Thursday, February 27, 2014
From: Gary L. Bauer
Brewer Picked The Pigskin
Sadly, as was widely predicted, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer yesterday vetoed SB 1062. Responding to her veto, Todd Starnes of Fox News tweeted, “Protect the Super Bowl or religious liberty? Brewer chose the pigskin.”
Worse than the veto was that the left was allowed to frame the debate. Legislation intended to preserve religious liberty was cast by most news outlets as an effort to restore Jim Crow laws, which prevented black Americans from being served by certain establishments. Those laws were evil and there was no motivation for them other than raw racism. And America has correctly decided that racism is wrong.
Now let’s turn to this latest dispute. America’s founding ideal is that our liberty comes from God, not government, and that this country would stand for religious liberty. That means no law can require the Amish to electrify their homes or install telephones in their homes. Self-employed Amish workers are not required to pay Social Security taxes either.
It has always been understood that if an anti-Semitic group demanded that a Kosher deli cater an event condemning Judaism, the deli owners should be able to say no. This is not a terribly controversial concept. Last year, a Rasmussen poll found that85% of Americans believed that a Christian photographer should have the right to refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding.
In recent decades, the federal government and liberal judges have eroded various aspects of religious liberty. As a result, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 to protect the “free exercise” of religion. As we reported yesterday, many states have similar laws. Yet, as we also noted, current legal protections have proven insufficient when it comes to Christian photographers, bakers, florists and the like.
By the way, the word “homosexuality” did not appear once in the Arizona law. It simply said that no business would be required to do business in a way that violated the beliefs of the owner. To give another example, if a customer went into a Chick-fil-A with a button that read, “I’m gay and proud,” nothing in the law would allow the Chick-fil-A store to refuse to serve that customer.
But if the producers of the Grammy Awards went to a Chick-fil-A restaurant and said they wanted Chick-fil-A to cater the awards, which featured a mass same-sex wedding, the owner of the Chick-fil-A would be able to say:
“I’m sorry. My faith teaches me that marriage is only between one man and one woman, representing Christ’s relationship to the church, and prohibits me from participating in something that mocks the teachings of my faith.”
By the way, the left’s tolerance is a one-way street. Suppose, for example, that Focus on the Family is having a conference on the ways same-sex marriage undermines the American family and asks a gay-owned photography company to help document and publicize the event.
If the gay photographers refused, does anybody think that a state agency would force them to do it? Would companies like Apple be threatening the state government if it didn’t side with Focus? Would the NFL say, “Unless you force this gay business to serve this Christian event, we may move the super bowl”? Of course not!
Let me repeat: The culture war over the meaning of marriage was never going to stop with just the re-definition of marriage. We know the left will keep pushing. Sadly, there is no shortage of politicians who just want the issue to go away.
Some of those politicians signaled this week just how quickly they will retreat, people like Sen. McCain, Mitt Romney and, for reasons still bizarre to me, Newt Gingrich. How much more are they willing to give up?
If you are a pastor and haven’t figured this out yet, let me make it clear: Right before your eyes, significant parts of Scripture are on the verge of being declared off-limits, subjecting you to accusations of bigotry and jeopardizing the tax-exempt status of your church.
Men and women of faith must stand up and fight back. The hour is late.
Reining In The Imperial Presidency
That was the subject of a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee. Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University warned the committee that America is at a “constitutional tipping point.”
It is important to note that Turley is not a card-carrying conservative. In fact, he’s very liberal, and conceded that he often agreed with President Obama politically. But, Professor Turley added:
“My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system. The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing [it] is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system. And our system is changing in a very fundamental way.”
Florida International University Professor Elizabeth Price Foley concurred with Turley. Referring to the many unilateral changes to Obamacare, Professor Foley, said:
“Situations like this, these benevolent suspensions as they get more and more frequent and more and more aggressive, they’re eroding our citizens’ respect for the rule of law. We are a country of law and not men. It’s going to render Congress superfluous. If you want to stay relevant as an institution, I would suggest that you not stand idly by and let the president take your power away.”
I couldn’t agree more! And I am left wondering why Speaker Boehner or a U.S. senator of either party has not delivered a major address defending the constitutional prerogatives of Congress.
Our Brave New World
Large segments of the public and most elites were absolutely sure that switching the leadership of the United States from the know-nothing, swaggering cowboy Bush to the urbane, ethnically diverse, world traveler Barack Hussein Obama would mean that peace would break out, diplomacy would end strife and we would become one big Coke commercial, all singing in harmony. Whoops.
This morning’s news provides adequate headlines to remind us that foreign policy must be grounded in reality. Evil exists in the world. Disputes with foreign nations often are not simple misunderstandings, but clashes between different worldviews about the nature of man and liberty.
North Korea is testing more missiles. A pro-Russian coup is taking place in the Crimea. A Russian warship has docked in Havana. Iranian warships are reportedly headed into the Atlantic. Al Qaeda is spreading throughout Africa. China is in the middle of a massive naval buildup.
Meanwhile, here at home the Obama Administration is slashing the Army to pre-World War II levels, and is presiding over the largest growth of the surveillance state in the history of the country.
Feel safe yet?
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