The ACLU has declined to pursue legal action against The Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho because the chapel only provides religious services.
Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel, were facing possible jail time and enormous fines that would have put them out of business because they do not offer same sex wedding services at their facility. The Knapps are ordained ministers in the International Church of the Four Square Gospel. The denomination’s teaching holds that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Leo Morales, ACLU Idaho’s interim director said Thursday that the organization would reconsider the decision not to sue “if the chapel were to offer secular services, such as providing flowers or cakes, or holding nonreligious ceremonies.”
While I am glad that the ACLU has decided not to pursue this case, Mr Morales’ caveats constitute an attempt to impose an undue limitation of First Amendment rights by threat of lawsuit. Are churches going to be forced to forgo all sales on their premises or the use of their facilities for “non-religious” purposes or face lawsuits trying to shut them down?
Does this mean that churches who open their buildings for AA meetings or hold bake sales to raise money for a new gym are running the risk of being drug into court?
For that matter, what about allowing church buildings to be used as polling places? Do you want to raise your taxes to build government facilities for elections in every precinct in this country? Or maybe, in small towns, we could just put the voting booths out in a field. I am quite certain that a failure to provide sufficient and accessible polling places constitutes a violation of the core Constitutional right of this nation: To engage in free elections.
I’m glad that the ACLU actually did something that appears to be in support of the First Amendment, but I’m extremely leery of them or any other organization using the threat of lawsuit to limit First Amendment rights in the way Mr Morales seemed to be attempting to do.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal firm defending the Knapps, says that the ACLU is “terrified … that the ordinance has been used in exactly the way we said it would be. The ACLU wants nothing to do with the worst possible set of facts that could result from one of these ordinances.” The ordinance Mr Tedesco is referring to is the non-discrimination ordinance by which the Knapps were being threatened.
From The Blaze:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho announced Thursday that it will not wage a legal challenge against Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, the for-profit business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that could be in violation of a local non-discrimination ordinance for its ardent refusal to marry same-sex couples.
Leo Morales, the ACLU’s interim executive director, said that chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp — both ordained ministers — recently changed their business status to become a “religious corporation,” according to the Associated Press.
Morales made these comments during a press conference Thursday, noting that the newdesignation would likely exempt the family from performing gay marriage ceremonies so long as Hitching Post — which will remain a for-profit business — exclusively performs faith-based weddings.
“As long as a entity is conducting a religious activity, that is accepted. That should be accepted under the nondiscrimination law in Coeur d’Alene,” Morales told TheBlaze Friday. “Once that entity begins to offer other services that are secular services, we believe it then falls under the category of public accommodation.”
If you’ve got gay fatigue, you’re not alone.
I’ve been hearing muttering from some surprising places, including people who are strongly in support of gay rights, that they’re “tired” of the obsessive focus our society has on homosexuality.
The endless circular debates about forcing people to bake a wedding cake or if ordained ministers should be allowed to not perform gay weddings is beginning to try the patience of people from all points on the ideological compass.
However, there is another side to this, and it’s not about petulant demands that everyone collude in the fantasy that two men or two women are the same as a man and a woman. It has to do with the most basic of human rights: The right to life. It also has to do with another basic human right: The right not to be incarcerated unjustly.
I’m talking about countries that have draconian laws giving the death penalty, lashing or long prison sentences for homosexuality. Sadly, most of these laws are being justified because of bogus claims to religion, including, in a couple of places, Christianity. To the extent that this is true, it calls for Christians to speak out against these laws and take a stand against them. Laws such as these are an affront to the basic human dignity of men and women who are made in the likeness and image of God. They are a smear on the name of Christ.
One of the best parts about this story is that, at least in one circumstance, the passage of such laws has been turned back. Uganda’s law which would have provided for a death penalty for homosexuals, was scrapped. This was due to the work of brave homosexual people and their supporters all over the globe.
However, Uganda did end up passing a law that criminalizes “homosexual activities” and metes out harsh punishments. This law clearly violates the civil liberties and human rights of homosexuals.
I think it’s important for us as Christians to join the fight against laws such as these, and for us to do it in the name of Christ. This does not mean that we should stop our defense of traditional marriage. It is a requirement on us as Christians that we walk this line of supporting the human rights of all persons, including homosexuals, and that we also refuse to back down in our defense of the family.
Each in its own way is a human right, which must be defended.
The commitment to Christ Jesus is always a counter-cultural commitment. It does not matter the culture. Following Christ, if you are true to the call, will pit you against the cruelties and lies of your society. That is why so many people who claim to be Christian do not, in fact, live Christian.
Living Christian is not easy. It requires being attacked for one position, and then crossing the street to stand with your attackers on another issue. There is no country for the authentic follower of Jesus except heaven itself.
I’m going to make an effort to follow these attacks against the basic human rights of gay people and to let you know ways in which you can join in the fight against them. At the same time, I am going to continue to urge you to stand strong in the work ahead to rebuild and reclaim traditional marriage, and to work against the onslaught of attacks on First Amendment freedoms in the name of bogus claims of “human rights” violations against gay people in this country.
If that seems like a contradiction, so be it. It is my idea of following Jesus the best that I can.
From the Washington Post:
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni today signed a law that imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts — and life sentences for those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”
A measure imposing the death penalty was removed from an earlier version of the bill.Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, as it is in 37 other African countries.
Though the death penalty was removed from Uganda’s law, it’s a potential punishment elsewhere, including parts of Nigeria, Mauritania and Sudan.(Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure similar to Uganda’s into law; a few weeks later, a mob pulled 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, screaming about cleansing their neighborhood of gay people. )
My fellow Catholic Patheosi, Dr Tod Worner published a post today concerning the Ebola crisis. I hope you will click on the links in this post and read it.
Dr Worner gives us a glimpse of the concerns that medical practitioners face when deciding how they would treat this illness. It also evaluates our government’s reaction to Ebola without the distorting prism of political one-upsmanship and ambition.
It is precisely the kind of non-political, rational discussion of this killer disease that should be taking place everywhere, but isn’t.
Here’s a taste:
We crowded into a small room at my internal medicine clinic and looked at each other. Some decisions had to be made. Soon. We were charged to answer one fundamental question: What would we do if a patient suspected of having Ebola were to walk in our clinic door? As simple as it may seem, this is an incredibly complex question. It requires considering the well-being of the patient, the risk to other patients exposed to him (or her, but I will use him for simplification) in our waiting room, and the risks to medical and ancillary staff who are attending to him. We must concern ourselves with the risk of over-reaction as well as that of under-reaction. We need to consider the imperfect state of our understanding of the mode and ease of transmission. And we must recognize that risk and response changes daily with an ever-evolving national and international epidemic. Confronted with this question in that small room, to a person, there was sincere concern about the patient, earnest concern about personal safety and a clear sense that there is a lot of uncertainty about this virus and the epidemic that is unfolding day by day. And yet, that has not been the message from the government leaders or the Centers for Disease Control. If anything, there has been an abundance of assurance. For example,
Photo Source: ABC News
New York City’s Police Commissioner has said that the hatchet attack that wounded two police officers was a terror attack.
It’s time our government officials were more forthcoming with the truth.
Let’s look at the line of events. Fort Hood. Boston Marathon. Oklahoma. Canada. New York.
It appears that the tripwire to truth was — finally — New York. I was beginning to wonder how long the American people were going to allow themselves to be bullied by the threat of being called a “bigot” if they said what was the obvious truth.
The people committing these acts do not represent American Muslims. That is a given. However, that fact does not mean that it has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism. If we are going to deal with the dangers of this world, we need to begin by accepting reality on reality’s terms. Refusing to acknowledge what is right in front of us can get more people killed.
The Facebook pages of both the man who beheaded a woman and severely injured another here in Oklahoma, and the hatchet murderer in New York were full of jihadist garbage. The man in Oklahoma was shouting jihadist slogans as he murdered an innocent woman.
Political correctness which seeks to censor public comment about these things in order to bring it into line with the fantasy pablum that these are discreet acts of workplace violence or random craziness is the kind of political correctness that gets people killed.
It appears, at least as of now, that the terrorist attack in New York, as well as the one here in Oklahoma, were unaffiliated. By that I mean that they do not seem to have been coordinated or planned by an outside terrorist group. They appear — emphasis on appear — to have been inspired by terrorist activities and rhetoric.
It’s interesting that these are converts to Islam, rather than people who were raised in the faith. I don’t know if that means anything. But it’s possible that the murderous behavior is partly a function of them not being integrated into the larger Islamic community. Again, I do not know.
What I do know is that we are beginning to see a pattern of a new kind of terrorist attack that is fomented by American Muslims acting unilaterally. At least two of the men who have committed these acts were relatively new to the religion, and, based on their Facebook pages, attracted to the most violent and murderous form of Islamic terrorism in the world today.
I am glad that the New York City Police Commissioner has what it took to say the truth. We can handle any problem that confronts us. But first, we’ve got to stop the vicious tyranny of thought and speech that is political correctness.
From ABC News:
A brazen daylight hatchet attack against a group of police officers on a busy New York street was a terrorist act by a reclusive Muslim convert who ranted online against America but had no clear ties to international extremists, the police commissioner said Friday.
Police were examining Zale Thompson’s computer for clues about a motive for the Thursday assault that left one of the officers seriously injured and ended with Thompson being killed by police. Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thompson’s browsing history included organized terror groups, beheadings and the shooting in Canada earlier this week that officials there have called a terrorist attack.
Thompson was not on any watch lists, and officials found no indication he sought any training or affiliation to any groups.
Bratton said investigators were trying to determine whether the attack was planned or spontaneous but believe Thompson was self-radicalized. His father told officials he converted to Islam about two years ago and was described as a “recluse” who had been depressed lately.
Bratton said he was comfortable calling it a terrorist attack.
“This was a terrorist attack, certainly,” Bratton said.
But he also stopped short of including the attack in the list of terror plots against the city since Sept. 11, 2001, saying the investigation was continuing.
According to KOCO.com, someone drove their car into the monument at around 9pm Thursday, smashing the monument to pieces. They then left their car at the site. The suspect in custody has evidently confessed to doing this.
He also is said to have told law enforcement officials that he urinated on the Ten Commandments Monument before running into it with his vehicle. He says that “Satan told him to do it.
The suspect also reportedly spit on a photo of President Obama and said that he would kill our President.
The Oklahoma ACLU has issued a statement saying that they are “outraged” by the incident.
The Secret Service has arrested an individual for allegedly driving into the Ten Commandments monument near the State Capitol building.
Officials say someone drove their car into monument Thursday night, smashing it to pieces. The suspect reportedly made vague threats at the Oklahoma City Federal Building today and was taken into custody. His name has not yet been released.
The suspect said Satan told him to do it, Secret Service officials said. He also reportedly said he would kill President Obama and spit on a photo of Obama. The suspect also allegedly admitted that he urinated on the Ten Commandments monument before running it over.
According to an article I read in The Guardian, Pope Francis has issued a call to do away with life sentences, calling them a ‘hidden death penalty.’
I know that the Holy Father comes from Argentina, and that he lived through a brutal regime in which the government engaged in random arrests, incarceration, torture and even murder of its own citizens. I have no doubt that his feelings about life sentences are informed by his own life experiences. I would guess that, if I was looking at the issue from the perspective of brutal, totalitarian regimes, I would agree with him about this.
Under those circumstances, life sentences can indeed become a “hidden death penalty.”
However, life sentences are also a necessary alternative to the death penalty. Without life sentences, there would be no option in dealing with certain types of criminals except to put them to death.
The reason I say this is that there are people who are too dangerous to ever be allowed to walk free. It is as simple and as hard as that. Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson (and his girls), the BTK killer and all their kin must be kept from the public in order to maintain the public safety.
There are three alternatives here.
1. Let them out after a few years and then go to the funerals of their new victims.
2. Keep them locked up.
3. Kill them.
I have chosen to keep them locked up. The reason I made that choice was that I did not want to use the death penalty to kill them. However, if the choice was the death penalty or letting them out to kill again, I would be forced to chose the death penalty.
A just and stable government is always the greater good. That is the controlling principle by which I operated while I was an elected official. I think it should be the controlling principle for all governance.
It is impossible to have a government that is either just or stable if killers are allowed to roam free to kill at will. It is also a fact that certain crimes against persons and society are so grievous that the perpetrators must, in justice, spend the rest of their lives outside of society.
This flies in the face of Christian mercy, of the idea that all people are redeemable. I know that. But it is a necessary component to good governance and establishing a legal order which places a sufficient weight on the value of human life,
You may not kill people.
That has to be the bottom line for all good governance concerning human life. The wanton murder of an innocent human being must be set aside as a crime so grave, so final, that its finality is reflected in the punishment. I am not advocating an eye for an eye. I do not favor the death penalty, and I’ve got the votes and the scars to prove it.
But I believe absolutely that a just and stable government is always the greater good. The horrors the people of Argentina experienced under an unjust government are just one example of what can happen when those who hold the power of state use that power in unjust ways.
In order to maintain what the Founding Fathers called “domestic tranquility” we must have prisons. We must have just laws and redress from government abuse of its power. Every citizen must have the right to seek redress through the courts. And we must have laws that place sufficient gravity on the value of human life to protect the citizenry.
I believe that life sentences, including the option of a life sentence without parole, (which I authored legislation to create in Oklahoma) are a necessary component in maintaining the public order, and an equally necessary alternative to the death penalty.
Dr Craig Spencer, who had recently been treating Ebola patients in Guinea, has been diagnosed with Ebola.
Dr Spencer is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Health care officials are attempting to reconstruct his activities in the recent past to identify people who might have been exposed to the disease. According to reports, “at least three people have been placed in isolation” as a result of this.
Among other things, Dr Spencer used the subways for travel the day before he began to show symptoms. That highlights the ease with which an infection can be spread in crowded cities.
From The New York Times:
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.
Photo Source: Zale Thompson’s web site.
The New York Police Department is investigating a possible terrorist attack/murder of a police officer with a hatchet.
Police officers shot and killed Zale Thompson after he fractured the skull of Officer Kenneth Healey. Mr Thompson also injured a second police officer, wounding his arm. Also, a woman who was walking near the incident when it happened was struck by a stray bullet.
“There’s nothing we know at this time that would indicate that (Islamic terrorism) is the case,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters.
Officer Healey is in critical but stable condition. The unnamed woman who was injured is said to be in stable condition.
Zale Thompson’s Facebook page isn’t as wide-open as the Facebook page of Alton Nolen, the previous Islamic terrorist murderer here in America, who beheaded a woman and grievously wounded another woman, in Oklahoma.
Newspeople who first looked at the page saw messages calling for revolution on American soil. Those messages have since been removed.
According to Fox News, this is an example of those messages.
America’s military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” Thompson posted on the social media site. “They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death.”The suspect also called for guerilla warfare.
Helicopters, big military will be useless on their own soil,” another post read. “They will not be able to defeat our people if we use guerilla warfare. Attack their weak flanks … If you get wounded who cares. If you die who cares. Eventually they will surrender and then the war will be over.
I wonder which lie we will be told about this latest attack. Will it be labeled the work of a “nut,” and a person who is “mentally unstable?” Based on what I know now, “workplace violence” doesn’t seem to fit.
Since this happened in New York, and two of the injured people were police officers, will that mean that the people who have been hurt by this attack will be treated with dignity and respect by our government? Or will they be swept under the rug and ignored the way that Colleen Hufford was?
I would imagine that the bigoted, dumb Okies media roundtables will not be transferred whole cloth to this incident.
We’ll just have to wait and see if the truth crosses any official or big-time media lips, or if the stonewalling and obfuscating continue.