Friday, January 23, 2015
Obama in State of Union: Same-Sex Marriage is ‘America at Its Best’
Homosexuality is America's greatest achievement? I would have thought Ronald Reagan's achievements in promoting liberty in Eastern Europe was America at its best
When he was running for president seven years ago, and appearing in a nationally televised forum held by a Christian pastor at a Christian church, Barack Obama said he believed that marriage was a “sacred union” that was “between a man and a woman.”
On Tuesday night, in his State of the Union Address, Obama said that legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States is one of the things he has seen that represents “America at its best.”
“I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long,” Obama said. “I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best.
“I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California, and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, New London,” he said. “I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas, and West Virginia. I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.
“So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who every day live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper,” he said. “And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.”
On Aug. 17, 2008, two and a half months before the 2008 presidential election, Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, were interviewed back-to-back by Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in Southern California.
Warren asked Obama: “Define marriage.”
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama said. “Now, for me as a Christian--for me--for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix.”
“Would you support a Constitutional Amendment with that definition?” Warren asked.
“No, I would not,” said Obama.
“Why not?” asked Warren.
“Because historically, we have not defined marriage in our Constitution,” said Obama. “It's been a matter of state law. That has been our tradition. I mean, let's break it down. The reason that people think there needs to be a constitutional amendment, some people believe, is because of the concern that--about same-sex marriage. I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions. I do believe that we should not--that for gay partners to want to visit each other in the hospital for the state to say, you know what, that's all right, I don't think in any way inhibits my core beliefs about what marriage are. I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford those civil rights to others, even if I have a different perspective or different view.”
On Nov. 1, 2008, just three days before the 2008 election, Obama again stated that he did not believe in same-sex marriage.
MTV asked him his view on Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.
“I think it’s unnecessary,” Obama said. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them."
Tony Perkins: America Faces ‘New Cultural Revolution--Gone Mad’
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins delivered a “State of the Family Address” Tuesday night in which he cited multiple government attacks on religious freedom and said America faces a "new cultural revolution--gone mad."
“The threats America faces are not potential--they are clear, present and dangerous,” said Perkins in an address broadcast online and on American Family Radio. “Ironically, they come most sharply today not from the radical economic doctrines of Karl Marx, nor from the lights of what Winston Churchill called 'perverted science,' but from the darkness of unrestricted sexual license—a new Cultural Revolution—gone mad."
In the audience, were four American families who have seen their religious liberty attacked in recent times.
Among them were the Hahn family, who operate Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet-making business in Pennsylvania. When the federal government ordered the Hahns, under an Obamacare regulation, to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices in their employee health-insurance plan--or pay $95,000 per day in fines--they sued the administration. When the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the administration could not enforce the same regulation against Hobby Lobby, a lower court issued an injunction preventing the administration from enforcing it against the Hahns.
Barth Bracy of Connecticut and his family also attended the "State of the Family Address." Bracy, who is the head of Rhode Island Right to Life, lives in next-door Connecticut. When Connecticut’s new Obamacare exchange offered no health insurance plan that did not cover elective abortions, he sued. “Thankfully, in its second year, Connecticut offered a prolife plan,” Perkins said in his address. “The Bracys have withdrawn their suit, but they know the battle is far from over.”
Aaron and Melissa Klein of Oregon also attended the event. They own the “Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ bakery.
“When the Kleins politely declined to make a wedding cake for two women seeking to get married under a federal court ruling that struck down Oregon’s pro-marriage referendum, the women filed a complaint under Oregon labor law,” said Perkins. “The Oregon Bureau of Labor fined the Kleins $150,000, a sum that will bankrupt them and their five small children. In the state of Oregon’s view, the Kleins need to be ‘rehabilitated’ from their religious views on the nature of marriage. Needless to say, government re-education regimes are not the American way.”
Also in attendance was Victoria Miller, who owns W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pa. She “faced media scorn when she declined to provide wedding dresses for a same-sex ceremony,” Perkins said. “I am pleased to report that last month the Bloomsburg town council decided against drafting an ordinance that would have compelled businesses like Victoria’s to service an event it cannot morally support.”
Perkins argued that respect for religious freedom is central to, and essential for the preservation of, American freedom.
“A government able to bankrupt people for standing by their beliefs, on marriage or any other matter of conscience, is a government of unbridled power and a threat to everyone’s freedom,” he said.
Perkins called on Americans to rally around a number of causes the Family Research Council believes will start moving the country back in the right direction. These included:
--Paying more attention to religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy. “We propose that the Obama Administration elevates the importance of religious freedom in foreign affairs, as a basic liberty essential to peace as well as justice, with stronger enforcement of the International Religious Freedom Act through our aid programs, and for sanctions against governments hostile to religious freedom,” said Perkins.
--Enacting a federal law that would ban abortion in the United States after the 20th week of pregnancy. “The United States is one of only four nations on the planet to allow elective abortion throughout the entire term of pregnancy, including when at five months the unborn child can feel pain,” said Perkins.
--Enacting a federal law to prevent discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. “The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act prevents the federal government from doing to the Kleins what Oregon has done, or what a town council in Pennsylvania almost did to the Millers,” said Perkins.
--Enacting additional laws to prevent sex trafficking of women. “Abortion on demand and human trafficking compose a common league of evil,” said Perkins. “Ending that league is the abolitionist cause of our time.”
Near the end of his speech, Perkins made a plea for Christians to work for racial reconciliation in America.
He noted the presence in the audience of Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., who is senior pastor of the Hope Christian Church in Washington, D.C., and presiding bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches. In 2008, Perkins and Bishop Jackson coauthored “Personal Faith, Public Policy.”
“When we wrote our book 'Personal Faith, Public Policy' we desired to model racial reconciliation as we saw racial division within the body of Christ as a scandal—a stumbling block to secularists who long saw that the nation’s most religious regions suffered from some of its worst racial prejudice,” Perkins said.
“Over the past 50 years much progress has been made in building new bonds of solidarity in the church and in society, but looking around us today can we truly say that America has transcended the racial divide?” said Perksins. “As we wrote in our book, we are convinced that only the church can deliver our nation from the fires and fetters of racial hatred. On this question, we come not to demand more of government, but more of ourselves."
Rev. Graham:‘This Country Was Built on Christian Principles' Not Islam
Reverend Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said America “was built on Christian principles” but Christians are being pushed “to the back of the room” today, and he added that Americans need to embrace those principles, knowing that this country “wasn’t built by Islam” or “any other group” but by those “who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“I agree with diversity but what’s happening with this country is all these religions are getting front row and Christians are being pushed -- and we’re the majority -- are being pushed back to the back of the room,” said Rev. Graham in an interview with WNCN News about his recent call for Duke University to end its policy on having a Muslim Call to Prayer at the campus’s Christian chapel.
“This country was built on Christian principles, it was men and women who believed in God and believed in His Son Jesus Christ who built this country,” said Rev. Graham. “We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world. It wasn’t built by Islam, and it wasn’t built by any other group. It was those who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Reverend Graham went on to say that while our forefathers made mistakes and some aspects of our history are regrettable, the foundation is what is important and we must protect it from our enemies.
“[W]e’re the greatest nation in the history of the Earth,” he said, “and we have people today that want to destroy what we believe and what we stand for. I think the university needs to understand that the world in which we live today, we’ve been at war now 10 years against terrorists and the terrorists we’ve been fighting are people who support and believe in the Islamic faith.”
The Boston Marathon bombing on Apr. 15, 2013, which killed 5 people and wounded 264 other people, was carried out by Muslim radicals Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarnaev.
When asked about Muslims who have condemned Islamic terrorism, Graham said, “First of all, you don’t have condemnation outside of this country. You’ll have clerics in this country who’ll condemn these acts. But these acts of terrorism are not condemned by the mullahs in Saudi Arabia or in Egypt, or Iraq or Syria.”
“The reason is,” he said, “is because the Quran teaches this and so, if they condemned it, they would be condemning the Quran, and they’re not going to condemn the Quran.”
“So, the teaching of the Quran permits slavery, it permits the killing of Jews, permits the killing of Christians, and it’s a very, very dangerous world in which we live and we need to be aware of the truth,” said the reverend.
The two radical Muslim terrorists that attacked the Charlie Hebdo editorial office in Paris killed 12 people, including a French policeman who they shot in the street, Jan. 7, 2014. (Photo: AFP)
Last week, less than 24 hours after Rev. Graham called upon Duke University to reverse its policy on allowing the Muslim Call to Prayer from the bell tower of the Christian chapel on campus, the school did so. It reportedly also had received much negative reaction from some Duke alumni and donors to the college about the proposed policy.
Rev. Graham is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Charlotte, N.C., and the international aid group Samaritan’s Purse. He is married, has five children, and lives in Boone, N.C. His famous father, Billy Graham, is 96 and reportedly in fairly good health and living at his family home in Montreat, N.C.
UK: James Blunt reignites 'too posh' row with Labour... accusing MP of provoking class war instead of helping the poor
Pop star James Blunt has attacked Labour shadow minister Chris Bryant after he criticised the number of posh actors and musicians
Singer James Blunt has fired off another shot in his war of words with outspoken MP Chris Bryant – after the Labour shadow minister criticised the number of posh actors and musicians in Britain.
Labour MP Chris Bryant claimed British culture was 'dominated' by stars like Blunt and Eddie Redmayne who went to expensive boarding schools.
The remarks, which come in the wake of Redmayne's best actor Oscar nomination last week, sparked a furious response from Harrow-educated Blunt.
The You're Beautiful star accused Mr Bryant of being a 'prejudiced wazzock' who was using the 'politics of jealousy' to win votes.
Mr Bryant hit back at the pop star's online attack - criticising him for being 'so blooming precious'.
But 40-year-old Blunt reignited the row this morning - taking to Twitter to accuse the Labour MP of failing to help people from ordinary backgrounds achieve success.
In a message posted this morning on Blunt’s official Twitter page, he wrote: ‘To help people at the bottom of the tree join those near the top, give them a ladder, not a bow and arrow.’
The message was more restrained than his online rant yesterday, in which he accused the Labour MP of being a 'prejudiced wazzock'.
In his letter to Mr Bryant, Labour's shadow culture minister, Blunt claimed that the £30,000 a year boarding school he attended did nothing to help him break into the music industry.
The Brit award-winner also claims that people in the music industry tried to get him to change his accent so he sounded less posh.
Blunt opened his letter to Mr Bryant by accusing him of being a 'classist gimp', despite the fact that the Labour MP himself was privately educated at £20,000 a year Cheltenham College before attending Oxford.
In Blunt's letter, he wrote: 'I happened to go to a boarding school. No one helped me at boarding school to get into the music business.'
He added: 'I bought my first guitar with money I saved from holiday jobs (sandwich packing!). I was taught the only four chords I know by a friend.
'No one at school had ANY knowledge or contacts in the music business, and I was expected to become a soldier or a lawyer or perhaps a stockbroker. So alien was it, that people laughed at the idea of me going into the music business, and certainly no one was of any use.'
Blunt said even in the army, which he joined after university, he was told that trying to become a pop star was a 'mad idea'.
He wrote: 'And when I left the army, going against everyone's advice, EVERYONE I met in the British music industry told me there was no way it would work for me because I was too posh. One record company even asked if I could speak in a different accent. (I told them I could try Russian).
'Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business. And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.'
He added: 'You come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don't deserve it, and that we must redress the balance.
'But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my s*** songs, and my plummy accent.
'I got signed in America, where they don't give a stuff about, or even understand what you mean by me and 'my ilk', you prejudiced wazzock, and I worked my a*** off.
'What you teach is the politics of jealousy. Rather than celebrating success and figuring out how we can all exploit it further as the Americans do, you instead talk about how we can hobble that success and 'level the playing field'.
'Perhaps what you've failed to realise is that the only head-start my school gave me in the music business, where the VAST majority of people are NOT from boarding school, is to tell me that I should aim high. Perhaps it protected me from your kind of narrow-minded, self-defeating, lead-us-to-a-dead-end, remove-the-'G'-from-'GB' thinking, which is to look at others' success and say, 'it's not fair'.'
Blunt signed off his letter: 'Up yours.'
But Mr Bryant accused the pop star of being 'blooming precious'.
In a letter in response, the MP wrote: 'I'm not knocking your success. I even contributed to it by buying one of your albums. I'm not knocking Eddie Redmayne, either. He was the best Richard II I have ever seen.
'If you'd read the whole of my interview, you'd have seen that I make the point that the people who subsidise the arts the most are artists themselves. Of course that includes you.
'But it is a statement of the blindingly obvious that that is far tougher if you come from a poor family where you have to hand over your holiday earnings to help pay the family bills.'
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.