Court rules that Civil Rights laws cover LGBT bias

640px-Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Civil_Rights_Act,_July_2,_1964Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights law bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex.  The 7th Circuit federal appeals court ruled that the category of “sex” includes sexual orientation.  This would mean that any kind of discrimination against LGBT folks is illegal.

The ruling only applied to the 7th Circuit Court’s jurisdiction:  Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.  That restriction isn’t made clear in all of the news reports I have read. But it sets up the issue for resolution by the Supreme Court.

Traditional thinking considers homosexuality in moral terms, rather than as an “identity.”  This ruling, if upheld, would bring the law down on the side of “identity,” something the culture has seemingly already done.

Where does that leave the moral traditionalists, including most conservative Christians?  (My discussion continues, with a report on the ruling, after the jump.) [Read more…]

Other rights are not equal to religious liberty

2519766036_d988be0058_z (1)The hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court got started.

Judge Gorsuch is so clearly qualified that it’s hard to see the basis the left will use to try to shoot down his nomination.  Evidently, the criticism will be that he rules too frequently in favor of religious liberty.  For example, he ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that the owner’s religious convictions outweigh the Obamacare mandate that female employees should be given free birth control.

Today the key assaults on religious liberty are being made in the name of other rights that are assumed to be equal to, or to outweigh the protections of the First Amendment.  Thus, the right of a customer to buy a cake for a gay wedding is often thought to deserve more consideration than the Christian baker’s qualms about participating in a ceremony that violates his or her religious convictions.

David French, a constitutional lawyer among his other talents, explains why ‘fundamental rights”–that is, inalienable rights specifically listed in the constitution–must always take priority over subsidiary rights granted by government power.

Thus religious liberty has to trump (sorry) the right to buy a wedding cake from the baker of your choice, or the right to free birth control, or the right of an atheist to hold office in a religious group, etc. [Read more…]

Forcing pro-life centers to advertise abortions

TyrannyHawaii is on the verge of passing a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs or distribute flyers referring clients to abortion providers.  California and Illinois already have similar laws on their books.

Most of these pregnancy centers have a Christian mission.  Some even operate out of churches.  These laws force religious people to violate their religious beliefs.

And even apart from the religious liberty issues, it is surely tyranny to coerce pro-lifers to promote abortion.

[Read more…]

Saying Christ is the only way to God is “abusive and criminal”?

coexist-1211709_640Two British street preachers were arrested for publicly reading the Bible, particularly the parts about Jesus being the only way to God.

In their trial, the prosecutor said,“To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”

The prosecutor apparently thought that those teachings were just quirks of the King James translation of the Bible, rather than basic doctrines of Christianity.  He said, “to use words translated in 1611 in a very different context, in the context of modern British society, must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter.”

The court agreed, sentencing the two Christians to a fine of £2,016 each ($2,452.42). [Read more…]

LCMS judge is censured for following her church

We blogged about (here, here, and here) the case of Judge Ruth Neely, a municipal judge in Pinedale, Wyoming, who mentioned to a reporter that, as a Lutheran Christian, she would not be able to preside at a same-sex wedding.  Uproar ensued.

Never mind that no gay couples have ever asked her to do their wedding, so that she never discriminated against gay couples.  Never mind that Wyoming law does not require judges to do weddings of any sort.  But the enforcers of the new morality complained to the Wyoming Supreme Court, demanding that she be removed from office.

The court has now issued its decision:  Judge Neely will be censured, but she will be allowed to keep her position.

After the jump, an AP story about the decision, as well as the reaction of the president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Matthew Harrison.

The title of his message puts the case in vocational terms:  “Living Out Vocation under the Cross.”

[Read more…]

The USDA inspects for ideological purity

ReligiousFreedomStampThe Christian owner of a meatpacking business had some pamphlets lying around in the breakroom that opposed gay marriage.

When some inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture saw them, they demanded that they be removed.  Otherwise, they said, they would not inspect the plant, which would then not be allowed to operate.

The inspectors cited a regulation that allowed any government official “to take immediate and appropriate corrective action” if they detect any cases of  “harassment.”

The inspectors considered the pamphlets to be harassment, even though no employees complained.  The USDA inspectors threatened to shut down the operation, even though the pamphlets had nothing to do with their purpose; namely, to insure the purity of the meat being sold.

The owner did as he was told and got rid of the pamphlets.  But the issue still hangs over his head. [Read more…]