Freedom Under Fire
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
LaBarbera allowed provisional entry into Canada for ‘Mischief’ trial Oct. 30 stemming from April protest at public university
Canada’s “Hate” Police: Above is an excerpt of the Border Services Agency document issued against Peter LaBarbera when he was originally denied entry into Canada in April on the basis that he and AFTAH “incite hate” in violation of the nation’s Hate Propaganda” law. LaBarbera was subsequently allowed into the country, but later arrested at a peaceful pro-life/pro-family protest at the University of Regina. Click to enlarge.
By Peter LaBarbera
UPDATE from author: After a short meeting in Regina with a Border Services official this morning, I was allowed to travel and speak in Canada until the completion of my trial Thursday upon agreeing to these two provisions:
“While in Canada:
- “If I am on private property, and am asked to leave that property by the owner for any reason, I must leave the property immediately;
- “If I am issued a direction or command by a police officer or other person in authority, follow that direction immediately.”
REGINA, Saskatchewan, Canada–Customs agents detained this writer (AFTAH president Peter LaBarbera) and did an intense search of my phone, laptop and belongings–as I arrived at Calgary International Airport late last night on the first leg of a trip to Regina, Saskatchewan for my trial on “mischief” charges October 30.
The mischief charges were filed against me and Canadian pro-family activist Bill Whatcott after Whatcott, and then me, refused on free speech grounds to abandon a peaceful protest April 12 against abortion and sodomy at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, a public university. [See AFTAH article HERE and LifeSiteNews article HERE on how I was almost refused entry into Canada on the basis of AFTAH’s alleged “hate.”]
The Calgary Border Services agents confiscated a DVD copy of a new Russian documentary called “Sodom” as potential “hate propaganda” in violation of Canadian law banning material or people who could potentially “incite hate” based on “sexual orientation.”
Ironically, “Sodom”–which I have yet to watch–is available and easily accessible in Canada (and worldwide) on YouTube. Whatcott told me that he had already shared the documentary with his network of Canadian supporters across the country. “Sodom” features an interview with American pro-family leader Scott Lively of Defend the Family International. Lively, who received AFTAH’s American Truth-Teller Award on 2011, is currently running for governor as an independent in Massachusetts.
If the Russian film is deemed “hate propaganda” by the government’s “Prohibited Importation Unit” in Ottawa, it will be destroyed, two border agents informed me. If “Sodom” does not meet that designation, it will be mailed back to my home in Illinois.
Either way, the seizure of the film would make it impossible for me to view and/or present it to others in Canada–were it not easily accessible to everybody with a web connection on YouTube. Such is the folly of state censorship in an Internet age.
Customs hearing today
Canadian pro-family activist Bill Whatcott and AFTAH’s Peter LaBarbera.
Despite my two-and-a-half hour detainment in Calgary, agents ordered me to attend another hearing today (Tuesday) with Immigration officials in Regina at 11:00 A.M.–for “further examination” on my “admissibility” into Canada. Nevertheless, Border Services agents told me that I would be able to attend my “Mischief” trial in Regina on Thursday and that I am “innocent until proven guilty” under Canadian law.
A border agent named Shane Paul (I called him “Paul” because that was on his uniform and I presumed that was his first name) asked me questions about a small speaking engagement I was to have with Whatcott and others this (Tuesday) evening. I was unsure of the location of the meeting, as the venue has been changed three times already–because skittish Canadians pulled out from hosting the event fearing leftist protests. You can read about one cancellation in the Regina Leader-Post HERE (Note: not included in the story is Whatcott’s assertion that the prospective host, Greg Kulak, was not telling the truth when he claimed NOT to know the nature of the event.) By the way, Whatcott distributed thousands of fliers advertising the event–which Kulak’s cowardly pullout rendered meaningless by abandoning the listed location for it.
As an American, let me say that it is remarkable how far official political correctness – enforced and encouraged by sometimes fanatical left-wing activists and abetted by an anti-conservative media – has not only shut down conservative speech in Canada but succeeded in punishing people who run afoul of various liberal ideologies—not limited to pro-homosexualism. For example, the Canadian owners of a conservative website, “Free Dominion,” shut it down after 13 years of operation in January after losing a defamation lawsuit to “human rights” legal activist Richard Warman. They were fined a total of $107,000 and ordered not to print anything negative about the leftist Warman—effectively censoring them as a public forum [See LifeSite article HERE].
In the two years that I have worked closely with Bill Whatcott, I have seen the extraordinary harassment and soft (and hard) tyranny he has had to endure in his quest to get out biblical truth and facts about homosexuality and abortion. Whatcott, who distributes tens of thousands of fliers door-to-door every year, was found guilty of Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” law by Canada’s highest court. Earlier this year, he was denied service by Aaron Rubin, a computer shop in Weybourn because the owner did not like Bill’s views; Whatcott sued under the “human rights” laws and won and–in a demonstration of Christian grace–did not push for a big financial judgment but instead asked Rubin to do volunteer service for a local pro-life group. Rubin opted not to do the service and paid a mere $200 to have it done.
Recently, Whatcott tried to submit a simple ad for his event tonight (where I am to speak) to the Regina Leader-Post newspaper. The ad’s innocuous headline was “Bringing the Light of Christ to Our Culture”–but that did not matter; it was refused anyway. He could have another “human rights” victory in store if he sues the liberal paper for anti-religious discrimination. (Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms ostensibly protects religious freedom.) But even if the ad had run, Whatcott would have been chased out of the venue for the event.
With such relentless leftist pressure led by a few fanatics like Warman, it is only the rare, brave soul like Whatcott who fights on for Truth in Canada, while so many others fall away in fear. (Note that in the Chicago area, AFTAH, too, has been chased out of venues after the leftist activists with the Gay Liberation Network wielded their spurious “hate group” accusation against us.)
Searching my phone, laptop, books and papers–again
Anyway, I cooperated fully with the Border Services “investigation” of me at the Calgary airport, as I did in April at the Regina International Airport. Agent Paul and another Agent with the last name of Meehan went through—as in April—my:
- Books (including Dr. Michael Brown’s “Can You Be Gay and Christian?”; his book, “Something Queer Happened to America”; Robert Reilly’s book, “Making Gay OK”; and Frank Turek’s “Correct, Not Politically Corrrect: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone”)
- Tracts: I brought a bunch of ex-“gay” Stephen Bennett’s tract “I WAS ‘Gay’”; and
When Shane asked me about Westboro Baptist Church (with its “God Hates Fags” message), I told him that AFTAH has always condemned Westboro, as has every other pro-family group I have worked with. I told them that AFTAH has long condemned violence and genuine hatred against homosexuals or anyone, for that matter.
At one point in the search, Shane asked me if I had children and then I asked him if he had children. He asked me as if offended: “Why do you ask that?” and then said, “I’m gay.” I told him I meant nothing by it and that I ask a lot of people that question. I told him my five children are a tremendous blessing and he said he may want to adopt children some day.
Once Shane’s “gayness” was out in the open, it was almost easier to have a conversation about my work and the larger homosexual issue. I told him that disagreement with homosexuality does not equal “hate,” despite the best efforts of LGBT activists to conflate the two. He and Meehan laughed when I told them that I couldn’t be a “homophobe” because if I truly “feared” homosexuals, I could not do AFTAH’s work, which requires me to be around many homosexuals.
Despite the awkwardness of the situation, it helped this time, compared to my April airport search in Regina, that Shane and Meehan, the two fellows handling my entry at Calgary, were actually interested in my explanation of what I and AFTAH do. They appreciated my defense of civility in the “gay” debate and I think Shane was satisfied that I didn’t hate him or homosexuals in general. I thanked him for his professionalism.
Shane asked me if anything i would present on Wednesday could be construed as “hateful.” I told him no, but explained that they’re is a lively debate going on in the culture about what constitutes “hate” on this question. I explained, and he agreed, that we could have a civil discussion about homosexuality and yet agree to disagree.
Paul discovered in my belongings the Human Right Campaign report, “Exporting Hate,” with its highly unflattering graphics of me and Michael Brown, and Mat Staver. (Others are targeted in the “Hate” booklet, but I only taken copies of the pages with the shadowy images of myself, Brown and Staver.)
He asked me about this quotation accurately attributed to me by the HRC “Export of Hate” hit-piece:
“Kids would ‘be better off in a single-parent household [compared to a homosexual-led household]…because you’re not modeling homosexual behavior. When you have two men raising a young child, that child grows up learning, basically, dysfunction and a sexual perversion as normality.” (Alan Colmes Show, 1/7/14)
Shane seemed especially concerned about my use of the word “perversion” and suggested in so many words that there is no religious (biblical) case for that word. I explained that historically the word has been used in association with homosexuality and that we also make the case that Natural Law opposes homosexuality.
Stay tuned for updates. Please pray for my meeting with Immigration officials today, and for our meeting (if it happens) this evening—and lastly, for Bill’s and my trial Thursday in Regina on the ridiculous “Mischief” charge leveled against us for defending life and sexual morality at—of all places—a public university.
Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Thomas More Law Center promises “game changer” in new “national strategy to defend traditional marriage”
SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS NOT A “CIVIL RIGHT”: Pastor Emery Moss (L.), Pastor Danny Holliday, and Evangelist Janet Boynes (a former lesbian) listen during Thomas More press conference announcing national strategy to defend marriage. Said Holliday: “We all know that the 14th Amendment was made because Black folk were considered as property. Gays have never been considered as property.”
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national, nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI held a press conference yesterday to reveal its national legal strategy to combat the slew of recent federal court rulings which have overturned state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
A Game Changer—Thomas More Law Center Reveals National Strategy to Defend Traditional Marriage
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, disclosed that a legal team has been formed to file friend-of-the-court briefs (amicus briefs) on behalf of a Coalition of African-American pastors and Christian leaders. The legal team consists of the Law Center’s senior trial counsel, Erin Mersino, and co-counsels William R. Wagner and John S. Kane of Lansing, MI.
Thompson explained, “In its briefs, the Law Center reflects the voice of a majority of African-Americans that discrimination because of one’s sexual preference is not the same thing as racial discrimination and that tradition and morality should not be discarded as a basis of the law; as the pro-homosexual judges have done in their opinions.”
Several pastors representing the African-American community spoke at the press conference, including Bishop Samuel Smith, and Pastors Danny Holliday and Emery Moss. Evangelist Janet Boynes, a former lesbian and a member of the group, also spoke. In eloquent and at times fiery words, they all defended the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Read the rest of this article »
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Is homosexuality compatible with Christianity? Can you be proudly “gay” and Christian? How do I reach out to my ‘gay’ friends without compromising the Gospel?
“Gay Christianity”—or a new apostasy? Dr. Michael Brown will address the hot topic of “Can you be ‘gay’ and Christian?” as the keynote speaker at Americans For Truth’s dinner-banquet Saturday, Oct. 25, at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights IL. Doors open at 5:30; dinner is at 6:30. To sign up online for just $20/person, go to AFTAH.org/donate/; or mail you check to: AFTAH, PO Box 5522, Naperville, IL 60567-5522. Tickets are $25 dollars at the door. Click HERE for a PDF Flier about the banquet. To watch a video of Dr. Brown’s amazing life story, see: “From LSD to Phd.”
[PRINTABLE BANQUET FLIER: [click HERE]
AFTAH Banquet Web Page: [click HERE]
Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) is excited to host Dr. Michael Brown to keynote our Oct. 25 “Teaching Banquet” built around the theme of Dr. Brown’s new book, “Can You Be Gay and Christian?: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality.” Please bring your friends and family to this information-packed event at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, IL.
This is an excellent opportunity to teach adults young and old who are confused about homosexuality and “gay marriage.” They will hear Dr. Brown and our outstanding team of speakers answer such tough questions as:
- Are people ‘born gay’?
- How should I answer when an LGBT advocate says “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality”?
- What do I say when I’m accused of “judging” my friends living a homosexual lifestyle?
- What is the best response when pro-homosexual “marriage” activists say: “How does a loving and committed ‘gay’ couple’s same-sex marriage affect YOUR marriage?”
- What is the best way to reach out in love to my homosexual friends and family members—without compromising the Gospel?
[More on Dr. Brown: Dr. Brown is an American treasure. To watch a video about Dr. Brown's amazing life story, watch "From LSD to Phd"]Read his excellent column, ‘No One is Born Gay.” To read Brown’s column on Houston lesbian Mayor Annise Parker’s effort to subpoena the sermon notes of five local pastors, see his column: “Mayor Parker, City Attorney Feldman: You Will Not Put Us in the Closet.“]
WHO: Dr. Michael Brown, author, “Can You Be Gay and Christian?: Responding with LOVE & TRUTH to Questions About Homosexuality” ; also, ex-“gay” leader Stephen Black and Mission America president Linda Harvey will be speaking. And AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera will discuss his upcoming “Free Speech” trial in Canada, which almost BANNED him from entering that country on the basis that he would “incite hate.”
WHEN: Saturday, October 25; doors open at 5:30 PM; dinner served at 6:30.
WHERE: Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights, IL 60004
COST: Tickets are only $20/person in advance (payment received by Oct. 24) or $25 at the door. Dinner is included. Table Sponsorship: just $200 for a table of 10. Sign up online at our AFTAH Donate Page [credit card form HERE] or mail your check to:
AFTAH, PO Box 5522, Naperville, IL 60567-5522.
THEME: “Can You Be Proudly ‘Gay’ and Christian? A Teaching Banquet on Homosexuality and the Church”
PDF Banquet Flier: [Click HERE]; AFTAH Banquet Web Page: [Click HERE]
Phone: 312-324-3787; E-mail to RSVP: americansfortruth[at]gmail.com; or email Brad Wallace at connops[at]yahoo.com.
Michael L. Brown holds a PhD from New York University in Near Eastern languages and literatures, and is recognized as one of the leading Messianic Jewish scholars in the world today. In addition to his latest book debunking “gay Christianity,” Dr. Brown is author of “A Queer Thing Happened to America,” a 691-page book on the LGBT agenda. He is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire. The author of more than 20 books, Dr. Brown is a contributor to The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion and other scholarly publications.
Changed Man: Former homosexual turned family man Stephen Black of First Stone Ministries will be attending AFTAH’s banquet Sat., Oct. 25 at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, IL. The keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Brown, author of “Can You Be ‘Gay’ and Christian?”
** UPDATE**: Two More Christian Leaders to Speak
Former homosexual (ex-”gay”) leader Stephen Black (right) of First Stone Ministries, based in Oklahoma City, will be attending our banquet. Stephen will offer his observations on the downfall of the ex-”gay” umbrella group Exodus International under false teaching–and the rise of Restored Hope Network to take its place as offering the hope of change for men and women struggling with homosexuality.
Also, Linda Harvey of Columbus-based Mission America–a leading Christian expert on the homosexual-bisexual-transgender agenda in schools–will be on hand at the banquet! Harvey will be signing her book, “Maybe He’s Not Gay: Another View on Homosexuality.” Also, Linda has now added a Study Guide to her book that is ideal for small group discussions and Bible studies.
Said AFTAH’s Peter LaBarbera:
“We are thrilled to have these two national pro-family leaders joining Dr. Brown at our banquet to answer your questions about the homosexual activist agenda and the “gay” campaign to subvert Christianity. If you are perplexed about how to respond to ubiquitous media propaganda surrounding homosexual ‘marriage’– and the new ‘gay Christian’ campaign to accommodate homosexuality–come and bring a friend or two to CLA this Saturday evening, October 25. You will leave better equipped to speak God’s truth in love in the culture!”
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
AFTAH received this lovely little note yesterday. It refers to my upcoming trial October 29 with Canadian pro-family activist Bill Whatcott, as a result of our arrest at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan–for engaging in a peaceful protest against abortion and homosexual activism. If I had a quarter for every nasty note like this sent to AFTAH, we’d raise some serious money for our Truth ministry! I replied to this fellow (whose name is probably not “Mark Barnard”), but he did not reply back. God bless. –Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH
P.S. I will be returning to Canada for the trial Oct. 29. But even if we lose the case, which is all about freedom of speech and religion in Canada with its odious “hate propaganda” law, it is highly unlikely that I will receive jail time, although Bill certainly could.
The following message was sent from the Americans for Truth Web site:
If you go to jail, just say nothing. If you are compelled to say something, you are likely going to be made an example of. Use larger and larger objects in your anus. This will make it less painful when they play with you. They will be heterosexuals penetrating you. The guards will have a good laugh at their dinner break. I get the sense you might be looking forward to it. Mark
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
President Obama signing two Executive Orders advancing homosexual and transgender “rights.” One adds “gender identity” to the existing federal nondiscrimination policy (joining “sexual orientation”). The other–addressed by Dr. Michael Brown below–compels federal contractors to abide by federal pro-LGBT nondiscrimination mandates. Obama declined to include a strong religious exemption in the latter Order. Photo: White House; click to enlarge.
The following is excerpted from an online appeal by pro-family author and advocate, Dr. Michael Brown to President Obama, in response to Obama signing an Executive Order designed to advance “gay rights”–and which is bereft of a strong religious exemptions as requested by a coalition of religious leaders. Dr. Brown–whose book A Queer Thing Happened to America is essential reading for those hoping to understand the far-reaching LGBT agenda–will be the keynote speaker at AFTAH’s banquet October 25th at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. This article first appeared in Charisma magazine.
President Obama, You Have Crossed a Dangerous, Unprecedented Line
9:00AM EDT, 7/22/2014 Michael Brown, Charisma, In the Line of Fire
President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order banning “discrimination” by federal contractors against LGBT people, allowing for no religious exemptions of any kind.
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you today as a concerned citizen of our great nation, standing as a witness against your historic actions on the morning of July 21, 2014, actions which I hope you will one day repudiate with deep remorse and regret.
I am referring, of course, to your signing an executive order Monday banning “discrimination” by federal contractors against LGBT people, allowing for no religious exemptions of any kind.
This was an outrageous act of discrimination against religion in the name of anti-discrimination—an act of bullying people of faith in the name of the prevention of bullying.
How can you, as a man who professes to be a person of faith and a follower of Jesus, throw religious Americans—in particular Christians—under the bus?
How can you attempt to force Christians, Jews, Muslims and others to violate fundamental aspects of their moral codes in order to appease a small but powerful special interest group, one that is not, in fact, suffering daily economic hardship by being fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or expression?
Have you forgotten entirely that our nation was founded on the concept of religious freedom?
Read the rest of this article »
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
I have two observations about this excellent piece by my friend, Barbwire.com founder, and AFTAH Board Member Matt Barber: 1) I wish all Christians could possess Matt’s resolve in defending Truth; and 2) only a tiny minority of believers understand what is coming down the pike, persecution-wise, from the combination of treating homosexuality as a “civil right” and the court-imposed legalization of “gay marriage.” This is Big Government imposing immorality on us all, and we must fight it with great vigilance. – Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH.org
The Coming Christian Revolt
By Matt Barber, July 21, 2014
From behind a smoking sniper rifle high atop his ivory tower peers the secular “progressive.” He surveys his many victims, strewn across the American landscape below and mockingly sneers, “War on Christianity? What war on Christianity?”
He then resumes shooting, all the while insisting that those uncooperative Christians who scatter for cover behind the Word of God and the U.S. Constitution somehow suffer from a “persecution complex” (the baker, the photographer, the florist, the innkeeper, the Christian school administrator, etc.).
Though there are many, it is plain for all to see that abortion and “sexual liberation” remain the two principal theaters in the ongoing culture war battlefront.
To fully advance the causes of radical feminism, abortion-on-demand, unfettered sexual license, gay marriage and the like, the pagan left must do away with religious free exercise altogether. Under the guise of “anti-discrimination,” Christians today face discrimination at unprecedented levels.
Let’s see if we can make this abundantly clear. Christians, true Christians—regenerate, Bible-believing Christians who strive their level best to maintain fidelity to the word of God and honor His commands—will not—indeed cannot—participate in, approve of, facilitate or encourage certain behaviors deemed by the Holy Scriptures to be immoral or sinful.
Read the rest of this article »
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
We at Americans For Truth certainly concur with Tony Perkins: the Democrats are playing a dangerous game by pandering to special interest groups (in this case radical feminists and homosexual activists) who seek to trample over Americans’ religious liberty and freedom of conscience. – Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2014
CONTACT: FRC Press Office, through Family Research Council
Conscience Crushing Bill Demonstrates Senate Democrats’ Wrong Priorities
July 16, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Research Council (FRC) urged the U.S. Senate to reject legislation proposed by Senate Democrats that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood ruling. The decision upheld religious liberty and protected the conscience rights of those family businesses that object to being forced to pay for drugs that have the potential to kill an unborn child.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:
“The world is falling apart, along with the U.S. economy, and yet Senate Democratic leaders think the future of the free world hinges on employers being forced — under the threat of crippling fines — to provide drugs that have the potential to kill an unborn child.
“Rather than address the problems in the Middle East, grow the GDP, or create jobs, Senate liberals are plowing ahead with their ridiculously unfair mandate that puts the jobs, livelihoods and healthcare of millions of Americans in jeopardy.
“Senate Democrats are insisting that family businesses be given two non-choices: either violate your deeply held moral beliefs and comply by paying for drugs and services to which you object, or pay crippling fines of up to $100 per day, per employee, for non-compliance.
“The Supreme Court Court reaffirmed that freedom of conscience is a long-held American tradition, and said that government cannot impose a law on American citizens that forces them to violate their beliefs in order to hold a job, own a business, or purchase health insurance. Apparently, Senate Democrats have forgotten that in America you have a right to exercise your own conscientious beliefs, and the government doesn’t have the right to trample them,” concluded Perkins.
Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Court’s defense of religious liberty for profit-making companies could help Christian small businessmen oppressed by “gay rights” laws
Current U.S. Supreme Court: left to right in back: Sotomayor, Breyer, Alito, Kagan. Front, left to right: Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg. Alito wrote the Hobby Lobby decision, and Kennedy is lionized by “gay” activists for writing last year’s decision striking down DOMA. Click to enlarge.
By Peter LaBarbera
It’s easy to understand why hard-core feminists with their frenzied, overblown “War on Women” rhetoric would be outraged by the Supreme Court upholding Hobby Lobby’s right as a Christian-run corporation not to be forced to provide abortifacients to its employees through an Obama-care mandate. (See Hillary’s misinformation on the decision HERE.) But why are liberal “gay” activists freaking out over the Hobby Lobby ruling?
The case was never about denying women birth control, but you wouldn’t know that from the “reporting” by liberal media and hyperventilating “progressive” bloggers. Hobby Lobby still provides 16 forms of birth control as a health benefit to its employees, but its founders—along with another Christian-owned corporation, Conestoga Wood Specialists—sued HHS over being forced to provide four contraceptive methods that could terminate a fertilized egg.
Hobby Lobby’s founders, David and Barbara Green, are committed Christians who believe that life begins at conception and should be protected. To quote the Court decision, “Hobby Lobby’s statement of purpose commits the Greens to ‘[h]onoring the Lord in all [they] do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.’” So strong is the Greens’ commitment to Jesus Christ that they have lost countless millions of dollars in profits over the years by closing their 500 craft stores nationwide on Sunday.
Now, one would think that obtaining cheap, subsidized contraception would be low on the priority list for homosexuals, seeing that two men or two women by themselves cannot produce a child. Nevertheless, Big Gay Inc is in a tizzy over the Supreme Court decision—because Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby isn’t really about contraceptives but rather whether Americans like the Greens will be free to live out their religious convictions.
Immediately after the decision, feminists flew into a rage, circulating crude versions of Justice Ginsburg’s dissent and distortions about women being denied birth control by their “male bosses.” Too bad most Americans will never read the actual Hobby Lobby decision—which lays out two diametrically opposed, competing visions about freedom of conscience and the role of government in these United States.
Freedom of conscience vs. Big Government
Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green, seek to use their business to glorify Jesus Christ. Their 500 stores across the country are closed on Sundays, costing the Greens many millions of dollars in profits.
On the side of preserving and even expanding Americans’ religious liberty were five judges: Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas. In his concurring opinion Kennedy writes:
“In our constitutional tradition, freedom means that all persons have the right to believe or strive to believe in a divine creator and a divine law. For those who choose this course, free exercise is essential in preserving their own dignity and in striving for a self-definition shaped by their religious precepts. Free exercise in this sense implicates more than just freedom of belief….It means, too, the right to express those beliefs and to establish one’s religious (or non-religious) self-definition in the political, civic, and economic life of our larger community.”
On the other side—of Big Government overriding citizens’ religious beliefs, restricting conscience exemptions to federal mandates, and putting federal power behind expanded access to entitlements–were Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan. In fact, Ginsburg spends nearly two pages in her dissent [see pp. 24-25] defending the idea that Obama-care’s provision of subsidies for IUD’s (intrauterine devices) –one of the four contraceptives resisted by Hobby Lobby as a potential abortifacient—is a “compelling government interest.”
As much as Ginsburg believes the majority’s “immoderate” reading of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is too broad, hers is too narrow: she ends by arguing that exemptions under the RFRA should be limited to explicitly religious organizations—leaving for-profit Christian businessmen like the Greens unprotected.
The bigger government gets–in both its “social justice” mission and the amount of goodies it gives out as “entitlements”—the greater the threat to Americans’ right to freely exercise their faith. This is precisely why homosexual activists are nervous about Hobby Lobby’s victory. If the nation’s highest court grants that even very large “closely held” family businesses like Hobby Lobby (which has more than 13,000 employees) possess a religious liberty claim under RFRA, then surely small family businesses like Elane Photography in New Mexico—owned by Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin—should have the right not to use their creative talents to serve homosexual “weddings,” which violate their Christian faith.
Read the rest of this article »
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