Posts

California Senate Passes Bill Criminalizing “Misgendering”

California State Senator Scott Weiner, feeling empowered by the lack of a conservative movement in his state, is attempting to criminalize traditional values. His “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights,” which was recently passed by the state senate, would make it a crime to “misgender” nursing home residents by referring to them according to their birth names and the sex inferred by their chromosomes.

Generally, traditionalists reject the “progressive” premise that society should treat men as if they were women so long as they claim to be women and vice versa. We don’t think it is appropriate to open all locker rooms, bathrooms, showers and sports teams to people of all biological sexes.

We acknowledge that there are real, measurable differences between men and women and that these differences should be reflected in some areas of society. Floyd Mayweather should not be in the boxing ring with a woman.  Young boys and girls should not be in locker rooms with unrelated adults of the opposite sex, sometimes showering within arms-reach of them. Women should not be forced to compete against men for athletic scholarships. Society can function properly only if these distinctions are acknowledged and respected. I contend, if I could be so bold, that the claims made in this paragraph are self-evident moral truths that any clear-thinking individual would recognize.

Senator Weiner has other ideas about how society should function. He believes that nursing home staff who point out inherent differences between men and women should be jailed. The current bill would apply only to patients in nursing homes, but there is very little doubt that California progressives aspire to expand the bill’s application once it’s in place. Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who specializes in First Amendment issues, wrote for The Washington Post that

“this proposed statute would on its face extend beyond just speech to the client, and would also cover speech about the client (since the relevant pronouns, whether ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘ze’ or anything else, are third-person pronouns that are generally used when talking to someone else about the person). And it strikes me as pretty unlikely that, if this law is enacted, such prohibitions would be limited just to this scenario (compare the official New York City Commission on Human Rights guidance, which says that ‘intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title’ could lead to massive fines when done by any employer, landlord, or business or professional).”

It appears likely the bill will be passed and enacted into law. It has already passed the state senate and received unanimous approval from the state’s house judiciary committee. America’s largest state may soon be erasing biological truth and compelling Californians to accept biological falsehoods.

As Washingtonians, it is important to keep an eye on what is happening in New York, Oregon, and California. These are the states where the progressive left has total control. That which is proposed in California today could very easily be proposed in Washington tomorrow. Just look at the Washington State Department of Health’s announcement that it will pursue a “third-gender option” on Washington birth certificates. Unfortunately, California isn’t the only state attempting to use legislation to change objective truths.

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?” -George Orwell, 1984


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


 

Police Dispatched to Stop 7-Year Old Boy from Reading Bible Verses at Public School

 

Officials at a public elementary school in Palmdale, California, dispatched a deputy sheriff after a first grader shared Bible verses with his friends at lunch.

Like many other loving mothers, Christina Zavala would send her seven-year-old son, Caleb, notes in his school lunch bag that included Bible stories. At the urging of his friends, Caleb soon began sharing the stories with them at lunch.

One of Caleb’s classmates excitedly shared one of the stories with their teacher, who then “informed Christina that [Caleb] could no longer read or share Bible verses or stories at lunch. Her note said, ‘Please tell your son that there is a separation of church and state,’” according to Liberty Counsel, a religious liberty nonprofit organization that is representing the family.

Ms. Zavala correctly informed the teacher that her son had a constitutional right to talk about his faith with his classmates during lunchtime. After Caleb’s mom continued sending the notes in his lunches, the teacher again publicly reprimanded him, causing him to leave school in tears.

Caleb was then told that he would have to wait until after school to share the Bible verses and stories with his friends, but shortly thereafter, the school again changed its policy, telling him that he could not share the notes while on school property. Caleb complied with the school’s demands.

Later in the day, a deputy sheriff, called by someone working for the school district, arrived at the Zavala family home, “demanding that [Caleb’s] note-sharing cease altogether because ‘someone might be offended,’” according to Liberty Counsel.

Yes, you read that right – the elementary school was so concerned about one of its students sharing Bible stories and Scripture with his classmates that it called the police.

“You have ignorance of the law, hostility toward Christianity, and a gross abuse of police power,” Roger Gannam, a lawyer with Liberty Counsel, said in an interview with Fox News.

Separation of Church and State

Does the First Amendment require schools to prohibit students from talking about the Bible or sharing their faith at school? Of course not.

One of the most commonly misunderstood principles of the American founding is the meaning of the phrase “separation of church and state.” Modern secularists falsely contend that separation of church and state – which appears nowhere in the Constitution – prohibits public schools from teaching Christian principles as truth in the classroom, bars legislators from appealing to religious principles in debates about public policy, disallows city council sessions and high school graduations from opening with prayer, and forbids schools and courthouses from displaying the Ten Commandments.

These assertions are incompatible with the vision and intent of those who framed our Constitution.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states, in part, that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Not only does the First Amendment preclude the establishment of a particular denomination, but it also prevents the government from interfering with a person’s free exercise of their religion – which includes the right of a first grader to share Bible stories with his classmates at school.

A report adopted by the U.S. Senate in 1853 defined “established religion”. For a religious denomination to be considered established, Congress must fund it through the national treasury, give special political rights to its members, and/or compel nonmembers to attend services and participate in its sacraments through compulsory attendance laws.

Obviously, none of the scenarios previously given rise to the standard of Congress establishing a particular religion or denomination – and the First Amendment in no way implies that a school has the authority to prohibit a first grader from talking about the Bible with his friends at lunch.

The Founders’ Vision for Public Education

Our current system of public education would be unrecognizable to the founding fathers that conceived the First Amendment. It is indisputable that they believed that public schools should teach the general principles of Christianity, including the Bible.

In a letter to his cousin John Adams, Samuel Adams wrote that the foremost purpose of education was

“Inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system…”

Fisher Ames, one of the primary authors of the First Amendment, lamented that the proliferation of textbooks in the classroom diverted precious education time away from the Bible:

“It has been the custom of late years to put a number of little books into the hands of children… Why then, if these books for children must be retained (as they will be), should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book?”

Similarly, Benjamin Rush, a prominent founding father commonly referred to by historians as the Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution, wrote in his essay, “A Defense of the Use of the Bible as a School Book,” that the Bible “should be read in our schools in preference to all other books.”

The U.S. Supreme Court once affirmed that public schools had a responsibility to teach the Bible and the general principles of the Christian religion. Chief Justice Joseph Story, writing the unanimous opinion for the Court in Vidal v. Girard’s Executors (1844), declared,

“Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as Divine Revelation in the [school] – its general precepts expounded… and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

The founding fathers would be aghast if they could see a public school calling law enforcement because a first grader shared Bible stories with his friends over lunch. They would likely be equally concerned that the school cited “separation of church and state” as the basis for its actions.

If only our founders could see us now.

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

 

New California Proposal Puts Pressure on Faith-Based Colleges

 

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act prohibits a person from being excluded from any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance on the basis of his or her sex.

Additionally, the Equity in Higher Education Act prohibits a person from being subjected to discrimination on the basis of specified attributes — namely sex — from any program or activity offered by postsecondary education institutions that benefit from state financial assistance or whose students accept state financial aid.

In both of these cases, there exists an exemption for postsecondary schools controlled by a religious organization.  This was done to protect against the government interfering with the school’s fundamental beliefs and tenets.

Enter, California.

In February, California Senator Ricardo Lara introduced SB 1146, which would target religious postsecondary schools and interfere with their ability to exercise their religious tenets in educational programs, activities, and facilities.

If enacted, the bill would allow seminaries to retain the exemption from Title IX, but it would remove the exemption for most religious colleges and universities. It would also require schools to publicly notify the state, students, and faculty that they are seeking exemption and the reasons why.

Not only would this be bad PR for the school, but it makes the university vulnerable to lawsuits by authorizing students to seek a remedy if they feel that they have been discriminated against in any way.

What sets a religious educational institution apart from its secular counterparts are the fundamental beliefs and tenets of the school. These beliefs inform practically every aspect of how the school operates, including chapel services, facilities, education programs, student activities, and living situations. In other words, if this bill passed, it would compromise the very things that make a religious university what it is.

The bill’s supporters argue that religious schools should not be allowed to discriminate against students on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

The question begs to be asked, though: if a student is aware of the school’s beliefs but disagrees with them, why is he or she there in the first place? One must attend the school in order to be subjected to discrimination. Why voluntarily attend a school that possesses fundamental convictions with which you disagree?

While everyone can certainly agree that the safety of all students is important, one begins to wonder why a transgender student, for example, would choose to attend an evangelical university with beliefs on gender and sexuality are antithetical to their own.

The cries for tolerance from liberals and progressives begin to look more like intolerance of opposing views. SB 1146 would limit a religious institution’s right to exercise their religious beliefs.

Biola University lists these examples of how the bill would impact religious schools that lose their exemption:

  • Faith-based institutions in California would no longer be able to require a profession of faith of their students.
  • These institutions would no longer be able to integrate faith throughout the teaching curriculum.
  • These institutions would no longer be able to require chapel attendance for students, an integral part of the learning experience at faith-based universities.
  • These institutions would no longer be able to require core units of Bible courses, nor offer students spiritual direction or pastoral care.
  • Athletic teams would no longer be able to lead faith-based community service programs.

How do you think religious universities should handle this issue? Should they should comply with Title IX and all of its implications, even if they are compelled to compromise their beliefs? Leave a comment below.

 

Unseen Planned Parenthood Footage Seized by California Justice Department

 

The home of Center for Medical Progress Director David Daleiden was raided by the California Department of Justice on Tuesday afternoon.

In the raid, California officials seized all video footage pertaining to Daleiden’s undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood, as well as personal information belonging to Daleiden.  Multiple sources indicate that some of the footage seized had not yet been released and may have held more incriminating evidence against Planned Parenthood.

Daleiden rose to national prominence after releasing a series of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials admitting to a sale and purchase program for aborted fetal tissue.  Subsequently, a number of states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood affiliate activities to determine whether or not the affiliates broke the law.

Kamala Harris, the Attorney General of California and the head of the California Department of Justice, has led the efforts to discredit Daleiden and his organization’s work, working to investigate him for wrongdoing instead of Planned Parenthood. Attorney General Harris, who is also currently running for U.S. Senate, has previously accepted campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood.

This raid came after new revelations that a consent form used by Planned Parenthood affiliates to acquire permission for tissue donation — similar to the form used in Washington State — used language that a Congressional Committee determined to be coercive and factually incorrect.  See video below:

Daleiden released this statement following the raid:

Today (Tuesday), the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, who was elected with tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood, seized all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts, in addition to my personal information.

Ironically, while seizing my First Amendment work product, they ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood. This is no surprise–Planned Parenthood’s bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them–while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists. We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights.

FPIW has initiated a public records request with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office to review all documents pertaining to their purported investigation of Planned Parenthood in our state.

If you appreciate the work that FPIW does to keep Washington informed, will you pitch in $10 to help us keep going?