Monday, November 02, 2015

Baker Who Doesn’t Want to Make Wedding Cakes for Same-Sex Couples Takes His Case to Colorado Supreme Court

Another layer has unfolded for cake artist Jack Phillips. He has asked the Colorado Supreme Court to rule that the government cannot force him to bake a cake in celebration of a same-sex wedding.

In August, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that Phillips and his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, must bake cakes for same-sex weddings, even though this violates Phillips’ Christian view on marriage.

“The freedom to live and work consistently with one’s faith is at the heart of what it means to be an American,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic talents to promote a message with which he disagrees.”

The lawsuit started in 2012, when same-sex couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after Phillips declined to bake a cake in celebration of their wedding.

Phillips, found to have discriminated against the two men, continues a battle to defend his First Amendment rights.

“We are asking the Colorado Supreme Court to ensure that government understands that its duty is to protect the people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally, not force them to violate those beliefs as the price of earning a living,” said Tedesco, who represents Phillips.

A petition filed to the Colorado Supreme Court on Friday in part states:

    "Phillips … honors God through his creative work by declining to use his artistic talents to design and create cakes that violate his religious beliefs … This includes cakes with offensive written messages and cakes celebrating events or ideas that violate his beliefs, including cakes celebrating Halloween, anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism, or indecency … He also will not create cakes with hateful, vulgar, or profane messages, or sell any products containing alcohol … Consistent with this longtime practice, Phillips also will not create cakes celebrating any marriage that is contrary to biblical teaching".

“In America, no one should be turned away from a shop or restaurant because of who they are or who they love,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ria Mar argued for Craig and Mullins.

Phillips, who says he doesn’t think he committed an act of discrimination, has opted since March 2014 not to take any new orders for wedding cakes rather than be forced to create them for two men or two women.

“In Colorado, bakers can refuse to make cakes with a message opposing same-sex unions but can be fined out of business if they decline to bake cakes celebrating same-sex unions,” Roger Severino, director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said. “There is something wrong when government respects the freedom of some to run their businesses according to their values while targeting others, especially people of faith, with lawsuits, penalties, and fines.”

In April, Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out that three Denver bakeries were not found guilty of discrimination when a Christian customer was declined a cake that reflected opposition to same-sex marriage, a view that violated the conscience of those cake artists.

“Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced to express contrary views,” ADF lead counsel Nicolle Martin stated. “Forcing people to promote ideas against their will is not an American concept. It undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free.”


The British disease:  Plenty of money to pay for an army of bureaucrats and welfare payments to illegals but no money for police

Unless the police are harassing journalists with unsustainable charges or pursuing baseless allegation of pedophlilia, of course

A village is planning to hire its own private security team to tackle a crime wave after the local police force said it was getting rid of beat officers.

Burglaries have soared 250 per cent over the past 12 months in Tiptree, Essex, and other offences are on the rise.

But Essex Police insists it no longer has the resources to react to low-level crimes or isolated incidents.

Parish councillors decided to take action after learning police community support officers would no longer be available from April next year. The village had already lost its dedicated police officers and the police station was closed in 2011.

Councillors voted on Monday to look at increasing the precept paid by the 9,000 residents to cover the cost of security staff and a warden. Earlier this month its amenities committee recommended setting aside £12,000 in next year’s budget to pay for a trial scheme.

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has condemned the idea for potentially creating a ‘two-tier policing system’.

But villagers say they have no choice as they are being abandoned at a time when there has been a surge in crime in the area. The community has been subjected to 82 burglaries since September last year, a massive increase on the 33 during the previous 12 months.

There have also been spikes in criminal damage and arson, up from 33 incidents to 42; shoplifting, which has increased from 19 to 27; and public disorder, which rose from nine to 15.

During the same period there were three offences involving weapons, while none were recorded in the previous 12 months.

Parish council chairman Steve Bays said: ‘This is a last resort. All the council believes it should be a police officer’s or PCSO’s job. Essex Police is now a reactive force, not a preventative force.’

Amenities committee chairman Diana Webb warned criminals would take advantage of the situation if they knew there was no law enforcement.

‘We have to be realistic. There will be police cuts so we are not going to have the kind of police presence we had in the past, so we had to look at an alternative,’ she said.

‘We have a huge skate park and had problems in the summer with youngsters with fires being lit and young people gathering and using illegal substances.

‘We would look at the main times when we envisage there to be problems initially and we would trial it to see what happens.

‘The advantage of a security firm could be that they will patrol it in the evenings.’

Ironically, the skate park and a shelter at the site were installed several years ago on police advice to counter anti-social behaviour in the town centre.  But they now attract trouble and officers are too busy to monitor the area.

Many locals are unhappy about having to pay extra to keep their neighbourhood safe but accept there is no alternative.

Crime victim Peter Healey, 77, who recently had money stolen in an eBay fraud, said: ‘When I had to report what happened to me they told me to go to my local police station. I told them I can’t, it’s been closed down. ‘I was asked to do it online and it took Essex Police more than 56 days to send a reply, so I had to get my MP involved.’

Overall offences in Tiptree, which is near Colchester and is home to Wilkin and Sons jams, are up nearly six per cent over the past 12 months compared to the same period in 2013-2014.

Under a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme it could have public, private or voluntary sector staff with limited powers, including issuing penalty notices for minor offences. They would not have the power to detain or arrest suspects.

Mr Alston said he was concerned about residents paying for private security patrols.  ‘It has the potential to create a two-tier policing system,’ he said.

‘I would prefer that all of us who are residents in Essex pay a responsible amount for policing through our council tax.

‘For example, an extra 50p per week would fund an extra 300 offices in Essex working on behalf of the whole community and not just those who can afford and are prepared to pay considerably more for private security.’

Essex Police needs to save £60million over the next five years due to budget cuts. A spokeswoman said: ‘We need to put our frontline officers where the most harm is being caused in our communities.

‘That is on the frontline dealing with domestic abuse, violent crime, sexual offences and child abuse.’

Earlier this week it emerged an offer by wealthy villagers in Upton Grey and The Candovers in Hampshire to pay £60,000 for each of the next three years to keep a dedicated beat officer on their streets had been rejected.

Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes told them police provision had to be ‘equitable’.

In May, it emerged villagers in the Essex village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy were patrolling their neighbourhood in an effort to stem the flood of crime in their isolated community.


After Being Fired for Religious Views on Sexuality, Navy Chaplain Gets His Job Back

A military chaplain who was fired from his job after being accused of misconduct was cleared of any wrongdoing, reinstated to the Navy, and now accepted to serve at the San Diego naval base.

“I’m glad the Navy had my back,” Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Modder told The Daily Signal in an interview Monday.

Modder is a decorated chaplain who served at the Base Chapel Naval Weapons Station at Joint Base in South Carolina. He was removed from his unit after several of his fellow service members in the Navy complained about his views on homosexuality and sexual relationships outside marriage.

Among the allegations, the Navy wrote in a Feb. 17 “Detachment for Cause” letter that Modder told students “homosexuality was wrong,” insinuated that he had the ability “to ‘save’ gay people,” and “berated a pregnant student for becoming pregnant while not married.”

They also alleged that Modder had “failed to show tolerance” and that on multiple occasions, “he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds.”

On Sept. 3, a high-ranking Navy personnel commander rejected the request for detachment for cause, citing limited evidence.

“I have found the evidence of substandard performance in this case does not meet the standard of gross negligence or complete disregard of duty under reference,” Rear Adm. David Steindl, the head of Navy Personnel Command and deputy chief of Naval Personnel, wrote in a letter to Modder’s commanding officer. “Modder will not be detached for cause.”

While he’s grateful for the outcome, Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Modder says he feels the days of what he calls “comfortable Christianity” are over.

“The days of going to Church on Sunday and going throughout the week and not ever having anyone talk to you, I think, [are] gone,” Modder said. “We live in a very secular society, very postmodern. And people want to know what you believe. Even at the risk of being maybe attacked.”

The officer also informed Modder that the matter would be cleared from his official personnel record. Since then, Modder accepted an order to serve at Naval Base San Diego.

“It’s nice to have retirement, and it would be nice just to leave, but until—and not to over-spiritualize this—but until the Lord releases me, I need to be obedient to the calling that I have on my life to be a Navy chaplain.”


Multiculturalism is taking root and reordering society

It is there in small ways. For example, when the principal at a San Francisco middle school cancels the student government election because too many white students won—and cluelessly defends abrogating the student’s choice by saying, “I want to make sure the voices are all heard!”

It is also there when Salon writes the umpteenth brainless blog post (of the morning) decrying how there are not sufficient cast members of this group or that on any given TV show.

The whole new environment has left Peggy Noonan pining for Joe Biden, because the vice president reminds her of Democrats of old.

Those Democrats “did not spend their time endlessly accusing people of being sexist-racist-homophobic-gender-biased persons of unchecked privilege,” Noonan writes. “They would have thought that impolite.”

Another Narrative

On a bigger, more draconian level, multiculturalism ends one of our universities’ core missions, truth discovery, by closing students’ minds to other viewpoints.

And at its worst, multiculturalism is a blueprint for replacing the American narrative with a counter-narrative formed by values of the left such as income redistribution, reliance on government to apportion participation in society, and thinking of people as groups rather than as individuals and their families.

Perniciously, multiculturalism builds on the works of Marxist European thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci, whose “Critical Theory” has greatly influenced American progressives.

As my colleague John Fonte and I wrote recently in The Weekly Standard, multiculturalism inherits from Critical Theory the idea that society is “divided along racial, ethnic, and gender lines into a dominant group (white males) and ‘marginalized’ groups (ethnic, racial, linguistic, and sexual minorities). The goal of politics should be first to ‘delegitimize’ the ideas of the American system and second, to transfer power from the dominant group to the ‘oppressed’ groups.”

Gramsci himself was crystal-clear on this: “In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society.”

Another Warning

Multiculturalism has corrupted our vocabulary: The term “minorities” no longer applies to groups with ideas that must be constitutionally protected, as Madison worried, but to ethnic background. The word “communities” has become a functional abstraction (“the Puerto Rican community”) rather than a physical place with neighbors, churches, stores, and a bowling league.

Multiculturalism is, thus, precisely what Peter Thiel and David Sacks say it is in “The Diversity Myth,” their 1995 book: a “word game” that has allowed Marxists to succeed, where “an honest discussion would not lead to results that fit the desired agenda.”

And it succeeds because progressive multiculturalists incessantly have told immigrant groups that they need the government to protect them from native privilege. So, yeah, we are increasingly a nation of groups. That can lead to a fragmented culture and country, with dangerous long-term effects on our stability.

You know things are bad when Obama’s own pollster, Cornell Belcher at Harvard University, is urgently warning that we have self-segregated into a “Tribal America.”

“I think you will see our politics, our legislative bodies come to a complete halt, more so than they already have, if we don’t solve for this problem, if we can’t solve for the tribalism in our politics and be one big tribe and not several separate smaller tribes,” Belcher said.

I don’t mind celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo, especially if the food will be Mexican and the beer Irish on both occasions. But we’re talking about something much bigger here



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


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