By Joe Carter, Canon and Culture
By Joe Carter, Canon and Culture
By Tristin Hopper, National Post
In a Detroit courtroom this month, a British Columbia economist was called to the stand to help build the State of Michigan’s case that overturning its ban on gay marriage would be a mistake.
For four and a half hours, Douglas Allen was grilled by prosecuting attorneys on his small body of research on same sex parenting. Specifically, he was there to defend a trio of statistical studies purporting to show that same sex parenting does not compare to its heterosexual equivalent.
Then, in the final 30 seconds of the cross-examination, attorney Ken Mogill threw Mr. Allen an unexpected theological question: “Is it accurate that you believe the consequence in engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation from God?”
In an answer that would soon be called a “bombshell” by Detroit media, an off-guard Mr. Allen replied “without repentance, yes.”
Within days, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman effectively legalized Michigan gay marriage, and ruled that Mr. Allen’s research represented a “fringe viewpoint.”
Within hours of that, four Michigan counties had begun handing out marriage licences to same sex couples.
By Katherine Weber, Christian Post
By Ryan T Anderson, The Foundry
“It is important to note that the Supreme Court did not ‘uphold’ the repressive decision of the New Mexico Supreme Court but merely decided not to hear the case. We don’t know why, but this is not an affirmance of the lower court opinion. The high court’s decision today sets no legal precedent. There are other cases now in the pipeline and probably more to follow that will likely reach the Supreme Court.”
From Intolerance against Christians EU
Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla, which created and maintains the Firefox web browser, is under fire for having donated $1000 to Proposition 8 in California. Prop 8 was against changing marriage to make homosexual unions equal to heterosexual unions.
Among many protests against Brendan's 'politics', the dating site okCupid is blocking visitors to its site using Firefox and asking them to ditch the Mozilla browser as a way of punishing Mozilla and Brandon for his views.
The champions of tolerance once again have turned into bullies to harass and punish all who disagree with their opinions.
okCupid claims that 8% of their customers are gay. Well, 52% of California voters supported Prop. 8.
Sign our petition in support of the free speech and conscience rights of the Mozilla CEO and everyone's right to free political action free of harm and harassment.
Read and sign petition here (Non-US residents can use the 'No State' option at the top of the drop-down list)
By Brendan O'Neill, Free Speech Now!
Every man should think what he likes and say what he thinks.’ It is 350 years since Spinoza, the great Dutchman of the Enlightenment, wrote those simple but profound words. And yet every man (and woman) is still not at liberty to think what he or she likes, far less say it. It is for this reason that, today, spiked is kicking off a transatlantic liberty-loving online magazine and real-world campaign called Free Speech Now! – to put the case for unfettered freedom of thought and speech; to carry the Spinoza spirit into the modern age; to make the case anew for allowing everyone to say what he thinks, as honestly and frankly as he likes.
It is true that, unlike in Spinoza’s day, no one in the twenty-first century is dragged to ‘the scaffold’ and ‘put to death’ for saying out loud what lurks in his heart – at least not in the Western world. But right now, right here, in the apparently democratic West, people are being arrested, fined, shamed, censored, cut off, cast out of polite society, and even jailed for the supposed crime of thinking what they like and saying what they think. You might not be hanged by the neck anymore for speaking your mind, but you do risk being hung out to dry, by coppers, the courts, censorious Twittermobs and other self-elected guardians of the allegedly right way of thinking and correct way of speaking.
Ours is an age in which a pastor, in Sweden, can be sentenced to a month in jail for preaching to his own flock in his own church that homosexuality is a sin. In which British football fans can be arrested for referring to themselves as Yids. In which those who too stingingly criticise the Islamic ritual slaughter of animals can be convicted of committing a hate crime. In which Britain’s leading liberal writers and arts people can, sans shame, put their names to a letter calling for state regulation of the press, the very scourge their cultural forebears risked their heads fighting against. In which students in both Britain and America have become bizarrely ban-happy, censoring songs, newspapers and speakers that rile their minds. In which offence-taking has become the central organising principle of much of the political sphere, nurturing virtual gangs of the ostentatiously outraged who have successfully purged from public life articles, adverts and arguments that upset them – a modern-day version of what Spinoza called ‘quarrelsome mobs’, the ‘real disturbers of the peace’.
by Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
Anglican leaders spout dreary Left-wing pieties that pass for socialist thought, whether on Europe, immigration, or welfare.
Yet this establishment, so eager to parade its progressive credentials, is utterly craven towards militant Islam, which represents a growing threat to Christian and liberal values here and abroad.
[...] There is a crisis facing the world’s Christians as a result of mounting persecution by Muslim hardliners.
Yet the Anglican Church prefers to show solidarity with environmentalists in pursuit of a green agenda rather than with its co-religionists in defence of their faith and lives.
On the day Williams’s article appeared it was reported from Pakistan that Christian Sawan Masih has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend.
When the accusation was first made against Masih about 3,000 protesters set fire to Christian homes and churches in his native city of Lahore.
This is the terrifying reality of life for Christians in much of Asia and Africa, though you would hardly know it from the muteness of our established church.
Again in Pakistan, Christian Asia Bibi has been on death row since 2010 after her conviction for blasphemy.
Two Pakistani politicians who dared to speak up for her have been assassinated while her family has gone into hiding. It is the same grim pattern elsewhere.
In Nigeria at least 119 people were killed in three Christian villages by Muslims armed with guns and machetes.
In Kenya gunmen stormed a Christian church, shouting “Allah is great” as they killed seven worshippers.
We in Britain have experienced nothing like that kind of violence but disturbingly Muslim zealots are gaining in confidence, particularly as they perceive the failure of society to defend our traditional values of tolerance and equality.
March 31st, 2014 Jill Posted in Religious Liberty Comments Off
From The Christian Institute
Police who wrongfully arrested Christian street preacher John Craven and detained him in custody for over 19 hours, have settled the claim for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of his human rights.
Mr Craven preached on John 3:16. He then stopped preaching when two homosexual teenagers asked him what he thought of gays. He replied by saying that what he thought didn’t matter – what mattered was what God thought. He then quoted from the Bible.
The youths responded by kissing in front of him and taunting him with crude and suggestive gestures.
The police then arrested Mr Craven and placed him in custody, denying him food, water and access to medication for his rheumatoid arthritis for almost 15 hours.
Through our Legal Defence Fund we were able to support Mr Craven’s claim and we are delighted that Mr Craven will now receive £13,000 in compensation plus legal costs from Greater Manchester Police.
By Alice Philipson, Telegraph
Chauffeurs, photographers and caterers could have to pay thousands of pounds in damages if they refuse to provide services to a same-sex wedding
Chauffeurs, photographers and caterers will break the law if they do not provide services to same-sex couples getting married on conscience grounds, the government's equality watchdog has said.
In accordance with new rules introduced yesterday, businesses such as florists, hoteliers and wedding planners could have to pay thousands of pounds in damages to same-sex couples if they refuse to work on a gay wedding.
The guidance, drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and civil servants, makes it clear that "refusal to provide services to customers" is in breach of equality laws and all weddings must be catered for on an equal basis.
Churches, religious organisations and other groups opposed to same-sex marriage could be denied contracts with publicly funded bodies such as schools, hospitals and prisons, according to The Sunday Times.
Under the new rules, they could lose contracts or be refused grants for any service where their opinion on same-sex marriage cold be "relevant", such as marriage guidance counselling or during the process of adoption or fostering children.
Famed Irish singer, politician, and pro-life leader Dana Rosemary Scallon warns that Christians in the West could soon be banned from teaching their faith because of the tightening grip of pro-homosexual anti-discrimination laws.
by Gillan Scott, God and Politics in the UK
Yesterday the Minister for Faith & Communities, Baroness Warsi chaired the first meeting of the Foreign Office group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website, the group, which includes Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Joel Edwards, the International Director Micah Challenge, is intended to advise FCO Ministers and staff on promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief worldwide. Referring to the meeting, Baroness Warsi gave this quote:
March 20th, 2014 Jill Posted in Religious Liberty Comments Off
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Supreme Court deputy president Lady Hale calls for ‘accommodation’ for faith under the law as she warns Britain ‘less respectful’ of religious belief than some other countries
Christians with traditional beliefs about issues such as homosexuality should be given “reasonable accommodation” in law, Britain’s most senior woman judge has said.
Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said the UK is “less respectful” towards people with religious views than other countries, despite its long Christian traditions.
She questioned whether the current “hard line” approach to discrimination claims, based on EU law, could be sustained in the long term.
Her comments, in a lecture at Yale law School in the US, follow a series of cases in which British Christians claimed to be suffering religious discrimination but lost their cases.
They include Shirley Chaplin, a nurse from Exeter, who was banned from wearing a cross at work as well as Gary McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a marriage registrar, who both lost their jobs after resisted performing tasks they said went against their religious beliefs.
by David Barrett, Telegraph
A Christian couple who were told it was illegal to turn unmarried couples away from their guesthouse have launched a landmark legal case at the European Court of Human Rights.
Sue and Jeff Green, who run a 13 bed B&B in mid Wales, advertised that only married couples were allowed to take double rooms.
But at the end of last year they received a letter from the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s “legal enforcement team” informing them they could be guilty of discriminating against gay couples.
Now Mr and Mrs Green have secured the backing of the Christian Legal Centre to take their case direct to Strasbourg in a bid to establish whether Christians’ beliefs and human rights are superseded by equality laws.
Mr Green said Christian businesses were now “struggling” to be true to their principles of faith because of demands placed on them by the state.
He added that the EHRC’s letter, which warned them it was “unlawful” to discriminate against someone over their sexual orientation, had arrived out of the blue and they had received no complaints direct from members of the public.
Traditional attitudes to issues such as sexuality are being shut out of debate by a new form of liberal “censoriousness” which only allows “inoffensive” opinions to be heard in public, Britain’s most senior judge has warned.
Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said that Britain could be becoming less diverse rather than more because once common opinions are now deemed “unacceptable”.
He likened the new form of “moral reaction” to the opposite but equally restrictive attitudes of previous generations.
….in the area of sexual attitudes, attempts to improve diversity risked bringing a new restrictiveness of their own.
It follows complaints from traditionalists who opposed gay marriage that they were unfairly being treated as homophobic because of their stance on matrimony.
At the height of the debate over the issue, a housing trust manager from Trafford, Greater Manchester, was demoted from his job and accused of discrimination because he said in a private Facebook posting that he thought same-sex weddings in churches were a step too far.
Lord Neuberger said: “A tendency appears to be growing in some quarters which is antithetical to diversity in a rather indirect and insidious way."
by PETER JESSERER SMITH, National Catholic Register
NEW YORK — The mayors of New York and Boston are standing with a handful of homosexual activists in a boycott that organizers of those cities’ St. Patrick’s Day parades believe amounts to a public statement that means no Catholic values need apply.
In early February, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a high-profile announcement that he would not be marching in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. De Blasio said he took issue with the parade organizers’ refusal to allow units to join the parade with “pro-gay” signage.
Soon after, the city council also followed de Blasio’s lead and announced its own boycott of this New York Irish tradition, which has more than 200,000 participants marching down 5th Avenue in New York on March 17 with more than 1 million spectators each year.
De Blasio said that he would instead be “participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city.” De Blasio then marched March 2 in the “St. Pat's For All Parade” in Queens, an event organized by homosexual-rights activist Brendan Fey that garners a few thousand onlookers each year, and later posed for pictures with Irish drag queen “Panti Bliss.”
By Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
Most Reporters Are Simply Too Ignorant To Handle The Job
A broad religious liberty bill — renamed by a juvenile and nakedly activist press as “anti-gay” — gives us a good opportunity to see this dynamic in action.
Perhaps a framework for understanding the truth-avoiding goat rodeo the media participated in is in order. Here’s one provided by Jon Swerens, which he calls the “OOOOOPSI” model:
Opportunity: First, we need a hot-button event that is a proper catalyst for the cycle. Recent examples were supplied by Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Susan G. Komen, and now, Arizona’s proposed law.
by Bart Gingerich, Juicy Ecumenism
In a recent Huffington Post article, Christianity Today’s Skye Jethani joined Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt to condemn conservative Christian appeals to religious liberty in declining such services as photography and cake baking to same-sex wedding ceremonies.
[...] But the craftsman has a different issue to consider: proximity. Immediately before him stands a couple, about to engage in a social evil, asking him to bless and sanctify the very event of cultural degeneracy with his talents and gifts. “Bless?” “Sanctify?” Yes! For every man’s work is an act of worship to God. While sacred ministry in a wedding liturgy is indeed quite different, there is an element within the Genesis mandate where humanity is responsible to make the wider creation glorify its Maker. In some sense, the product of a human being’s creation can be seen as an offering to God, which can also be a means of loving one’s neighbor.