I have nothing to add to this video. Watch it and be blessed.
Americans have long deplored “thought police” and “re-education camps” in Communist regimes.
We have thumped our chests and demanded human rights for those in other climes. We have been appalled by the violations of the basic civil rights of their citizens by totalitarian states; rights that we took for granted. These governments seemed and actually were hell bent on enforcing emotional/moral/social conformity at the price of individual liberty, religious freedom and the rights of free speech and thought.
Americans have practically written the book on condemnation of such actions by other governments against their hapless citizens.
So, why are we doing the same thing to our citizens?
I’ll be first to admit that sensitivity training is less violent and draconian than marching people through the streets in front of jeering crowds and then consigning them to re-education camps for years. But the difference is a matter of degree. The underlying principle of government-enforced mind control is the same.
In fact, the re-education meetings in which people denounce one another and confess to their lack of revolutionary fervor that are conducted by these same regimes seem eerily close to sensitivity training as it’s currently being used by our courts and various “civil rights commissions.”
I started thinking about this because of the court-ordered abuse of the civil rights of Jack Phillips. Mr Phillips is the owner of what must be the only bakery in Colorado. He is also a new social and economic Christian martyr.
As so often happens with the people who turn out to be the real heroes, Mr Phillips seems an unlikely candidate for the title. He’s a small businessman, a baker by trade, just trying to make an honest living. He didn’t go out looking for trouble. He’s no grenade-throwing political activist with a vast talk-show following. He doesn’t wear $1,000 suits and he probably hasn’t had a single voice lesson to prepare him for his new life in the public sphere.
He’s a baker. He owns a bakery. He makes donuts and apple fritters and stuff.
So how did Jack Phillips the baker become a Christian martyr?
It’s simple. He refused to violate his faith.
He didn’t, mind you, bother or even try to engage anyone else. He simply followed his own beliefs by living them in his own life with his own actions. These beliefs led him to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding. And that made him the target of the culture cops.
Because, you see, wedding cakes are a human right. Religious freedom, not so much.
That is the question here, not wedding cakes, but religious freedom. I am not advocating for a particular position by Christians on the great cake-baking question. I am advocating for the right of free Americans to follow their faith without being forced into re-education (brain-washing) as punishment for doing so.
The cake-baking issue is distinct by virtue of the pettiness of the demands of those who want to coerce others on the one hand and the enormity of the principle involved in the actions of those who resist on the other. The extra issue of forcing people into re-education for practicing their faith is also enormous. And chilling.
I can only surmise that the offended parties couldn’t find any other baker in the whole state of Colorado to bake their cake. Why else would they drop all the lovey-dovey premarital stuff and spend their time dragging Mr Phillips into court? It’s not like he refused them service. They could have bought all the donuts and cupcakes they wanted. He refused to bake a cake for this one specific purpose, which was against his religious beliefs.
But in the brave new world of government-enforced political correctness, acting on religious beliefs by living them is not allowed. No one is allowed to believe and adhere to a morality except the group morality of the almighty politically-correct zeitgeist. It appears that violation of this bit of absolute totalitarianism is a new kind of crime, and by that I mean a literal, criminal act.
After going through all the good times that everyone who has ever been in a courtroom knows all too well, Mr Phillips found himself guilty as charged of being publicly Christian. I believe the specific legal verbiage was a tad different from that, but that’s what it amounted to.
He has been court-ordered to bake the blasted cake and — get ready for this — go to “sensitivity training,” and send his entire staff to the same training, where, presumably, they will get their brains washed out and cleaned of any remaining individual thinking. He’s also supposed to re-write his company policies to reflect the values he’s been ordered to learn to believe.
On top of that, he has to submit quarterly reports to Colorado’s “Civil Rights Commission” (which seems an odd name for this group) to prove that he’s baking up a storm for gay weddings everywhere.
How does this differ from Chairman Mao’s re-education camps? By degree. How does it differ from governments forcing people to attend re-education groups? You got me.
And, since this sort of government bullying of private citizens was unthinkable not so very long ago, I tend to regard that matter of degree as a moving dot on the line toward totalitarianism.
Mr Phillips, for his part, says he’s not going to change his company policies. “My God is bigger than any bullies they’ve got,” he said.
As for the sensitivity training designed to rehabilitate Mr Phillips into believing what the government demands he believe, that may not work out, either. “My 87-year-old mom works here, and she says she’s not going to be rehabilitated,” he said.
When quizzed about how he would respond if the Supreme Court of the United States orders him to bake the cake and get his brain washed out, he said, “There’s civil disobedience. We’ll see what happens. I’m not giving up my faith. Too many people have died for this faith to give it up that easily.”
This is left-wing-nut totalitarianism. But we can’t get away from it by a blind flight to the right. There’s plenty of right-wing-nut totalitarianism, too. Blindly empowering either one of them is going to do us in.
The real answer is up to his elbows in flour in a bakery in Colorado. Ordinary people who will not compromise their faith and are willing to take the hits involved in standing for Jesus are the answer. We have to say “no.” And by “we” I mean all of us pew-sitting Christians who’ve been going along to get along.
Because extraordinary ordinary people like Jack Phillips are the only real heroes there are.
The video below discusses the way that Christians are being blocked from certain professions for holding traditional Christian beliefs. It also gives us the example of another brave person who is standing for her beliefs in the face of enormous government pressure; in this case from a government-funded university.
The Benham brothers have issued a statement concerning the cancellation of their show by HGTV.
HGTV has joined the line of corporations and other enterprises which is limiting employment according to the dictates of the politically correct police. There is a tendency to label the people on the two sides of this debate as either “liberal” or “conservative” or, sometimes, as “right-wing” or “left-wing.” But in truth, these liberals are no more liberals than today’s neo-cons are conservatives.
It would be far better to use correct language to talk about them. The extreme sides of the political divide are both totalitarian liars and bullies. They are both, each in their own way, the enemies of human freedom and human dignity. They have a lot more in common with one another than they do with the rest of us.
However, the Benham brothers, who were fired for holding political and social viewpoints that run afoul of the received wisdom of a group called “Right Wing Watch,” have reacted to the situation with courage, grace and a dignity of their own.
Here is their statement (emphasis mine):
“The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is; have we shined Christ’s light today? Our faith is the fundamental calling in our lives, and the centerpiece of who we are. As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. Over the last decade, we’ve sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path, and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.”
“We were saddened to hear HGTV’s decision. With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to biblical principles, and dedicated professionals. If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”
I am heartened by the Benham brother’s reaction to the unjust way in which they lost their job. McCarthyism is back and we have a new blacklist. It looks like this thing is just gathering steam. Christians in all walks of life may end up being blacklisted by the politically correct cops as time rolls forward.
For myself, I’ve now had a week with no HGTV. That’s a change for me. I’ve spent a lot of time, watching HGTV. It’s an easy channel to flip on when I have a few minutes and need to unwind. Because of the nature of its programming, I can enjoy it without committing a large block of time to it.
And, I am interested in homey stuff like what color to paint a wall.
In fact, one of my sons is going to paint a room in my house as my Mother’s Day present. So, I’ve been perusing paint colors online in my spare moments. I started out looking at Sherwin Williams. But, alas, they have a (very nice) selection of colors from HGTV.
I may be a Christian, but my money is still green. And I’m not going to spend any of my green stuff in places that partner up with HGTV. I did before. It didn’t bother me a bit that they had openly gay people doing design work. I wasn’t turned away by shows with gay couples buying houses for themselves. I don’t agree with gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean I have a hate on for gay people.
However, when HGTV gets a hate on for people like me, who don’t agree with gay marriage, my money is going someplace else.
So, bye, bye, Sherwin Williams. Hello Benjamin Moore.
The Vatican went before the UN Convention on Torture to answer questions about the clergy child abuse scandal and Church teachings on abortion and homosexuality, not as a church, but as a government.
In addition to raising the preposterous idea that Church teaching on abortion is torture of women, the Convention also raised the issue of the practice of transferring child abusing priests from one parish to another.
I am guessing that the Convention’s position on the Vatican and child sexual abuse is based on the contention that sexual child abuse, when it is allowed by a governmental body, is a form of government-sanctioned torture. I may be giving them more credit than they deserve, but that’s the only hook I can see on which they could hang these charges.
I don’t know how they get to their other positions that the Church should change its teachings abortion and homosexuality because they are torture. There is no basis for such claims. I think that these idiotic charges reveal the real motivations behind this line of attack against the Catholic Church.
The Vatican’s position regarding the charges concerning the child sexual abuse scandal is that it did not, as a city state, have governing control of the child-abusing priests around the world who perpetrated these crimes. The Vatican says that the abusers were under the laws and governance of the countries in which they resided.
This is true in a legal sense; in a moral sense, not so much.
The Vatican itself is a city state, and as such can be called to account as a government. However, the Catholic Church, whose head resides in the Vatican, is a church and not a government. That’s a complicated situation which can — and obviously does — lead to all sorts of political gamesmanship.
As a Catholic, I do not think of myself as a citizen of the Vatican. I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church, with the emphasis on Church.
The Roman Catholic Church is called to a much higher purpose, and is required to behave in an entirely different manner, than any government. It makes claims for itself that go far beyond governance. The leaders of our Church ask for a level of compliance and respect from the laity that good governmental leaders do not ask and bad governmental leaders cannot get.
To be blunt about it, if you are going to go around saying that you speak for Christ, you have a responsibility to not behave like the sons of Satan.
I think that trying to claim that the Church committed torture in the sexual abuse scandal as defined by the Convention on Torture is a callous political ruse. The fact that the Convention added the additional charge that the Church’s teachings on abortion and homosexuality are a form of torture makes that clear.
I think this ruse is designed to lessen the Church’s moral teaching authority on issues such as the sanctity of human life and marriage.
As a tactical action in the culture wars, it is a strong move. The Church’s power, such as it is, comes directly from its moral and prophetic voice.
The clergy sexual abuse of children scandal degrades that moral and prophetic voice in a way that the Church’s enemies, with all their attacks and criticisms, never could. It is a forceful weapon in the hands of those who want to destroy the persuasive power of the Catholic Church’s moral voice. That is why people who hate the Church’s teachings in certain areas seem to delight in talking about the scandal.
They constantly seek new ways to raise that clear failure of Christian discipleship on the part of so many Church leaders and keep it before the public eye because it damages the Church’s claim to holiness.
The sexual abuse of children by predatory adults is widespread in this world. There appears to be certain industries and organizations which routinely cover up for abusers. For instance, the entertainment industry deserves a good looking over in this regard.
Focusing on the Catholic Church to the exclusion of other offenders is not only dishonest, it enables these other predators to continue harming children.
Limiting public outrage about the sexual abuse of children to anger at the Catholic Church does not serve children well. It allows abusers in every other walk of life to keep on abusing. But, even though it does not serve children well, it does serve a political purpose. The purpose is to provide a platform for taking aim at the Church’s teachings that the attackers disagree with.
By using a Convention against torture that the Vatican signed to attack the Church, the enemies of the Church’s teachings in areas such as abortion, gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research and questions of economic exploitation weaken the Church’s voice against those things.
I think that is what this whole line of attack is about. In truth, torture is a narrow word that does not lend itself to this kind of politicized use. That is why the word has such historic power. The Convention is broadening the definition of torture beyond its original meaning to raise these charges.
By doing that, it cheapens the moral prohibitions against torture. By callously using torture as a misplaced and politicized gotcha attack instrument, the Convention weakens the very thing it is designed to strengthen, which is the international effort to end the use of torture.
I have strong feelings about the use of torture, based on actual knowledge of torture and contact with victims of torture. I have equally strong feelings about diluting the meaning of the word torture so that it becomes useless. I think this kind of political gamesmanship — which is really about abortion, gay marriage, economic exploitation, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, etc — enables torturers and lets them continue.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled today that prayers said before the town council meetings in Greece, NY do not violate the Constitution.
Justice Kennedy wrote the majority decision which said in part that there is a historical precedent for opening legislative meetings with a prayer that the even though the prayers offered at the New York town’s council meetings were predominantly Christian in nature, they were not coercive but rather “evoked universal themes” such as “calling for a spirit of cooperation.”
From Today’s Catholic News:
Kennedy wrote that the “inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers.”
He said that unless the prayers “over time denigrate, proselytize or betray an impermissible government purpose” they will “not likely establish a constitutional violation.” He also wrote that because the town had followed a policy of nondiscrimination it was not required by the Constitution to search beyond its borders for those who could offer non-Christian prayers in an attempt to provide balance.
The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Jesus Christ
Father Frans van der Lugt, SJ refused to abandon his parish and people in the face of danger. He was the only priest who stayed when the area in Syria where he lived was overrun during the Syrian civil war.
“I can’t leave my people,” he said, “I can’t leave my church. I am director of this church, how can I leave them?”
Days before Father Lugt’s 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.
From Catholic News Agency:
Days after Dutch priest Fr. Frans van der Lugt S.J. was murdered in Syria, a close young friend recalled his saintly life, noting both his personal holiness and extraordinary advances in Christian-Muslim relations.Wael Salibi, 26, recalled how when the Christian area in Homs was taken over by rebels, 66,000 of the faithful “left their home, and just few of them stayed there. He was the only priest, he stayed in his church.”“Just months before he died, he said ‘I can’t leave my people, I can’t leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?’” Salibi told CNA on April 11.Salibi, who hails from the now-ravished city of Homs, grew up as a close friend and pupil of Fr. Frans, who was brutally killed on April 7. Days before his 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.For the past three years Syria has been embroiled in conflict which sprang up after citizens protested the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president and leader the country’s Ba’ath Party
Do you believe this was “inadvertent?”
ABC News evidently ran a video of Westboro Baptist Church — complete with inflammatory signs about homosexuals — as they were reporting the story of Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla.
Mr Eich resigned from his position with Mozilla, a company he founded, after being attacked for a $1,000 donation he had made to the Prop 8 campaign in 2008.
ABC later apologized, labeling the stunt, which appeared on Good Morning America, “inadvertent.”
I am not convinced by the “inadvertent” claim. The entire piece is smirky and biased, even without the video. I don’t know, of course, but I think the use of the video was deliberate.
I do know that if something like this happens again, the “inadvertent” excuse will be gone.
From The Blaze:
Newsbusters’ Scott Whitlock has more background on the ABC story:Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was fired earlier this month when it was revealed that he donated $1000 in 2008 to Proposition 8.
As Good Morning America reporter Linzie Janis explained the story on April 4, footage of the completely unrelated Westboro protesters holding “soldiers died 4 f*g marriage” signs appeared onscreen.
ABC News later posted the following editor’s note at the bottom of a story about Eich:The segment as originally aired on Good Morning America on April 4, 2014, and included on this page, has been updated to correct an error. Video of a demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church, which is not connected to this story, was inadvertently used in the original segment. We apologize for the error and have removed that video.Instead of the Westboro protesters, the ABCNews.com video now features supporters of Proposition 8.
The network reportedly told the website that similar footage will not be used again in the future.Watch the video as it originally aired on ABC via Newsbusters here.
Officials in China’s Communist government are denying that they are engaging in a campaign of systematic destruction of Christian churches.
They make this claim despite the fact that they have ordered the destruction of approximately a dozen churches. Churches in the Zhejiang province are reportedly facing either destruction or government-ordered removal of their crosses.
Christians who live in the province have responded courageously. They have formed human chains around the churches to prevent their destruction.
Even though officials deny a demolition campaign, the Communist Party’s provincial official in charge of religious affairs said publicly that the growth of Christianity was “too excessive and too haphazard.”
The interesting thing to me is how completely these government officials misunderstand the mustard seed of faith that is Christianity. It’s not now and never has been about church buildings. Christ grows in people’s hearts, not buildings.
They can tear down every church, and it will only serve to spread the Gospel further and faster.
From The Telegraph:
Communist officials in China have denied waging a “demolition campaign” against churches in the country’s most Christian regions, after reportedly ordering a dozen to be destroyed.
The churches – in the eastern province of Zhejiang – are currently facing demolition or having their crosses removed, activists claim. Other churches are said to have been ordered to make themselves “less conspicuous” by turning their lights off at night.
Local preachers accuse Party officials in Zhejiang, a wealthy coastal province, of “gross interference” in Church affairs and have urged them to abandon what they believe is an orchestrated campaign.
Last week, Christians flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou – a rich port city known as the “Jerusalem of the East” because of its large Christian community – after its demolition was announced.
Officials denied launching a church demolition movement.
“No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of his public employment.”
That comes from a 2011 opinion of the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision on a lawsuit filed by Dr Mike Adams. Dr Adams is a professor in criminology at the University of North Caroline-Wilmington.
He filed suit when university officials refused him a promotion to a full professorship. The suit claimed that this was due to his change of personal beliefs after conversion from atheism to Christianity.
When the university hired Dr Adams in 1993, he was an atheist. He received accolades from his colleagues and was promoted to associate professor 1998.
Dr Adams converted to Christianity in 2000, which affected his views on political and social issues. According to CharismaNews, “the university subjected Adams to a campaign of academic persecution that culminated in the denial of his promotion to full professorship, despite an award-winning record of teaching, research and service.”
Now a federal court has ordered the University of North Caroline-Wilmington to promote Dr Adams to the rank of full professor and pay him $50,000 in back pay.
Christian converts who come from more politicized environments often experience painful changes in the way they are treated by colleagues. Christian conversion can lead to the loss of old friendships and promotions, even here in the USA.
The court’s decision is an important one that hopefully will curb the harassment of people in public life who express opinions that run contrary to politically correct cant.
Now, if we can only develop First Amendment protections for those in the corporate environment.
Note: Public Catholic reader Peggy-O found this link to Dr Adams’ personal response to a bit of what he was subjected to. It’s well worth a read.