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School Reminded Of Constitution, Reverses Private Prayer Ban

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This is from The Daily Caller. 

I bet if the Moose Slimes wanted to pray to Lucifer’s spawn (Allah) it would have been fine.

A Wyoming school that told students they couldn’t pray in the cafeteria has lifted the ban after a Christian legal group threatened legal action on constitutional grounds.

A small group of students at Platte County School District #1 created a prayer circle in the cafeteria of Glendo High School to pray for their meal on October 15. The students prayed audibly, and it was not part of a regularly scheduled group. Afterward, the students say Principal Stanetta Twiford accosted one of the students and accused the student of forcing their religion on other students.

 The principal allegedly said students needed permission to pray and then must go in the hallway or gymnasium if they wanted to talk to God. That way, other students wouldn’t see the prayer. The school argued the students were a captive audience being forced to witness the prayer. The father of two of the students appealed to the principal, who stood firm on the rule.

The parents of two of the students then reached out to the Alliance Defending Freedom, A Christian legal group, which now represents the students. ADF sent a letter to the district Dec. 4, threatening to take legal action if the district continued to ban the students from praying.

“School cafeterias are not religion-free zones, and they certainly do not involve captive audiences,” ADF said in a letter  to the district. “Students in the cafeteria are not captive audiences because they can leave at any time or turn away from the quiet prayer in the corner…”

The school’s superintendent has since changed the school’s tone on the issue. The district sent a letter to ADF Thursday admitting their error and notifying the group that the students could resume praying.

“I feel our staff and district have a better understanding of students’ rights regarding prayer and how to handle future incidents and consider this incident closed,” the school said in a letter responding to ADF.

For now, it appears the students can pray in peace.
“No student should be prevented from engaging in private prayer alone or quietly with other students on campus,” ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said in a statement. “The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on this specifically. The First Amendment protects the right to pray in a non-disruptive manner not just in private but in public, too. The district has done the right thing in lifting its unconstitutional ban.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/12/19/school-reminded-of-constitution-reverses-private-prayer-ban/#ixzz3uvQMyQpG

 

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If Planned Parenthood Loses Government Funding, Here’s a Map of Health Clinics That Could Take Its Place

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This is from The Daily Signal.

The left and the Obama Media want us to believe that only Planned Parenthood provides women’s health care.

However, this map proves otherwise.

healthclinics_ADF_1250-1250x650

Pro-life organizations teamed up to showcase the thousands of community health care clinics that could step in for Planned Parenthood if it were to lose federal funding. (Photo: Alliance Defends/Charlotte Lozier Institute)

 

Two leading pro-life organizations released a map today intended to showcase the thousands of community health care clinics that could step in for Planned Parenthood if it were to lose federal funding.

The map adds to a heated conversation about whether stripping Planned Parenthood of its $500 million annual taxpayer dollars would hurt women’s health care in America, or if women would be better off without it.

Alliance Defending Freedom and Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, identified the different Planned Parenthood locations and community health care clinics across America.

The two groups argue there are plenty of health centers — that also can receive federal funding — to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients should the organization be defunded by Congress.

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Pro-life organizations teamed up to showcase the thousands of community health care clinics that could step in for Planned Parenthood if it were to lose federal funding. (Photo: Alliance Defends/Charlotte Lozier Institute)

“What these graphics put into pictures is what the data has been telling us for a long time,” Casey Mattox, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom who focuses on pro-life issues, told The Daily Signal. “Planned Parenthood is really a small part of the national health care picture in America.”

According to data collected by the two groups, there are currently 13,540 clinics providing comprehensive health care for women, versus 665 Planned Parenthood locations.

Community health centers primarily exist to provide comprehensive care to millions of uninsured, working poor and jobless Americans.

If Planned Parenthood’s federal funding “went away tomorrow,” Mattox argues, the money “would be better used by community health centers and other places around the country that can provide a fuller range of services to women without the ethical challenges that Planned Parenthood presents.”

The effort to defund Planned Parenthood comes after the Center for Medical Progress, a group that opposes abortion, released a series of damaging videos.

The videos show high-ranking Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of tissue from aborted babies and changing abortion procedures to harvest these organs.

The issues raise a host of legal questions and have sparked both state and federal investigations.

Some healthcare experts warn that lawmakers should be careful in punishing Planned Parenthood. These supporters argue community health clinics can’t fulfill the services that Planned Parenthood provides.

“The notion that you could literally overnight defund providers serving a couple million people and think that health centers—even if they’re right nearby, which is not always the case—could just magically absorb patients, I think shows an astounding naivety in healthcare,” says Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University.

“You can map all you want and the fact of the matter is health centers are not magicians and health care doesn’t work this way.”

Rosenbaum, in an interview with The Daily Signal, argued that banning Planned Parenthood funding would create an immediate health care access crisis for millions of women.

Texas, she says, is the “smoking gun” in the debate.

In 2012, Texas stopped funding abortion-providers like Planned Parenthood. Instead, in 2013 it created the Women’s Health Program, which provides low-income women with family planning services, health screenings and birth control.

According to a study by George Washington University, this resulted in community clinics increasing their women’s health care services by an average of 81 percent.

Between 2011 and 2013, after Planned Parenthood was excluded, the study found that the program experienced a nine percent decrease in enrollees, a 26 percent decrease in Medicaid claims and a 54 percent decline in contraceptive claims.

Eventually, community health care clinics replaced Planned Parenthood’s services, Rosenbaum said, but not without consequences.

“Yes, health centers eventually ramped up. Yes, they offer more family planning services than they did before because they had to respond to a crisis and health centers are remarkable at responding to crises. But the state’s own data show that the actual number of patients served dropped.” She added:

We’re talking family planning, cancer screenings, things like that. You certainly do not want people who are seeking family planning to have to put it off at all. Otherwise, you wind up with unplanned pregnancies, half of which will turn into an abortion. This is exactly what we don’t want so why would you shut down a point of access for contraceptives? And why would you shut down cancer screen sites? It makes no sense.

Mattox, with Alliance Defending Freedom, argues the Texas example paints an entirely different picture—one that actually appears to be a success story.

According to state data, in 2012, the pregnancy rate in Texas remained relatively the same, falling from 82.2 pregnancies per 1,000 women ages 15-44, to 81.1 in 2013.

Abortions dropped during the same period, from 65,547 in 2012 compared to 61,513 in 2013.

“The data bellies the claim that Planned Parenthood was necessary to women’s health care in Texas,” Mattox said.

In 2013, right after Texas ousted the organization, Planned Parenthood clinics in the state agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a federal civil suit brought by the Justice Department under President Obama.

The suit claimed the organization fraudulently billed Medicaid for women’s health care services such as birth control from 2003 to 2009.

The massive drop in Medicaid and contraceptive claims, Mattox said, “may be evidence that Texas cleaned up a lot of false claims.”

In addition, Mattox argued the drop in program enrollees could be attributed to a bump in the economy—with more people enrolling on employer-provided health care plans—and the creation of the Affordable Care Act, which “compelled free coverage of contraceptives.”

“It seems some of our friends on the left conveniently forget that they created Obamacare and compelled free coverage of contraceptives when that is inconvenient to defending the need for Planned Parenthood,” he said.

Taking in these broader factors, Mattox argued the Texas example “might actually be good news” and further proof that taking away Planned Parenthood won’t hurt women.

It seems like there may be other factors that explain what happened to women during this time period in Texas. That might actually be good news—we may have solved problems rather than found new ones.

If Congress defunds Planned Parenthood, the country will have to wait and see if the Texas model will be tested on the national level.

Pastors to mayor: Don’t mess with Texas pulpits

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This is from Fox News.

I am happy to hear these pastors are not going to roll over and play dead they are going to fight.

It is time to stand up to homosexual bullies.

 

Christians across the nation are mobilizing to defend a group of Houston pastors who were ordered by the city to turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity issues or Houston mayor. Their message is simple – Don’t Mess with Texas Preachers.

Dave Welch, the executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, is one of the five ministers who received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by Annise Parker, who is the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, nor will he comply with the city’s demands.

“My answer to that is – bring it on,” he said.

Houston’s city attorney issued the subpoenas in a response to a lawsuit filed related to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O.), the city’s new non-discrimination ordinance, also known as the “Bathroom Bill.”

Ultimately, this is not about gays or lesbians or a Bathroom Bill. This is about the U.S. Constitution. This is about religious liberty.

The new law, which has yet to take effect, would (among other things) allow men who identify as women to use the restrooms of their choice – and vice versa. Opponents launched a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petitions claiming there were not enough legitimate signatures. Opponents then filed a lawsuit – which led the city to issue the subpoenas.

Ironically, none of the five subpoenaed pastors are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. 

Welch told me pastors across the Lone Star State are mobilizing and in the very near future they plan to hold a “Don’t Mess with Texas Pulpit Sunday” event.

“We are dealing with bullies used to getting away with abuse of power,” Welch said. “We called their bluff on this.”

But City Attorney David Feldman told me that doesn’t matter. He said in an interview Tuesday that the five pastors were actively involved in leading the fight against the Bathroom Bill and launching the petition drive.

“They are not party plaintiffs but they certainly appeared before council repeatedly regarding the ordinance and the petition,” Feldman told me.

The city attorney defended the decision to issue the subpoenas.

“This petition was organized at the churches,” he said. “That’s where the organizing drive took place. That’s where rallies were held. That’s where signing parties were held.”

Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission told me the city needs to mind its own business.

“The government has absolutely no reason to bully congregations who are speaking out about what they believe,” he said. “It’s none of the government’s business.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm specializing in religious cases, is representing the pastors. They accused City Hall of going on a fishing expedition.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” ADF attorney Erik Stanley said. “This is designed to intimidate pastors.

Attorney Feldman denied that was the case.

“I’m just doing my job,” he said. “I don’t have any issues with these pastors. What I’m doing is defending a lawsuit that was brought against us.”

Moore said he could not believe the city had taken such drastic steps.

“It didn’t sound like something that would happen in America,” he told me. “It is shocking in its audacity and it is buffoonish in its strategy. I can’t imagine who in City Hall thought this was a good idea.”

And that brings us back to Attorney Feldman – who dutifully took full responsibility and said the mayor had absolutely nothing to do with the subpoenas. He said she was never informed.

So at what point was Mayor Parker informed that her administration had declared war on the fine Christian pastors of the nation’s fourth largest city?

“When you guys broke the story,” he said.

I’m not sure what’s harder to believe – that the mayor wasn’t involved or that she reads my column.

Moore called the Houston incident a case of “legal bullying” and addressed it in a recent blog posting:

“The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will. But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.”

Ultimately, this is not about gays or lesbians or a Bathroom Bill. This is about the U.S. Constitution. This is about religious liberty.

This is about a group of pastors refusing to comply with the demands of the government. And they do so at the risk of being held in contempt of court.

Heaven forbid that happens. But if it does, I for one will gladly fly to Houston with a toothbrush in hand and join these brave men of God – behind bars.

After Being Fined and Forced to Host Gay Weddings, Christian Farm Owners Make Drastic Decision That ‘Will Likely Hurt Their Business’

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This is from The Blaze.

It is a shame you must close down your business because a tyrannical government wants to destroy our religious freedom.

 

A husband and wife who were fined $13,000 and told they could not discriminate against same-sex couples after refusing to allow a gay wedding on their New York farm have announced that they will “no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property.”

“Going forward, [Cynthia and Robert Gifford] have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property (other than the ones already under contract),” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney James Trainor told TheBlaze in a statement.

A judge ruled earlier this month that the Giffords’ farm is a public accommodation because they rent their space out, and they therefore must abide by New York anti-discrimination law.

“Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run,” Trainor said.

Image source: LibertyRidgeFarmNY.com

The family will continue hosting wedding receptions, but ceremonies — which have traditionally been hosted inside the Giffords’ home on the property or at another nearby location — will immediately cease. Same-sex receptions will be allowed on the grounds.

The move comes after Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, a lesbian couple, approached Cynthia and Robert Giffords in 2012 and inquired about holding their nuptials at the Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, New York.

The Giffordses, who are Christian and hold the belief that marriage is restricted to one man and one woman, said the couple was welcome to hold their reception on the property, but not the actual ceremony.

McCarthy and Erwin complained to New York’s Division of Human Rights, claiming they had been discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation.

A judge subsequently ruled in their favor, rejecting the Giffords’ argument that the family owns a private business that is legally permitted to issue such refusals.

Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that Liberty Ridge Farm is a public accommodation because it rents its space and regularly collects fees from the public. The judge said the fact that the owners live on the premises does not mean that their business is private in nature.

Pares ordered that the Giffordses must abide by anti-discrimination regulations under New York’s Human Rights Law and must pay a $10,000 fine, as well as an additional $1,500 each to McCarthy and Erwin, Religion News Service reported.

A representative for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, told TheBlaze that in addition to the fines, New York State is forcing the Giffordses to” teach classes to their employees that impose the state’s view of marriage.” Gay marriage was legalized in the state in 2011.

The Alliance Defending Freedom said the Giffordses should have the right to hold and exercise their religious views without the “threat of government punishment.”

The Giffordses and their attorneys believe that the family has been punished for taking a biblical position and for exercising their First Amendment rights.

“The government should not force anyone to participate in or celebrate an event that violates their faith and beliefs. However, that’s exactly what the state of New York has done to the Giffords,” the firm said. “The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples.”

The family has not yet decided if it will appeal the judge’s decision.

IRS Strikes Deal With Atheist Group to Monitor Content of Sermons

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This is from LifeNews.

This is a move Hitler and Stalin would be proud of.

This is another push to stifle free speech.

How many so-called Christian pastors will sell out to political correctness?

Someone Please tell me that Obama is a Christian.

Look at the why he persecutes Christians, Obama is the man laying the path for the Anti-Christ.

The next time your pastor delivers a pro-life sermon or urges the congregation to stand up for pro-life values in the political or public arena, he could be taken to task by the IRS.

Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Internal Revenue Service Tuesday to release all documents related to its recent decision to settle a lawsuit with an atheist group that claims the IRS has adopted new protocols and procedures for the investigation of churches.

Pastor Holding Bible ca. 2000ADF submitted the Freedom of Information Act request after learning of the IRS’s agreement with Freedom From Religion Foundation in a press releasethe group issued on July 17 concerning its lawsuit Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Koskinen, which accused the agency of failing to investigate churches the way the atheist group would like.

“Secrecy breeds mistrust, and the IRS should know this in light of its recent scandals involving the investigation of conservative groups,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “We are asking the IRS to disclose the new protocols and procedures it apparently adopted for determining whether to investigate churches. What it intends to do to churches must be brought into the light of day.”

The IRS claims it is temporarily withholding investigations of all tax-exempt entities because of congressional scrutiny of its recent scandals, but no one knows when it will decide to restart investigations based on any new or modified rules that it develops.

Click here to sign up for daily pro-life news alerts from LifeNews.com

According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation press release, “The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations.”

The release mentions the ADF annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” event as one that promotes activity by churches that violates the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that activist groups often cite in an attempt to silence churches by threatening their tax-exempt status. The Johnson Amendment authorizes the IRS to regulate sermons and requires churches to give up their constitutionally protected freedom of speech in order to retain their tax-exempt status.

“The IRS cannot force churches to give up their precious constitutionally protected freedoms to receive a tax exemption,” explained ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who heads the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event. “No one would suggest a pastor give up his church’s tax-exempt status if he wants to keep his constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment. Likewise, no one should be asking him to do the same to be able to keep his constitutionally protected freedom of speech.”

This year’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday will be held on Oct. 5.

Family-Run Business Tells Supreme Court: Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate

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This is from LifeNews.

I pray the Supreme Court gets their ruling right on this matter.

No one should be forced by the Obama regime to violate their

Religious convictions.

A family-run business filed papers with the Supreme Court today telling the high court that it must stop the “unjust” Obamcare mandate that requires companies to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for their employees.

This is the companion case to the legal challenge the Supreme Court accepted from Hobby Lobby.

Alliance Defending Freedom and allied attorneys representing a Pennsylvania Mennonite family and its woodworking business filed their opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Friday in one of two major legal challenges to the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate that the high courtagreed in November to hear.

“Unjust laws are not valid laws. The government shouldn’t be allowed to punish Americans for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The administration has no business whatsoever forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free.”

“Job creators don’t give up their fundamental freedoms when they get a business license,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Every American has a right to fully and freely participate in every area of public life.”

The Hahns are Mennonite Christians in Pennsylvania who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case, Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled 2-1 against them. The decision conflicts with most other circuits and with the vast majority of rulings on the mandate so far.

The brief filed Friday explains that the Obama administration’s “argument is inconsistent with the reality of religious activity in Americans’ daily lives. There is no separating the Hahns’ faith from their business or its actions. The members of the Hahn family, as Mennonite Christians, practice their faith in everything they do, including the running of their business…. The Mandateforces them to choose between violating their religious convictions and incurring ruinous fines and lawsuits. No compelling interest justifies imposing such a Hobson’s choice, particularly given the government’s exclusion of thousands of other employers from the Mandate’s scope.”

“If the government can force Americans to violate their deepest, most heartfelt convictions, there’s no stopping what government can do. If freedom of conscience isn’t preserved, then all of our freedoms are in jeopardy,” said co-counsel Randall Wenger, chief counsel of the Independence Law Center.

The mandate could cost the family $95,000 per day if it doesn’t agree to live contrary to its Christian convictions, according to 3rd Circuit Judge Kent Jordan’s dissent in the case. The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy financial penalties if the mandate’s requirements aren’t met.

The Supreme Court has set the date for oral arguments for Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the Obama HHS mandate. The nation’s highest court will hear debate from attorneys representing the Christian-owned business and the Obama administration on Tuesday, March 25 at 10 a.m.

The Obama administration is attempting to make it comply with the HHS mandate that compels religious companies to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for their employees. However, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions. This is good news to the Green family, who own the store.

“This is a major step for the Greens and their family businesses in an important fight for Americans’ religious liberty,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that religious freedom in our country should be protected for family business owners like the Greens.”

The Obama administration says it is confident it will prevail, saying, “We believe this requirement is lawfuland are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”

A December 2013 Rasmussen Reports poll shows Americans disagree with forcing companies like Hobby Lobby to obey the mandate.

“Half of voters now oppose a government requirement that employers provide health insurance with free contraceptives for their female employees,” Rasmussen reports.

The poll found: “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 38% of Likely U.S. Voters still believe businesses should be required by law to provide health insurance that covers all government-approved contraceptives for women without co-payments or other charges to the patient.

Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree and say employers should not be required to provide health insurance with this type of coverage. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.”

JUDGE: ‘GAY RIGHTS’ TRUMP 1ST AMENDMENT

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This is from World Net Daily.

This ruling sets a dangerous precedent.

It has opened the door to more lawsuits by the homosexual

activists thugs claiming discrimination.

Orders Colorado baker to violate beliefs, submit to homosexuals’ demands.

Another judge has ruled homosexuals have a right not to be offended that supersedes First Amendment religious rights.

In the latest case, a Denver cake baker must make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding even if the message being conveyed in the ceremony violates his religious beliefs.

“America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs,” Nicolle Martin, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said.

“Forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free. If the government can take away our First Amendment freedoms, there is nothing it can’t take away.”

The ruling came from Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer in Denver against Jack Phillips, a Christian who owns Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colo.

Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., cited conflicting religious beliefs when he declined in July 2012 to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception. Photo/Denver Post

Phillips told the homosexual couple he couldn’t make the cake because he believes marriage between a man and a woman. The couple subsequently filed a discrimination claim arguing that Phillips’ refusal was based on their sexual orientation.

However, Phillips insisted he refused because of the message conveyed by the wedding cake.

“I told them I don’t do wedding cakes for same-sex marriages,” Phillips told WND. “I then let them know I would make any other kind of cake for them, just not a wedding cake.”

He explained to WND there are cakes for other circumstance he also would refuse to make.

“If a couple were to come in and ask me to do an erotic cake for a wedding I would refuse to do that as well,” he said. “These are my personal standards taken from Jesus Christ and the Bible.”

The case centers on whose rights take precedence.

Judge Spencer said the view that Phillips’ First Amendment rights are primary “fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are.”

In his ruling, Spencer noted Phillips’ argument that he also would have refused a request by a heterosexual couple to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

However, Spencer granted homosexuals a special standard.

“Only same-sex couples engage in same-sex weddings. Therefore, it makes little sense to argue that refusal to provide a cake to a same-sex couple for use at their wedding is not ‘because of’ their sexual orientation,’” Spencer wrote.

In Wednesday’s hearing on the case, the American Civil Liberties Union argued that while the government had the right to force a Christian to use his artistic talents to design a homosexual wedding cake, the standard should not be applied to other groups – such as asking a Muslim baker to make a cake criticizing his faith.

Spencer lined up behind the ACLU and said that while Phillips is expected to give up his religious beliefs regarding marriage to avoid offending homosexuals, if a Muslim baker were to be asked to design a cake denigrating the Quran or if a black cake maker was asked to do a cake for the KKK, neither would be under any compulsion to do so.

“In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse,” Spencer said.

“That, however, is not the case here, where respondents refused to bake any cake for complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech.”

Spencer bluntly offered cake makers an alternative: They can quit.

“If … respondents choose to quit making wedding cakes altogether to avoid future violations of the law; that is a matter of personal choice and not a result compelled by the state,” he suggested.

Spencer’s arguments are similar to statements by other government officials regarding homosexuality and same-sex ceremonies.

Raymond Sexton, executive director for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission in Kentucky, told WND that it might be perfectly fine for a printing company run by “gays” to refuse to print anti-”gay” literature, but a Christian company refusing to print T-shirts for a “gay” event would not have that same right.

Hands On Originals, a company in Lexington, Ky., refused a request to print T-shirts for a local “gay” pride festival, citing religious beliefs.

But Sexton told WND that if a “gay” printing company was asked to print T-shirts from someone wanting the statement “Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God,” the “gay” group would have the right to refuse to print the order.

“If the company does not approve of the message, that is a valid non-discriminatory reason to refuse the work,” he said.

He also said a black business owner would have the right to refuse to print a flyer for a Klan rally.

However, when asked if the same would apply to Hands On Online if officials said “we don’t support ‘gay’ pride festivals, but we won’t discriminate against a person because they are ‘gay,’” Sexton was not as committed, simply saying “possibly.”

“This is a gray area, but possibly. I can’t say definitively, but it possibly could pass the test,” he said. “I would recommend they take the word ‘gay’ out of there and say they simply don’t approve of the message.”

A New Mexico judge ruled that a Christian wedding photographer must surrender her religious beliefs as the price of good citizenship.

Elaine Huguenin, co-owner of Elane Photography with her husband Jonathan, was asked to commemorate a same-sex ceremony by Vanessa Willock.

Huguenin refused, saying that while she does not discriminate against homosexuals on the basis of their orientation, her Christian beliefs prohibited her from sanctioning the marriage of two members of the same sex.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the Huguenins did not have any right to refuse to express sentiments contrary to her beliefs, ordering the couple to pay $6,637.94 in attorneys’ fees to Willock and her partner.

That case remains on appeal.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/judge-gay-rights-trump-1st-amendment-for-christians/#Jja863PGHu124lZb.99

NEW MEXICO COURT: CHRISTIAN PHOTOGRAPHER CANNOT REFUSE GAY-MARRIAGE CEREMONY

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This is from Breitbarts Big Government.

Why is it Christians have to compromise  their religious convictions?

Muslims are never told to compromise their religious convictions.

Homosexuality is an abomination.

Leviticus 18:22

King James Version (KJV)

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

 

Today the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that Christian photographers cannot decline to participate in gay-marriage commitment ceremonies, even though that state does not have gay marriage and the court acknowledged that providing services for the ceremony violated the Christian’s sincerely-held, traditional religious beliefs. This becomes one of the first major cases where religious liberty collides with gay rights, and could now go to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Elane Huguenin is a photographer in New Mexico. She and her husband Jonathan jointly own their family business, Elane Photography. Specifically, Elane is a photojournalist—using a carefully-planned series of photographs to tell a story and convey a message. She is also a devout Christian, who believes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

In 2006, Vanessa Willock contacted Elane Photography, asking Elane to photograph her lesbian commitment ceremony. It was a private commitment ceremony because New Mexico recognizes neither gay marriage nor gay civil unions. Elane thanked Willock for her interest, but explained that due to her religious beliefs she only does traditional weddings.

Willock filed a complaint against Elane with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, citing a state law that does not allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The commission ruled Elane’s decision illegal, and imposed a fine of $7,000 to cover legal fees.

Elane took this matter to court, represented by Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The trial court upheld the fine, as did the court of appeals.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has now affirmed the lower courts, holding that Elane Photography is a “public accommodation,” and because they photograph wedding ceremonies they cannot refuse a gay-commitment ceremony (even if it is not a legal wedding).

In a concurring opinion, Justice Richard Bosson wrote Elane and Jonathan:

… now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives… the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.

… At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to … pray to the God of their choice … But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.

Bosson goes on to say having to violate your religious beliefs when they conflict with social issues like gay marriage “is the price of citizenship.”

In response to today’s decision, Lorence said in an ADF statement:

Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country. This decision is a blow to our client and to every American’s right to live free. Decisions like this undermine the constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and conscience that we have all taken for granted. America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs and not to be compelled by the government to express ideas and messages they decline to support. We are considering our next steps, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to right this wrong.

A recent Rasmussen poll showed that 85% of Americans support the right of a religious photographer not to participate in a gay-marriage ceremony.

A petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for review is due by mid-November.

 

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