Gay rights vs. Religious rights

Mollie Hemingway pulls together some reporting that frames the controversy over homosexuality in terms of Gay rights vs. religious freedom. Some major conflicts are breaking out already and will only get worse:

Hagerty [reporting about a gay couple that wanted to use a Methodist worship space for their wedding] explains that the couple filed a complaint with New Jersey’s Civil Rights office alleging unlawful discrimination. They made the case that religious beliefs are not a defense. The Methodists responded that their First Amendment rights protect them from such a case. The lesbians won and the state revoked the Methodist’s tax exemption for the worship space. The Methodists are appealing.

The third part of the story looks at the issue nationwide:

As states have legalized same-sex partnerships, the rights of gay couples have consistently trumped the rights of religious groups. Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, says that does not mean that a pastor can be sued for preaching against same-sex marriage. But, he says, that may be just about the only religious activity that will be protected.

“What if a church offers marriage counseling? Will they be able to say ‘No, we’re not going to help gay couples get along because it violates our religious principles to do so? What about summer camps? Will they be able to insist that gay couples not serve as staff because they’re a bad example?” Stern asks.

Hagerty mentions other cases. Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its dormitory for married couples. A Lutheran school has been sued for expelling two lesbian students. Catholic Charities abandoned adoptions services in Massachusetts after it was told to place children with same-sex couples. A psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel a lesbian couple lost her case and a doctor who refused to provide in vitro fertilization to a lesbian in California is likely to lose his case before the California Supreme Court.

I suspect that, given the current cultural climate, gay rights are going to trump religious rights every time. In a remarkable cultural and moral inversion, homosexuals now occupy the moral high ground, and religious people who oppose homosexuality are now perceived as the bad guys. So I suspect most churches will eventually go with the cultural flow. What do you think will happen to churches that resist?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I expect the future of the church in America is underground. Perhaps we’ll have to emigrate to Africa.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I expect the future of the church in America is underground. Perhaps we’ll have to emigrate to Africa.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    This raises another thought, Lars: Would we have the gumption and commitment to our theology to leave our homeland and everything and everyone we had in order to practice our faith freely? As the founders of confessional Lutheranism in this country did?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    This raises another thought, Lars: Would we have the gumption and commitment to our theology to leave our homeland and everything and everyone we had in order to practice our faith freely? As the founders of confessional Lutheranism in this country did?

  • Matthew

    Dr. Veith,
    I pray that we would have the strength of conviction to do so, but I am thinking most would choose to stay. Which I suppose in and of itself there would be nothing wrong with. It may be truer to our principles to remain in the U.S. and be willing to suffer the persecution rather than fleeing. Besides that, it’s not like the rest of the world would be any better if the U.S. sinks that far down.

  • Matthew

    Dr. Veith,
    I pray that we would have the strength of conviction to do so, but I am thinking most would choose to stay. Which I suppose in and of itself there would be nothing wrong with. It may be truer to our principles to remain in the U.S. and be willing to suffer the persecution rather than fleeing. Besides that, it’s not like the rest of the world would be any better if the U.S. sinks that far down.

  • Don S

    When evangelicals are considering whether or not to vote for Obama, or to otherwise cast their lot with the current liberal movement in this country, based on the promises of folks like Jim Wallis or Tony Campolo that lefties are religious too, I hope they realize that the religion of lefties is subservient to liberal cultural and political dogma. In the world of the left in this country, a pornographer’s First Amendment right to purvey smut is a fundamental one, and absolute. On the other hand, one’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion may be trumped by any statute having general applicability (in other words, as long as the law at issue was not passed specifically to discriminate against one’s religious views or practices, it can be enforced against a person even if its application infringes on that person’s First Amendment religious rights).

    Four or eight years of Obama-appointed judges and a far left Obama administration are going to push us much further in the direction Canada has taken, where even a pastor speaking out and preaching Biblical truth concerning the sins of homosexuality, abortion, etc. will be subject to legal sanctions by a human rights tribunal or some such bureaucratic, unaccountable, immoral body.

    Are we prepared to stand up and practice our faith without compromise, no matter what the cost? Will we stand up for our rights now, while there is still hope to avoid or change this scenario? Or, are we going to continue to remain asleep at the wheel, lulled into a sense of stupor and well being by the soothing words of unity uttered by the current liberal du jour, while the unique American freedoms granted to the individual citizen in this country are snatched away?

    It’s our choice.

  • Don S

    When evangelicals are considering whether or not to vote for Obama, or to otherwise cast their lot with the current liberal movement in this country, based on the promises of folks like Jim Wallis or Tony Campolo that lefties are religious too, I hope they realize that the religion of lefties is subservient to liberal cultural and political dogma. In the world of the left in this country, a pornographer’s First Amendment right to purvey smut is a fundamental one, and absolute. On the other hand, one’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion may be trumped by any statute having general applicability (in other words, as long as the law at issue was not passed specifically to discriminate against one’s religious views or practices, it can be enforced against a person even if its application infringes on that person’s First Amendment religious rights).

    Four or eight years of Obama-appointed judges and a far left Obama administration are going to push us much further in the direction Canada has taken, where even a pastor speaking out and preaching Biblical truth concerning the sins of homosexuality, abortion, etc. will be subject to legal sanctions by a human rights tribunal or some such bureaucratic, unaccountable, immoral body.

    Are we prepared to stand up and practice our faith without compromise, no matter what the cost? Will we stand up for our rights now, while there is still hope to avoid or change this scenario? Or, are we going to continue to remain asleep at the wheel, lulled into a sense of stupor and well being by the soothing words of unity uttered by the current liberal du jour, while the unique American freedoms granted to the individual citizen in this country are snatched away?

    It’s our choice.

  • Jay

    The “church” will continue to branch into two paths. One, a politically correct, social church with little commitment to orthodox theology. The other, the true church, fully committed to Christ, may eventually go underground as previously commented. The true church will most certainly have to give up it’s tax-free status in the near future. It is either give up tax-free status, or give up orthodox theology.

    I’m not ready yet for the church to give up and go underground, but if I read Revelation correctly it will happen someday. It certainly is better than compromise.

    By the grace of God, I’ll never give up my dependence on Christ or my obedience to his will and word. No matter what happens to the American “Church.” We have bothers and sisters in Christ suffering around the world right now. We need to be willing to suffer as well.

  • Jay

    The “church” will continue to branch into two paths. One, a politically correct, social church with little commitment to orthodox theology. The other, the true church, fully committed to Christ, may eventually go underground as previously commented. The true church will most certainly have to give up it’s tax-free status in the near future. It is either give up tax-free status, or give up orthodox theology.

    I’m not ready yet for the church to give up and go underground, but if I read Revelation correctly it will happen someday. It certainly is better than compromise.

    By the grace of God, I’ll never give up my dependence on Christ or my obedience to his will and word. No matter what happens to the American “Church.” We have bothers and sisters in Christ suffering around the world right now. We need to be willing to suffer as well.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    You know, there are a lot of people in places like China who are coming to Christ through the ministry of house churches, and it was largely house churches that transformed the Roman empire. Maybe the time to adopt this model is now instead of later.

    And in this case, I look for Jay Sekulow or the Alliance Defense Fund to take this one to federal court on 1st Amendment grounds. Churches are not public accomodations, and this ought to become an embarassing public spanking for the New Jersey courts.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    You know, there are a lot of people in places like China who are coming to Christ through the ministry of house churches, and it was largely house churches that transformed the Roman empire. Maybe the time to adopt this model is now instead of later.

    And in this case, I look for Jay Sekulow or the Alliance Defense Fund to take this one to federal court on 1st Amendment grounds. Churches are not public accomodations, and this ought to become an embarassing public spanking for the New Jersey courts.

  • Don S

    Jay @ #5: You are absolutely correct — we need to stay true to the True Church, no matter the cost.

    However, we still live in a democracy. It is our obligation to do everything reasonable to attempt to preserve our freedoms we have enjoyed in this country for the past 232 years, rather than simply giving up and assuming we are going to lose, or, worse yet, throwing in with the enemy for the sake of a few government baubles and benefits.

  • Don S

    Jay @ #5: You are absolutely correct — we need to stay true to the True Church, no matter the cost.

    However, we still live in a democracy. It is our obligation to do everything reasonable to attempt to preserve our freedoms we have enjoyed in this country for the past 232 years, rather than simply giving up and assuming we are going to lose, or, worse yet, throwing in with the enemy for the sake of a few government baubles and benefits.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@7), you said it is “our obligation to … preserve our freedoms we have enjoyed in this country”. Freedoms like, say, habeus corpus? Or protections against illegal search and seizure? Or do those freedoms not count as much?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@7), you said it is “our obligation to … preserve our freedoms we have enjoyed in this country”. Freedoms like, say, habeus corpus? Or protections against illegal search and seizure? Or do those freedoms not count as much?

  • Schasse

    If I am reading the case of the Lutheran school correctly, that is a WELS school in Calf. In which case, Confessional Lutheranism is at least having to defend itself in court already….

  • Schasse

    If I am reading the case of the Lutheran school correctly, that is a WELS school in Calf. In which case, Confessional Lutheranism is at least having to defend itself in court already….

  • Don S

    tODD @ 8 — well, you are definitely way off topic. However, as you know, the Supreme Court has answered with a resounding YES to your question. Not only are we as citizens protected under habeus corpus, even our wartime enemies, captured on the battlefield, are protected!

    Now, since that is out of the way, how about you on the liberal side of the aisle paying a little more attention to our First Amendment free exercise rights?

  • Don S

    tODD @ 8 — well, you are definitely way off topic. However, as you know, the Supreme Court has answered with a resounding YES to your question. Not only are we as citizens protected under habeus corpus, even our wartime enemies, captured on the battlefield, are protected!

    Now, since that is out of the way, how about you on the liberal side of the aisle paying a little more attention to our First Amendment free exercise rights?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@10), off-topic? Perhaps, but I was replying directly to what you’d written.

    But your response deals with what the Supreme Court has affirmed (in one particular case) in spite of what the President believed. There are still many other freedoms out there I would like protected — like the freedom from warrantless wiretapping (illegal search), that are not yet so safe. You say you want the candidate you vote for to protect our rights, but McCain falls short in this regard.

    Now, as to the actual question you’re discussing, can you point to something from Obama that says he is opposed to the free exercise of religion as discussed above? Or are you merely lumping him in with any and all “liberals”?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@10), off-topic? Perhaps, but I was replying directly to what you’d written.

    But your response deals with what the Supreme Court has affirmed (in one particular case) in spite of what the President believed. There are still many other freedoms out there I would like protected — like the freedom from warrantless wiretapping (illegal search), that are not yet so safe. You say you want the candidate you vote for to protect our rights, but McCain falls short in this regard.

    Now, as to the actual question you’re discussing, can you point to something from Obama that says he is opposed to the free exercise of religion as discussed above? Or are you merely lumping him in with any and all “liberals”?

  • Don S

    tODD, @ 11, what? Where had I written anything about habeus corpus? The discussion on this thread is “Gay Rights vs. Religious Rights”, and my comments were directed to the free exercise clause. Specifically, I was responding to Jay’s comments that we may as well concede that we who choose to remain true to the Church will have to go underground, given the current political climate.

    As for Obama, let me turn the question around on you. What gives you confidence that he is going to appoint judges and folks to his administration which are going to digress from liberal orthodoxy on the subject of the free exercise clause? Do you have any basis for asserting that he will respect the rights of Christians to pursue their trade in the marketplace without being forced to undertake activities which they believe are antithetical to their faith? That would be quite a departure from the view of liberals in cases like the New Jersey Civil Rights case cited by Dr. Veith, where the Methodist church was forced to host a gay wedding or suffer the loss of their tax exemption, as if they were a public accommodation. My guess is Barack does not have any problem whatsoever with the holding in that case, and probably does not support the church in its appeal.

  • Don S

    tODD, @ 11, what? Where had I written anything about habeus corpus? The discussion on this thread is “Gay Rights vs. Religious Rights”, and my comments were directed to the free exercise clause. Specifically, I was responding to Jay’s comments that we may as well concede that we who choose to remain true to the Church will have to go underground, given the current political climate.

    As for Obama, let me turn the question around on you. What gives you confidence that he is going to appoint judges and folks to his administration which are going to digress from liberal orthodoxy on the subject of the free exercise clause? Do you have any basis for asserting that he will respect the rights of Christians to pursue their trade in the marketplace without being forced to undertake activities which they believe are antithetical to their faith? That would be quite a departure from the view of liberals in cases like the New Jersey Civil Rights case cited by Dr. Veith, where the Methodist church was forced to host a gay wedding or suffer the loss of their tax exemption, as if they were a public accommodation. My guess is Barack does not have any problem whatsoever with the holding in that case, and probably does not support the church in its appeal.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@12), I can see that the answer to my question, “Or are you merely lumping him in with any and all ‘liberals’?” is: yes.

    You offer no proof for your “guess” (and it is that, at best), and then turn it around and place the burden of evidence on me: can I prove that Obama wouldn’t do that? As if the mere fact that you’ve lumped him in with any and all liberals was proof enough for your assertion.

    It may work for you, but in my world, if you’re going to accuse someone of something you consider bad, you need to offer proof, or else you’re maligning them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@12), I can see that the answer to my question, “Or are you merely lumping him in with any and all ‘liberals’?” is: yes.

    You offer no proof for your “guess” (and it is that, at best), and then turn it around and place the burden of evidence on me: can I prove that Obama wouldn’t do that? As if the mere fact that you’ve lumped him in with any and all liberals was proof enough for your assertion.

    It may work for you, but in my world, if you’re going to accuse someone of something you consider bad, you need to offer proof, or else you’re maligning them.

  • fw

    what may happen is that churches lose their tax exempt status. I would heartily welcome that. also would be cool to see pastors stripped of their civil authority to represent the government as the governmental official in marriage ceremonies.

    Where churches are doing community service work, IF the government forces conformity to some standard, the churches can decide not to do that work any longer. Maybe it will make them focus on what their raison d’etre is, which is to spread the holy gospel.

    I am not saying by all of this that I approve of the things that Dr Vieth cites. I am actually alarmed assuming that the quoted cites have their facts in order.

    I am merely saying that the church can and will adapt and will, at least with the issues cited, be able to do so without compromising what they are commissioned to do by our Lord in any way whatsoever.

  • fw

    what may happen is that churches lose their tax exempt status. I would heartily welcome that. also would be cool to see pastors stripped of their civil authority to represent the government as the governmental official in marriage ceremonies.

    Where churches are doing community service work, IF the government forces conformity to some standard, the churches can decide not to do that work any longer. Maybe it will make them focus on what their raison d’etre is, which is to spread the holy gospel.

    I am not saying by all of this that I approve of the things that Dr Vieth cites. I am actually alarmed assuming that the quoted cites have their facts in order.

    I am merely saying that the church can and will adapt and will, at least with the issues cited, be able to do so without compromising what they are commissioned to do by our Lord in any way whatsoever.

  • Don S

    tODD, are you denying that liberals, in general, support the notion that the so-called “religious right” is hopelessly out of touch with modern society, and that it is wrong for we as Christians to point out that homosexuality is a sin? Do you deny that liberals have acted politically to grant special non-discrimination rights to homosexuals? Do you deny that they have further acted to ensure that our children in public schools are subjected to teachings not only that homosexuals are not to be discriminated against, but that homosexuality must be viewed as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, and that Biblical teachings to the contrary are wrong? Do you deny that liberal politicians have advanced laws, both legislatively and through the courts, to require public accommodation to homosexuals, regardless of the business owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs? Do you deny that liberals have acted to attempt to force pharmacists and hospitals to sell abortifacients and birth control aids, and to perform abortions, regardless of their sincerely held religious beliefs? Do you have one shred of evidence (since you have claimed in the past to have scoured Obama’s position papers on his website) that he, counter to liberal Democrat orthodoxy, opposes these policies and practices, and will actively seek to change them, thus restoring the constitutional right of free exercise to religious conservatives? The weight of the evidence falls sharply in my favor, my friend, and it is you who malign my intelligence by suggesting otherwise.

    Frank, you state glibly that you “welcome” churches losing their tax exempt status. Presumably, you understand that this would seriously hurt Christian ministry, because of our confiscatory tax rates, and would reverse U.S. policy which has been in place since the income tax was foisted upon us in 1916. That aside, do you understand that this would be a selective confiscation of a church’s tax exempt status based on an arbitrary government determination that the church’s religious doctrines are unacceptable? You can’t seriously be advocating such a policy, which would utterly vitiate the First Amendment prohibition against the government establishing religion, by favoring certain religious views over others.

    Now, if you want to talk about removing all charitable deductions, in exchange for constitutionally imposed lower limits on income tax rates (it needs to be a constitutional limit because otherwise democrats will just take away the deductions and then jack the rates back up later, like they have done relative to the 1986 tax reforms), I am all ears.

  • Don S

    tODD, are you denying that liberals, in general, support the notion that the so-called “religious right” is hopelessly out of touch with modern society, and that it is wrong for we as Christians to point out that homosexuality is a sin? Do you deny that liberals have acted politically to grant special non-discrimination rights to homosexuals? Do you deny that they have further acted to ensure that our children in public schools are subjected to teachings not only that homosexuals are not to be discriminated against, but that homosexuality must be viewed as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, and that Biblical teachings to the contrary are wrong? Do you deny that liberal politicians have advanced laws, both legislatively and through the courts, to require public accommodation to homosexuals, regardless of the business owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs? Do you deny that liberals have acted to attempt to force pharmacists and hospitals to sell abortifacients and birth control aids, and to perform abortions, regardless of their sincerely held religious beliefs? Do you have one shred of evidence (since you have claimed in the past to have scoured Obama’s position papers on his website) that he, counter to liberal Democrat orthodoxy, opposes these policies and practices, and will actively seek to change them, thus restoring the constitutional right of free exercise to religious conservatives? The weight of the evidence falls sharply in my favor, my friend, and it is you who malign my intelligence by suggesting otherwise.

    Frank, you state glibly that you “welcome” churches losing their tax exempt status. Presumably, you understand that this would seriously hurt Christian ministry, because of our confiscatory tax rates, and would reverse U.S. policy which has been in place since the income tax was foisted upon us in 1916. That aside, do you understand that this would be a selective confiscation of a church’s tax exempt status based on an arbitrary government determination that the church’s religious doctrines are unacceptable? You can’t seriously be advocating such a policy, which would utterly vitiate the First Amendment prohibition against the government establishing religion, by favoring certain religious views over others.

    Now, if you want to talk about removing all charitable deductions, in exchange for constitutionally imposed lower limits on income tax rates (it needs to be a constitutional limit because otherwise democrats will just take away the deductions and then jack the rates back up later, like they have done relative to the 1986 tax reforms), I am all ears.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Frank, if you revoke tax exempt status, you give the county assessor the power to shut down churches through unrealistic assessments. That idea shouldn’t have any place in a free republic.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Frank, if you revoke tax exempt status, you give the county assessor the power to shut down churches through unrealistic assessments. That idea shouldn’t have any place in a free republic.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@15), well, that’s quite a paragraph! But it only expands on what you’d already written, without responding to anything I said @13. So there’s not much for me to do but point back to what I said then.

    I’m interested in finding out if Obama does support the things you assume he does. But I won’t find that out from your list based on guesses derived from a common label you’ve applied. And please, if you’re going to speak of “evidence”, then point to some.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@15), well, that’s quite a paragraph! But it only expands on what you’d already written, without responding to anything I said @13. So there’s not much for me to do but point back to what I said then.

    I’m interested in finding out if Obama does support the things you assume he does. But I won’t find that out from your list based on guesses derived from a common label you’ve applied. And please, if you’re going to speak of “evidence”, then point to some.

  • Don S

    Well, we’re even tODD. You haven’t responded to anything I’ve written, and it appears that you don’t want to touch the whole issue of free exercise. Obama aside, the liberal politicians and judges which are already in office, and whose views we do know, have placed evangelical Christians who take a literal view of the Bible in a precarious position for the reasons discussed above. Do you have an opinion on that? Does that bother you at all?

  • Don S

    Well, we’re even tODD. You haven’t responded to anything I’ve written, and it appears that you don’t want to touch the whole issue of free exercise. Obama aside, the liberal politicians and judges which are already in office, and whose views we do know, have placed evangelical Christians who take a literal view of the Bible in a precarious position for the reasons discussed above. Do you have an opinion on that? Does that bother you at all?

  • Don S

    tODD,

    How about the story below, from Canada. A 12 year old girl went to court to overturn her father’s punishment of grounding her, and WON!! What about the issue of erosion of parental rights, in favor of the State having the ultimate authority to direct the upbringing of children? We in the U.S. are moving in this direction, and it is the fundamental premise of the U.N.’s Treaty on the Rights of the Child. Does this bother you? Or does your concern over the Patriot Act and your hatred of all things Bush blind you to these erosions of freedom as well?

    Court overturns father’s grounding of 12-year-old

    Wed Jun 18, 2:08 PM ET

    OTTAWA (AFP) – A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl’s grounding, overturning her father’s punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

    The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting “inappropriate” pictures of herself online using a friend’s computer.

    The father’s lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl’s “own protection” and is appealing the ruling.

    “She’s a child,” Beaudoin told AFP. “At her age, children test their limits and it’s up to their parents to set boundaries.”

    “I started an appeal of the decision today to reestablish parental authority, and to ensure that this case doesn’t set a precedent,” she said. Otherwise, said Beaudoin, “parents are going to be walking on egg shells from now on.”

    “I think most children respect their parents and would never go so far as to take them to court, but it’s clear that some would and we have to ask ourselves how far this will go.”

    According to court documents, the girl’s Internet transgression was just the latest in a string of broken house rules. Even so, Justice Suzanne Tessier found her punishment too severe.

    Beaudoin noted the girl used a court-appointed lawyer in her parents’ 10-year custody dispute to launch her landmark case against dear old dad.

  • Don S

    tODD,

    How about the story below, from Canada. A 12 year old girl went to court to overturn her father’s punishment of grounding her, and WON!! What about the issue of erosion of parental rights, in favor of the State having the ultimate authority to direct the upbringing of children? We in the U.S. are moving in this direction, and it is the fundamental premise of the U.N.’s Treaty on the Rights of the Child. Does this bother you? Or does your concern over the Patriot Act and your hatred of all things Bush blind you to these erosions of freedom as well?

    Court overturns father’s grounding of 12-year-old

    Wed Jun 18, 2:08 PM ET

    OTTAWA (AFP) – A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl’s grounding, overturning her father’s punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

    The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting “inappropriate” pictures of herself online using a friend’s computer.

    The father’s lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl’s “own protection” and is appealing the ruling.

    “She’s a child,” Beaudoin told AFP. “At her age, children test their limits and it’s up to their parents to set boundaries.”

    “I started an appeal of the decision today to reestablish parental authority, and to ensure that this case doesn’t set a precedent,” she said. Otherwise, said Beaudoin, “parents are going to be walking on egg shells from now on.”

    “I think most children respect their parents and would never go so far as to take them to court, but it’s clear that some would and we have to ask ourselves how far this will go.”

    According to court documents, the girl’s Internet transgression was just the latest in a string of broken house rules. Even so, Justice Suzanne Tessier found her punishment too severe.

    Beaudoin noted the girl used a court-appointed lawyer in her parents’ 10-year custody dispute to launch her landmark case against dear old dad.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@18), of course the stories above (provided that they are all correct as presented) bother me. Just as much as I am bothered by most “conservatives’” disinterest in the rights that I mentioned, above. Perhaps you (pl.) will care more about those rights when a Democratic president has them in his sights?

    As for the story from Canada, I think it is obvious why I don’t find it too applicable in a discussion of rights in the United States.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don S (@18), of course the stories above (provided that they are all correct as presented) bother me. Just as much as I am bothered by most “conservatives’” disinterest in the rights that I mentioned, above. Perhaps you (pl.) will care more about those rights when a Democratic president has them in his sights?

    As for the story from Canada, I think it is obvious why I don’t find it too applicable in a discussion of rights in the United States.

  • Don S

    tODD, we are only a few years behind Canada, as you well know, and “enlightened” liberals in this country have been pining to move in the direction Canada has taken for years. Regarding the respective importance of the rights at issue, at least there is a logical national defense rationale for intercepting the phone calls people calling or receiving calls from certain offshore areas, or denying habeas corpus to a foreign terrorist (which, as I mentioned above, has been resolved to your liking). If my telephone call is inadvertently intercepted, God bless the eavesdroppers because they will be utterly bored. My house is secure from search and seizure, as I am sure, is your’s. On the other hand, the rights I am most interested in securing are being taken away deliberately by an expanding governmental bureaucracy which believes that I am a cretin, and shouldn’t be trusted to run my own business or to raise my own kids. I am not enlightened enough, because of my traditional Christian beliefs, in their view. The sad thing is, many well meaning people, Christians included, have aligned themselves politically with these statist interests and are helping them to continue eroding our freedoms.

  • Don S

    tODD, we are only a few years behind Canada, as you well know, and “enlightened” liberals in this country have been pining to move in the direction Canada has taken for years. Regarding the respective importance of the rights at issue, at least there is a logical national defense rationale for intercepting the phone calls people calling or receiving calls from certain offshore areas, or denying habeas corpus to a foreign terrorist (which, as I mentioned above, has been resolved to your liking). If my telephone call is inadvertently intercepted, God bless the eavesdroppers because they will be utterly bored. My house is secure from search and seizure, as I am sure, is your’s. On the other hand, the rights I am most interested in securing are being taken away deliberately by an expanding governmental bureaucracy which believes that I am a cretin, and shouldn’t be trusted to run my own business or to raise my own kids. I am not enlightened enough, because of my traditional Christian beliefs, in their view. The sad thing is, many well meaning people, Christians included, have aligned themselves politically with these statist interests and are helping them to continue eroding our freedoms.

  • Michael the little boot

    I haven’t posted in a long time, but find I must respond to Don S @ 21. How secure are you, Don, that our gov’t won’t redefine terms in order to make your phone calls more interesting to them? How do you know that your home is secure from search and seizure? Brandon Mayfield of Portland, OR, certainly thought that he was secure as well, until his phone was tapped and his home invaded. He was actually imprisoned, wrongfully, as the best evidence the government had against him was his supposed fingerprint on something possibly involved with the Madrid bombing. The computer used to analyze prints actually listed three others as more likely matches than Mayfield’s, but he was picked up anyway. He’s a Muslim, btw. What if these rights are curtailed ALONG WITH your rights as a Christian? Can’t you foresee a future in which you may be picked up for no good reason other than your being a Christian? If that happens it will be because these liberties were relinquished first. These rights are in place to protect ALL OF US. When we do away with them for ANY REASON, we only hurt ourselves.

  • Michael the little boot

    I haven’t posted in a long time, but find I must respond to Don S @ 21. How secure are you, Don, that our gov’t won’t redefine terms in order to make your phone calls more interesting to them? How do you know that your home is secure from search and seizure? Brandon Mayfield of Portland, OR, certainly thought that he was secure as well, until his phone was tapped and his home invaded. He was actually imprisoned, wrongfully, as the best evidence the government had against him was his supposed fingerprint on something possibly involved with the Madrid bombing. The computer used to analyze prints actually listed three others as more likely matches than Mayfield’s, but he was picked up anyway. He’s a Muslim, btw. What if these rights are curtailed ALONG WITH your rights as a Christian? Can’t you foresee a future in which you may be picked up for no good reason other than your being a Christian? If that happens it will be because these liberties were relinquished first. These rights are in place to protect ALL OF US. When we do away with them for ANY REASON, we only hurt ourselves.

  • Don S

    Michael — Here’s a quote from Wikipedia on Mr. Mayfield:

    “On May 6, 2004, the FBI arrested Mayfield as a material witness in connection with the Madrid attacks, and held him for over two weeks. Mayfield was never charged, and an FBI internal review later acknowledged serious errors in their investigation. Ensuing lawsuits have resulted in a formal apology from the U.S. government, a $2 million settlement, and the overturning of provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act on constitutional grounds.”

    First, this case is four years old. Second, Mr. Mayfield is not exactly your typical American citizen. Very unique circumstances and activities (Egyptian wife, unusual travel patterns, Muslim faith, etc.) led to the FBI’s error, which are unlikely to happen to the average American citizen. Third, because of his two week detention he got official apologies and $2 million compensation! Not a bad way to say “I’m sorry”. Please note — you guys that are so fixated on the initial overzealousness regarding the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11 — those issues are pretty much in the rear view mirror. Read the papers — I think the Supreme Court just issued a ruling which should assuage your fears of being spirited away in the night.

    On the other hand, things are not so good for traditional Christians trying to live out and proclaim their faith. It is “hate speech” to explain that homosexuality and other sexual immorality is sin in God’s sight. For a doctor to deny a woman an abortion because of his/her moral convictions against killing the unborn is to deprive that woman of her fundamental constitutional right to “choose” to kill her baby, and thus against public policy. Children are wards of the state, and have “fundamental rights” which parents are not to infringe, lest they have their children taken from them. I do foresee a future where it is possible that I could be picked up solely for being a Christian, but it will be because I stepped over the politically correct line of speaking “hate speech”, proselytizing in a public park, or home schooling my children. It will be because I (hopefully) stood up for God’s eternal truth. Now that your concern over the 4th Amendment has been addressed, I trust you and tODD will turn your attention to these other issues of great concern.

  • Don S

    Michael — Here’s a quote from Wikipedia on Mr. Mayfield:

    “On May 6, 2004, the FBI arrested Mayfield as a material witness in connection with the Madrid attacks, and held him for over two weeks. Mayfield was never charged, and an FBI internal review later acknowledged serious errors in their investigation. Ensuing lawsuits have resulted in a formal apology from the U.S. government, a $2 million settlement, and the overturning of provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act on constitutional grounds.”

    First, this case is four years old. Second, Mr. Mayfield is not exactly your typical American citizen. Very unique circumstances and activities (Egyptian wife, unusual travel patterns, Muslim faith, etc.) led to the FBI’s error, which are unlikely to happen to the average American citizen. Third, because of his two week detention he got official apologies and $2 million compensation! Not a bad way to say “I’m sorry”. Please note — you guys that are so fixated on the initial overzealousness regarding the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11 — those issues are pretty much in the rear view mirror. Read the papers — I think the Supreme Court just issued a ruling which should assuage your fears of being spirited away in the night.

    On the other hand, things are not so good for traditional Christians trying to live out and proclaim their faith. It is “hate speech” to explain that homosexuality and other sexual immorality is sin in God’s sight. For a doctor to deny a woman an abortion because of his/her moral convictions against killing the unborn is to deprive that woman of her fundamental constitutional right to “choose” to kill her baby, and thus against public policy. Children are wards of the state, and have “fundamental rights” which parents are not to infringe, lest they have their children taken from them. I do foresee a future where it is possible that I could be picked up solely for being a Christian, but it will be because I stepped over the politically correct line of speaking “hate speech”, proselytizing in a public park, or home schooling my children. It will be because I (hopefully) stood up for God’s eternal truth. Now that your concern over the 4th Amendment has been addressed, I trust you and tODD will turn your attention to these other issues of great concern.

  • Michael the little boot

    Don @ 23,

    I work for a library, so I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Wikipedia is a less-than-reliable source. But that’s not the point. The thing to remember here is that gaining the abilities to “disappear” citizens starts exactly this way. You have pointed out that Mr. Mayfield is “not exactly your typical American citizen.” This is exactly the way a gov’t which is attempting to amass powers of control wants you to see things. So we say “These things would never happen to me. They are to protect me from evil people. Well, I’m not evil. So these new powers will not harm ME, only the BAD GUYS. So they are okay.” Problem is, the government eventually redefines what “evil” means. For example, they start taking people whom they deem “threats to national security.” In the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany this included locking up members of the clergy and the press. What’s to stop this from happening here?

    I’d recommend reading The End of America by Naomi Wolf. Yeah, she’s a liberal, a feminist (is that still a label we apply in the 21 century?), so I’m sure she won’t get much love from you, Don. But she shows how all the things we’re talking about here, which you seem to think are side-issues to your personal religious freedom (which they could take away too!), are being eroded as we speak.

  • Michael the little boot

    Don @ 23,

    I work for a library, so I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Wikipedia is a less-than-reliable source. But that’s not the point. The thing to remember here is that gaining the abilities to “disappear” citizens starts exactly this way. You have pointed out that Mr. Mayfield is “not exactly your typical American citizen.” This is exactly the way a gov’t which is attempting to amass powers of control wants you to see things. So we say “These things would never happen to me. They are to protect me from evil people. Well, I’m not evil. So these new powers will not harm ME, only the BAD GUYS. So they are okay.” Problem is, the government eventually redefines what “evil” means. For example, they start taking people whom they deem “threats to national security.” In the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany this included locking up members of the clergy and the press. What’s to stop this from happening here?

    I’d recommend reading The End of America by Naomi Wolf. Yeah, she’s a liberal, a feminist (is that still a label we apply in the 21 century?), so I’m sure she won’t get much love from you, Don. But she shows how all the things we’re talking about here, which you seem to think are side-issues to your personal religious freedom (which they could take away too!), are being eroded as we speak.

  • Don S

    Michael, you didn’t address the issues I raised at all, which are, in fact the on-point issues for this thread. In any event, however, I recognize that Wikipedia is a starting point, not an authoritative end in itself. However, it is correct in this case, as you know and did not dispute.

    Since you are so afraid of what the government might do, I assume your overall perspective is to keep it as small as possible. So, naturally, you are a libertarian?

  • Don S

    Michael, you didn’t address the issues I raised at all, which are, in fact the on-point issues for this thread. In any event, however, I recognize that Wikipedia is a starting point, not an authoritative end in itself. However, it is correct in this case, as you know and did not dispute.

    Since you are so afraid of what the government might do, I assume your overall perspective is to keep it as small as possible. So, naturally, you are a libertarian?

  • Michael the little boot

    Don S @ 25,

    Naturally, I am nothing, politically. I think we can do fine on our own, thank you. I don’t think we need all this so-called “leadership” gumming up the works. Don’t know if that’s libertarian.

    What we need is personal responsibility. That is, by the way, the era into which George W. Bush said he was ushering us. Kinda funny it didn’t work out that way.

    Sorry I didn’t address any of the issues which you raised (although I thought I did). Guess I didn’t think they were as “on point” as you thought.

  • Michael the little boot

    Don S @ 25,

    Naturally, I am nothing, politically. I think we can do fine on our own, thank you. I don’t think we need all this so-called “leadership” gumming up the works. Don’t know if that’s libertarian.

    What we need is personal responsibility. That is, by the way, the era into which George W. Bush said he was ushering us. Kinda funny it didn’t work out that way.

    Sorry I didn’t address any of the issues which you raised (although I thought I did). Guess I didn’t think they were as “on point” as you thought.

  • Karen

    I am very interested in your original blog post. I do not support gay marriage and I see many potential problems stemming from it. I told my friend about some the cases that you cited here and he wanted some actual proof. I was wondering if you had or knew of where I could get actual citations of the articles from a credible newspaper or other such source.

  • Karen

    I am very interested in your original blog post. I do not support gay marriage and I see many potential problems stemming from it. I told my friend about some the cases that you cited here and he wanted some actual proof. I was wondering if you had or knew of where I could get actual citations of the articles from a credible newspaper or other such source.


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