Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bake This Particular Cake, Bigot
The American media would have you believe there is a concerted effort among Christians in America to discriminate against gay Americans. “No gays allowed,” they claim small Christian business owners are saying. It is a fiction created to avoid dealing with the facts. The fact is I am unaware of any Christian business that refuses to serve gay customers, but I am aware of many gay activists targeting Christian small businesses for persecution.

The latest issue is also the one where the Left has most dramatically overplayed its hand. Jack Phillips, a baker in Denver, CO, has been compared to a Nazi participating in the holocaust. A member of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission said that. What crime did Phillips commit? He dared to offer a cake to a gay couple for their same-sex wedding.

You may need to read that last sentence again. Phillips is both a committed Christian and a renown artist. His cakes are elaborate creations. Phillips was willing to provide a cake for the same-sex wedding, but Phillips was not willing to provide his extra artistic talents for the particulars that the couple wanted. They could have the wedding cake, but he was not going to customize it the way they wanted it. For that, Phillips had to be prosecuted.

Before going further, it would be helpful for you to know just how committed a Christian Phillips is. He will gladly bake a cake for a gay person, but he will not bake a cake for a Christian who wants a Halloween-themed cake. Phillips believes Halloween is a pagan holiday that dishonors God, so he will not lend his artistry to its celebration. He will not bake cakes for anyone’s second wedding, even if a church is willing to do the wedding. Divorce is a sin. Phillips will not bake cakes celebrating other religions’ religious holidays.

But Phillips was willing to bake a cake for the gay couple for their wedding. Still, he must be prosecuted because he would not customize it the way they wanted. For that, he must be shamed, boycotted and compared to a Nazi. His case is now before the Supreme Court. He goes in the company of Baronelle Stutzman. She regularly provided flowers to a gay couple in Washington. She had a long list of gay customers that she lovingly served. But Stutzman would not provide flowers for the same-sex wedding of her longtime customers. The couple did not file charges against Stutzman. They were, after all, friends and longtime customers. But the state of Washington pursued her anyway.

Stutzman was found guilty of discrimination by the Washington State Supreme Court and risks losing her home, her business, and even her dog because of the judgment unless His Majesty Anthony Kennedy, the supreme ruler of the United States, deigns to carve out some small exception for Christians in private enterprise.

It really all comes down to Anthony Kennedy, who decided the Supreme Court had the power to change the multi-thousand-year-old definition of marriage, despite the government not having created it. Now Kennedy will tell us whether the First Amendment’s “free exercise of religion” language means we can actually freely exercise our religion or only believe it without living it.

What the Christians before the United States Supreme Court want is not a ruling that says they can discriminate against gays and turn away a gay couple from their business. All they want is a ruling that says their artistic talents are speech and their speech cannot be compelled to endorse a religious ceremony they disagree with.

The compromise here should be obvious. Just as we should abhor the idea of forcing a black printer to print the fliers for a Klan rally or forcing the Muslim butcher to carve a pig for a church barbecue, we should not force the Christian to provide goods and services to a religious ceremony their religion decries as sin. You may disagree, but who are you to tell someone else how to live his faith? Anthony Kennedy, though, is our supreme ruler and he will tell us all.


Black Church Leaders Defend Baker in Wedding Cake Case

A Colorado baker has a right not to make a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage that is against his faith, and the LGBT agenda is not a new civil rights movement, black Christian leaders said Monday outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nine leaders spoke in support of Jack Phillips, whose lawyers will ask the high court Dec. 5 to affirm that his free speech and religious liberty rights under the First Amendment allow him to turn down a request by two male customers to create such a cake.

“The First Amendment gives us the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion,” Garland Hunt, senior pastor at The Father’s House, a nondenominational church in Atlanta, said at the press conference in defense of Phillips, who was not there. “The freedom of religion is an inalienable right that comes from God.”

In 2012, Phillips declined the business of two men who visited his bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and asked him to create a cake celebrating their wedding in Massachusetts.

His Christian faith, Phillips has said, teaches that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. He also has said he doesn’t design and make cakes that go against his faith in other ways, such as being sexually suggestive or depicting Satan.

Persecution of Christians is real and “coming for America,” Hunt said.

Dean Nelson, co-founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of North Carolina and senior fellow for African-American affairs at the Washington-based Family Research Council, said Phillips is being attacked because he is a Christian.

“Jack is an honorable man who has served his community through his business for all people, regardless of their race, creed, color, gender, or sexual identity,” Nelson said. “Jack as a Christian is compelled to love all people, and this is what he has done for decades.”

The Frederick Douglass Foundation, which promotes Christian and conservative values,  sponsored and organized the press conference, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group that defends religious liberty and represents Phillips.

The foundation also has launched a website in support of Phillips called We Got Your Back, Jack.

Janet Boynes, author of “Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom,” said the civil rights movement started to help blacks gain their rights and sexual behavior is not the same as skin color. “I resent having my race compared to what other people do in bed,” Boynes said.

LGBT activists want special rights, she said, and she is concerned that people are falling for the idea that homosexuality is not a choice. American culture is in a “downward spiral,” she said. “God only condones and blesses sex between a man and a woman in marriage,” she said.

William Avon Keen, president of the Virginia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization co-founded by civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., said activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans have hijacked civil rights.

Unlike many LGBT activists, Keen said, he dealt with separate and unequal public facilities when he was growing up.

Keen said the Bible calls homosexuality a sin.  “We as Christians, we feel that murder is a sin. … We feel that marriage is ordained by God between a man and a woman,” Keen said. “We don’t believe in the third gender.”

He said the civil rights movement of the 1960s was “anti-sin,” and that today Christians are “too quiet” on societal issues and need to speak up.

“It is an injustice for our nation or anyone to try to force an individual to deny their faith,” Keen said.


Abortion: people are becoming more pro-life – despite the liberal media hegemony

When Jacob Rees-Mogg was interviewed by Piers Morgan and asked for his views on abortion, he was condemned, stigmatised, mocked and reviled for opposing it in all circumstances – even when women have been victims of rape or incest. He was called ‘bigot‘, ‘misogynist‘, ‘backwards‘… “extremely rightwing and reactionary“… “He belongs in the 18th century“…

Except according to an ICM survey for the BBC, he belongs foursquare in the 21st century, because only 46% of people support abortion in cases of rape, and just 41% in cases of incest:

Not that the BBC told you that: they suppressed ‘inconvenient’ statistics from their programme ‘Abortion on Trial‘ because it’s important for them not so much to convey facts impartially, as to inculcate the necessity for liberalising abortion laws further while persuading the public that the BBC are mere facilitators of an impartial debate.

Fatima Salaria is the BBC new head of Religion & Ethics (tweets protected – no response to ‘follow’ request in over six months), and according to the Mail she promised an impartial programme. Yet “No experts were filmed giving alternative viewpoints…”

“It is completely wrong to suggest that the BBC suppressed the results of the poll,” protested a spokesperson. “They were released to the press prior to transmission, were referred to throughout the programme and have been published in full on the ICM website.”

Which may be true, but the medium is the message: in a visual age where films are truth and the telly is a guru, people aren’t much bothered by academic footnotes. The point is that ‘Abortion on Trial’ failed even to mention that less than half of respondents to the ICM poll favour abortion in cases of rape.

So the bigoted, misogynistic, backwards, right-wing, reactionary, 18th-century Jacob Reees-Mogg is actually with the majority on this. But don’t expect the left-liberal media to report that.

Perhaps more significantly, only 13% support abortion for Down’s Syndrome:

And perhaps even more significantly, the proportion of Roman Catholics who advocate abortion in certain circumstances is not significantly different from the proportion of Protestants, which will come as rather a shock to a great many. Is that a result of the lack of episcopal leadership on the issue over generations, or the ubiquity of Professor Tina Beattie?

Either way, the takeaway fact from these stats which needs trumpeting and blogging to the four corners of the United Kingdom is that the ‘pro-choice majority’ which the mainstream media keep banging on about simply doesn’t exist.

But don’t expect the BBC to tell you that.

This Friday (27th October) marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967. Among commemorative events, the Life charity will be holding a minute’s silence at 11.05am – the precise time at which the Act received Assent – to remember the 8.8 million souls lost to abortion since that day. There will be a large Abort67 display in Parliament Square, so those who wish to reflect will be gathering in Old Palace Yard by the statue of King George V at 10:30. Lord Alton will be among speakers. All are welcome.


2 States Ravaged by Opioids Show Difference Faith Makes

There is a strong correlation between lack of religious attendance and illicit drug use, research shows in contrasting two states hit hard by the opioid crisis.

The parallels are demonstrated by two comparative studies of New Hampshire and West Virginia.

West Virginia suffers from an ailing economy, while New Hampshire has a strong economy, noted J. Scott Moody, CEO of the Granite Institute, a conservative think tank. The institute takes its name from the fact that New Hampshire is known as the Granite State.

“It’s not just economics causing the overdose problems. There are other factors,” Moody told The Daily Signal.

Moody and Wendy P. Warcholik, co-directors of the American Conservative Union’s Family Prosperity Index, issued the West Virginia report in September and the 2017 Family Prosperity Index report in February.

The February study reveals a regional problem.

A large and growing body of evidence shows that not only can religion help prevent people from using illicit drugs, but it also plays a strong role in effective treatment programs. … The northeastern states dominate the upper-left quadrant of the chart [see page 123], where low religiosity is correlated with high drug use, while deep southern states and Utah dominate the lower right quadrant, where high religiosity is correlated with low drug use.

Moody noted that New Hampshire has a serious problem, not only with opioid addiction, but also a related problem with a high suicide rate. One in 10 young adults say they have had suicidal thoughts.

“You have to ask, why is that? Our economy is booming. We’re pretty much at full employment. Anybody who wants a job can find a job,” Moody said. “So we looked at more social-type issues. For example, New Hampshire is one of the least religious states in the country. It’s New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. It’s a race to the bottom. … We suggest there is a strong correlation between illicit drug use and religious attendance.”

By contrast, data seems to be showing some improvement in West Virginia, he said.

“Ironically, West Virginia is much more religious than northern New England, and that has actually suppressed their illicit drug use, which was a positive for West Virginia, but they still have a suicide problem along with it,” Moody said.

The Family Prosperity Index found that “[b]etween 2000 and 2015, New Hampshire’s drug overdose rate increased by 724 percent to 0.033 percent (2nd highest) from 0.004 percent. Over the same time period, the national average grew by 148 percent to 0.017 percent from 0.007 percent.”

West Virginia’s illicit drug use rate as a percent of population exceeded the national average in most years; however, the state has seen some reversals.

The study released in September says, “In 2014, West Virginia has the 20th-lowest illicit drug use rate (except marijuana) at 2.5 percent and the second-lowest regionally, just ahead of Virginia (2.3 percent, 14th-lowest).”

The findings show:

While West Virginia’s current low ranking is encouraging, the recent bounce-back between 2013 and 2014 suggests continued vigilance is needed, as it may indicate a return to a higher illicit drug use rate (except marijuana) in the years ahead (perhaps to levels of the near past between 2004 and 2010).

A significant reason for why West Virginia’s illicit drug use rate is relatively low is due to the state’s above-average religious attendance. In 2015, 44 percent of West Virginians attended church at least once per week (tied for the 17th-highest with Missouri and Indiana), which is 16 percent above the national average of 38 percent.

Regionally, West Virginia had the second-highest level of religiosity trailing only Kentucky (47 percent, 10th-highest). All other neighboring states were lower in religiosity: Virginia (42 percent, 22nd-highest), Ohio (40 percent, 23rd-highest), and Pennsylvania (38 percent, 31st-highest).

The research measures religiosity using Gallup data, which has tracked weekly church attendance since 2008.

Other national research backs this up more broadly on drug use.

The reports point to a 2001 study, “So Help Me God: Substance Abuse, Religion and Spirituality,”  from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse that found:

“[A]dults who never attend religious services are almost twice as likely to drink, three time likelier to smoke, more than five times likelier to have used an illicit drug other than marijuana, almost seven times likelier to binge drink and almost eight times likelier to use marijuana than those who attend religious services at least weekly … .

“[T]eens who never attend religious services are twice as likely to drink, more than twice as likely to smoke, more than three times likelier to use marijuana and binge drink, and almost four times likelier to use illicit drugs than teens who attend religious services at least weekly.

A 2005 study, “Faith Matters: Race/Ethnicity, Religion and Substance Use,” from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a research center focused on education and opportunities for young people, found:

Religion is an important protective factor against substance abuse and an important support for persons in recovery. Religious people are less likely than others to use drugs and less likely to experience negative drug-related consequences.

The office of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is also conducting the Social Capital Project, a multiyear research effort looking at “associational life,” which includes families, communities, workplaces, and religious congregations. The report doesn’t single out religion as a mitigating factor to addiction, but notes that isolation is a major cause.

“Studies show that social networks influence the behavior of their members, affecting whether they are obese or fit, happy or sad,” the Lee project says. “The stark fact is that socially isolated people and others without social support die younger. Even among people with adequate social support, health status is connected to the health of their friends, family, and co-workers.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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