A New Religious War

A new religious war has started in America and WA state, declared by the “Nones.”

The “Nones” (people with No Religious Affiliation), having grown in size and passion the past two decades, and after recently conquering and radicalizing the Democratic Party, News Media, Hollywood, governments, and Academia, have decided to openly battle and defeat their longtime, enemies—Faithful Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims.

Also targeted is the Republican Party and those remaining groups, businesses, politicians, and other organizations who publicly support life, marriage, children, family, and public religious believers.

Danny Westneat, an influential Seattle Times writer and self-declared None, is not shy about sharing his hostility for Christians and their supporters, like the Republican Party.  Brazenly, Danny recently advised the GOP that they needed to “dump God,” if they ever wanted success. Danny’s friendly advice is one thing, but the real bullying, intimidation, and economic or political terrorism being practiced by the Nones, the Democrat Party, and the libertine, LGBT, Abortion, Feminist, and Socialist movements are real.

The Nones now automatically attack or silence all religious believers, their businesses and organizations, and public supporters until they are either co-opted or destroyed.  It is not enough for a person or government or leader to be a neutral or silent, one now must openly support these issues or beliefs, or you will be marginalized or ruined.

Trust me on this, I was a 24-year Democratic Party member and seven-term legislator, and I saw up close how the Nones and their “take no prisoners” allies took over the Democrat Party, the shrinking left-leaning Christian denominations, and related groups the last 40 years.  Now, they’re coming for everyone else!

Today, the great majority of religions still believe, and the science agrees, that lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual marriage, lived within a faith tradition that promotes marriage, family, and children, better assures prosperity and true happiness for a person, their children, family, and community.

These also believe that parents, local communities, and governments should discourage deadly vices like drugs, abortions, child sexual activities, and improper sexual promiscuity, such as adultery and LGBT activities. They are sinful to God and harmful to children, marriages, families, and society. They also believe that children must listen, honor and obey their parents and “God.” These are the “facts” of most religious organizations in America and across the globe.

Our country was founded on these principles, and they are the foundations for Western Civilization and American culture. These values and truths were so successful, that the vast majority of countries and cultures on every continent have embraced them.

Unfortunately, things have changed here in WA and the state capitol. The Nones, now owning the Democrat Party and recently having elected large majorities in both the House and Senate, have unleashed a wave of legislation that will reverse the progress of 3000 years of Western Judeo-Christian Culture and Civilization.  This legislation is directly aimed at harming children and religious believers.

The worst of these bills is SB5395, The Child Sexual Indoctrination Bill moving ahead in the legislature. The “Nones” and their Democrat allies, will soon teach all school children that their parents and their religious beliefs and communities are sexist, bigoted, homophobic, and hateful because they reject the secular libertine culture that the Nones want to force into our culture and country.

Even worse, with SB5395, even the words and the reality of “men” and “women” have been replaced by the never-ending number of gender categories. Soon, just calling men and women what they are and using the related pronouns will be considered a firing offense or hate crime in WA.

The advocates say this bill is “inclusive” and is just presenting sexuality information the students want “discussed.” That teachers will just present “facts” and is concerned about “school safety.”

Hogwash! They will only teach and indoctrinate the “facts” that support their libertine culture. The “facts” that most religions accept will never be “inclusively” taught by the “Nones” running our public schools and government agencies!  With SB5395, they will usurp local control to indoctrinate children starting in Kindergarten on their destructive beliefs about sex, gender, abortion, family, religion, and morality. Gender Disorder, historically a serious delusion and mental illnesses until seven years ago, is now considered normal behavior where school children will be encouraged to undergo irreversible genital mutilation.

The Nones radical agenda attacking religious believers will also be advanced with ten other bills moving in Olympia.  To highlight two bills, under the guise of helping children avoid punishment or shame, with HB 1775, children under age 18 would be able to legally engage in prostitution, and by HB 1742 they will be allowed to possess freely, distribute, print and display child pornography of themselves without consequences.

How soon before we can expect child pornography and prostitution to be “factually” taught in the school’s Sex Ed, Business, or Photography programs because the students want it “discussed” or for “school safety?” How soon until “safe child prostitution sites” are colocated with the safe heroin injection sites currently being set up in King County under the guise of “public health safety?”

These destructive bills will encourage and teach children to hate, disobey, and rebel from parental and faith community authority. Instead of bringing children closer to moms and dads and extended family, they will bring division and separation. They will end up destroying the two most critical relationships a child needs as they transit the turbulent and dangerous teen years into mature, stable adulthood—their relationship with their mother and father.

These bills will accelerate the growing nihilism, narcissism, despair, broken relationships, drug use, and suicide which are not just harming our educational and human service systems, but also children, families and our wider society.

What a horrible legislative agenda! Promoting child pornography and prostitution, encouraging child abortions and infanticide, advancing sexual libertinism and gender confusion and self-mutilation, increasing throwaway parents/families/marriages, endorsing anti-religious bigotry and parental hatred, boosting drug use and hiding runaway children from parents and foster care—no wonder our society is sick!

I am reminded of the scary fable about the Pied Piper from Hamlin from my childhood. “Eat Drink, and be Merry kids, dump God and parents, and come follow me!” cried the Pied Piper of None as he leads our children away, “Government, not mother and father, Knows Best!”

This ideological war the Nones are fighting is not new but is part of a longer 3000-year-old culture fight that began with the early Jewish prophets. It was thought won over a millennium ago with the rise of the Judeo-Christian Western Civilization, but now they are back.

How can faithful Christians and faith believers win this fight?

We must unite and let our light shine!

Recently in England, hundreds of Muslim parents stormed a school meeting and demanded the anti-Muslim LGBT sexual agenda not be taught to their children or they would take their children out of school.  It took weeks, and the parents did take their children out, but now it looks like the school has temporarily backed down. The Nones can be beat!

We must do the same!

First, “a house divided cannot stand.”  It is time for Christians, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews to wake up to the common threat, put aside our differences, and unite to defend our common values against the Nones.  All religious believers desire a state and community that allows God and faith to flourish without fear of persecution, so we must unite, and we must work together!

Next, we must recognize that we have failed our God by placing our light under a basket. We fight not just against the Nones and the Democrats this session, but against forces we can’t comprehend.

So, join this fight to save our children and family, and fight for our God, and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ here on earth!

Let us go forth two by two, into every town and place, into the town halls, school board meetings, legislative committee hearings, social media sites, letters to editors, parades, and rallies and demonstrations.

Let us meet our enemies with prayers, kindness, and love, and loudly and boldly, proclaim the “Good News” to the Nones and our neighbors, and let our light shine brightly in the public squares of our communities!

Let us make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded.

If God is for us, who can be against us!”

Activists, Not Pacifists

Have today’s Christians activists have embraced a stereotypical weak, pacifist (dovish, nonaggressive, appeaser, meek, noncombative) attitude that guarantees failure in the public square? Allen Whitt, President of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, makes a call for real Christian action that is spot on.   We must reject our opponents continued calls and threats for Christians to be invisible, passive, and silent!  The Rev. MLK Jr did not put his light under a bushel basket and back down to his enemies demands. Rather, he put on his armor (Eph. 6:13) and redoubled his public witness to the Gospels of Jesus Christ and challenged his enemies! So, must we! – Mark Miloscia, FPIW Executive Director
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As Christians, we are compelled to be activists, not pacifists. But in the midst of our activism to affect positive change on mankind, sadly we are more frequently coming into conflict with others also claiming Christianity.

Many of those CHINOS (Christians In Name Only,) are not willing or interested in affecting change if that change requires personal action. They hold to the name of Christ, but they do not keep the commandments.

A critical rub between Christian activists and Christian pacifists is occurring because of that resulting disparity of emphasis placed on spiritual works.

We call upon all brothers and sisters in Christ, to join us in our activism. Join the actual spiritual war for souls. Not an academic or metaphorical one, but instead join us in the escalating civic and cultural one that is preventing the lost from hearing the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Duty in this war requires more than occasional attendance at praise and learning services. Duty in the war for souls, in this year of our Lord, 2019 and beyond, requires more personal action than in any time in American history.

Duty still requires daily prayer, prayers that God will clothe us in his full armor. But those prayers must now be prayed with the expectation that the armor will be utilized.

They must now be prayed with the expectation that our armor will become muddied, and dented, and torn, as the enemy’s tactics are intensifying. Our church walls have been breached.

Christian duty now requires previously-unsummoned courage. For decades, spiritual “battle” for American Christians, mostly meant resisting personal temptation, while working to round up individual, bedeviled souls who were lost.

But the enemy has now organized those wandering souls, into civically armed regiments, intent on silencing Christians from ever publicly speaking, Biblical truth. The American Christian church has never seen this tactic.

God’s gracious peace has blessed American Christians for almost all of our 242 years. That in part has caused many to forget Satan is a lion seeking whom he may devour.

Through those centuries the American church allowed and even encouraged, the flourishing of Christian pacifists. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” became the central orthodoxy. Now under a coordinated barrage of hate-speech accusations from every direction, the church is woefully unprepared to launch counter-offensives.

Preparation for this new assault requires a major reformation of Christian church-thought and practice.

A simple example: going forward, as we sing the hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers, the lyrics – marching as to war – must take on literal meaning. 

The times demand a redefinition of duty for Christians. We must move beyond prayer and into activism, to keep our rights to minister in the future.

James 2:26 says, “Faith without works is dead.” An army without offensive tactics, is little more than the uniformed, walking dead. A religion that is unwilling to retake offensively cultural ground, that’s been lost in spiritual battle, will also soon be dead.

Christian duty, now must include engaging in inevitable verbal conflicts. These conflicts are escalating as we speak Biblical truth to an ever-expanding legion of reprobates. A reprobate is a soul that can no longer hear spiritual truth.

And perhaps above all, for our mission to survive through this war, Christian duty now requires a specific daily prayer; “Lord help me to overcome the satanic temptation to desert my post.”

General Patton in WWII said, “fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Rest assured, during the battle:

  • As Christian activists, if you fatigue and lag behind, we will assist you.
  • If you hesitate, we will encourage you.
  • If you begin to grumble about your duties and the unpleasantness of being attacked for our beliefs, we will remind you of our Savior and the power of His blood.
  • If you demand that we lessen our pace, or perhaps alter our mission, to include capitulation, to strike a compromise with enemies of truth… we will critique you
  • If you dig in your pacifist heels and jeopardize unity of the army of God, we will rebuke you.
  • And if you reject our Christian mission for one of liberal apostasy, we will pray for you.

But we will rigorously resist your misperception that we are less Christ-like for our bold activism, and we will chastise you for it.

And we will not apologize for the discomfort, that our condemnation of your apostasy, is causing us all.

We will be undeterred in our mission to fight on every plane, spiritual and physical, for the souls of men.

When Christ calls us, he calls us to sacrifice, even unto death, but always to action. That duty shall be daunting and virtually impossible for the Christian pacifist.

May we be found faithful and may we be found active.

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Allen Whitt is the President of the West Virginia Family Policy Council and Family Policy Institute.  We thank him for sharing his essay with us.

Composting Humans

Substitute Senate Bill 5001 has already been passed out of committee and is ready to go to the floor for debate. It’s companion bill in the House, HB 1162, will be debated this afternoon. While this bill does not require composting of human remains, it brings up serious questions about the dignity of the body and the extreme positions of some in the legislature. These bills are garnering national attention, and Laurie Higgins from the Illinois Family Institute graciously granted FPIW permission to reprint her article here.
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What do you get when you cross a “non-religious” person with an eco-freak? You get a devotee of human composting. And by that, I don’t mean humans who compost. I mean humans who are turned into compost—after death, of course. Lesbian Katrina Spade has been promoting the eco-friendly composting of human remains since 2014 when she founded the Urban Death Project, since renamed Recomposed. Get it? Composting humans is recast as re-composing them, kind of like re-purposing them. What the new name loses in forthrightness, it gains in marketability.

NBC News reported that openly homosexual Washington State Democratic senator Jamie Pedersen picked up this blight idea from composting fanatic Spade and plans to introduce a bill this month to legalize the composting of human corpses. Pedersen also supported the legal recognition of intrinsically non-marital homosexual relationships as “marriages” and the legalization of recreational marijuana. Another lawmaker turning a beautiful state into an unlivable place to raise families.

Spade recounts her 2013 composting epiphany in a TEDx Talk—you know one of those smarmy homilies often by people with bad ideas. She was ruminating on what her family might do with her remains when at that very moment a friend called and happened to mention that farmers compost their dead livestock. EUREKA! Inspired, Spade’s creative juices started flowing, and now she and her fanatic eco-allies have arrived at a solution to the problems of expensive funerals and land-wasting cemeteries:

We’ve created a scalable, replicable, non-profit, urban model based on livestock mortality composting that turns human beings into soil…. In the next few years, it’s our goal to build the first, full-scale human composting facility right here in Seattle.

NBC News explains the process:

The process involves placing unembalmed human remains wrapped in a shroud in a 5-foot-by-10-foot cylindrical vessel with a bed of organic material such as wood chips, alfalfa and straw. Air is then periodically pulled into the vessel, providing oxygen to accelerate microbial activity. Within approximately one month, the remains are reduced to a cubic yard of compost that can be used to grow new plants.

Wise people have been warning for decades that abortion and euthanasia devalue and desacralize the human body. In addition, the resurgence of pagan spirituality and the ancient heresy of Gnosticism exacerbate and accelerate this desacralization.

Writing in The Catholic World ReportBenjamin Wiker, Professor of Political Science and Director of Human Life Studies at Franciscan University, explains that modern Gnostics reject the theologically orthodox view that “[j]ust as Christ was not a pure spirit merely appearing to have a body, we are not souls trapped in bodies. Our essential union of immaterial soul and material body is meant to be by the good Creator God.” Modern Gnostics believe that the “human body itself is the result of blind processes, cobbled together over millions of years of evolutionary meandering,” and, therefore, devoid of any intrinsic value.

John Horvat II, author and Vice President of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, rightly condemning human-composting, describes the esteem for burial humans have historically held:

From time immemorial,people have buried the dead. Sometimes, they even risked their lives to carry out this most basic duty….

The Old Testament recounts the story of the elder Tobias, who, while exiled to Nineveh, observed the Hebrew Law by burying the dead against the wishes of King Sennacherib.

Even ancient peoples like the Greeks felt compelled to pay a final reverence to the deceased. Thus, Sophocles in the play “Antigone” relates the story of a sister who defies the orders of the Greek tyrant Creon, not to bury her brother, whom he had defeated in battle. She proclaims the right to bury her brother came from “unwritten and unchanging laws. They are not just for today or yesterday but exist forever, and no one knows where they first appeared.”

The body is sacred and must be treated with all due dignity and respect. It has always been that way. No one needed to explain why the dead must be buried—until our time.

There is a debate among Christians about cremation. Space does not permit even an outline of that debate, but it’s important to note a critical distinction between cremation and human-composting. With human-composting, the goal is to use the human body, that is to say, to instrumentalize the body, treating it as if it possesses no more intrinsic worth than fertilizer.

Anticipating the objection “What difference does it make if the person’s final resting place is at the base of a tree rather than laying in a grave,” Horvat responds:

It would make no difference at all if there were no soul. The great accomplishment of the ecologists who created “recomposition” is not engineering the mechanical contraption that turns humans into compost. It is overturning those “unwritten and unchanging laws” embedded in human nature by which people have sensed the need for reverencing the dead from time immemorial.

Isn’t “recomposition” what the “trans” cult believes they can do? Don’t they believe they can recompose male bodies into female bodies?

In a grave tone of voice with not a glimmer of irony, Spade pays lip service (or as Macbeth calls it “mouth honor”) to the natural and deep reverence people have for the bodies of loved ones as demonstrated in the ceremonies that attend their deaths:

Imagine it: part public park, part funeral home, part memorial to the people we love, a place where we can reconnect to the cycles of nature and treat bodies with gentleness and respect.

Hmmm… is that how most people conceive of human-composting?

Human composting will be voluntary at first, but how long will that last? Probably about as long as voluntary euthanasia. Doctors are now performing non-voluntary euthanizations. And what comes after non-voluntary human-composting? Mandatory human composting.

How long before cannibalism of recently deceased humans is legalized? After all, why waste all that good meat. Maybe we could call it Soylent Green.

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Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children and nine grandchildren…

Senator Mark Miloscia to Head FPIW

State Senator Mark Miloscia to Be Family Policy Institute of

Washington’s Next Executive Director

“Family Policy Institute of Washington is thrilled to announce that State Senator Mark Miloscia has agreed to lead the organization into the next decade,” stated Family Policy Institute of Washington’s founder and board chairman Larry Sundquist.

Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-30

“I am honored to be joining this effort and organization.  FPIW has long been recognized as one of our state’s leading organizations in developing public policy, building grassroots support, and advocating in our State Capitol for the critical issues that affect family, life, religious liberties, and parental rights,” said Senator Mark Miloscia. 

December 17, 2018 (Lynnwood, WA):  Today the Board of Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) announced the hiring of State Senator Mark Miloscia to be FPIW’s next Executive Director.  Miloscia, who has served 18 years as a legislator in both the House and Senate, will end his term as State Senator in January. He will now lead FPIW in its second decade of strengthening families in Washington State by equipping and educating concerned citizens, leaders, government officials, and community institutions on the issues that impact the family.

“The Family Policy Institute of Washington is thrilled to announce that State Senator Mark Miloscia has agreed to lead the organization into the next decade.  Mark brings a passion for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death and the well-being of the family as the foundation of our state,” said Family Policy Institute of Washington’s founder and board chairman, Larry Sundquist.  “We are confident Mark is the person who will bring FPIW to a higher level and continue our reputation as the state’s leader in bringing the voice and values of social conservatives to the public square.”

“I am honored to be joining this effort and organization.  FPIW has long been recognized as one of our state’s leading organizations in developing public policy, building grassroots support, and advocating in our State Capitol for the critical issues that affect family, life, religious liberties, and parental rights,” said Senator Mark Miloscia.

“It is clear to all that our state and nation are facing both a political and spiritual crisis.  People everywhere are looking for stronger and more effective leadership and informed policy answers on the critical issues that directly affect their families.  FPIW is a leader in this area,” concluded Miloscia. 

Miloscia will officially step into the role on January 2nd, in time to help shape FPIW’s legislative strategy for 2019 and its landmark Olympia 301 training day on January 10th.

Watch FPIW’s Welcome interview with Senator Miloscia right here.

 

Our Votes are an Extension of Our Faith

Making the case for Christian engagement in the culture isn’t a difficult thing to do. Christ’s lordship is over all areas of life and that’s abundantly clear in his word. Our Creator is not to be compartmentalized.

Today is November 5th, meaning tomorrow is the last day to vote in the different races for the various legislative, executive, and judicial offices. When we do so, we are not stepping out of the realm of spiritual things and into the supposed realm of secular things. There is no such thing. God is God over all. Our votes are an extension of our faith and an application of our values. That isn’t something to take lightly.

There are many important issues to account for when voting, but none should direct our decision-making more than the killing of babies in the womb. No one cares about the state of the German economy under Adolph Hitler. Even considering such a thing when taking stock of the state of 1930s Germany would be ridiculous. The German government was killing human beings on an industrial scale rendering other political issues trivial by comparison. Yet, here we are in the 45th year of legalized murder in the womb. Other issues are no less trivial when contrasted with that. 2,600 babies will be killed every day in the United States of America and 47 of them will be killed right here in our state. No political impulse should outweigh our desire for their survival.

That’s not to say it’s the only important issue; religious liberty, family rights, school choice, and the economy, among others, are important battles as well. Keep them in mind but also in perspective.

The impact of Christians upon the civil magistrates must be felt if things are going to change for the better. Voting is the most direct way of doing that. Make sure you vote.

Still looking for help with your ballot?  Check out ivoterguide.com, webelievewevote.com, waelections2018.com, and pastorspicks.com, and find candidates who reflect your values on life, religious liberties, family, and parental rights this election season.


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog from Gig Harbor, WA.  James is Created Equal’s Media Relations Specialist and editor of the Created Equal Blog. You can also find his writing at The Federalist and on Twitter.  He can be reached at james@createdequal.org.

 

Evil Works Brought to Light

“Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” -John 3:20

There are evils which are so indisputably evil that the perpetrator’s only strategy is to hide the truth in the hopes their actions won’t be brought to light. Such is the reason for the following picture tweeted out by Bucks County Courier-Journal writer JD Mullane in 2013.

The media’s absence at the trial of Kermit Gosnell is not difficult to explain. There is no claiming to be pro-choice when confronted with babies’ severed feet in jars; the mouths of those who would support abortion are immediately closed upon exposure to such evil. There is no coverage of the killing of six-pound babies that doesn’t bring an immediate end to every pro-abortion talking point.

So they didn’t cover it.

Neither have they covered the movie based on the trial. Despite opening as the 10th most watched film in the country and by far the number one in the independent category, only two major publications (Forbes and the Los Angeles Times) have written reviews of the movie.

As for the movie, it was well done. It remained true to the case, using much of the exact text from the case transcripts. The truth about Gosnell’s victims was told and his sociopathy clearly depicted.

Because Gosnell was convicted, it’s easy to think Gosnell was uniquely evil among abortionists. This is a mistake. That most abortionists use clean instruments, trained killers (as opposed to the amateurs employed by Gosnell), and only kill babies inside the womb doesn’t make them any less guilty of mass murder, and that’s exactly the argument made by Gosnell’s attorney.

A local abortionist brought to the stand by the prosecution explained that she only kills babies inside the womb, not outside as Gosnell does. In response, Gosnell’s attorney asked her what she did if babies survived her attempts to kill them, as babies occasionally do. The abortionist explained that she’d simply leave the baby on the table until he or she died. Gosnell’s attorney argued that the quick death brought by Gosnell’s scissors was actually more humane than allowing survivors to suffer a slow death as is standard among abortionists.

This was the most frustrating part of the movie for the viewer as we were left rooting for Gosnell to go to prison but also for the narrative pushed by the defense to win out. The standard murder trial desired by the prosecution would be of no particular interest to the pro-life activist. Abortion itself to be put on trial is what we need, on both a societal and legal level.

The other striking aspect of the movie is the behavior of the judge. At a pretrial meeting between her and the attorneys, she established that Gosnell’s would not be a case about abortion. She told the prosecutors that there are a lot of conservatives in Pennsylvania who would love an abortion-related case to overturn Roe v Wade and this would not be that case. The prosecution had no choice but to steer clear of making a case against abortion.

Such sentiment from judges is consistent with the accounts of many abortion activists who’ve spent time in court. In Monica Miller’s book Abandoned, she explains the judge in her case wouldn’t even allow her and her co-defendants to utter the word “abortion.”

If judges do this in any case involving abortion, they will have precluded the chance for a reversal of the legal and moral aberration that is Roe v Wade from the outset. Such actions taken by judges make a strong case for their illegitimacy. We’ve allowed judges to hijack the power to legislate abortion and suppress legal challenge for far too long. An example of what can be done about this was articulated Oklahoman gubernatorial candidate Dan Fisher who ran on a platform of rejecting federal courts’ authority to legislate abortion policy and signing a bill to abolish abortion in the state. (Learn more about Fisher’s campaign here and here.)

By the conclusion of the trial, a few of Gosnell’s older, born victims received their day in court and were brought justice. Gosnell’s thousands of younger, preborn victims did not. Don’t rest until every butcher of babies is brought to justice and the practice of killing babies in the womb to an end.


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog from Gig Harbor, WA.  James is Created Equal’s Media Relations Specialist and editor of the Created Equal Blog. You can also find his writing at The Federalist and on Twitter.  He can be reached at james@createdequal.org.

A Good Week at the Supreme Court

This is the last week for the justices of the US Supreme Court to issue opinions on cases that were argued this term.  Two cases we’ve been watching closely, beside the already issued Masterpiece Cakes, are NIFLA v. Becerra and the disposition of Barronelle Stutzman’s case in Arlene’s Flowers.   Yesterday and today the Court issued good decisions on both.

On Monday, in the wake of Masterpiece, the justices took three quick steps in Barronelle’s case.  First, they agreed to take the case or grant cert, second, they vacated the decision of the Washington Supreme Court in its entirety, and finally, they remanded the case back to the state Supreme Court to be retried.

As Kellie Fiedorek from the Alliance Defending Freedom states,

[T]he WA Supreme Court will have to take up all of our claims and examine them again in light of Masterpiece.  Thankfully, the Supreme Court did not reject a single one of our arguments, even though it ultimately didn’t rule on all of them.  So [the] WA Supreme Court will be looking at whether Barronelle’s free speech rights and free exercise rights have been infringed.  Whether the government treated Barronelle’s beliefs with hostility will be just one part of their analysis.

We look forward to Standing with Barronelle again as she has a new day in court!  And we are thankful for our allies at ADF for their outstanding work on behalf of Barronelle and by extension all people of faith in Washington.

The second decision, NIFLA, came down this morning.  At issue was whether the state (California) could compel life-affirming Pregnancy Resource Centers to either 1. Advertise for Abortion or 2. Be required to place onerous disclaimers on all their advertising.  You may recall that King County passed a similar regulation just last year.  Further, the Washington State legislature has in the past tried to pass legislation similar to California’s and could have been expected to attempt to do so again in January if the balance-of-power does not change in the November elections.

However, the US Supreme Court thinks differently and ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the case saying the case is likely to succeed on its merits.  The court ruled that NIFLA is likely to win its claim that the government cannot compel pro-life groups and individuals to express a message that conflicts with their beliefs.

As the Alliance Defending Freedom’s CEO and Chief Counsel Michael Farris stated,

No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion. In this case, the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs. Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a diverse society like ours. They enable us to coexist peacefully with one another. If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others.

In his concurrence, Justice Kennedy wrote a compelling paragraph.

And the history of the Act’s passage and its underinclusive application suggest a real possibility that these individuals were targeted because of their beliefs. The California Legislature included in its official history the congratulatory statement that the Act was part of California’s legacy of “forward thinking.” App. 38–39. But it is not forward thinking to force individuals to “be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view [they] fin[d] unacceptable.” Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U. S. 705, 715 (1977). It is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it; to confirm that history since then shows how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech; and to carry those lessons onward as we seek to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech for the generations to come. [Emphasis Added] Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.

It has indeed been a good Supreme Court session for freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.  Nonetheless, we must remain vigilant and be ready to Stand with Barronelle and follow the NIFLA case as it returns to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as right here,  to stay up to date on all these developments.

The Left’s Masterpiece Dilemma

You may have heard that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop. The case involved Jack Phillip’s (a Colorado baker) decision not to create a custom cake for a same-sex “wedding.”  After a complaint was filed, the Colorado Human Rights Commission sanctioned him and sent his employees (mostly family) to government re-education classes so they could be taught just how wrong Jack was to do what he had done.  In the process, Philips lost over 40% of his business.

In their decision, the Supreme Court concluded 7-2 that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the rights of Jack Philips.

Only moments later, the left began to emphasize that the case wasn’t a huge deal.  “It’s a narrow ruling,” they said as often as possible.

It is true that the decision could have had more sweeping implications.  The court did not answer the underlying question about whether it is always unconstitutional for a government to compel an expressive artist to engage in speech they oppose on religious or conscience grounds. Nor did they answer the question about whether custom cake decoration is expressive art.

But there is a breadth to this decision that should not be ignored.

The Court referenced the fact that commissioners had compared Jack Phillips to slave owners and those who propagated the holocaust when it concluded that, “The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of [Mr. Phillips] case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”

Impermissible hostility toward sincere religious beliefs?

For many progressives, that’s a foreign concept.  After all, hostility towards religious beliefs is not a bug in today’s progressive movement; it is a primary feature.

From firing people from their jobs, to forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion, to forcing people to pay for abortions, to creating deeply offensive sex education curriculum, to refusing to allow parents to opt their children out of these classes – their entire social policy agenda is steeped in hostility toward the religious views of people they despise.

Consider what has happened in other cases.

When Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was dismissed from his job because of his views about marriage, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said that Mr. Cochran’s views meant he is not qualified to “manage a diverse workforce.”

The city of East Lansing, Michigan created a law for the singular purpose of keeping a blueberry farmer from another town out of their Farmers Market because he indicated on social media that he would not host a same-sex “wedding” on his property.

When the California Assembly was recently debating legislation to ban books that discuss how sexual orientation can change,  Assemblyman Muratsuchi said that it was time for religious conservatives to “evolve with the times.”

Even members of the New Mexico Supreme Court have gotten in on the action, suggesting that being “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives” is simply “the price of citizenship.”

Tim Gill, probably the largest donor to LGBT political causes in human history, told Rolling Stone magazine that the priority of their movement after the Obergefell decision redefined marriage was to “punish the wicked.”

And don’t forget Sen. Cory Booker’s grilling Mike Pompeo over whether he likes gay sex or Sen. Feinstein’s opposition to an otherwise qualified federal judge because she is concerned that, as a faithful Catholic, “the dogma lives loudly within [her].

We are just scratching the surface here, folks.

However, according to the majority in Masterpiece, it’s not ok for government actors to be motivated by a disdain for people’s religious beliefs. This is like telling giant cats in Africa they can’t eat meat anymore.

So here’s the dilemma for the left.

Progressives in government will be forced to choose between their political overlords and funders who demand hostility toward religious beliefs and the Supreme Court which said it is unconstitutional.

Will they choose a kinder, gentler approach to make sure the things they do are no longer motivated by animus toward religious believers?  Color me skeptical.

Remember, they’ve spent the last decade insisting that those who disagree with them are Klansmen and Nazis, that the only thing that cannot be tolerated is intolerance, and that speech they disagree with is violence.

This is the same crowd that thinks Hillary lost the Presidency because she was too moderate.  It is the same crowd that has refused to endorse Diane Feinstein in her bid for re-election to the United States Senate from California because she’s not progressive enough.

They don’t engage in the battle of ideas, because they don’t believe people who hold ideas that are different than theirs deserve respect associated with engagement.

Long ago they abandoned argumentation in favor of public shaming, ridicule, and economic terrorism.  An opinion from the Supreme Court is unlikely to cause introspection or change.

So, while hostility to religious beliefs may end up invalidating a lot of the things they do, that same hostility will continue to grab headlines, earn them progressive brownie points, and fill up campaign coffers.

So my money is on the left continuing to do what they do and if it turns out the Supreme Court meant what they said in Masterpiece, the implications of this decision could be very broad indeed.

Five Things to Know About the Baker Case

Jack Philips, a Denver baker who declined to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, got some good news today from the United State’s Supreme Court when they ruled that the state of Colorado violated the Constitution in the way they treated him.

The case arose out of a familiar set of facts. Six years ago, Jack Phillips was approached about making a cake for a same-sex “wedding” at a time when same-sex marriage didn’t even exist in Colorado. He declined, citing his beliefs about marriage and emphasized that he serves all people, but he does not participate in all events or communicate all messages.  Unfortunately, his kindness in standing on his conviction was not satisfactory.

After a complaint was filed with the Colorado Human Right’s Commission, the commission, among other things, told Jack he could not bake any wedding cakes at all and sent his employees (most of them, family) to government re-education programs that told them why Jack was wrong to do what he did.

In reaching their decision, the Supreme Court highlighted the hostility the commission showed toward Mr. Philips and his beliefs, saying that the commission failed their constitutional obligation to religious neutrality.

While there’s certain to be a lot of chatter about this case for quite a while, here are a few things worth remembering.

  1. Jack won: In many circles, the conversation about this decision immediately focused on what the decision didn’t do. But let’s not forget the outcome in all the speculation. Jack won! For all the real challenges we are facing, and all the real threats to religious freedom, a supermajority of the Supreme Court stood for the proposition that America still aspires to be a pluralistic society where people are free to have different ideas without being punished by their government.  This is good news and we should celebrate it.
  2. The left’s goal of “Punishing the Wicked” is unconstitutional: After the Supreme Court invented a right to marry someone of the same gender in 2015, many on the left interpreted it to mean that they had triumphed.  They convinced themselves that the decision established, once and for all, the idea that homosexuality and heterosexuality are morally equivalent in all respects and that any suggestion otherwise was bigotry.  As a result, they spoke openly about the need to “punish the wicked” (that’s all of us) and use the leverage of government at every level to do so.  In today’s decision, the court emphasized that people on both sides of the debate over marriage have rights and dignity interests that governments at all level are obligated to respect.
  3. It wasn’t a narrow decision: While many headlines discussing this case emphasized on how “narrow” the decision was, those headlines were an attempt to minimize the significance of the 7-2 decision. When justices Kagan, Kennedy, and Gorsuch come together on an opinion, it’s not narrow.   The idea that government should be able to harass “religious bigots” however they want is mainstream in the progressive circles that drive the left’s political agenda. The fact that mainstream progressives are now too extreme for Breyer and Kagan is all you need to know about how far left the left has gone.
  4. We still don’t know if custom cake art is constitutionally protected speech. The majority opinion in this case essentially boils down to this.  “There are a lot of fascinating legal questions this case raises that we don’t have to answer because the Human Rights Commission in Colorado is run by a bunch of bullies.” As a result, the Court never decided the more fundamental question of whether forcing someone to do custom cake art for a same-sex wedding violates the Free Speech of the cake artist.  This question has implications far beyond bakeries.  Here in Washington State, Barronelle Stutzman and Arlene’s Flowers are asking the same question about custom floral arrangements.  In similar cases, calligraphers, videographers, and t-shirt printers are still wondering whether governments can force them to communicate ideas they disagree with.  Based on the concurring decisions, we know that Thomas and Gorsuch are eager to say that expressive art like custom cakes is constitutionally protected speech and that Sotomayor and Ginsberg are keen to say that it is not.  How do the other five Justices feel?  We’ll have to wait and see.
  5. There are no losers in this decision. While the bullies at the Colorado Human Right’s Commission lost this case in a legal sense, the outcome is a win for everyone who values individual rights.  Even if we don’t share Jack Phillips convictions about what marriage is, there are other issues that we have equally strong beliefs about.  If Jack is free to decide for himself what events he participates in and what messages he communicates, then so is everyone else.  This means that the Democrat baker won’t have to create the #MAGA cake if he doesn’t want to or the lesbian print shop won’t have to create a flyer critical of same-sex “marriage” for a fundamentalist customer if she doesn’t want to.  Yes, freedom creates opportunities for people to do things we don’t like, but its a lot better than the alternative.

Special thanks to our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom, who represent people like Jack Phillips for free and defend the religious freedom rights of all of us, as well as Washington’s own Kristen Waggoner who argued Jack’s case on his behalf at the United States Supreme Court and secured today’s victory.

But under no circumstances should anyone get comfortable.  Today’s decision is a good step in the right direction, but the struggle to preserve religious freedom for generations to come is just getting started.

Church Gets Sued Over LGBT Event. What’s It Mean for You?

You can file this story in the category of “things they said would never happen that everyone knew was going to happen.”

A church in Oregon is being sued after not allowing their facility to be used for an LGBT event.  Curiously, the lawsuit was not filed by the people who were denied the opportunity to use the church’s facility.

Instead, this lawsuit has been filed by the event management company that used to manage the church’s event center.

Ambridge Event Center started managing the rental of the facilities for Holy Rosary Church in 2008. Part of the contract prohibited Ambridge from allowing the facility to be used for any purpose that was offensive to the church and not part of their mission.

According to the Christian Post, a local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) requested use of the church’s facility.

Because the contract required it, Ambridge notified PFLAG that they would not be able to use the church because their group exists to promote ideas that are inconsistent with the church’s teaching on human sexuality.

They may not have said it exactly like that, but that’s how it was.

The problem was that Ambridge made it very clear that they did not support the church’s decision. In the end, the church terminated the agreement.  After all, who wants someone working for them that is going to actively undermine their decisions?

Ambridge now claims that their reputation has been damaged because they did what they had been hired to do and agreed to do. They are seeking $2.3 million in damages.

When Holy Rosary Church started their business relationship with Ambridge in 2008, the world was a very different place.  President Obama had just been elected while claiming publicly that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.  No one accused Obama of being a bigot.

A lot has changed in 10 years.

A decade later, the left has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who even asks questions about their orthodoxies. As Sen. Diane Feinstein said in announcing her opposition to an otherwise qualified judicial nominee, “the dogma lives loudly within you.

Instead of simply recognizing that the terms of the original agreement were no longer acceptable to them, Ambridge sees themselves as the victims because they unwittingly forming a business relationship with terrible people before they had been brainwashed into believing they are terrible people.

Poor guys.

In a better world,  this would be a situation in which both parties acknowledge that the original agreement is no longer acceptable to the parties.  But this is not a better world, it is 2018  and in 2018 a primary goal of the hard left (which is an increasingly growing percentage of the left generally) is to “punish the wicked“.

Tolerance is for the weak.

The only reason PFLAG did not sue the church themselves is that churches are exempt from non-discrimination laws.  But the left put their heads together and figured out how they could come together to make the world a better  sue some heretics.

Google fired James Damore for believing men and women may have different career preferences based on the fact that men and women are inherently different.   The NFL recently created a policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem.  A few days later, ABC fired Roseanne Barr for comments on Twitter.  While there was plenty of outrage in all of these cases, there are no lawsuits because there is a general recognition that businesses get to set expectations for the people who represent them.

But not in this case. These people are simply too dangerous to be ignored.

There’s some good news and bad news here.  The good news is that the left’s pitchfork and torches approach to everyone they disagree with is going to continue to cost them influence. While the left will likely have to be surprised by a few more elections before they engage in any real self-reflection, it’s going to happen.  While their echo chamber is sincerely convinced that traditional understandings of marriage and sexuality are a menace to society, in most of the world that dog don’t bark.

In the meantime, the lesson for churches, non-profits, and people of conscience and goodwill is to simply be careful who you work with.

While you may not mean anyone else harm, there is a group of people who mean to harm you, so proceed with caution.