~Steve~ H/T hujonwi
Do you remember Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado who was ordered by administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals or face fines, even though doing so violates Phillips’ Christian religious beliefs?
The Arizona state legislator just passed a bill, SB 1062: Exercise of Religion, to protect business owners from what happened to Phillips.
In the past few years, there have been several cases of business owners facing lawsuits after refusing to provide their services to homosexual couples at their “weddings.” This bill would prevent such suits from being filed in Arizona and would protect objecting business owners from facing heavy fines.
The bill, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Jan Brewer, has been lambasted as discriminatory by its opponents, but its defenders say it’s a necessary protection for religious freedom.
As we would expect, Democrats oppose SB 1062, including all four of Arizona’s Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s religion and belief program, said, “Religious freedom is a fundamental right, but it’s not a blank check to harm others or impose our faith on our neighbors.” The ACLU opposes the legislation.
But the bill also is opposed by Republicans, including:
The reaction to SB 1062 from the media has been heated to say the least. In an interview with CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo, Kelly Fiedorek, attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, tried explaining the bill and how it would protect religious freedom. She says:
“[There’s] a basic difference between denying someone a cup of coffee or a piece of pizza or selling someone a pencil versus forcing someone to use their creative ability to create a message to support an event, to support an idea that goes against their beliefs. For example, we would not force a Muslim to participate in a Koran-burning ceremony. We wouldn’t ask a black photographer and force them to go take a picture of a KKK event. This is America and in America we should be able to live freely and not be forced to endorse ideas.”
Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, responded to the fiery reaction to the passing of SB 1062 in a statement on Saturday:
“The attacks on SB 1062 show politics at its absolute worse. They represent precisely why so many people are sick of the modern political debate. Instead of having an honest discussion about the true meaning of religious liberty, opponents of the bill have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks, and irresponsible reporting. I urge Governor Brewer to send a clear message to the country that in Arizona, everyone, regardless of their faith, will be protected in Arizona by signing SB 1062.”
The bill now awaits Gov. Jan Brewer’s signing or veto sometime this week. Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year during a self-imposed freeze on signing legislation until a budget was passed for the 2014 fiscal year.
According to CNN, Brewer is expected to veto what the liberal media insist on calling “the anti-gay bill” because “Sources say she is concerned about this bill taking away from other issues she is now pressing, such as overhauling Arizona’s child protective services system.”
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phoenix Office: (602) 542-4331
Tucson Office: (520) 628-6580
In-State Toll Free: 1-800-253-0883 (outside Maricopa County only)
Fax Number: (602) 542-1381
To send an email, click here.
In his op/ed for USA Today, Feb. 23, 2014, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds cites three pieces of evidence that the American people have had enough of increasingly tyrannical government and are pushing back.
Do you agree?
America’s ruling class has been experiencing more pushback than usual lately. It just might be a harbinger of things to come.
First, in response to widespread protests last week, the Department of Homeland Security canceled plans to build a nationwide license plate database. Many local police departments already use license-plate readers that track every car as it passes traffic signals or pole-mounted cameras. Specially equipped police cars even track cars parked on the street or even in driveways.
The DHS put out a bid request for a system that would have gone national, letting the federal government track millions of people’s comings and goings just as it tracks data about every phone call we make. But the proposal was suddenly withdrawn last week, with the unconvincing explanation that it was all a mistake. I’m inclined to agree with TechDirt’s Tim Cushing, who wrote: “The most plausible explanation is that someone up top at the DHS or ICE suddenly realized that publicly calling for bids on a nationwide surveillance system while nationwide surveillance systems are being hotly debated was … a horrible idea.”
On Friday, after more public outrage, the Federal Communications Commission withdrew a plan to “monitor” news coverage at not only broadcast stations, but also at print publications that the FCC has no authority to regulate. The “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN (pronounced “sin”) involved the FCC sending people to question reporters and editors about why they chose to run particular stories. Many folks in and out of the media found it Orwellian.
How this program appeared was, like the DHS program, a bit of a mystery: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said: “This has never been put to an FCC vote; it was just announced.” But the blowback was sufficient to stop it for now.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut a massive new gun-registration scheme is also facing civil disobedience. As J.D. Tuccille reports: “Three years ago, the Connecticut legislature estimated there were 372,000 rifles in the state of the sort that might be classified as ‘assault weapons,’ and 2 million plus high-capacity magazines. … But by the close of registration at the end of 2013, state officials received around 50,000 applications for ‘assault weapon’ registrations, and 38,000 applications for magazines.”
This is more “Irish Democracy,” passive resistance to government overreach. The Hartford(Conn.) Courant is demanding that the state use background-check records to prosecute those who haven’t registered, but the state doesn’t have the resources and it’s doubtful juries would convict ordinary, law-abiding people for failure to file some paperwork.
Though people have taken to the streets from Egypt, to Ukraine, to Venezuela to Thailand, many have wondered whether Americans would ever resist the increasing encroachments on their freedom. I think they’ve begun.
by KERRY PICKET
Questions in the document for editors and reporters will be “removed entirely” from the questionnaire, FCC spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said in a statement released Friday.
Gilson added that, “Any suggestion that the FCC intends to regulate the speech of news media or plans to put monitors in America’s newsrooms is false.”
The questionnaire, which is being promoted by Mignon Clyburn, the daughter of noted Fairness Doctrine proponent Rep. Jim Clyburn, spooked freedom of speech advocates.
“To be clear, media owners and journalists will no longer be asked to participate in the Columbia, S.C. pilot study. The pilot will not be undertaken until a new study design is final. Any subsequent market studies conducted by the FCC, if determined necessary, will not seek participation from or include questions for media owners, news directors or reporters,” Gilson said.
(end Brietbart article)
Perhaps they decided to try the “monitor-in-every-news-room” thing again after they push thru the gun confiscation plan.
Two years ago, a federal judge in Oregon made a shocking ruling that sent chills down the spine of all bloggers.
Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont. who now lives in Port Townshend, was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief in the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.
Padrick, of Bend, Ore., was a trustee in a bankruptcy case involving Summit Accommodators, a company that helped property owners conduct real estate transactions in a way to limit taxes. Three company executives faced federal fraud and money laundering indictments.
Cox said she considered herself a journalist, producing more than 400 blogs over the past five years, with a proprietary technique to get her postings on the top of search engines where they get the most notice.
But on December 7, 2011, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.
A jury in 2011 awarded Padrick and Obsidian $2.5 million.
Cox must have appealed — and successfully appealed — for on Jan. 17, 2014, a federal appeals court ruled that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.
Jeff Barnard reports for the AP that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.
The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.
Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote: ”Because Cox’s blog post addressed a matter of public concern, even assuming that Gertz is limited to such speech, the district court should have instructed the jury that it could not find Cox liable for defamation unless it found that she acted negligently. We hold that liability for a defamatory blog post involving a matter of public concern cannot be imposed without proof of fault and actual damages.“
The appeals court upheld rulings by the District Court that other posts by Cox were constitutionally protected opinion.
Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists. “It’s not a special right to the news media,” he said. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others.”
Though Cox acted as her own attorney, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who had written an article on the issue, learned of her case and offered to represent her in an appeal. Volokh said such cases usually end up settled without trial, and it was rare for one to reach the federal appeals court level. He said Judge Hurwitz’s ruling “makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists. There had been similar precedents before concerning advocacy groups, other writers and book authors. This follows a fairly well established chain of precedents. I believe it is the first federal appeals court level ruling that applies to bloggers.“
An attorney for Padrick, Steven M. Wilker, said in an email that while they were disappointed in the ruling, they noted the court found “there was no dispute that the statements were false and defamatory. Ms. Cox’s false and defamatory statements have caused substantial damage to our clients, and we are evaluating our options with respect to the court’s decision.”
This post is an update of the one our Steve did yesterday on Cable TV network A&E acceding to the Left’s LGBT Tyranny by “indefinitely suspending” Phil Robertson, the star of the reality show Duck Dynasty, for his “anti-gay” comments in an interview with GQ magazine.
Side note: Rush Limbaugh is right. When will conservatives learn that mainstream media outlets like GQ magazine are not our friends, and that we are set up for a fall when they interview us? We need to stop feeling flattered by their attention. We need to stop regarding them as even worthy of our attention!
An unnamed A&E network executive told TheWrap that it was Phil Robertson’s comparison of homosexuality to bestiality that ultimately led Nancy Dubuc, the CEO of A&E Networks, to suspend him because Robertson’s remarks were in conflict with “the fundamental values of the company.” Dubuc was responding in part to the concern of “employees within the company.” The decision to suspend Robertson came Wednesday night, hours after an early-morning phone call between A&E executives and GLAAD, the homosexual civil rights group.
The unnamed A&E executive who spoke with The Wrap also said arguments that A&E had somehow taken Robertson’s free speech away are ridiculous, as a suspension from a television show did not curtail his ability to speak out freely. And any notion that A&E had a conflict with Christianity is also absurd, considering A&E’s History just aired the hit miniseries, “The Bible.”
A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc is “one of the most powerful television executives in Hollywood, overseeing A&E, Lifetime and History channels. Her dynasty is powered largely by “Duck Dynasty,” the highest-rated reality show on the air.
Here are three pics I found of Nancy Dubuc. From left to right: a pic from about 2011 (source: Grain’s NY Business); a more recent, rather mannish-looking pic (source: TheWrap); an up-to-date totally glamorized airbrushed pic on A+E Networks:
Support for Phil Robertson is coming from everywhere:
I have never seen “Duck Dynasty“, but as I see it this Guy Phil Robinson gave an interview with GQ that has the LGBT groups knickers in a twist. Whatever, if you are sick and tired of this oh -so-tolerant group all you need to do is go to
Within 10 minutes, the “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty” page had 100 likes; in 30 minutes, the page had 1,200 likes. It grew exponentially from there; in three and a half hours, the page had 162,000 likes. The page states: “This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E Channel!”
A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the publication of the first surveillance disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was “almost Orwellian” in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be “aghast” at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans’ communications data.
The ruling, by the US district court for the District of Columbia, is a blow to the Obama administration, and sets up a legal battle that will drag on for months, almost certainly destined to end up in the supreme court. It was welcomed by campaigners pressing to rein in the NSA, and by Snowden, who issued a rare public statement saying it had vindicated his disclosures. It is also likely to influence other legal challenges to the NSA, currently working their way through federal courts.
The case was brought by Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer, and Charles Strange, father of a cryptologist killed in Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down in 2011. His son worked for the NSA and carried out support work for Navy Seal Team Six, the elite force that killed Osama bin Laden.
In Monday’s ruling, the judge concluded that the pair’s constitutional challenge was likely to be successful. In what was the only comfort to the NSA in a stinging judgment, Leon put the ruling on hold, pending an appeal by the government.
Leon expressed doubt about the central rationale for the program cited by the NSA: that it is necessary for preventing terrorist attacks. “The government does not cite a single case in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack,” he wrote.
“Given the limited record before me at this point in the litigation – most notably, the utter lack of evidence that a terrorist attack has ever been prevented because searching the NSA database was faster than other investigative tactics – I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.”
Leon’s opinion contained stern and repeated warnings that he was inclined to rule that the metadata collection performed by the NSA – and defended vigorously by the NSA director Keith Alexander on CBS on Sunday night – was unconstitutional.
“Plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of showing that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting and analysing bulk telephony metadata and therefore the NSA’s bulk collection program is indeed an unreasonable search under the fourth amendment,” he wrote.
Leon said that the mass collection of phone metadata, revealed by the Guardian in June, was “indiscriminatory” and “arbitrary” in its scope. ”The almost-Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States is unlike anything that could have been conceived in 1979,” he wrote, referring to the year in which the US supreme court ruled on a fourth amendment case upon which the NSA now relies to justify the bulk records program.
Do you remember the Colorado cake shop that was ordered by an administrative law judge, Robert N. Spencer (of whom I cannot find any info or a pic), to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals or face fines, even though doing so violates the owner’s Christian religious beliefs?
In an interview with FoxNews’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck, cake maker Jack Phillips said he’d rather shut down his business and go to jail than compromise his beliefs: “[I’ll serve jail time if] that’s what it takes. It’s not like I have chosen this team or that team. This is who I am, it’s what I believe.”
Kirsten Andersen reports for LifeSiteNews:
“Does becoming a business owner mean you have to check your convictions at the door?” Hasselbeck asked. “Why is it important for you to have a business and not have to abandon personal religious beliefs just to make a buck?”
“I don’t plan on giving up my religious beliefs … I don’t feel that I should participate in their wedding, and when I do a cake, I feel like I’m participating in the ceremony or the event or the celebration that the cake is for,” Phillips said. “My priorities would be towards my faith rather than towards my safety or security.”
Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, has been under fire since July 2012, when David Mullins and Charlie Craig filed a discrimination complaint after Phillips refused to sell them a wedding cake.
While Colorado’s constitution states, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state,” Mullins and Craig had nonetheless planned to “marry” in Massachusetts, where a court order made same-sex “marriage” legal in 2004. Afterward, they planned to hold a reception in Colorado. When they visited Phillips’ cake shop to ask him to provide a wedding cake for the event, he declined, explaining that his religious beliefs prevented him from participating in same-sex “weddings.” Phillips said he would be happy to sell them brownies or other treats to serve at the reception, just not a wedding cake.
The two men reacted with angry disbelief. “It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter,” Mullins told Denver Westword at the time. “We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, ‘F— you and your homophobic cake shop.’ And I may or may not have flipped him off.”
After the two men departed Phillips’s business, they filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission with the help of the ACLU, arguing that Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws, which were expanded in 2008 to include sexual preference and gender identity.
Phillips and his lawyers have argued that the religious nature of his objection to gay “marriage” warrants an exception to the anti-discrimination law, which also names religion among its protected classes.
But on December 7, Judge Robert Spencer ruled in the gay couple’s favor, equating Phillips’s deeply held religious beliefs against gay “marriage” with racial bias. To allow Phillips to refuse to serve gay “weddings,” the judge argued, “would allow a business that served all races to nonetheless refuse to serve an interracial couple because of the business owner’s bias against interracial marriage.”
Wrote Spencer, “it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses. This view, however, 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.”
The judge also rejected Phillips’s argument that he was simply obeying the state constitution by refusing to recognize a same-sex relationship as “marriage.”
“Although [Phillips and his lawyers] are correct that Colorado does not recognize same-sex marriage,” wrote Spencer, “that fact does not excuse discrimination based upon sexual orientation.”
Phillips’s attorney, Nicolle Martin, told the Associated Press that Spencer’s decision was “reprehensible” and “antithetical to everything America stands for. [Jack Phillips] can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck. If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system.”
Martin says her client has not ruled out an appeal.
Denver cake baker Jack Phillips is showing Christians and others with beliefs that cannot support same-sex “marriage” what they must do in response to bullying by gay activists. Resist. Far too few have been doing this and that is why militant homosexualism has been advancing so very rapidly in destroying the family, our traditional, family supportive sexual culture and freedoms of expression and religious freedoms.
Then there is Phil Kline, another hero who has also been a victim of repeated, gross injustices, from what one might call the abortion mafia. And yet, he persists and persists, when most would have given up years ago.
Such heroes should be receiving strong moral and financial support from the public. They are doing what the natural leaders are mostly all too afraid to do. These heroes are acting on behalf of all of us and perhaps paving the way for mass public rejection of the new, corrupt social order.
Do you have the courage of your convictions? You do?
1. Do you live in or near Denver? Then go and buy something at Masterpiece Cakeshop:
Address: 3355 S Wadsworth Blvd, Ste H-117, Lakewood, CO 80227 (click here for directions)
Phone: (303) 763-5754
2. Write a positive review for Masterpiece Cakeshop:
3. Go to “We Support Masterpiece Cakeshop” on Facebook and tell Phillips you support him!
When has evil become so open and in your face, no longer content to hide in the shadows?
In 2009, the conservative-led Oklahoma state legislature approved a privately funded Ten Commandments monument, which was erected last year outside the state Capitol building.
Ever since the approval, opponents have called into question the constitutionality of the monument. The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking its removal.
The latest: Satanists are demanding “religious parity” — their “right” to put a monument to Satan right next to the Ten Commandments.
The New York-based Satanic Temple notified Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission that it wants to donate a monument and plans to submit one of several possible designs this month, said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the temple.
Greaves at a Satanic Temple rally on Jan. 25, 2013, on the Capitol Steps of Tallahassee in support of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Senate Bill 98.
In a letter to state officials, Greaves wrote: “We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards. Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines.”
The Republican state representative Mike Ritze, who spearheaded the push for the Ten Commandments monument and whose family helped pay the $10,000 for its construction, declined to comment on the Satanic Temple’s effort.
Greaves credited Ritze for opening the door to his group’s proposal: ”He’s helping a satanic agenda grow more than any of us possibly could. You don’t walk around and see too many satanic temples around, but when you open the door to public spaces for us, that’s when you’re going to see us.”
Another Republican state representative Bobby Cleveland says many Christians feel they are under attack as a result of political correctness. He dismissed the notion of Satanists erecting a monument at the Capitol, “I think these Satanists are a different group. You put them under the nut category.”
But Brady Henderson, the legal director for ACLU Oklahoma, said if state officials allow one type of religious expression, they must allow alternative forms of expression, although he said a better solution might be to allow none at all on state property. ”We would prefer to see Oklahoma’s government officials work to faithfully serve our communities and improve the lives of Oklahomans instead of erecting granite monuments to show us all how righteous they are,” Henderson said. “But if the Ten Commandments, with its overtly Christian message, is allowed to stay at the Capitol, the Satanic Temple’s proposed monument cannot be rejected because of its different religious viewpoint.”
When asked what the Satanic monument would look like, Greaves said one potential design involves a pentagram, but he doesn’t want to “reveal too much about the possible design options.” He did hint that his “favorite design, at the moment, is an interactive display for children.” He expects the monument, if approved by Oklahoma officials, would cost about $20,000.
Greaves needs no longer thrash around for a suitable design for his monument. Egyptians have already come up with one! Here it is:
Source: AP (via The Guardian)