Thursday, March 31, 2016
Vetoing Religious Liberty
On Monday, religious liberty took another hit when Georgia Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature earlier this month. We have long warned that the path to same-sex marriage was a slippery slope because the Rainbow Mafia won’t stop their bullying until they get total acceptance of their way. And it’s made worse when proper protections can’t be put in place.
Deal apparently caved to the pressure of big business and chose to side with economic interests over Liberty and common sense. For a governor who has a reasonably conservative track record, this compromise on the principles of Liberty comes as a double blow. But it also demonstrates how the homosexual lobby along with big businesses that support that agenda won’t even tolerate the mildest form of protection for those who cherish religious freedom.
As the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson notes, “The Georgia religious freedom bill that Deal vetoed would have safeguarded clergy from having to officiate same-sex weddings, prevented faith-based organizations from being forced to hire someone who publicly undermines their mission, and prohibited the state government from discriminating against churches and their affiliated ministries because they believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”
But he also noted the bill was “the result of a series of compromises that significantly watered down the original version.” For example, the bill did not protect bakers, florists and other small business owners who might be involved in wedding ceremonies. Those are the ones who would benefit most from this legislation, but nevertheless several big business executives from Disney, Apple, Time Warner, Intel and Salesforce called governor Deal asking him to veto the legislation. The NFL and NCAA also threatened to yank future sporting events from the state.
Apparently the economic pressure, and threats of boycotts and of canceling football championships were too much for the governor and he sided with uncommon sense over the common good.
Anderson notes that in explaining his veto, Deal argued that the religious liberty bill “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people.” He also added that states should not pass any religious freedom laws, for religious freedom “is best left to the broad protections of the First Amendment.”
Ideally, he’s correct, but the governor is missing the point behind the bill that he just vetoed. As Anderson notes, “Americans need both broad protections and specific protections.”
Yes it is true that the First Amendment shields Americans from government encroachment on religious freedom. But it is also true that the Rainbow Mafia is increasingly aggressive in its fascist efforts to enforce “tolerance” — to force individuals and businesses to either violate conscience or be charged with discrimination.
This bill was designed to protect pastors, churches and Christian schools in Georgia from being forced to comply with the demands of homosexual activists. It is not enough for the homosexual activists and big businesses that support them to recognize that there are already some so-called churches and religious organizations that do accept and promote their lifestyle. No, they want everyone to accept and celebrate it.
Where is the tolerance in this? If you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, yet you can’t operate a business or a church on that belief, then where is the freedom? Obviously, there is no tolerance, only compliance, and if there isn’t compliance then there are and will be penalties.
Deal missed the perfect opportunity to take a stand for the truth. And by not taking a stand on principle, the liberty of the pastors, churches and religious schools in the Peach State is jeopardized, while the Rainbow Mafia is emboldened by a victory.
Our culture has and is changing, and for that reason alone it is essential that state and local governments preserve liberty for those who desire to maintain the traditional view of marriage being between one man and one woman.
There will be numerous legal challenges ahead, regardless of the outcome in Georgia. While this battle for religious liberty was lost, the war for our culture will continue. We must not cave to the pressures from those who seek to strip away one of our most fundamental freedoms.
State Dept. Hesitates to Confirm Terrorists Who Claimed to Target Christians Targeted Christians
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that he did not have “the fidelity of information to confirm overtly” that the massive suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan on Sunday was specifically targeting Christians celebrating Easter.
Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, the breakaway Taliban faction claiming responsibility for the attacks, told the Associated Press on Sunday that the suicide bomber “deliberately targeted the Christian community celebrating Easter.” He also said the attack was meant to protest Pakistan's military operation in the tribal regions.
At the State Department today, referencing the condemnatory statement made by the Department but which contained no reference of the targeting of Christians, AP reporter Matt Lee asked, “There’s been some commentary about why you guys didn’t mention either the Easter connection or the Christian connection in your condemnatory statements over the weekend and again today. Do you believe the claim of responsibility that Christians were targeted and are targets?”
“We have no indications that their claims of responsibility are false, though I can’t sit here and confirm it a hundred percent,” Kirby said. “Therefore I have no indications that their, the motivation that they claim was the reason is also false, but this is all going to be investigated by Pakistanis.”
Kirby also said that his failure to mention that the attack was specifically targeted against Christians on Easter Sunday in the State Department’s condemnatory statement “was as much a fact, or as much an indication of the fact that it had just happened and we didn’t know that much about the attack at the outset.”
“Is that your understanding now, though?” said Lee. “Do you believe that it was?”
Kirby replied, “We have no reason to doubt the veracity of their claims that this was aimed at Christians on Easter Sunday. But again I’m not also in a position, I just, we don’t have the fidelity of information to actually, you know, confirm overtly that that was in fact the case.”
“Clearly, that certainly appears to have been the case and we have no reason to doubt their claims,” said Kirby.
Gov. Scott Signs Bill Making Florida 12th State to Defund Planned Parenthood
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that defunds his state’s abortion clinics - including those run by Planned Parenthood (PP) - making Florida the 12th state to block state taxpayer dollars from going to the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The Termination of Pregnancy bill (HB 1411), sponsored by state Rep. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland), was passed by the Republican-led Florida House (76-40) and state Senate (25-15), and was included in a batch of 67 bills sent to Scott for his signature.
The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, prohibits any state funding to groups that own, operate or are affiliated with licensed abortion facilities. Florida law currently allows state funding for non-abortion services.
Abortion clinics are not allowed to “purchase, sell, donate, or transfer fetal remains obtained from an abortion… excluding costs associated with certain transportation of remains… Advertising, purchase, sale, or transfer of human embryos or fetal remains [are] prohibited” under the new law.
The legislation also “requires that physicians performing or inducing a termination of life procedure have admitting privileges at a hospital within a specified distance of location where the procedure is performed or induced.”
It also requires monthly reports by, and annual state inspections of, all Florida abortion clinics, which must meet the state’s regulatory standards for ambulatory surgical centers, including “emergency resuscitative and life support” equipment.
PP president Cecile Richards called the legislation “a cruel bill…designed to rip health care away from those most at risk.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. (AP photo)
Richards warned that “thousands of people across Florida may no longer be able to access essential reproductive health care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.”
But John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council, applauded the governor’s action.
“This is a historic victory and we are thrilled to have been an active part of this effort,” Stemberger said in a statement.
Stemberger had urged Scott to sign the legislation in a March 23 letter, pointing out that “there are 636 Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) sites and Rural Health Clinics in the state of Florida which are required by federal law to provide either directly or through established arrangements” obstetric, gynecological and preventive health services, among others.
Besides being “morally disqualified” from receiving taxpayer funding, he noted that “no Planned Parenthood facility offers the same level of care as FQHCs are required by law to provide.”
Besides Florida, legislators in nearly a dozen other states, including Texas and Ohio, have also voted to restrict state funding for Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos showing PP officials allegedly discussing the sale of aborted baby parts.
However, PP still receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the abortion provider received $553.7 million in “government health services grants and reimbursements,” according to its 2014-2014 annual report.
In January, President Obama vetoed a congressional attempt to defund PP. Congress’ attempt to override the veto the following month failed.
Muslim woman in Dearborn, MI drops her Hijab discrimination lawsuit after video shows she made it all up
A local Muslim woman has dropped her 2015 federal lawsuit against members of the Dearborn Police Department, whose officers she claimed violated her civil rights by requiring her to remove her hijab when she was taken into custody on a traffic warrant.
The city of Dearborn, which was also named as a defendant, said in a statement Wednesday that video taken in the police department’s booking room during the arrest “revealed that her claims were false.”
Maha Aldhalimi had claimed in the lawsuit that she had pleaded sever times with officers to allow her to leave her religious head covering on because of her deeply held religious belief. She claimed that if she didn’t remove it, it would be removed against her will.
When presented with the video evidence from the internal investigation, led by Police Captain Issa Shahin, Aldhalimi’s attorney withdrew the lawsuit on March 10, the city said.
“Dearborn police remain committed to respecting the rights of all people within our custody and we follow a stringent policy regarding religious head coverings,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said in the statement. “We knew this lawsuit had no merit and are glad that the people we serve can have confidence that our officers acted properly in this case.”
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.