Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Religion

Liberty Counsel Files Brief in Boston’s “Christian Flag” Controversy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 23, 2021:  

In Liberty Counsel’s brief filed at the Supreme Court last week, it claimed that Boston’s denial of Camp Constitution’s request to fly the Christian flag violated both the First and the 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

When Camp Constitution applied to raise a flag during its flag raising event [on September 17, 2017] to celebrate the civic contributions of Boston’s Christian community, during the week of the national recognition of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, the City denied the request without viewing the flag solely because it was called “Christian” on the application.

Such a denial, said the brief, “conflicts with [the Supreme Court’s] precedents holding that speech restrictions based on religious viewpoint or content violate the First Amendment.”

There are three flagpoles in front of Boston’s City Hall. One of them flies the city’s flag (which depicts the City Seal, containing the inscription SICUT PATRIBUS, SIT DEUS NOBIS — “God be with us as He was with our fathers”). But frequently the city will allow outside groups to fly their own flags from it to celebrate various events.

Camp Constitution wanted to fly the Christian flag for about an hour while some pastors and the founder of the camp made brief presentations about the Christian influence on Boston’s history.

It was expected to be a slam dunk. After all, at no time in the previous 12 years had any of the 284 requests from other groups to fly their flags been denied. But, said Hal Shurtleff, the founder of the camp, “when our application was denied because we wanted to fly the Christian flag, we just simply could not let this go.” He said that it was the word “Christian” that forced the denial. Said Shurtleff, “The fact that we called it the Christian flag was anathema [to the city]. Our application was denied, and we called off the celebration.”

And they filed suit. With the help of Liberty Counsel they appealed lower courts’ support of Boston’s decision, which claimed that somehow the “government speech” being exercised by the city in its denial was not covered by the First Amendment. 

But the Bunker Hill flag to commemorate the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill was allowed to be displayed, which is virtually identical to the Christian flag (except for reverse color schemes and a pine tree in the upper left corner).

 

In announcing the filing of the brief, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said:

Liberty Counsel looks forward to presenting this nationally important case to the Supreme Court. It is indisputable that Boston denied the private flag raising solely because the application contained the word “Christian” before the word “flag.” It was this single word that resulted in the first censorship of a private flag raising application after 12 years with no denials.

 

Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted is unconstitutional. This case will have a national impact. Religious viewpoints must not be excluded from the marketplace.

That is exactly the point made by the brief:

The City’s reason for denying Camp Constitution’s flag raising event was precisely and only because the City deemed the flag objectionable, because it was called a “Christian Flag” on the application, even though Camp Constitution’s purpose — to commemorate the contributions of one of Boston’s diverse communities to the City and the Commonwealth — otherwise fit perfectly with the City’s permitted subject matters according to the City’s purposes for allowing flag raisings.

 

The flag’s appearance was not objectionable to [the city], but the flag’s description as “Christian” on the application triggered the denial.

 

If the flag had not been described as “Christian,” [the city] would have approved it.

 

Because viewpoint discrimination is prohibited in a designated public forum, the City’s exclusion of Camp Constitution’s flag for its Christian viewpoint was unconstitutional.

Oral arguments begin before the high court in January with a decision expected to be rendered in June 2022.

The Story of “Navy SEAL 1,” One of 23 Plaintiffs in Complaint Against Biden Over Vax Mandate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 12, 2021:

In another lawsuit filed against President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 23 plaintiffs complained to the Middle District Court of Florida that their requests for religious exemptions from Biden’s vaccine mandate were denied, thus violating their First Amendment rights, among others.

The plaintiffs included Navy SEAL 1 and 2, two Lieutenant Colonels, an Army Ranger, a National Guardsman, and several federal civilian contractors, among others.

No names were provided in the lawsuit, but the backgrounds of each were provided in the 120-page lawsuit. The story of “Navy SEAL 1” reveals the character and integrity each possesses, along with the courage needed to “buck the system” with this lawsuit.

Liberty Counsel represents them and noted in its lawsuit that

Plaintiffs are United States Armed Forces servicemembers, federal employees, and federal civilian contractors who face a deadline under [Biden’s] Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate … that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs, and have been refused any religious exemptions or accommodation.

They are facing

pressure and abuse … and disciplinary actions have already commenced for some….

 

Defendants are threatening these military heroes with dishonorable discharge for even requesting a religious exemption from COVID-19 shots.

 

Dishonorable discharge is worse that a criminal conviction for these service members because it is a badge of disgrace that follows them for the rest of their lives.

The lawsuit declared

Having sacrificed everything to defend America and its citizenry — and while carrying the images and sounds of war with them throughout their lives — America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” would betray them with the worst punishment of dishonorable discharge. And for what cause?

 

Simply because they seek an accommodation from the COVID-19 shots on account of their sincerely held religious beliefs. [Emphasis in original.]

Navy SEAL 1 serves well as an example of the 23 individuals willing to risk it all to challenge the vaccine mandate:

Plaintiff NAVY SEAL 1, United States Navy, is a citizen of the State of California currently stationed at a United States Naval facility in California.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 has requested an exemption and accommodation of his sincerely held religious objections to the Secretary’s mandate that all United States Armed Forces personnel accept and receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of remaining in their sworn posts.

 

NAVY SEAL 1’s request for a religious exemption and accommodation was denied, and he was immediately removed from his position in the United States Navy.

Liberty Counsel provided the court with his background and achievements while serving:

Special Operations Chief NAVY SEAL 1 enlisted in the Navy in 2009 and wanted to serve his country to the best of his ability.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 sought to and became a Navy SEAL. He received training from 2009 starting and finishing BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) and SQT (SEAL Qualification Training) with class 278.

 

He deployed to Afghanistan from December 2011 to September 2012, and received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat “V” (valor) for his actions during deployment, along with a combat action ribbon.

 

NAVY SEAL 1’s second tour was to the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, working under Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF), and receiving an Army Commendation medal.

 

For his third tour, which was outside of his usual deployment cycle and thus 100% voluntary, NAVY SEAL 1 volunteered to augment SEAL Team Seven during the height of the Mosul, Iraq clearance from February to April 2017.

 

During NAVY SEAL 1’s fourth tour, in Iraq from August 2017 to March 2018, NAVY SEAL 1 was the acting assault lead, putting him in charge of a platoon level force to execute the tactical direction of the platoon chief, and he earned a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a “C” (Combat).

 

His most recent tour was to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from March to September 2020. For his leadership setting up, organizing, and executing a large joint close air support (CAS) and combat search and rescue (CSAR) exercise, NAVY SEAL 1 received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. This robust exercise included units from 5 different countries and over 15 assets.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 also received awards for his time spent at training commands. His first tour was at TRADET-1 as the SOUC (Special Operations Urban Combat) Lead Petty Officer from December 2014 to June 2016. He received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award for his efforts there.

 

His second training command tour was as the Lead Chief Petty Officer of the Navy’s only Joint Close Air Support school. For his efforts in synchronizing joint assets and providing mission critical qualification training for creating Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) he received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Award.

Navy SEAL 1 is also a Christian. As Liberty Counsel explained,

Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] sincerely hold religious beliefs that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that they are to glorify God with their bodies lays the foundation for everything they do, consume, or inject into their bodies.

 

From this foundation they make studied and reasonable decisions about what is good and what is not good or may not be good for their bodies.

 

To knowingly abuse their bodies by engaging in a dishonorable act, or consuming or injecting a substance that will or may produce adverse consequences, is a sin against God.

 

This belief and other sincerely held religious beliefs are foundational to all their decisions and actions and are not limited to aborted fetal cell lines.

 

Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] have sincerely held religious beliefs that the Holy Spirit — through prayer and the revelation of Scripture — guide them in all decisions they make in life.

 

Plaintiffs [including Navy SEAL 1] have sincerely held religious beliefs that Jesus Christ came to this earth, died on the cross for their sins, was resurrected three days later, and that when He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His believers and to guide them in all aspects of their lives.

This is anathema to Navy SEAL 1’s commanding officers, as Liberty Counsel explained:

On September 7, 2021, NAVY SEAL 1 submitted to the United States Navy a request for religious exemption from the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate as an accommodation of his sincerely held beliefs.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 articulated to his commander that he has and exercises sincerely held religious beliefs that compel him to abstain from receiving any of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 met with his unit’s Chaplain, who reviewed his request for a religious exemption and accommodation and found that NAVY SEAL 1’s request was sincere.

 

NAVY SEAL 1’s Chaplain forwarded NAVY SEAL 1’s request to the command.

 

After review, NAVY SEAL 1’s request for a religious exemption and accommodation was denied, and he was preemptively removed from his position as Platoon Chief.

 

NAVY SEAL 1 faces potential court martial, dishonorable discharge, and other life altering disciplinary measures for exercising and seeking accommodation of his sincerely held religious beliefs against COVID-19 vaccination.

As a result of the denial, Navy SEAL 1 and the other plaintiffs “face the unconscionable choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or facing court martial and dishonorable discharge from their faithful service to the nation,” according to the lawsuit.

They are “suffering irreparable injury,” claims the lawsuit,

By being prohibited in their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to the free exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs….

 

By being forced to choose between maintaining the ability to feed their families and the free exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs….

 

By being stripped of their rights to equal protection of the law and being subjected to disfavored class status in the United States Armed Forces….

 

[and by facing] the prospect of irreparable medical injury as a result of the Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.

The plaintiffs demand that the court issue a temporary restraining order and that Biden and the other named defendants “immediately comply … so that each individual has the option to accept or refuse administration of the COVID-19 vaccines.” Biden and the others “will immediately cease in their refusal to consider, evaluate, or accept Plaintiffs’ requests for exemption and accommodation for their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Time is running out. Navy and Marine Corps servicemembers have until November 28 to become fully vaccinated, or suffer the consequences.

Unless the court intervenes.

5 Navy SEALs Sue Biden, Department of Defense for Religious Discrimination Over Vaccine Mandates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 11, 2021:  

In addition to having every one of their requests for a religious exemption from the Navy’s COVID vaccine mandate denied, 35 Navy SEALs were harassed, intimidated, and threatened for even making those requests.

On Tuesday, they filed suit against President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, and the U.S. Department of Defense. They are being represented by the public interest non-profit First Liberty Institute (LFI).

Mike Berry, general counsel for LFI, minced no words: The denials are universal, deliberate, intentional, and represent an effort to purge the Navy of Christians:

The fact that the government has not granted a single religious exemption from the vaccine mandate shows that the Biden Administration does not care about religious freedom. Instead, this appears to be an attempted ideological purge.

 

Forcing a service member to choose between their faith and serving their country is abhorrent to the Constitution and America’s values.

 

After all these elite warriors have done to defend our freedoms, the Navy is now threatening their careers, families, and finances. It’s appalling and it has to stop before any more harm is done to our national security.

After filing their requests and having them universally denied, Berry explained what happened next:

When they inquired about seeking religious accommodation for the vaccine, the Navy informed many of the plaintiffs that they could face court-martial or involuntary separation if they don’t receive the vaccine. Each of their religious exemption denials appear to be identical, suggesting the Navy is not taking their requests seriously.

A purge of the Navy of Christians seems far-fetched, but LFI’s 38-page lawsuit dispels any doubt about that intention. The Navy had to violate not only the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Administrative Procedure Act, Department of Defense regulations, and the Department of the Navy’s own regulations in doing so. The complaint called these denials “unlawful, contrary to law, and arbitrary and capricious.”

Excerpts from the lawsuit:

 

The Navy communicated to Plaintiffs that failure to comply with the Navy Vaccine Mandate by the established deadline — November 28, 2021, for active duty, December 28, 2021, for reserve — will result in immediate adverse consequences, which may include: court-martial (criminal) prosecution, involuntary separation, relief for cause from leadership positions, removal from promotion lists, inability to attend certain military training and education schools, loss of special pay, placement in a non-deployable status, recoupment of money spent training the service member, and loss of leave and travel privileges for both official and unofficial purposes….

 

A Navy spokesperson recently admitted that “multiple religious accommodation requests related to the COVID vaccine mandate have been adjudicated and none have yet been approved”….

 

Plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs forbid each of them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons based upon their Christian faith as revealed through the Holy Bible and prayerful discernment.

 

Multiple Plaintiffs hold the sincere religious belief that all life is sacred, from conception to natural death, and that abortion is the impermissible taking of an innocent life in the womb.

 

As a result of their sincerely held religious beliefs regarding life and abortion, multiple Plaintiffs are unable to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines due to what they believe and understand is a connection between these vaccines and their testing, development, or production using aborted fetal cell lines.

 

Plaintiffs believe that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that was tested, developed, or produced using aborted fetal cell lines would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by causing them to participate in the abortion enterprise, which they believe to be immoral and highly offensive to God.

The plaintiffs hold that their bodies are the temple of God:

Multiple Plaintiffs hold to the sincere religious belief that the human body is God’s temple, and that they must not take anything into their bodies that God has forbidden or that would alter the functions of their body such as by inducing the production of a spike protein in a manner not designed by God….

 

In accordance with their sincerely held religious belief, multiple Plaintiffs carefully monitor what they take into their bodies, and they are compelled to avoid anything that adversely alters or may modify their bodies’ natural functions in a manner not designed by God.

Many of the SEALs received a formal “COVID-19 Vaccination Administrative Counseling/Warning” that states, “Per MANMED 15-105, special operations (SO) duty personnel (SEAL and SWCC) who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based solely on personal or religious beliefs will be disqualified from SO duty.”

They will also be declared “medically disqualified” and therefore “non-deployable” for the very missions for which they have been trained.

The lawsuit spells out the violations of the various laws and constitutional guarantees that the Navy performed to excise the plaintiffs from service for their Christian beliefs and ends by demanding “a declaratory judgment [by the court] that Defendants’ vaccination policies … violate Plaintiff’s rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution … [and] under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act … [and] under the Administrative Procedure Act.”

It demanded “an order declaring unlawful and setting aside Defendants’ vaccination policies” along with actual and other money damages “for the violation of Plaintiffs’ rights,” including back pay, legal fees, and “all other further relief to which Plaintiffs may be entitled.”

If the court grants those demands, the immediate threat will have been thwarted. But the main threat remains: The U.S. military has been so infiltrated by secular and anti-God sentiments among its highest ranks that full cleansing and restoration won’t happen as the result of a single favorable court ruling.

Texas to Amend Constitution to Prohibit State Restrictions on Churches

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 8, 2021: 

Among the eight amendments Texas voters approved last Tuesday was Proposition 3, a “prohibition on limiting religious services or organizations amendment.” After already having passed both houses of the state legislature, voters approved it 62 percent to 37 percent.

Under previous powers, Texas cities including Dallas, Denton, El Paso, and Lubbock shut down religious services in March and April 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic. Texans were outraged when, for example, local police surrounded a parking lot of a church where worshippers were holding outdoor services during the shutdown.

Proposition 3 adds an entire section to the Texas state constitution:

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not enact, adopt, or issue a statute, order, proclamation, decision, or rule that prohibits or limits religious services, including religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and places of worship, in this state by a religious organization established to support and serve the propagation of a sincerely held religious belief.

It provided no exceptions. No repeat of a COVID pandemic or its equivalent in the future. As a result of Tuesday’s elections, Texans massively supported the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They likewise supported the 14th Amendment: “[no] State [shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

State Representative Scott Sanford, along with every other Republican in the House, explained his vote supporting Prop 3:

Churches provide essential spiritual, mental, and physical support in a time of crisis. Closing churches not only eliminated these critical ministries and services, but it violated their religious freedom, guaranteed by our laws and Constitution.

State Senator Donna Campbell explained her support:

When the restrictions were put on the church, it crossed the line from what we could do, which was buy groceries, and what we couldn’t do, which was worship as we want to worship.

Pastor John Greiner of the Glorious Way in Houston said: “The church should be the place where people go to get healed … they should be free to close if that’s what they want to do, but I don’t think the government should impose that upon any group at all.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch put the matter well. In a related ruling, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, decided in 2020, he wrote:

 

The First Amendment protects religious uses and actions for good reason….

 

What does it mean to tell an Orthodox Jew that she may have her religion but may be targeted for observing her religious calendar?

 

The right to be religious without the right to do religious things would hardly among to a right at all.

On Tuesday, Texas voters made certain that neither the state nor any of its political subdivisions would ever cross that line again, putting grocery shopping ahead of worshipping the Creator of the Universe, seeking His sustenance and comfort during a time of crisis.

USAF Reserve Officer Claims Religious Discrimination After Being Fired for Not Taking COVID Vaccine

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 4, 2021: 

After 19 years in the U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Brandi King was fired from her position because she refused to be vaccinated. When her request for an exemption for religious reasons was denied, she was terminated.

She hired a highly successful civilian lawyer with an extensive and successful career in defending such cases, Davis Younts, who said this was part of a pattern to “purge” the military of Christians:

Our military is being purged of those who dare to be faithful to their Heavenly Creator and Savior over the earthly authorities within the government and military.

 

This [case] should wake up anyone who believes their God-given, constitutionally recognized freedoms will continue to be protected by our military.

In her prior position she either worked alone or from her home. In addition, she tested positive on a serologic test, showing that she had COVID-19 antibodies present from having previously contracted the virus.

None of this mattered. The letter from her commanding lieutenant general said:

I understand your concerns, which are based on your sincerely held beliefs … [nevertheless] I disapprove your request for religious exemption from required immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine….

 

I do not doubt the sincerity of your beliefs. However … I also had to consider the risk to our mission.… Individual medical readiness is a critical requirement for maintaining a healthy and ready force.

He then said that if she chose to appeal his decision, she had 72 hours to do so.

Her commanding officer said that she would now likely “be subject to court martial, dishonorable discharge along with … punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Service (UCMJ).” He said that since her exemption had been denied, he would terminate her service.

Within 24 hours, her orders were canceled.

In her complaint she provided a timeline of the conversations she had with her superiors and said, “This cancellation of my previously approved order, due to my expression of sincerely held religious beliefs, is religious discrimination.” She added:

The cancellation of my orders was a direct result of my … intent to request religious accommodation [and as a result] I have suffered discrimination and substantial burden for exercising my religious beliefs.

Given her attorney’s remarkable record of defending officers in the past, it is likely that this case isn’t going to go away any time soon.

However, it does reflect the claim that Fox News host Tucker Carlson made on his show on September 20, namely, that the purpose behind the vaccine mandate, and the consequent denial of religious exemptions, represented a “takeover of the U.S. military” by progressives. He called it a “ruse” to rid the military of Christians and other undesirables:

The point of mandatory vaccination is to identify the sincere Christians in the ranks, the free thinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anyone else who does not love Joe Biden and make them leave immediately.

 

It’s a takeover of the U.S. military.

Whether that’s true remains to be seen. But King’s experience, and her filing of a complaint over religious discrimination, suggests that it is.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears Enjoys Many “Firsts”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 3, 2021: 

Winsome Sears made history Tuesday night: In winning the election for Lieutenant Governor, she became the first black woman in Virginia’s history to win a statewide race.

But this wasn’t the first of her “firsts.” Born in Jamaica in 1964, she emigrated to the United States where, after obtaining degrees in English, economics, and organizational leadership, she ran a Salvation Army homeless shelter.

In November 2001, she became the first Jamaican female Republican, the first female veteran, and the first naturalized citizen to serve in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

She also, unintentionally, became the first political candidate in recent Virginia political history to run on a photo taken of her while she was at a shooting range. She was holding a semi-automatic rifle. Her campaign staff turned it into an effective political tool by adding the phrase, “Battle Tested Conservative. Semper Fi.”

When asked about the photo, Sears was surprised. After all, she said, “I’m a Marine. I know how to use a gun.” She added, “But let’s think about this: the Second Amendment tells us we have a right to do so. We have a right to own guns.” She added, “I won’t ever support a red flag law! The Second Amendment says ‘shall not be infringed!’”

In an interview with the Washington Times she explained, “They [guns] are for our protection, and the fastest gun-owning segment [of the population] are Black women.”

During her appearance on Fox & Friends on Tuesday night, she gave God the credit for her win, exclaiming that her victory was “a God thing.”

This fits well with newly elected Governor Glenn Youngkin, who also has strong faith. He met his wife, Suzanne, shortly before obtaining an MBA from Harvard Business School, and they were married shortly after his graduation. According to Youngkin,

She actually said: “You know, I really need to have our faith be in the middle of our marriage. I didn’t really fully appreciate the journey she was going to put me on.”

It’s entirely appropriate for the newly elected governor and lieutenant governor to give credit to God. The country’s first president, George Washington, was the first to proclaim Thanksgiving Day, in 1789, declaring:

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, Who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

Founding Father Benjamin Rush (who signed the Declaration of Independence and founded Dickinson College) was even more explicit about the importance of a strong faith, especially among leaders:

Without religion there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.

It’s reassuring to know that Virginia will shortly be able to celebrate the inauguration of two individuals to lead the state whose faith allows them to declare His preeminence in their lives.

House Republicans Demand to Know How U.S. Attorneys Will “Prosecute” Parents Speaking Out at School Board Meetings

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 2, 2021:  

All 16 Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter yesterday to 93 U.S. attorneys across the land demanding to know just “how they intend to execute Attorney General Merrick Garland’s recent directive to mobilize the FBI and other law enforcement against ‘concerned’ parents at school board meetings.”

The letter referred to Garland’s demand that each U.S. attorney draft a “partnership” strategy with state and local law enforcement to “identify” and “prosecute” what Garland said was a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

The Republicans decried the “troubling attempts” by the Department of Justice and the White House to target parents expressing their strong opinions at board meetings on various topics, including especially the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT). After all, said the letter, “Parents have an undisputed right to direct the upbringing and education of their children … [and] we must not tolerate the use of the federal law enforcement apparatus to intimidate and silence parents using their Constitutional rights to advocate for their child’s future.”

The letter referred to the causative agent behind the move — the outrageous letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) declaring that “as these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” The NSBA requested that “a joint collaboration among federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement, and with public school officials be undertaken to focus on these threats.”

The letter said it is time to “deal with” those parents:

As the threats grow and news of extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings as being reported, this is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue.

Garland was only too happy to agree, sending his demand letter to his attorneys just four days after the NSBA letter was sent to the White House.

It didn’t matter that, on October 22, the NSBA sent a weak-kneed letter of apology, intoning, “We regret and apologize for the letter.… There was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”

Assuming that the Republicans receive the information they requested from the 93 U.S. attorneys (by November 15, if you please), what then? The cat is out of the bag. The wheels have been set in motion. Parents will have their First Amendment rights to speak in public chilled and dampened out of fear that some federal agent is attending the board meeting, taking notes and surreptitious video of their comments, to result in a knock on their door later that night by law enforcement.

It’s long past time for parents to realize what has happened to public schools and to make the appropriate decision about keeping their children in them, or not. Back in 1981, reformed pastor David H. Chilton asked rhetorically, “What’s Really Wrong with Public Schools?”

 

He wrote:

The usual argument against public education is very convincing. And very wrong.

 

It runs something like this: Public schools have become breeding grounds for violence and sexual promiscuity; they often are outlets for socialist propaganda; they now constitute a formidable enemy of Christianity (by teaching evolution and prohibiting prayer and Bible reading) and of the family (by teaching sex education and deriding traditional authority structures).

 

And so on — which is not an unmitigated tragedy, since it is being used, under the providence of God, to lead more and more Christians to abandon the system of public education. No matter what the reason, that is certainly a good result.

 

Unfortunately, the argument above is not as principled as it looks. It is not an argument against state education, but only against certain perceived ills of public schools as they now exist.

The real problem with public schools, according to Chilton, is far deeper and more profound than concerns over sexual promiscuity or the teaching of CRT:

The real problem with public schools is that they exist in the first place.

 

They are an ungodly, unlawful, collectivist institution. The many evils now spewing out of them derive from the curse of God inflicted on all institutions that defy Him.

 

He has commanded parents to educate their children in terms of His law; that cannot be done in a public school. If we want our children to fear Him, to grow into diligent workers for His kingdom, we cannot afford to train them in an institution which has as its fundamental presupposition that I am entitled to as much money as I can vote out of my neighbor’s pocket.

 

Prayer doesn’t belong in a public school (Proverbs 28:9). Your money doesn’t belong in a public school. Most of all, your children don’t belong in a public school. Institutions premised on sin must not be redeemed, but abandoned.

Tennessee Health Worker Announces Resignation With Fiery Letter to Boss

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 21, 2o21:  

Micki Jeans is a CT technologist and works for Ballad Health of Tennessee. Up until October 31, that is, when she will resign. She gave two weeks’ notice directly to Alan Levine, executive chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Ballad Health.

In her nine-page letter of resignation, Jeans gave her reasons: Levine sold out, and in good conscience and as a Christian, she can’t work for him anymore:

You are the sole reason that I am resigning from your company, Ballad Health….

 

You have infringed upon my personal rights and freedoms and the freedom of your employees.

She started from the beginning. For 30 years, she labored faithfully for Mountain States Health Alliance, which became Ballad. And she believed Levine had her best interests at heart. She also believed him when he declared himself to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ:

When you became CEO, I appreciated your spiritual words of encouragement. I was your advocate. When others came against you, I defended you for no other reason than your consistent religious encouragement.

 

I thought you to be a Godly man. I considered you not only a hospital leader worthy of respect but a friend and a fellow brother in Christ.

In July 2021, however, “all that changed. I watched as you adhered to the unconstitutional words of the unelected CDC, FDA, WHO, and OSHA … and even the current, yet corrupt, Biden Administration.… I watched you speak on CNN … urging Americans to take the experimental injections.”

She learned the reason why: He was protecting his company from federal sanctions if he didn’t sell out and go along:

I have recently learned … that if you did not adhere to the guidance of these … organizations, you would no longer receive Medicare/Medicaid funding.

 

You had a decision to make.

 

You could have, and should have, found a way to fight for Medicare/Medicaid funding while going against the unconstitutional mandates….

 

You did not choose wisely.

Instead, Levine chose to segregate his employees by badges they were required to wear, for those vaccinated, and those unvaccinated. He forced them to share their private health information.

In so doing, she wrote, he walked away from his Christian faith:

I was shocked that you would go along this path of division because you have claimed Christianity. God calls us to bring unity and peace, not division. You had the incredible opportunity to use your platform to stand up for what is right.

 

Could you imagine the mountains you could have moved?

 

Unfortunately, you did not use your platform to stand up for freedom.

There was a moment in time when she saw clearly who Levine really was:

The moment you told every single one of your employees via email that we would face disciplinary action up to termination if we did not comply with your badge buddy system, I saw you in a completely different light.

 

When you began to encourage the Covid-19 injections, I felt that you absolutely did not care about the freedom of anybody.

 

As a veteran of the United States Air Force, I value every God-given freedom that I have. In my life, I endured 7 months of captivity and I learned to value and to always fight for the human rights and freedom of every human being.

Jeans had done her homework, even if Levine hadn’t:

I am surprised that you, an educated and Christian man, cannot see right through what Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, and the billionaire global elites on this earth are trying to do. I do hope at this point that you will consider opening your eyes to the evil and corrupt global agenda, of which you are unfortunately a part.

The pandemic is not a healthcare crisis, she wrote, but “a global bioweapon against humanity.” And Levine doubled down by accusing “those who speak the truth of spreading disinformation and misinformation.”

She closed her letter of resignation:

I never would have imagined that I would be fighting government mandates and requirements by [Ballad Health] to receive a non-FDA approved experimental treatment for a disease with a 99.5% survival rate….

 

Medical decisions should be the sole responsibility of the individual.… These rights are God-given, inalienable, and constitutionally secured! Medical tyranny has no place in America or in Tennessee.

Her letter sounded like an application for membership in The John Birch Society:

I will join every group, every person, every doctor and healthcare worker to stand against what you are doing. I will work to unify the people of this community, not divide them. I will work to support your employees, my peers, who have gotten these injections under duress and coercion. I will work to give Ballad Health employees a voice.

 

I will work to educate people about our Constitution and make them aware of the freedoms that God gave them. I will travel, speak, write letters, emails and I will do everything in my power to expose the corruption of our world, our beautiful country, our state, and your company.

 

I will join forces with the Patriots of this great nation to do everything that I can to … combat what you and others are allowing to happen to our nation….

 

I will give my breath and my very life for the freedom of the citizens of this great nation and for our future generations. I will not stand idly by as communism, socialism, and global elites try to take us out. I was a soldier when our military was honorable and defended our freedoms and I am a soldier for Christ. I will fight. I. WILL. FIGHT.

She signed her letter: “Unvaccinated, unmasked, unashamed, and unafraid.”

Levine’s company’s website declares that, when they were considering what to name the new conglomeration of healthcare companies, “People told us they want to receive care from someone who really listens to them. When our health care is at stake, we need to be able to trust our caregiver.… We’re listening.”

Is Levine listening? Will he respond by doing the right thing? Or will Jeans’ letter of resignation be tossed into the round file so he can continue supporting the pandemic canard against his people?

Camp Constitution’s “Christian Flag” Lawsuit Will be Heard by the Supreme Court

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 4, 2021: 

Just days before the start of its fall term, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could set a precedent: that Boston’s denial of a group’s request to fly the Christian flag in front of City Hall is unconstitutional.

For years the three flagpoles in front of Boston’s City Hall have flown, on one pole the flag of the United States and (under it) the POW/MIA flag, on another pole the flag of the state of Massachusetts, and on the third pole the city’s flag — though often the city will allow outside groups to fly their own flags from it.

Groups wanting to fly their own flag from the third flagpole must apply to city for approval and from June 2005 through June 2017 Gregory Rooney, head of Boston’s property management division, has approved every one. Every single one — a total of 284 flag-raising events were approved, without exception.

But, in June 2017 three members of The John Birch Society applied for approval to fly the Christian flag (a white flag with a cross appearing on a blue background in the upper left corner) as part of an event to celebrate Constitution Day. The three — former JBS staffers Hal Shurtleff and Charlie Everett and JBS Chapter Leader Ruth Harper — founded Camp Constitution in 2009 to organize and operate summer camps to, as its website says, “enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage … [and] to find, develop, and train leaders in the freedom fight.”

Their application was denied.

In an interview with The New American, Shurtleff pointed out that the flagpole has flown the Chinese Communist flag, the Cuban Communist flag, the “gay” pride flag, and the transgender flag, as well as flags from numerous foreign countries. It flew the Vatican flag when the Pope held a religious service — Mass — on the Boston Commons.

It even flew the Turkish flag, which depicts the Islamic star and crescent.

But, said Shurtleff, “when our application was denied because we wanted to fly the Christian flag, we just simply could not let this go.” The discrimination against the group because it wanted to fly the Christian flag was so blatant and obvious that the group enlisted the assistance of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit legal group specializing in such assistance. “The city,” said Shurtleff, “would have approved our application if we had called it the Camp Constitution flag, according to Rooney, but the fact that we called it the Christian flag was anathema. And our application was denied, and we called off the celebration.”

Three non-profit law firms expressed interest in representing Shurtleff, and Liberty Counsel was chosen. Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution, arguing that the city of Boston violated the First Amendment by censoring a private flag in a public forum merely because the application form referred to the flag as a “Christian flag.”

It added:

Under oath, the city official [Rooney] testified [that] the flag would have been approved if the application did not refer to it as a “Christian flag.” The word “Christian” on the application alone triggered the censorship…

 

His testimony revealed that if Camp Constitution had not referred to the flag on the application with the word “Christian,” it would not have been censored.

Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman Mat Staver added:

We look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court hearing Boston’s unconstitutional discrimination against Camp Constitution’s Christian viewpoint. The city cannot deny the Christian flag because it is “Christian” and allow every other flag to fly on its flagpole.

 

There is a crucial difference between government endorsement of religion and private speech, which government is bound to respect.

 

Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted is unconstitutional and this case will set a national precedent.

Prior to the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case, the circuit court ruled against Shurtleff and Camp Constitution, claiming that the third flagpole belonged to the city and the city was therefore free to approve or deny its use. The appeals court affirmed, adding that the city was merely exercising its right to “government speech,” which was not subject to the First Amendment guarantee. Obama-appointee U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper argued that the flagpole was city property, and flying a flag there was “government speech” and not private expression. Therefore, she held that flying a Christian flag was an unlawful endorsement of religion.

On appeal, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st District’s three-judge panel affirmed Casper’s decision. Judge Bruce Selya, a Reagan appointee, alleged that the display of all “three flags flying in close proximity communicates the symbolic unity of the three flags.”

Selya added:

The city has never before displayed such a flag and, as such, this pioneering elevation of an “important symbol” of the Christian heritage would come without [outside] the secular context [the city demands]….

 

The raising of the Christian flag thus would threaten to communicate and endorse a purely religious message on behalf of the city … therefore … the city’s establishment concerns are legitimate.

The high court will hear oral arguments after the first of the year and issue its opinion next June.

It must be noted that Hal Shurtleff is a former field staff member of The John Birch Society as well as a life member who credits The JBS for helping him have a knowledge and appreciated of the U.S. Constitution.

Is flying a Christian flag on government property unconstitutional? Hats off to the folks at Camp Constitution for getting such an important case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court!

Angelo Codevilla, Conservative Intellectual Giant, Dead at 78

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 23, 2021: 

Angelo Codevilla, a towering conservative intellect, died on Monday in a car accident at age 78.

Charles Bowyer, writing in the Christian Post, called Codevilla “one of our country’s greatest public intellectuals.” Ryan Williams, president of the Claremont Institute, where Codevilla spent his last years reflecting on and writing about America’s intellectual and cultural decline, called him “a scholar, a veteran, a patriot [and] a gentleman.”

Michael Walsh of the Epoch Times called Codevilla “one of the sharpest and shrewdest observers of the contemporary political scene.”

A gifted writer, Codevilla, in his book The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It, called out the Deep State long before the term became popular. More surprising, he all but predicted the rise of Donald Trump, a populist who reflected the growing unrest of Codevilla’s “country class” whom the “ruling class” rejoiced in belittling and coercing.

The “ruling class,” now seen by vast numbers of America’s citizens as corrupt usurpers of political power, have been educated at the country’s most prestigious universities and consequently are convinced of their own superiority over the rest of us. They maintain that they know what is best for us and use governmental power to control every facet of American life.

In 2010 Codevilla wrote his essay The Ruling Class for American Spectator, where it was picked up and read on the air by the late Rush Limbaugh. It was later published in book form and remains available at Amazon. As Matthew Schmitz noted in his memorial to Codevilla, he “observed that Americans could no longer maintain the pretense of being equal citizens. There were now … two classes: rulers and ruled.”

Codevilla wrote from his personal experience. He served as staff to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, worked for the CIA, and helped conceive the technology that became the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI. He served as a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

He was invited to join the Deep State and turned down the invitation. In a remarkable interview published by the liberal Jewish magazine Tablet, Codevilla, a conservative Roman Catholic, sparred with David Samuels, a liberal Jew. In Samuel’s article, The Codevilla Tapes, Samuels proudly announced that he considered himself part of the intellectual elite and asked Codevilla to respond.

Wrote Samuels in his introduction to the interview:

Angelo Codevilla … is one of the few American political philosophers who combines a deep sense of the Western moral and philosophical traditions with a hard-nosed sense of how the American political system actually works.

 

I thought it would be fair-minded to give Codevilla a hearing, despite the fact that he identifies as a conservative Catholic rather than [myself who is] a liberal Northeastern Jew.

Remarkably, Codevilla agreed to be interviewed, and even invited Samuels to his home and vineyard in Northern California for an evening of discussion and breakfast the morning after.

Here are selected parts from that interview, which reflect Codevilla’s astonishing intellect along with his courage to take on his Deep State opponent with kindness and generosity:

David Samuels: In 2010, you wrote an article, which then became a book, in which you predicted the rise of someone like Donald Trump as well as the political chaos and stripping away of institutional authority that we’ve lived through since. Did you think your prediction would come true so quickly?

 

Angelo Codevilla: I didn’t predict anything. I described a situation which had already come into existence. Namely, that the United States has developed a ruling class that sees itself as distinct from the raw masses of the rest of America. That the distinction that they saw, and which had come to exist, between these classes, comprised tastes and habits as well as ideas. Above all, that it had to do with the relative attachment, or lack thereof, of each of these classes to government.

 

Samuels: One of the things that struck me about your original piece was your portrait of the American elite as a single class that seamlessly spans both the Democratic and Republican parties.

 

Codevilla: Of course, yes. Not in exactly the same way, though; what I said was that the Democrats were the senior partners in the ruling class. The Republicans are the junior partners.

 

The reason being that the American ruling class was built by or under the Democratic Party. First, under Woodrow Wilson and then later under Franklin Roosevelt. It was a ruling class that prized above all its intellectual superiority over the ruled. And that saw itself as the natural carriers of scientific knowledge, as the class that was naturally best able to run society and was therefore entitled to run society.

 

The Republican members of the ruling class aspire to that sort of intellectual status or reputation. And they have shared a taste of this ruling class. But they are not part of the same party, and as such, are constantly trying to get closer to the senior partners. As the junior members of the ruling class, they are not nearly as tied to government as the Democrats are. And therefore, their elite prerogatives are not safe.

Not surprisingly, such a towering intellect didn’t go unnoticed by the Deep State, which tried to coopt Codevilla:

Codevilla: When I started working for the Senate, some folks at the [CIA] figured out that I wasn’t a run-of-the-mill staffer. So I was visited by one of the old boys who took me up to the director’s office — the director wasn’t there at the time. He took me up via the director’s elevator, he had a key. And showed me all around and was very, very clubby with me. Then they took me to his house, which is overlooking the Potomac, with these large wolfhounds sitting about. And essentially, he said the equivalent of “all this could be yours.”

 

Samuels: My son, if you play the game.

 

Codevilla: If you play the game. I said to myself, “Hmmmm, what did the Lord say to all this?”

But it really is a matter of who has dinner with whom. I have worked in Washington long enough to know that people would sell their souls for invitations to be at certain tables. To be allowed to speak with this person or that. In the end, it’s all social.

 

And how do you become social? You express the same thoughts, you have the same tastes. You vacation in the same places. You love the same loves, you hate the same hates….

 

The primary element is, as we Christians were taught, pride. That is the sin of sins.

 

There is nothing that moves human beings quite so much as the desire to be on top of other human beings.

Codevilla, obviously, turned down the invitation, reflecting not only the man’s faith, but his courage to stay true to his faith.

He will be missed.

Harvard Unanimously Names Atheist as Chief Chaplain

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 27, 2021: 

Harvard University has completed the circle. Founded as a religious educational institution in 1636 (and named for Pastor John Harvard), the school trained its students to become pastors with a Puritan perspective. The school’s original motto was, “Truth for Christ and the Church.”

On Thursday, the school discarded any remaining links to that past by unanimously naming Greg Epstein as chief chaplain, who will oversee 30 other chaplains of various disciplines and traditions.

Epstein received his ordination as a Humanist Rabbi from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in 2005. He also holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan as well as a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

The author of Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, Epstein describes his role: “I combine Jewish culture with the belief that this [observable] world is all we have.” Because so many incoming students hold the same view — about 40 percent of them consider themselves as either agnostic (not sure about God) or atheist (sure that He doesn’t exist) — Epstein’s role is to “minister” and “converse” with them about how to become a good person without recognizing the role of the Creator:

There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition but still experience a real need for conversation and support around what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life.

He told the New York Times that “we don’t look to a god for answers. We are each other’s answers.”

That means that in his role as counselor without God, he (according to the Times) “frequently meets individually with students who are struggling with issues both personal and theological, counseling them on managing anxiety about summer jobs, family feuds, the pressures of social media and the turbulence endemic to college life.” He does this through his “positive belief in tolerance, community, morality, and good without having to rely on the guidance of a higher being, according to the flyleaf of his book ‘Good Without God.’”

How is that working out? Ask U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who was removed from a panel by the “tolerant” university for her views on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Or consider the petition Harvard students have presented to ban any Trump administration alumni from speaking or teaching at the school.

In this sinful and declining world, Epstein is looking in all the wrong places for answers to questions such as these. The Apostle Paul explained in his letter to the Romans (Chapter 3):

For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

 

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.

He added that every individual is a sinner, without exception:

Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

 

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

 

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

 

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

 

Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

 

Their feet are swift to shed blood:

 

Destruction and misery are in their ways:

 

And the way of peace have they not known:

 

There is no fear of God before their eyes….

 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

That understanding undergirded the beliefs of our nation’s Founders as they strove to build a limited government that would allow maximum freedom for citizens whom they considered to be sovereign, instead of government. “Our Constitution,” wrote President John Adams, “was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any another.”

In his Farewell Address, President George Washington was clear:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports….

 

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.

 

Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure [a “humanist rabbi”?], reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It may fairly be stated, then, that any deliberate intentional removal of God as creator of the universe from the instruction of young minds is an attack on the very foundations of the American Republic. King David asked, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

David provided the answer: God will not long be mocked by those posing as chaplains without acknowledging Him:

The LORD is in His holy temple.

The LORD is on His heavenly throne.

 

His eyes are watching closely;

 

they examine the sons of men.

 

The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked;

 

His soul hates the lover of violence.

 

On the wicked He will rain down fiery coals and sulfur;

 

a scorching wind will be their portion.

 

For the LORD is righteous; He loves justice.

 

The upright will see His face.

“Chaplain” Epstein, when he comes face to face with his Creator, is going to have some serious explaining to do.

Appeals Court: Colorado Can Both Compel and Prohibit Speech

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 28, 2021:  

A three-member panel of Colorado’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Monday that Lorie Smith, a Denver website developer, cannot refuse to create websites celebrating same-sex marriages. The panel also ruled that she cannot express her religious beliefs in explaining why she won’t.

Smith is being assisted by the public-interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and ADF’s Senior Counsel John Bursch, summed up the case:

The government should never force creative professionals to promote a message or cause with which they disagree. That is quintessential free speech and artistic freedom.

 

Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips has been harassed for years; Washington floral artist Barronelle Stutzman stands to lose nearly everything she owns; and now Lorie Smith is being told that she must speak views she opposes and can’t post about her beliefs on her own business website.

 

How many more creative professionals will have to suffer before they receive recognition of their constitutionally protected freedoms — the rights they have always had in this country? Lorie is happy to design websites for all people; she simply objects to being forced to pour her heart, imagination, and talents into messages that violate her conscience.

The dispute dates back to 2016, when Smith first filed suit claiming that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) would, if enforced, violate her First Amendment-protected right to free speech and free exercise of religion. This is the same law that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission used to harass Phillips — a case that went to the Supreme Court, which narrowly ruled in Phillips’ favor.

The court ruled on Monday that the commission could force Smith to create messages celebrating same-sex weddings, but issued a “gag” order preventing her from publishing her dissenting reasons on her business website, 303Creative.com. This is what she wanted to publish:

These same religious convictions that motivate me also prevent me from creating websites promoting and celebrating ideas or messages that violate my beliefs.

 

So I will not be able to create websites for same-sex marriages or any other marriage that is not between one man and one woman. Doing that would compromise my Christian witness and tell a story about marriage that contradicts God’s true story of marriage — the very story He is calling me to promote.

The two-judge majority on the panel put Colorado’s law ahead of the U.S. Constitution:

We agree with [Smith] that “the protection of minority viewpoints is not only essential to protecting free speech and self-governance but also good in and of itself.”

 

Yet, we must also consider the grave harms caused when public accommodations [such as Smith’s] discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Combatting such discrimination is … “essential” to our democratic ideals.

 

And we agree with [Smith] that a diversity of faiths and religious exercise … “enriches” our society. Yet, a faith that enriches society in one way might also damage society in another, particularly when that faith would exclude others from unique goods or services.

 

In short, [Smith’s] Free Speech and Free Exercise rights are, of course, compelling. But so too is Colorado’s interest in protecting its citizens from the harms of discrimination.

Chief Justice Timothy Tymkovich dissented, calling this ruling “remarkable” and “novel”:

The majority takes the remarkable — and novel — stance that the government may force Ms. Smith to produce messages that violate her conscience.… [It] concludes … that Colorado has a compelling interest in forcing Ms. Smith to speak a government-approved message against her religious beliefs.

 

No case has ever gone so far.

The majority’s ruling, wrote Tymkovich, ushers in “a brave new world”:

The Constitution is a shield against CADA’s discriminatory treatment of Ms. Smith’s sincerely held religious beliefs … [but] the majority ushers forth a brave new world when it acknowledges both speech and silence — yet finds this intrusion constitutionally permissible.

 

CADA [according to the panel’s ruling] forces Ms. Smith to violate her faith on pain of sanction both by prohibiting religious-based business practices and by penalizing her if she does speak out on these matters in ways Colorado finds “unwelcome” or “undesirable.”

ADF intends on filing an appeal to the Supreme Court. Wrote ADF’s Maureen Collins: “No one should be banished from the marketplace simply for living and working consistently with their religious beliefs. Not a cake artist. Not a floral artist. Not a web designer. That’s why ADF will appeal this decision to the U. S. Supreme Court on Lorie’s behalf.”

Newsom Must Pay $1.35 Million to Harvest Rock Church

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 27, 2021:  

In his final judgment in the case Harvest Rock Church v. Gavin Newsom, U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal ordered Newsom to pay the church’s legal fees and related expenses, totaling $1.35 million.

Of course, since the complaint charged Newsom with unconstitutional restrictions against California churches in his “official capacity” as governor, he won’t pay a dime. The citizens of California will.

In November, California voters will likely remember this, along with a very long list of other grievances, when they vote to oust Newsom.

More importantly, however, is what else the ruling accomplished. As Bernal wrote:

Keep reading…

Small Christian College Sues Biden Administration Over Campus-housing Rules

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 26, 2021:  

The College of the Ozarks, a small Christian college, has sued the Biden administration over its demand that, following an outrageous ruling by the Supreme Court, colleges must allow male and female students in the same bathrooms, dorm rooms, and dormitories.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is assisting the college in its fight to retain its right to follow its religious tenets. The suit declares that the Biden administration, through its administrative agency Housing and Urban Development (HUD), now suddenly “requires private religious colleges to place biological males into female dormitories and assign them as females’ roommates.”

The president of the college, Dr. Jerry Davis, said the move is just part of the escalating attack on religious freedom in the United States: “Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch.”

He added,

Keep reading…

Federal Court: College Officials Deliberately Discriminated Against Campus Christian Group

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 6, 2021:  

The ruling issued on Monday vindicating charges that Wayne State University’s board members and administrators intentionally discriminated against InterVarsity Fellowship’s campus chapter is a small victory in the long and accelerating war against Christians and their faith.

Judge Robert H. Cleland, a senior federal judge appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1990 by then-President George H. W. Bush, wrote

that [Wayne State University board members and administrators] violated [InterVarsity Fellowship’s local chapter]’s rights to internal management, free speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and free exercise….

 

Defendants also violated the Establishment Clause [First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, to wit: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

He also dismissed any claims that the board members or administrators had immunity from sanctions over the case, allowing those sanctions to apply to them personally as well as professionally.

InterVarsity Fellowship/USA (IVF) has more than 600 chapters on college campuses in the United States and its chapter at Detroit’s Wayne State University (WSU) has been present there for 75 years.

But when board member Ricardo Villarosa decided to stretch the school’s anti-discrimination policy in order to prevent the group from having its usual access to campus facilities and events, the chapter enlisted the assistance of the Becket Fund and filed a discrimination lawsuit.

Wayne State University’s efforts to be all things to all people all the time are incorporated in its non-discrimination policy:

Keep reading…

Trump, Guns, and Racism Motivated Atlanta Shooter, Say Leftists

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 18, 2021:

It took leftist commentators less than 24 hours to conclude that gun culture, racism, and former president Donald Trump were to blame for the horrific attacks that took place in and near Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

First was former president Barack Obama, not wanting to let the moment go to waste. He tweeted:

Even as we’ve battled the pandemic, we’ve continued to neglect the longer-lasting epidemic of gun violence in America.

If that wasn’t clear enough he added another tweet:

Yesterday’s shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws and root out the pervasive pattern of hatred and violence.

Xenophobia was to blame, according to the former Democrat president: “The identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asia violence that must end.”

It didn’t matter that the alleged shooter had just undergone a background check to purchase the handgun he used in the murders. It didn’t matter that the shooter said race had nothing to do with his attacks.

It certainly didn’t matter to Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). He blamed Trump, tweeting:

Keep reading…

Top-rated News Anchor Quits Over Media Bias

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 4, 2021:  

After 22 years of anchoring Phoenix’s FOX 10 News programs at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., Kari Lake is walking away. She and her co-host John Hook leapt to the top of the charts almost immediately and stayed there, a remarkable achievement.

She took a family leave of absence the first of the year but was forced to explain her absence publicly as rumors and innuendoes escalated about her absence. She did so on Rumble:

Keep reading…

Catholic Bishop: Biden “Should Stop Defining Himself as a Devout Catholic”

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 18, 2021:  

In an interview last week at the online Catholic World Report, Archbishop Joseph R. Naumann was asked, “Mr. Biden professes to be a devout Catholic yet is 100% pro-choice on abortion. How do you think America’s bishops ought to respond to this situation?”

Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, declared:

Keep reading…

In Defiance of Court Ruling, California Churches Declaring Themselves Strip Clubs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 4, 2020:  

When senior pastor Rob McCoy of Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Ventura County, California, learned of former governor Mike Huckabee’s half-serious suggestion that churches declare themselves to be strip clubs in order to circumvent a ruling by a court, he took it to heart. That ruling by the San Diego Superior Court instructed the county to allow strip clubs to reopen while leaving in place state restrictions on indoor church services.

A YouTube video of McCoy’s defiance, during which he opened services with raucous music and his removal of his coat and tie, overnight gained more than 70,000 views with some other pastors following his lead.

In an interview with Sean Hannity, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee decried the double standard:

Keep reading…

SCOTUS Hears Arguments Over Discrimination Against Catholic Social Services

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 5, 2020: 

The Supreme Court heard opening arguments in an important religious discrimination case on Wednesday that has been festering since 2018: Sharonell Fulton et. al. v. City of Philadelphia.

Back in 2018, the liberal Philadelphia Inquirer discovered that two religiously based foster-care agencies — Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services (CSS) — wouldn’t place foster children in LGBT homes.

Initially, Bethany said,

Keep reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann