girl whom Patterson described as "very attractive" walked by, and one of the boys said, "Man, is she built."
The woman immediately scolded him, but Patterson said he interjected in the boy's defense.
"I said, 'Ma'am, leave him alone,' " Patterson recounted. " 'He's just being biblical. That is exactly what the Bible says.' "
Hearing Patterson tell that story, Karen Swallow Prior was outraged.
"Regardless of one's view of how pastors should counsel women who are being abused," Prior says, "we should be uniform in denouncing any sexualization of a child."
Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and about 30 other women immediately drafted the letter objecting to Patterson's remarks, addressing it to the Board of Trustees of Patterson's seminary.
"The future of the Southern Baptist Convention is at stake," Prior says. "As the world, as our country and our churches grow more diverse and the old guard of white male leadership fades away, we need to have people who will keep alive the doctrines and beliefs that people like myself believe in."
"[Patterson] needs to step down, or other men need to step in and recognize the inappropriateness of this kind of leadership," she says.
Within 24 hours of the letter's release, 2,100 Southern Baptist women had signed it, identifying the churches to which they belonged.
"I passed it on to women in my church," says Krissie Inserra, whose husband is the pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Tallahassee, Fla.
"I am proud to be a Southern Baptist," she says. "I think we do a lot of really great things. However, I am ashamed to be associated with this type of behavior, and I think a lot of women — and men — feel the same way. We cannot let this stand."
The controversy over Patterson's remarks has put a spotlight on the denomination's teachings about men's and women's distinctive roles in church and at home and the Southern Baptist beliefs that women should follow biblical directions to "submit" to their husbands and that men should hold the key leadership positions in the church.
Some prominent Southern Baptist women say male church leaders cite such teachings to justify their mistreatment of women. Beth Moore, a popular evangelical author, last week wrote a lengthy and angry blog post last week describing "attitudes of some key Christian leaders that smacked of misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women." She said she had encountered "one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason."
Among those who responded to Moore's post was Denny Burk, president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an evangelical organization that promotes the philosophy of complementarianism.
"I grieve to read Moore's description of her experiences, but I am grateful that she shared them," Burk wrote. "Men, we have got to get better."
The letter from the Southern Baptist women does not challenge the teaching of complementarianism, and proponents of the principle argue that the failings of male Christian leaders should not discredit the teaching.
"In its essence, complementarianism simply affirms the fact that God created both men and women equally in his image and each with its respective role," says Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While Mohler takes no position on how Southern Baptist Convention leaders should handle the Paige Patterson controversy, he concedes that "even essential truths can be misused."
"There is no excuse for any kind of harmful statement, demonstration of sexism, or condescension from any man to any woman, and particularly from any man who has spiritual responsibility," Mohler says. "Many men act very badly, and men who act badly claiming the mantle of complementarianism can be some of the most dangerous."

September 6, 2017

Who Will Eat Cake? Supremes Will Take Up Gay Rights and Religious Liberty

Jim Obergefell sat in the Supreme Court on a June morning more than two years ago and listened as Justice Anthony Kennedy read an opinion that would re-shape the lives of LGBT Americans by clearing the way for same-sex marriage nationwide.
"They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right," Kennedy wrote in the opinion.
"Sitting in the court room, once it finally stuck that Justice Kennedy was saying we had won," Obergefell remembered in a recent interview. "I realized for the first time in my life as an out gay man, that I felt like an equal American."
    Since the opinion, Obergefell -- the lead plaintiff in the case -- says he's been stopped in the street and at times thanked by supporters for the fight he waged. "That decision for them represented our nation getting it right. Something that doesn't always happen."
    Another Supreme Court term is set to begin in October, however, and there will be a new plaintiff in town.
    Masterpiece Cakeshop
    Jack Phillips is bringing a different LGBT-related fight to the highest court in the land, and he hopes the justices will deliver a victory to like-minded people who say they are waging a fight for religious liberty. 
    Phillips -- who owns a bakery in Colorado called Masterpiece Cakeshop -- argues he can't be compelled to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs and create and decorate a cake for a same-sex couple to celebrate their marriage.

    Two plaintiffs -- past and present -- will watch this term to see how the Supreme Court handles the language of Obergefell v. Hodges
    To be sure, the core holding of the landmark case is not in jeopardy. But supporters of LGBT rights fear the court could chip away at its principles concerning equality and dignity. And opponents place emphasis on the parts of Kennedy's opinion that stress respect for "those who adhere to religious doctrines."
    Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is the "next logical step" after Obergefell, said University of Chicago Law School professor William Baude, adding the case "will feature arguments about how broadly the principles of Obergefell reach both in the law and society as a whole."
    "The question is whether Obergefell was supposed to end the conversation with a definitive victory for one side, or whether there are still further questions to fight over," Baude said.
    Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a dissent in Obergefell and foreshadowed future challenges.
    "Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage" the chief wrote.
    Indeed, Phillips' faith is central to the upcoming arguments. One of his lawyers, Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the new case -- that began before gay marriage was legalized nationwide -- will "test" the language of Obergefell.
    "That people who disagreed with the redefinition of marriage, would be able to continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and act on those beliefs," he said.
    All the way back to 1993, when Phillips decided to open his bakery, he knew there were certain kind of cakes he would not want to make in order to abide by his religious beliefs.
    "We didn't want to make cakes for Halloween, for example," Phillips said. He and his wife also knew that they wouldn't want to make cakes to celebrate same-sex marriage because their Christian faith teaches them that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
    Flash forward to 2012 when same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado, but two men walked into the bakery. 
    "The conversation was fairly short," Philips remembered. "I went over and greeted them. We sat down at the desk where I had my wedding books open."
    The men -- David Mullins and Charlie Craig -- told Phillips they wanted a cake to celebrate their planned wedding that would be performed in another state.
    Phillips says he knew right away that he couldn't create the product they were looking for without violating his faith.
    "The Bible says 'in the beginning there was male and female,'" he said.
    For Phillips, his religious beliefs guide his decisions in every aspect of his life. So he cannot, in good conscience, create a cake for an event he says contradicts God's teaching, he said.
    He offered to make any other baked goods product for the men.
    "At which point they both stormed out and left," Phillips said. 

    Previous ruling 

    The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights division, which ruled in favor of them citing a state anti-discrimination law. Phillips took his case to the Colorado Court of Appeals arguing that requiring him to provide a wedding cake for the couple violated his constitutional right to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. 
    The court held that the state anti-discrimination law was neutral and generally applicable and did not compel Masterpiece to "support or endorse any particular religious view." It prohibited Phillips from discriminating against potential customers on account of their sexual orientation.
    Louise Melling, an ACLU lawyer representing Mullins and Craig, says that the Masterpiece case is "making a radical argument."
    "When you look at it, they are saying there is a constitutional right, whether it's rooted in speech or religion, to discriminate," she said.
    "A ruling for the bakery would have implications far beyond LGBT people and would put in jeopardy our longstanding laws against discrimination," she said.
    But for Phillips, the argument is about artistic freedom under the First Amendment. He says he declined to create the cake because of the message it would have communicated, not because of the sexual orientation of the couple.
    "Homosexual men are always, always, always welcome in my shop -- it has nothing to do with their orientation," he said. "There are just events that I cannot create cakes for. ... I cannot create cakes to help celebrate things that go against my core faith."
    It's an argument that Obergefell is not buying. He sees the case as a "full-frontal assault" on the right to marriage.
    "Not that they'd use this to rescind the right to marry," Obergefell said, "but they are using it to reinforce their belief to say in law and in practice, that my right to marry is not as valid as someone else's right to marry."
    The case will be heard sometime this fall.

    September 29, 2016

    Judge Suspended Before Pushing 10Commdts. Now for Refusing SSex Marriage

    Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore should be removed from office again, this time for defying the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, lawyers for a disciplinary commission argued on Wednesday.

    Testifying under oath, Moore called the latest charges "ridiculous."

    The ethics case involves an administrative order Moore sent six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays can marry in every U.S. state. Moore said then that because the Alabama Supreme Court had not rescinded the state's gay marriage ban, the state's probate judges remained bound by it.

    The outspoken Republican jurist, now 69, was removed from office in 2003 for violating judicial ethics by refusing to remove a Ten Commandments statue, but voters later re-elected him.

    "We are here 13 years later because the chief justice learned nothing from that first removal. He continues to defy law," attorney John Carroll told the Court of the Judiciary as he argued on behalf of the Judicial Inquiry Commission, which is seeking Moore's removal.

    Moore said his January memo simply provided a status update to judges who had questions because the Alabama Supreme Court had not acted to reverse the state ban.

    "I don't encourage anyone to defy a federal court or state court order," Moore said. "I gave them a status in the case, a status of the facts that these orders exist. That is all I did."

    Moore's lawyer, Mat Staver, told the court that Moore "did not order them to disobey anything."

    But Moore did acknowledge in a testy cross-examination that his administrative order told probate judges to follow the very same state court ban that a federal judge specifically said they could no longer enforce.

    "His order sowed confusion. It did not clear it up. He urged defiance, not compliance," another lawyer for the commission, R. Ashby Pate, told the court.

    The nine-member court now has 10 days to rule on whether Moore violated judicial ethics, and what punishment he should face if so. A decision to remove him from the bench must be unanimous. The chief judge, Michael Joiner, said a decision was not lik
    ely Wednesday, but will come "as soon as possible."

    Moore stands accused during a season of political upheaval Alabama. The house speaker was removed from office this summer for ethics violations, and a legislative committee will decide if evidence supports impeaching Gov. Robert Bentley after he was accused of having an affair with a top staffer.

    Before the hearing began, rainbow flags and Christian music competed for attention outside.

    "The truth is homosexuality is wrong," said Donna Holman, who traveled 12 hours from Iowa and carried a sign saying "It's not OK to be gay.

    "Equal marriage is the law. Love will always win,” countered Madison Clark of Montgomery.


    January 28, 2016

    Measure to Destroy LGBT Rights for Religion to Discriminate Comes to a Stop in Indianapolis


    Efforts to repeal last year's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act and replace it with new protections for "fundamental rights" came to a screeching halt Wednesday.

    The measure, which also would have repealed last year's so-called RFRA "fix," failed to advance from a Senate committee after the chairman declared that the "timing is incorrect."

    That decision shifts the focus to this afternoon's hearing on expanding the state's civil rights law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Scores of opponents and supporters had shown up at the 9 a.m. hearing to testify on Senate Bill 66, which would have increased protections for religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and the right to bear arms.

    "These rights belong to each and every one of us,” the proposal's author, Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, said, “and I’m trying to protect every one of those rights for everyone in this room."

    But after allowing Young to explain the bill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brent Steele, R-Bedford, declined to hear testimony, discuss or vote on the bill because he said it had been “mischaracterized.”

    “Sen. Young’s logic is correct, and his legal analysis is correct, and I believe his motive is laudable,” Steele said. "The timing is incorrect. Probably next year would be a chance to have a legal discussion on this, on protecting our constitutional rights.” 

    Opponents had dubbed the measure "Super RFRA" and feared it was an attempt to sanction discrimination against gay people. They worried it would re-ignite last year's firestorm over RFRA, which prompted boycott threats, event cancellations and travel bans. Gov. Mike Pence and lawmakers quickly passed a so-called "fix" to prevent the law from being used to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Religious conservatives, however, have advocated for more rigorous protections for religious freedom through RFRA last year and SB 66 this year. They also oppose measures extending LGBT rights because they fear such laws may require them to violate their religious beliefs about same-sex marriage.

    At Wednesday's hearing, one gay rights group printed out 118,000 tweets from last year that included the hashtag BoycottIndiana. The tweets — two per page — took up several boxes and were wheeled in on a cart.

    Peter Hanscom of Indiana Competes, a group of businesses seeking a statewide ban on discrimination against LGBT people, said the committee's decision was a realization by lawmakers that the debate needs to shift to civil rights.

    "You don’t need to go backwards and rehash this entire fight again. It makes absolutely no sense," he said. "Repealing RFRA, repealing the fix, and then re-inserting another RFRA had the capacity and most likely would have incited another nationwide firestorm on our state."

    The decision to shelf SB 66 surprised Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute, which opposes adding LGBT protections to the state's civil rights laws.

    He said Young's bill “elevated the conversation” about protecting freedoms, getting beyond last year’s RFRA controversy.

    “I think this transcended the original RFRA, and that’s part of the reason I thought it was a novel and fresh idea,” Smith said.

    Another Senate committee is expected to take up two measures later today that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but with exemptions for some religious objectors.

    October 5, 2015

    The Pope, Gay Marriage and a Publicity Seeking Clerk [What Really Happened]


    There is no wondering where I am with this Pope, any Pope or the Catholic Church. I believe no matter who has been leader of the catholic church there is not much difference between them. Its has been whether the man was introverted or extroverted. The introvert would be the majority (they don’t travel much nor make many pronunciations on anything, be politics or doctrine)  but once in a while you get a Polish Pope that criticizes communism or what seem to be a humble people liking Uru-Argentinian Pope. As adults these two extroverts had very strong opinions of the politics of their respective countries and the world thus becoming more vocal on world politics once they came to the Vatican.

    In the case of popular Pope Francis the issue of Gay marriage had already hit both Uruguay and Argentina in which found him in a position of power or strong voice within the church. He is on the records on gay marriage, civil Unions and adoptions by gays. Those positions have not change. What has change is the perception of this man and the speed in which those issued have been settled in the United States and other countries, as far as any decision is settled; which means the government backs it as most of the voters.

    Now we have the incident of the County Clerk who refuses to obey both the Supreme Court and the order from the Governor to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians. There is no doubt she is breaking the law everyday and has done jail time for it. Had it been a Reporter protecting its sources he or she would still be in jail but it was decided this is what the woman wanted as well s those backing her in the extremes of the GOP political machine. Every day she spent in jail was a money making day for the anti gay machine to fight more [a settled law] same sex marriage and adoptions.

     Many including myself wished there was real change coming from a place that doesn’t change, the Vatican. There were fixed inclement changes like being open about giving Mass on other languages other than Latin that only the Priests understood and some form of relaxing dress codes particularly for nuns but those have been just dressing changes not changes on their or doctrine or the way they think. A bishop or a Pope is not someone that can come out of the streets and clean house. It is a long hard process that weeds out most. Only those who have shown real obedience and respect to the way things are done and to the past are those that grow in the church. The Pope most posses the qualities of a smart politician being that he has to convince others to vote for him as pope without openly asking for their vote.
    Olivia Goldhill gives us on the site a summation going back to 2010 of what Pope Fracisco is said about these issues. 

    You will see now how things happened with this pope, the clerk and as important why would any of this means the Pope is change his mind or not about gay, lesbians and marriage as it applies to the Catholic Church. 

    Some American liberals were prepared to claim Pope Francis as one of their own after his hugely successful visit to the US last week. But the pope’s left-leaning image was shattered when it was revealed that the pontiff met with Kim Davis, a county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. 

    News of the meeting stirred confusion over the pope’s attitude toward gay marriage. A battle of press releases between the Vatican and Davis’s lawyer—each seeking to portray a different interpretation of the meeting—only muddied the waters more.

    As the country continues to debate whether the pope’s stance on gay marriage is more or less progressive based on recent events, it’s worth mulling over a timeline of some of his most noteworthy comments on the subject, including the breakdown of events over the past few days.

    2010: He comments positively on civil unions. When Argentina was debating legalizing gay marriage, Francis—then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio—reportedly proposed civil unions as an alternative option. “We believe that we must propose more comprehensive civil union rights than currently exist, but no gay marriage,” Bergoglio’s spokesman, Federico Wals, told Argentina’s Infonews. Argentine bishops did not endorse the idea.

    June 22, 2010: He opposes gay marriage and adoption. In a letter to the Carmelite Nuns of Buenos Aires in 2010 (pdf), Bergoglio made his opposition to gay marriage extremely clear. He called the political movement “the destructive attempt toward God’s plan,” and “the envy of the Devil.” He also said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children: “At stake are the lives of so many children who will be discriminated against in advance, depriving them of the human maturation that God wanted to be given with a father and a mother.”

    July 29, 2013: He says, “Who am I to judge?” Francis made some of his most tolerant remarks while talking to a plane full of reporters on the way back from his first foreign trip as pope, to Brazil. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said.

    November 17, 2014: He advocates that children should be raised by a mother and father. Speaking at a Vatican colloquium called, “The Complementarity of Man and Woman”, Pope Francis re-iterated his belief that children should be raised by heterosexual parents. “The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation,” he said. “Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.” Pope Francis added that family is an anthropological fact that cannot be qualified “based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history.”

    July 10, 2015: He blesses a gay couple. Pope Francis wrote in response to a letter from Francesca Pardi, author of the children’s book Why do you have two moms?. Pardi summarized the letter on her Facebook page, saying the pope “hopes for an always more fruitful activity at the service of young generations and sharing authentic human and Christian values.” The pope ended the letter with his “apostle’s blessing” for Pardi and her partner, Maria Silvia Fiengo.

    August 28, 2015: He clarifies that a blessing does not endorse “unfit behaviors.” statement from the Vatican insisted that the pope’s blessing was meant for the individual and was “not in line with the church’s doctrine on gender theory, which has not changed in the slightest.” The letter was not “meant to endorse behaviors and teachings unfit to the Gospel.”

    September 29, 2015: He meets with Kim Davis. Davis’s lawyer, Matt Staver, revealed on Sept. 29 that Pope Francis had a private meetingwith the county clerk on Sept. 24. “I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Davis said in a statement. “Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong.'”

    September 30, 2015: The Vatican confirms his meeting. Eight hours after Davis’s statement, the Vatican finally confirmed the meeting took place. “I don’t deny that the meeting took place,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, “but I have no comment to add.”

    October 2, 2015: His meeting ‘does not endorse Davis’s views.’ The Vatican issued an unusual statement attempting to downplay the pope’s meeting with Davis. The meeting was “brief” and dozens of people had been invited, said the Vatican. “The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” added the statement. A spokesman, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, minimized the event further, saying the invitation came from the papal nuncio’s office in Washington, not Rome. He also implied that Pope Francis didn’t know of Kim Davis’s recent political activism.

    I would simply say: Her case is a very complex case. It’s got all kinds of intricacies. Was there an opportunity to brief the pope on this beforehand? I don’t think so. A list is given — these are the people you are going to meet.

    Father Rosica added that the Vatican press office knew of the pope’s meeting with Kim Davis but “may not have been aware of the full impact of the meeting. It is very difficult sometimes when you are looking at things in America from here.”

    The Vatican’s official statement also had an intriguing yet vague allusion to a significant meeting. “The only real audience granted by the pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family,” said the statement.

    October 2, 2015: He confirms meeting with a gay couple. It turns out the pope’s “only real audience” was with one of his former Argentine students, Yayo Grassi, a gay man who brought his partner of 19 years to the meeting in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington. “He has never been judgmental,” Grassi told CNN. “He has never said anything negative.” The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis met with Grassi on Sept. 23.

    October 2, 2015: Davis’s lawyer contradicted the Vatican version of events. Matt Staver released a second statement, insisting that the meeting was initiated by the Vatican and the invitation was issued on the day Davis returned to work after her time in jail. Staver also said Kim Davis met privately with the pope. “This was not a meeting with other people in which Kim and Joe Davis were a part, but rather a private meeting with no other people in the room except Vatican security and personnel,” he said.

    On Sunday (Oct. 4), the Vatican will begin a three-week meeting of bishops and laypeople to discuss the Catholic Church’s approach toward the family. Gay relationships may come up for discussion, but the working document (link in Italian) for the meeting suggests that they will be firmly rejected. The document reads:

    There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.
    Pope Francis may have a kindly attitude but, as head of the Catholic Church, he leads an organization with a long, firm history of opposing homosexuality.

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