Sunday, July 29, 2012
Hollywood's War on Chicken
The latest solid proof that Hollywood really can't stand traditional Christianity has arrived in an unfolding boycott of Chick-fil-A, a Georgia-based fast-food chain that's rapidly spreading franchises across America.
Chick-fil-A demonstrates a public faith by closing all its stores on Sundays and on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's something the left ridicules but something anyone of any faith respects.
It's the company's donations through its WinShape Foundation that have launched the intolerant gay left into action. Chick-fil-A has dared to donate their profits to groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Horrors!) and the Marriage and Family Foundation (No!).
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that." This man just has to cut it out. Who does he think he is?
But what really infuriated the left was Cathy's comments on a radio show that "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'"
One of Hollywood's first moves came from The Jim Henson Co., the iconic family entertainment group that invented the Muppets. They issued a statement on Facebook proclaiming they were withdrawing any association through kid's-meal toys with the chain. "The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors," they declared. "Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD."
In other words, they're suggesting that they'll be better corporate citizens by giving their Chick-fil-A kiddie-meal money to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a group that fervently seeks to censor all traditional Christians from being allowed to say anything "anti-gay" on television news or entertainment programs. Even the Muppet people are in thrall to speech-squashing political correctness.
Other critics emerged on Twitter. "Chick-fil-A doesn't like gay people? So lame," actor Ed Helms (of "The Hangover" movies) tweeted. "Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan." Several other bold-type Hollywood moralists -- Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian -- also backed a Chick-fil-A boycott.
But few can compare with the undiluted spite of Roseanne Barr, who grabbed all the attention with her death wishes on Twitter: "anyone who eats S--t Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ."
This came after she had called them "chick filet- nazi chicken f---ing pricks." She also cracked she was "off to grab a s--it fil-A sandwich on my way to worshipping Christ, supporting Aipac and war in Iran." When people attacked her for saying people "deserved" cancer, she lectured, "Giving (your kids) Cancer from processed fast food is child abuse." To think that this genius just tried to run for president of the United States on the Green Party ticket is mind-boggling.
Chick-fil-A put out a corporate response making the obvious point (at least to their customers) that you will find no disrespect at their restaurants. "The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
The statement added, "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." That's exactly what Hollywood wants to hear. On the Internet, they photograph themselves with taped mouths and paint "No H8" on their cheeks, but they display more hate and more desire to shut people up than the wackiest of right-wing yahoos.
The left will always go further. Steven Kurlander, a blogger on the Huffington Post "Gay Voices" site, is mastering Orwellian speech: "Chick-fil-A's continued support of anti-gay groups and Cathy's discriminatory comments cross the line of decency." In the 21st century, we're told it's indecent to be a Bible-believing Christian. He added that Chick-fil-A should be banned from taxpayer-supported facilities and should not be allowed to "work with public school children."
Dan Cathy is right. We really are shaking our fist at God. Giving him the finger, too. Do we deserve forgiveness?
DOJ attacks Catholic-owned busniess over religion
William, Paul and James Newland and their sister, Christine Ketterhagen, who together own Hercules Industries, have no right to conduct their family business in a manner that comports with their Catholic faith.
The federal government can and will compel them to either surrender their business or to engage in activities the Catholic faith teaches are intrinsically immoral.
This is exactly what President Barack Obama's Justice Department told a U.S. district court in a formal filing last week.
Never before has an administration taken such a bold step to strip Americans of the freedom of conscience -- a right for which, over the centuries, many Christian martyrs have laid down their lives, and which our Founding Fathers took great care to protect in a First Amendment that expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion.
As the Founders understood, no government has legitimate authority to take this right away, because it does not come from government. It comes from God. The very purpose of government is to protect this right. A government that seeks to strip it away from the people is by that very process stripping away its own legitimacy.
What we are seeing from the Obama administration today -- in its attack on religious liberty -- is simply evil. When government seeks to compel individuals to act against their consciences and to engage in activities that, if willfully done, would imperil their immortal souls, there is no other word for it.
The Newland family owns and operates Hercules Industries, a Colorado-based corporation that manufactures heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Through their hard work and dedication, and through their willingness to reinvest their own money in building their family business, they have managed to create jobs for 265 people while exerting a positive influence on the communities they serve.
The Newlands believe the morality the Catholic faith teaches them must animate their lives not only within the walls of the churches they attend, but literally everywhere else, as well -- in the way they deal with their families, their neighbors and, yes, their business.
The Newlands sued to protect their free exercise of religion in this regard because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a regulation, under the Obamacare law, that requires virtually all health care plans to cover -- without cost-sharing -- sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortifacients.
Under Obamacare, businesses that employ more than 50 people must provide their employees with insurance or pay a penalty, and the required insurance must include the mandated cost-sharing-free coverage for sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortifacients.
At Hercules Industries, the Newlands provide a generous self-insured health-care plan to their employees. It does not cover sterilization, artificial contraception or abortifacients.
"The Catholic Church teaches that abortifacient drugs, contraception and sterilization are intrinsic evils," says the Newlands' lawsuit.
"Consequently, the Newlands believe that it would be immoral and sinful for them to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate or otherwise support abortifacient drugs, contraception, sterilization, and related education and counseling as would be required by the Mandate, through their inclusion in health insurance coverage they offer at Hercules," says the suit.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States endorse this view. At a meeting in Atlanta last month, they unanimously adopted a resolution calling the HHS regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate" and a "violation of personal civil rights." They declared that the regulation created a class of Americans "with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values.
"They, too," said the bishops, "face a government mandate to aid in providing 'services' contrary to those values -- whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves -- without even the semblance of an exemption."
In a letter read during Sunday Mass in most dioceses around the country earlier this year, many of the nation's bishops flatly said: "We cannot -- we will not -- comply with this unjust law."
In response to the Newlands' complaint that ordering them to violate the teachings of the Catholic Church in the way they run their business is a violation of their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, the Obama administration told the federal court that a private business has no protection under the First Amendment's free exercise clause -- especially if the business is incorporated.
"The First Amendment Complaint does not allege that the company is affiliated with a formally religious entity such as a church," said the Justice Department. "Nor does it allege that the company employs persons of a particular faith. In short, Hercules Industries is plainly a for-profit, secular employer."
"By definition," said the Justice Department, "a secular employer does not engage in any 'exercise of religion.'"
"It is well established that a corporation and its owners are wholly separate entities, and the Court should not permit the Newlands to eliminate that legal separation to impose their personal religious beliefs on the corporate entity or its employees," said the Justice Department.
This is just as if the Justice Department were to tell a family owned newspaper that it must publish editorials calling for a confiscatory estate tax, basing its coercion of the newspaper on the supposition (which lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom argue DOJ is by analogy making) that as a for-profit secular and incorporated employer, the paper has no First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Fury as Polish scrap metal thief caught red-handed is NOT prosecuted because 'he didn't realise it was a crime' in Britain
What happened to "ignorance is no excuse"?
Police are refusing to prosecute a Polish immigrant caught on camera stealing scrap metal, because he didn't realise he was committing a crime.
Businessman George Pasparakis caught the culprit red-handed after fitting CCTV outside Wessex Industrial Doors in Yeovil, Somerset - following a number of raids on the company.
Officers quickly tracked down the thief and he even admitted his actions - but police chiefs decided not to prosecute him, because he claimed taking scrap metal is legal in Poland.
Mr Pasparakis, 37, is 'gobsmacked' by the decision. He said: 'I’m not sure how bad a crime has to be where you can claim ignorance before they take action. 'We’re so frustrated at what we were told. I was gobsmacked and I think the police officer was too. 'He almost seemed embarrassed. Is Polish law operating in Yeovil?'
The price of scrap metal has skyrocketed in recent years from £80 per skip to between £300 and £400 per skip.
Mr Pasparakis had six skips emptied in the last few months and spent more than £500 on 24-hour CCTV surveillance system.
The company has also spent hundreds of pounds building a large retractable container to protect a skip outside the premises used to store metal off-cuts.
So when the CCTV picked up a good shot of the Polish man and his vehicle in June they thought they would be able to bring a successful prosecution against him.
On the first occasion the thief even brought his young daughter with him. Mr Pasparakis said: 'The first time he took scrap metal he bought his little girl along. 'We watched on CCTV as she ran around looking bored as emptied the skip. It was dumbfounding.'
But police decided it was not in the 'public interest' to charge the man, who has not been named.
Sergeant Richard Downing said: 'We received two reports of theft from a skip. These incidents were fully investigated. 'A man was arrested and questioned. The man fully admitted the incidents and was unaware it was a crime. 'On consideration it was decided it was not of public interest to prosecute this man.'
A police spokesman added that to prosecute the man they would have to prove there was an intent to commit a crime.
Shopkeeper visited by two British Trading Standards officers and six policemen for refusing to remove Games-themed bunting
A shopkeeper has defied Olympic killjoys who tried to force him to take down his Games-themed bunting.
Hamdy Shahein, who runs Hamdy's News in Stoke Newington, London, had decked out his store with balloons, banners and bunting.
But council killjoys - and six police officers - told him to tear down banners outside his store because it breached LOCOG's strict branding rules.
The newsagent has refused to remove them - leaving his store adorned with national flags of nations competing, the Union Jack and the London Games logo.
The shopkeeper said: 'I told them that if it was breaking the rules then they will have to come and take it down themselves.
Mr Shahein says two Hackney Council trading Standards officers approached him last Saturday, the day the Olympic Torch was set to pass directly outside his shop.
He says they accused him of having unofficial branded products in and outside the shop on Stoke Newington High Street - even though he has a letter informing him he is an official Olympic retailer.
Mr Shahein added: 'I wanted to make the shop look nice for the community. 'But a lady came up to me and almost grabbed my hand. She started shouting, "stop, stop, you can't do this." 'I had no idea why I couldn't have the bunting up.
'People who had started gathering to see the torch come past tried to change her mind and told her I was doing something nice for the community, but it made no difference.'
Mr Shahein, who spent £250 out of his own pocket decorating the shop, continued: 'About an hour later a police van with six policemen stopped outside and the lady came over and said, "that's him."
'They forced me to take down some balloons and flag bunting I'd placed at street level. 'But I told them if they wanted the big banners down, they'd have to do it themselves. 'They haven't been back yet.'
The 60-year-old claims the heavy-handed approach was over the top - and almost forced him to shut up shop for the day in protest.
But locals convinced him to stay open and try to enjoy the celebrations. He has since made a stand, keeping the Olympic bunting up above his shop.
Local solicitor Kristin Heimark believes Mr Shahein was ill-treated. She said: 'Hamdy is one of the lynchpins of our community. He likes to get in the spirit of things.
'I don't know if people realised when the Olympics laws were passed that it would mean this, and that we would have people from trading standards coming round requiring bunting to be removed.'
Mr Shahein's situation is by no means an isolated incident. Colin Thorne was forced to take Olympic-themed decorations down in the Devon estate agents, Webbers, back in May.
Even London Mayor Boris Johnson has warned of the 'insanity' of overzealous policing of Olympic brands.
Mr Shahein, 60, who is a runner himself having competed in 48 half marathons, said: 'They say I'm selling and displaying unofficial merchandise, but I've got a letter that says I'm an official retailer of Olympic products. I don't sell fakes.
'I told them to educate me, not get heavy handed. 'I've been here 33 years and never known a farce like it. 'I'm a runner myself and love the Olympics. I wanted to celebrate them being in town with the community. 'That's all the bunting was - a celebration. We had no problems putting it up for the Jubilee. 'I won't back down.'
Under the Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act and the Trade Marks Act, Trading Standards officers have the power to enforce the removal of products, and have enforced this in Mr Shahein's case.
A Hackney Council spokesman said: 'Offices determined that unofficial Olympic-branded bunting was on display and for sale in the shop and on nearby railings.
'The store manager was asked to remove it and advised to withdraw it from sale on that basis. 'Hackney Council is adhering to LOCOG's guidance on Olympic branding and merchandise.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.