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.

Is Seattle Helping Republicans?

It’s a comedy of errors, but it’s not very funny.

People shoot heroin on the street and the police walk by. Those who don’t want to shoot heroin on the street can do so in a taxpayer-funded “safe heroin injection site” under government supervision; meanwhile, a toddler is pricked by a dirty needle on a playground.

Areas that were recently green spaces along highways are now overrun by homelessness while taxpayers complain about needles and feces on city sidewalks.

Protesters, angry that oil companies have accounts at Chase Bank, managed to erect giant teepees in the middle of downtown Seattle streets.  Not only were they left alone long enough to put them up, they remained in place for 5 hours before they were removed.

While the City may not be cracking down on drug use or protestors blocking streets, they are taking job creators seriously, slapping them with a $275 per person fine for having the audacity to give someone a job.  Only days later, they followed that up with a decision to put a property tax increases on the ballot this November.

This was just the last week.

Last year the City Council made it illegal for landlords to screen rental applicants based on criminal records.  Not only are criminals not arrested for engaging illegal conduct out in the open, the council wants to require you to rent your property to them.  Even if you also live there.

Maybe watching all of this up close was part of the reason I wasn’t shocked when I read a Reuters poll indicating that on a generic ballot voters prefer Republicans to Democrats.

In one sense, this is really surprising. Voters who said they intended to vote for Democrats fell from 45.5 percent in November to 34.5 percent now.  Real Clear Politics, which aggregates polls asking the same question, found that Democrats still maintain a 4 point advantage, but that is down from a 12.9 point lead in November.  In other words, voters aren’t troubled by Republicans as much as they were.

We’ve been hearing for a year and a half about the blue wave that is about to sweep the country. Not just because midterm elections typically work against the party that just won the White House, but because we are also supposed to know that Donald Trump is a giant millstone around the necks of every Republican candidate.

The wave is inevitable.

He’s a terrible, horrible, really bad guy and COLLUSION!

Meanwhile, the President has been doing what he said he was going to do in the way only he can or would.

He got out of the Iran deal, appointed Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, made progress with North Korea including freeing American Hostages, cut almost everyone’s taxes, got rid of the individual mandate in Obamacare, stopped the federal government from forcing nuns to pay for birth control, stopped the federal government from forcing schools to allow boys in the women’s locker room, reinstated the Mexico City Policy to make sure that America isn’t sending money around the world to pay for abortion, cut funding from Planned Parenthood when Congress wouldn’t, and has superintended a decline in the jobless rate as well as a 5,000 point rise in the Dow.  And he called Kim Jong Un a “little fat man” on Twitter.

And at the same time, Seattle has been doing what it does in the way only it can or would.

In doing so, they’re giving voters who care to look a valuable comparison in contrasts.

You see, Seattle is what happens when progressives get everything they want exactly like they want it. In Seattle, there aren’t even any elected Republican’s to mock or blame for obstruction. In Seattle, elected officials brag about the fact that they have no Republican friends and get cheered when they do so. In Seattle, the only competition on the ballot is between the far left and the far, far left.

For the left, Seattle is the dream and that dream now has some scary clowns and guys with chainsaws.

You may not love the tweeting, but you can turn off Twitter.  You can’t turn off $275/head and needles in the street.

Obama’s Presidency couldn’t help but be disappointing simply because the expectations were so unrealistic.  Is it possible that the expectations for Trump mean he’ll inevitably be a pleasant surprise?

Polls say, maybe.

Whatever the reason, the Big Blue Wave is starting to feel inevitable in the exact same way Hillary’s election was inevitable.

Sure, the left is gonna hate Trump cause that’s what they do.

Middle America, however, doesn’t really hate or love people, they just decide elections by voting their self-interest.

This November, as they evaluate their options some of them may end up asking themselves if they want more Trump or more Seattle.

Then we’ll find out who really has a millstone around their neck.

Alfie Evans and the War on Family

Last week, the world was captivated and horrified by the story of little Alfie Evans.  The British toddler, born with a rare degenerative condition, died early Saturday morning at just 23 months old after spending the final 16 months of his life in a coma.

Alfie’s case was noteworthy, but not only because he was a life gone too soon. The world was captivated by the legal battle that developed between his parents and the British health care system.

Ultimately, the doctors wanted to stop life support and let him die after determining there was nothing left to do.  His parents wanted to keep trying.

For parents who were watching the story from a distance, the most horrifying aspect of was the great lengths the British government went to ensure Alfie’s parents couldn’t help him live.  And, Alfie’s parents moved mountains in their effort to help him.

They secured Italian citizenship for Alfie and had an air ambulance ready to take him to a Vatican-owned hospital in Italy that had expressed an interest in taking care of him.  Rather than turn the dying boy over to his parents with a hug and an expression of regret that there wasn’t more that could be done,  the hospital effectively kidnapped Alfie.

They placed thirty police officers in front of a hospital to ensure that if they weren’t going to try to help Alfie, no one would.

There was no shortage of irony.

Alfie’s mother could have killed him through abortion for being sick, but she was not allowed to try to save his life despite it. While Alfie’s family would be free to transport a loved one to another country to die through assisted suicide, they were forbidden to carry Alfie to another country in an attempt to live.

But there’s a more significant point in all of this that shouldn’t be missed.  Government has forgotten its place in the world; not just in England.

For the same reasons we celebrate the separation of powers within our government, we must reestablish the separation of institutions within our cultures.  The government cannot fill the role of a parent and should know better than to try, especially when willing, caring, and capable parents are involved.

The problem with the British government, in this case, is not that they disagreed with Alfie’s parents. The problem is their willingness to replace Alfie’s actual parents on matters of life and death.  Parenting from the bench should be more offensive than legislating from the bench.

Unfortunately, there are times when courts must intervene on behalf of children who have been abused or neglected, but only in cases when parents have been found to be unfit.  In this case, there wasn’t even an accusation of unfitness. It was just a case of disagreement and the government pulling rank because, for some perverse reason, they feel like they can.

While Government serves an important purpose in community life, it is only one institution and not the most crucial.

The family does not serve the interest of the government;  government exists to serve the interests of families.

In the most recently completed legislative session in Washington State, a bill was passed that will allow courts to grant visitation with another relative of a child over the objection of the parents.  Proponents hope this new law will expand to allow court-mandated visitation with any third-party over the objection of the parents.

In California, Orange County Board of Education has recently clarified that parents cannot opt their children out of sex education curriculum lessons that discuss gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation in ways the parents disagree with.

A national effort is underway to make it illegal for parents to get therapy for a gender dysphoric child that would help that child identify their actual gender.  Even if the parents, therapists, and child all agree about the goals, politicians have taken the position that it shouldn’t be allowed.

In the state of Ohio, parents lost custody of their teenage daughter because they did not support her desire to conceal her gender and live as a boy.

Alfie’s parents have plenty of company.

In each case, the government is overruling the decisions of parents simply because they think they know better.

Governments are also attempting to control the church.

The federal government on this side of the pond has only recently stopped trying to force Catholic organizations to pay for birth control.  A Christian homeless ministry in Seattle was recently sued for declining to hire someone that wouldn’t abide by their faith-based code of conduct.   In California, religious, pro-life organizations have been told that they must advertise for abortion.

The First Amendment was written to ensure that government would have no say in how religious organizations operate but what we are looking at now borders on micromanagement, all from the “separation of church and state” crowd.

These bureaucracies are dangerous to our more fundamental institutions, in part, because of their good intentions.

As C.S. Lewis once wrote “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

I hope Alfie Evans and his parents are remembered for a very long time.  They all fought nobly.  But it really wasn’t just about a sick little boy and his family.  It was a story about a government’s assault on the institution of the family.

 

The reality of Planned Parenthood’s tweets about the imaginary lives of children

PHILADELPHIA — Last week Planned Parenthood Keystone in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania posted a tweet proclaiming, “We need a Disney princess who has had an abortion. We need a Disney princess who is pro-choice.”

Glancing at Disney’s online princess store, we see product marketing focused on toddlers to early school-aged children. As Planned Parenthood aims to present their organization as trusted women’s healthcare providers, perhaps they felt the need to advise corporate America on setting good examples for the next generation of women.

However, experts on children’s health do not necessarily think this kind of message would be helpful. In fact, some believe it may be harmful.

“Introducing the concept of abortion to a toddler would not only be confusing but potentially traumatic causing possible fears of abandonment,” said Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author, The Self-Aware Parent. 

Walfish went on to further explain, “The likelihood is that a toddler would not understand the concept of abortion. However, if it were explained in any way that described the killing of a child, this could trigger a tremendous amount of conflict and anxiety in the youngster related to ambivalence about whether he or she is wanted.”

Gayani DeSilva, M.D., a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and author of A Psychiatrist’s Guide: Helping Parents Reach Their Depressed Tween, concurred with Walfish’s assessment saying, “Introducing those concepts too early may cause confusion and conflict. The idea that a parent would stop a baby from being born may cause the child to wonder why he was allowed to be born. He or she may wonder how abortions occur and the details of the process may be overwhelming for the child.”

When Planned Parenthood Keystone was asked who was responsible for creating their Twitter content and also if tax dollars were directly involved in their digital marketing efforts, they did not respond. However, the national organization declares, on their tax return for the calendar year beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016, that they spent $129,202,742 on what they describe as, “Increase access – Programs.”  According to Planned Parenthood, these programs are designed to, “improve access to reproductive health services and information by leveraging technology, enhancing existing capacity, and securing the role of  women’s health centers in the evolving healthcare system.” Nearly half of these funds or $61,737,493 came from taxpayer-funded grants.

So yes, its a poorly kept secret that directly and indirectly taxpayer dollars subsidize the creation of Twitter content for Planned Parenthood–much of which has nothing to do with improving “access to reproductive health services and information,”–as was the case with the now deleted Disney tweet.

On a day-to-day basis, they tweet plenty of other information that doesn’t fit this description either. Some additional content samples from the Planned Parenthood Keystone twitter feed are featured below:

What does John Bolton have to do with women’s reproductive health?

How about attacks on faith-based, crisis pregnancy centers? Does the disparagement of other groups addressing reproductive health issues accomplish their stated goals?

According to Yale University, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births in the United States has risen from almost 10% in 1960 to nearly 40% of all births in 2014. An interesting phenomenon to accompany the expansion of sex education as well as the reach and funding of organizations like Planned Parenthood who claim to care about family planning.

Why Christians and Secular Leftists Disagree So Much

Christians and secular leftists disagree about a lot of things. Religious faith, or the lack thereof, is a strong predictor of how someone will feel about issues like sexuality, gender, marriage, assisted suicide, and abortion.

Have you ever thought about why we disagree about so much?

In order to understand our disagreements, I think it’s helpful to first acknowledge where we agree. We all want people to be happy.  Really.  There might be individuals we don’t like and grudges we carry personally, but in general, we want other people to be happy and we want to be happy ourselves.

That’s a great start.

Our differences, however, lie in the fact that we have very different ideas about what will make people happy and we disagree about what makes people happy because we have different views about the nature of our existence.

Secularists believe the human existence is random and purposeless.  We were not created by anyone so we are not accountable to anyone; we appeared out of nothing and will return to nothing.  Because there is no creator, there is no moral law and as a result, the best we can hope for out of life is to simply be happy, which we achieve by doing the things we believe will make us happy.

Changing your gender will make you happy? Great.  Want an abortion to fulfill your life plan and find happiness? Outstanding.  Want to marry someone or many people of the same gender, multiple genders, or no gender at all? Who am I to judge?

Christians share the hope that individuals will find happiness, but believe happiness comes in a very different way.

Christians believe the key to joy, which is better than happiness, is not found by acting on our desires but by fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.   Christians also believe that each person has been infected by sin which causes us to desire things that will not only fail to bring happiness but actually lead to misery.  For Christians, happiness is not the goal but a byproduct of fulfilling our created purpose which often requires us to surrender our desires for our own good.

If there is no moral law, family structure and sexual behavior is merely a matter of preference.  If we have not been created with a specific purpose, changing your gender is no more significant than changing your shirt.  Do what makes you happy.

But if there is a creator and if our creator has created us so that our mind, soul, and body are all distinct yet connected and flourish only to the extent they fulfill the purpose for which they were created, then good intentions are not enough to find happiness.

A car may wish to run on water in order to save the planet but will find mobility frustrating because that was not how it was made.

But who is right about the nature of our existence?

If the secularist is right, you would expect those who indulge their desires and impulses most to be the most fulfilled.

If the Christians are correct, the key to happiness is found, in part, in our ability to deny ourselves and live for someone greater. As Jesus said, “whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.”

If we want, we can continue arguing about who is smarter or who has better intentions. But it may be more helpful to recognize the things we actually agree on and then have a long conversation about what actually makes people happy.   After all, there’s where many of our political quarrels are coming from anyway.