Home »

Search Result

Search Results for Colorado

Articles

Thanks to Pastor Edgar Carlisle for sharing this.
Thanks to Pastor Edgar Carlisle for sharing this.
Show all results in articles 

News

On December 28th, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled against Aaron and Melissa Klein, upholding a determination under state law that forced them to create a cake for a same-sex wedding against their consciences.The court threw cold water on the Kleins’ First Amendment defenses, claiming that if it allowed them to proceed, then others seeking to defend racial discrimination through religious freedom claims would also be allowed to prevail.The Court also goes overboard by accepting and recounting wholesale the feelings and perceptions of the upset same-sex couple, coloring bias into the entire narrative—while failing to do the same courtesy for the feelings and perceptions of Aaron and Melissa, who no doubt have been seriously harmed throughout this case. Moreover, Aaron and Melissa had to endure a barrage of hateful rhetoric directed at them as this incident developed, yet none of this is built into the court’s recounting of events, which ultimately supported highly excessive damages against the Kleins built on nothing more than the couple’s flimsy emotional narrative.Yet there were a couple of bright spots in the opinion.The one finding the court reversed was the part of the administrative ruling which acted as a “gag order” on the Kleins being able to speak about what happened to them. This finding was outrageous, and rightly reversed by the court of appeals.Second, even though the court ruled against the Kleins’ freedom of expression claim, it recognized that to the degree such cake creations are artistic, they are very likely protected. Noting that “[i]t appears that the Supreme Court has never decided a free-speech challenge to the application of a public accommodations law to a retail establishment selling highly customized, creative goods and services that arguably are in the nature of art or other expression,” the court said that “[i]f BOLI’s [Bureau of Labor and Industry—the administrative entity which ruled against the Kleins] order can be understood to compel the Kleins to create pure ‘expression’ that they would not otherwise create, it is possible that the Court would regard BOLI’s order as a regulation of content, thus subject to strict scrutiny, the test for regulating fully protected expression.” This also “would be a different case if BOLI’s order had awarded damages against the Kleins for refusing to decorate a cake with a specific message requested by a customer (‘God Bless This Marriage.’)”Well, the Supreme Court is about to decide this very issue in Jack Phillips’ case—Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—in the upcoming months. When his case is decided, the Kleins’ case may be too. Indeed, at oral argument in Phillips’ case, the exact message “God Bless This Marriage” was mentioned by the justices as implicating protected expressive conduct (one wonders if the Oregon Court of Appeals specifically cited it in order to leave itself an “out”).Finally, in another bright moment in its opinion, the Oregon Court of Appeals observed that the Kleins’ case (and therefore many of these wedding vendor cases) are unlike FAIR v. Rumsfeld, in which the Supreme Court said law schools must allow military recruiters (the military was under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy at the time) access to campus if they wanted to continue to receive federal funds. Opponents of the Kleins and others often claim their cases are like FAIR, and it was good to see the Court here dismiss that notion, observing that the law schools never objected to being forced to speak a message with which they disagree, while the Kleins and other wedding vendors do.Despite these few promising points, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruling is a blow to freedom for all, and will only perpetuate the current culture war by suppressing the religious freedom of many people of good will who just want to live their lives in peace. The Kleins’ opponents could have easily obtained a cake from a nearby bakery, and the problem would be solved. Instead, once again, everyone has been dragged into years of litigation. Until a different approach to these conflicts is taken, we can only expect more of the same results.
Dear Friends,For many Americans, the time off from work and school that Christmas allows is a wonderful opportunity to reunite with family and friends. It can be a joyous time of catching up on new developments and accomplishments that have transpired over the last year, exchanging gifts, and partaking in delicious Christmas hams and cookies.As we enjoy this delightful time of year with our loved ones, let us not forget the true reason for why we gather and make merry: the coming of God into our lives. Since many of us have family and loved ones that do not share our faith, Christmas provides us with an invaluable opportunity to witness to the faith that God has gifted to us through the person of his Son Jesus. This doesn’t mean that we need to try and proselytize, which can easily cause tension and conflict and distract away from the spirit of the season. Witnessing to our faith should instead take the form of invitation. For example, simply invite a non-practicing loved one to come with you to your Christmas Eve church service without any expectations or obligation. Another option could be to invite them to join in singing Christmas carols with a group in the local neighborhood, or you could simply make it a fun family activity and sing carols as you sip hot chocolate and munch on cookies.It can be easy to slip into the habit of thinking that we have to organize an elaborate intellectual argument in order to witness to our Christian faith. But that’s not how God invites us into His divine life. Think of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew—when he comes upon Peter and Andrew casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, he doesn’t launch into a philosophical discourse about the reasons why the two men should follow him. Instead, he offers them a simple invitation: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). Let us imitate Christ by inviting our loved ones to join us in a joyful spirit of love, free from expectation and obligation. For it is only in true freedom and joy that hearts are truly and joyfully converted.Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC ArticlesThe ‘War on Christmas’ Is Real – Travis WeberSessions’ First Year: A Breath of Fresh Air After Years of Obama Scandals – Ken BlackwellIn Masterpiece, the Supreme Court Grapples With a Problem of Its Own Making – Travis WeberSupreme Court Justices Grill ACLU and Colorado in Christian Baker’s Case – Travis WeberFranken’s Senate Replacement is a Former Planned Parenthood VP – Kelly MarcumKicking Jesus Off the Bus? – Travis WeberA Three-Dimensional Case for Masterpiece Cakeshop — from Justice Kagan, No Less – Peter Sprigg5 Great Resources That Help Kids Keep Christ in Christmas – Peter Witkowski5 Great Resources that Help Keep Christ in Christmas – Peter WitkowskiPlanned Parenthood’s Tacit Support of Physical Assault – Kelly MarcumCan American Higher Education Be Salvaged?Will the Supreme Court Recognize Consumable Beauty in Wedding Cake Case? – Peter SpriggRemembering Mike Penner – Peter Sprigg Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareHere's why I can’t custom-design cakes for same-sex weddings – Jack Phillips, USA TodayReligious Exemptions Aren’t Special Privileges – Stephanie Barclay, Public DiscourseJudge Denies FEMA Relief For Three Texas Churches – Brien Straw, Houston Public MediaDC buses can ban ‘religious’ Christmas ads, judge rules – Doug Mainwaring, LifeSiteNewsLiberals attack doughnut shop's good deed – Todd Starnes, Fox NewsReligious Freedom in 2018: What to Watch – Nancy Flory, The StreamInternational Religious FreedomCanada’s Free Speech Wars – Scott Ventureyra, CrisisNations Speak Out for Life and the Family in UN Human Rights Mechanism – Rebecca Oas, C-FamMilitary Religious FreedomOver 77,000 Sign Petitions Supporting Air Force Colonel Punished for Opposing Gay Marriage – Michael Gryboski, The Christian Post LifeAbortionFighting taxpayer-funded abortion in Illinois – Samantha Gobba, WORLDAbortion is Traumatic, Not Empowering – Marcia Segelstein, National Catholic RegisterFirst trimester babies aren’t blobs of tissue — they’re amazingly complex – Live Action7 Shocking Facts Americans Learned About Planned Parenthood in 2017 – Brandon Showalter, The Christian PostAbout That New York Editor Who Would End Lives Like My Children’s – Kristan Hawkins, National ReviewOhio Legislature votes to ban abortions on babies with Down syndrome – Becky Yeh, Live ActionAdoptionPolice officer adopts homeless heroin addict’s baby – Ashley Jonkman, AleteiaBioethicsAssisted Suicide Is No Choice At All – Lawrence Carter-Long, RealClear PolicySelf-Sacrificial Love in the Bioethics-Sphere – Wesley J. Smith, First ThingsBasic Bioethics: What Christians should know about embryo destructive research – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionThe Inalienable Right to Life: An Update on Assisted Suicide in the United States and Canada – Arthur Goldberg, Public DiscourseSuicide prevention organization: Assisted suicide is not suicide – Cassy Fiano, Live ActionObamacareEight Insurance Companies in 5 States Fail to Disclose If Their Obamacare Plans Fund Abortions – Mallory Quigley, LifeNews FamilyEconomics/EducationHalf the World’s Population is Reaching Below Replacement Fertility – Tomas Frejka, Family StudiesPower to the parents – Leigh Jones, WORLDIt’s Time to Fully Repeal the Unjust and Immoral Death Tax – Daren Bakst, The Daily SignalWhy the Humanities Must Remain Human (Or Die) – Joshua Mayo, First ThingsHow Affirmative Action Hurts Asian-Americans in College Admissions – Helaina Hirsch and Mike Gonzalez, The Daily SignalMarriageThe one thing you need to do to make sure your child marries well – Luz Ivonne Ream, AleteiaFor a Happy Marriage: Speak With Kindness — Especially When You Want to "Tell It Like It Is" – Shaunti Feldhahn, Focus on the FamilyWhen You and Your Spouse Can't Agree – Teri Reisser, Focus on the FamilyCohabitation Agreements: Better Than Nothing? – Mary Rose Somarriba, Family StudiesPodcast: Failure of Fatherhood – Mark Bauerlein, First Things11 Rules on Marriage You Won't Learn in School – Dennis Rainey, FamilyLifeFaith/Character/CultureSin, Happiness, and Breaking Out of Spiritual Boredom – Chris Hazell, Word On FireIf You’re Feeling Too Frantic, Genuine Leisure Can Restore Your Soul – Aphrodite Kishi, The FederalistIn the Age of Amazon Sundays Can’t be Sacred – Mattias A. Caro, Ethika PolitikaThe Danger of Talking Over Others – David Stavarz, Word On FireWe are desperately in need of boredom – Tom Hoopes, AleteiaLoneliness: An old way to solve this modern problem – Calah Alexander, AleteiaWhat Made ‘Fixer Upper’ a Hit? – Dean Abbott, The Gospel CoalitionHuman SexualityThank Separating Sex From Morality For The Great American Sexual Meltdown – Curt Anderson, The FederalistNew Study Finds Hormonal Birth Control Triples Women’s Risk Of Suicide – Kelsey Harkness, The FederalistLauer, and Franken, and Louis CK: The crisis within them, and in us – Tom Hoopes, AleteiaWill the Trump Administration Push Back Against Transgender Ideology in Schools? – Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty, Public DiscourseA great sexual reckoning – Mindy Belz, WORLDGod is not silent: What the Bible teaches about sexual assault – Katie McCoy, Ethics & Religious Liberty CommissionFiguring Out Faithfulness with Same-Sex Attraction – Ed Shaw and Rachel Gilson, The Gospel CoalitionThis Formerly Trans 14-Year-Old Has A Message For Questioning Kids – Walt Heyer, The FederalistThe Truth about Men, Women, and Sex – Mark Regnerus, Public DiscourseHuman TraffickingMom Posts Viral Warning After Sex Traffickers Try Kidnapping 2-Yr-Old in Grocery Store – Kelsey Straeter, FaithitMan Sentenced To Longest Human Sex Trafficking Sentence In US History – Fight the New DrugCare about Cyntoia Brown? Stop normalizing “teenage prostitution.” – Haley Halverson, National Center on Sexual ExploitationPornographyVideo: Neurosurgeon Dr. Donald Hilton Reveals Shocking Scientific Truths About Porn – Fight the New Drug40 Reasons To Start Off The New Year By Ditching Porn – Fight the New Drug
I am not generally a fan of liberal Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. But after reading the entire transcript of the December 5 oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case (in which a Christian baker was found guilty by Colorado of discrimination for declining to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple), I thought one question she asked was especially insightful.Most of the discussion on Jack Phillips’ free speech claim centered on a question distilled by Justice Stephen Breyer. Baker Jack Phillips argues that his First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech was violated by Colorado’s application of its public accommodations law to him, but Breyer asked, “[W]hat is the line? . . . [W]e want some kind of distinction that will not undermine every civil rights law.”Kagan elaborated on that concern in a question posed to U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who was arguing in support of Phillips:JUSTICE KAGAN: General, it -- it seems as though there are kind of three axes on which people are asking you what’s the line? How do we draw the line? So one axis is what we started with, like what about the chef and the florist -GENERAL FRANCISCO: Speech, non-speech.JUSTICE KAGAN: -- and -- and, you know, everybody else that participates in a wedding? A second axis is, well, why is this only about gay people? Why isn’t it about race? Why isn’t it about gender? Why isn’t it about people of different religions? So that’s a second axis.And there’s a third axis, which is why is it just about weddings? You say ceremonies, events. What else counts? Is it the funeral? Is it the Bar Mitzvah or the communion? Is it the anniversary celebration? Is it the birthday celebration?So there are all three of these that suggest like, whoa, this doesn’t seem like such a small thing.1. “Speech” vs. “non-speech” in the wedding industryThe core of the argument made by Kristen Waggoner, the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing Phillips, related to the first “axis” Kagan mentioned. The courts have previously found that under the First Amendment’s free speech protections, not only may the government not punish an individual for speaking his own opinions, but the government also may not compel an individual to communicate a message he disagrees with against his will. Using his talents to create a custom wedding cake is a form of artistic expression which is protected as “speech” under the First Amendment, Waggoner argued. Doing so for a same-sex wedding would constitute a message of endorsement of a homosexual relationship and of same-sex marriage, which violates Jack Phillips’ religious beliefs. Therefore, the state of Colorado may not compel Phillips’ to create such a cake without violating his First Amendment rights.The justices demanded to know what other vendors providing goods and services for a wedding would or would not enjoy similar free speech protections. What type of commercial conduct constitutes “speech,” and what is “non-speech,” as Francisco put it? Waggoner suggested that the exemption would apply to a baker, florist, or calligrapher creating invitations; but might not apply to a hair stylist or makeup artist (more on that later).Yet I think Kagan’s other two “axes” (plural of “axis,” not “ax”) are also significant. Unlike Kagan, however, I think they make the case easier to decide, not harder.2. “Why is this only about gay people?”The second axis of line-drawing has to do with any distinctions between various protected categories. Is there a difference between “discrimination” that is based on sexual orientation (“gay people”), and that based on race, sex, or religion? Attorneys on the other side and the more liberal justices hammered on the race analogy—if we allow a baker to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, can he also refuse to bake a cake for a black child’s birthday?Now, before discussing the question of whether “discrimination” based on “sexual orientation” is the same as racial discrimination, let me state my own view that refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding does not constitute discrimination based on “sexual orientation” at all. Phillips’ principal objection stems primarily from his religious beliefs about the definition of marriage (that it is inherently a union of one man and one woman) and his beliefs about the appropriate boundaries of sexual conduct (that it should only take place in the context of a marriage so defined). This has nothing inherently to do with the “sexual orientation” of the individuals involved.Phillips would bake a cake for a wedding of two people who self-identify as homosexual—if they were of the opposite sex. And he would not bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, even if the individuals involved identified as heterosexual. If those examples sound absurd, it is only because in our time we have a cultural assumption that an indispensable purpose of marriage is the gratification of sexual desires. Yet that is an assumption about marriage that has by no means been universal in all times and all cultures, and the Court need not adopt it as a legal assumption today.The Colorado public accommodations non-discrimination law that Phillips was charged with violating makes no distinctions among its protected categories. But that is not the legal question at issue. Phillips is asserting a claim under the U.S. Constitution, which (if successful) would override a state statute. The question is whether the “discrimination” he is accused of gives the government a compelling interest in overriding that federal constitutional claim. Under federal court precedents, there is a distinction to be made between race and sexual orientation. Classifications of individuals on the basis of race are subject to “strict scrutiny,” which means that they can very rarely be justified. The Supreme Court has never said that classifications based on “sexual orientation” are subject to the same high level of scrutiny.I have argued elsewhere that the reason classifications based on race are subjected to the highest scrutiny is because race is, indisputably, a characteristic that is inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and in the Constitution. “Sexual orientation” does not meet the same criteria. In fact, its definition is not entirely clear, since depending on the context, it may refer to a person’s sexual attractions, their sexual behavior, or their self-identification, or some combination of the three. The three aspects of sexual orientation are also not always consistent in one individual at one time, or over the life course. A person’s sexual attractions may indeed be involuntary (I am not saying people “choose to be gay,” if “being gay” is defined based on attractions alone). However, a person’s sexual behavior and self-identification do not meet any of the criteria which justify strict scrutiny of racial classifications. For those who disapprove of homosexuality, it is almost entirely the conduct—not the attractions or even the self-identification—which is seen as problematic.I realize that in a 2010 case (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the 5-4 majority, “Our decisions have declined to distinguish between status and conduct in this context.” The “context” she referred to was a sexual orientation classification. (In that case, the University of California’s law school had denied recognition to a Christian student organization because they did not permit people who engaged in “unrepentant homosexual conduct” to serve in leadership positions.) “CLS contends that it does not exclude individuals because of sexual orientation,” reported Ginsburg, “but rather ‘on the basis of a conjunction of conduct and the belief that the conduct is not wrong.’” An analysis in the New York Times described Ginsburg’s sentence rejecting the distinction between “status and conduct” as a “time bomb” which could explode with broader implications in later cases (as it did in the later cases involving the definition of marriage).Justice Anthony Kennedy himself, however (despite having been the decisive vote in the decisions striking down both federal and state definitions of marriage as the union of a man and a woman), seemed to hint that he might be willing to defuse the status-conduct “time bomb” in the context of the Masterpiece case. Here is part of an exchange with David D. Cole, the attorney representing the same-sex couple, after Cole repeatedly asserted that Jack Phillips’ action was “identity discrimination”:JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, but this whole concept of identity is a slightly—suppose he says: Look, I have nothing against—against gay people. He says but I just don’t think they should have a marriage because that’s contrary to my beliefs. It’s not –MR. COLE: Yeah.JUSTICE KENNEDY: It’s not their identity; it’s what they're doing. MR. COLE: Yeah.JUSTICE KENNEDY: I think it’s -- your identity thing is just too facile. [Emphasis added.]Whether the court has distinguished between homosexual conduct and an “identity” or “status” as “gay” in prior decisions or not, the distinction clearly exists in the real world, and it makes sexual orientation different from race (or sex). It would be salutary for the Court to acknowledge that now.3. “Why is it just about weddings?”The third axis of line-drawing posited by Kagan has to do with the type of events which, hypothetically at least, might trigger a religious objection and therefore a religious or free-speech exception to anti-discrimination laws.However, it is clear that the liberty Phillips is seeking in this case has specifically and narrowly to do with weddings because of the nature of that event. He and his attorneys have repeatedly made clear that Jack Phillips regularly serves customers who openly self-identify as gay. His policy of not creating custom cakes for same-sex weddings therefore bears no resemblance to racially segregated businesses in the Jim Crow south, which either did not serve black customers at all, or would only serve them in physically segregated facilities.Phillips’ attorney Kristen Waggoner described his objection regarding weddings most succinctly in her final summation, when she said this:A wedding cake expresses an inherent message that is that the union is a marriage and is to be celebrated, and that message violates Mr. Phillips's religious convictions.This single sentence makes two distinct points. The “message . . . that [a same-sex] union is a marriage . . . violates Mr. Phillips’s religious convictions” (because his Christian faith teaches him that “marriage” can only be defined as the union of a man and a woman). In addition, the “message . . . that [a homosexual] union . . . is to be celebrated” also “violates Mr. Phillips’s religious convictions” (because his Christian faith teaches that homosexual relationships are sinful—that is, always contrary to the will of God).Neither of these objections, however, would apply to providing baked goods for a birthday celebration or a funeral reception for someone who identifies as gay, because neither a birthday nor a funeral sends “an inherent message” that marriage can be between people of the same sex, nor that sexual relations between people of the same sex are to be celebrated. Only a wedding (and potentially a wedding-related event, such as a shower or anniversary) sends that particular, and particularly objectionable, message.In fact, Solicitor General Noel Francisco seemed to me to at least hint at an argument for an even broader exemption than what Phillips’ own attorney, Kristen Waggoner, was requesting. Waggoner argued narrowly that the specific act of creating a custom wedding cake was a form of creative, artistic expression that merits free speech protection. Francisco, however, made repeated reference (seven times, by my count) to the wedding itself as an “expressive event.” This, it seems to me, would suggest that any participation in the celebration of a same-sex wedding—even if it involves less creative artistry than the creation of a custom-made cake—could constitute implicit endorsement of the message in support of same-sex marriage and in support of homosexual unions that is inherent in the event itself.The Three-Dimensional SolutionJustice Kagan’s concern was that drawing lines too broadly on all three axes she described would result in exceptions that would completely swallow the rule of Colorado’s public accommodation non-discrimination law. If we allow exceptions for bakers, what about other vendors? If we allow exceptions for sexual orientation, what about other protected categories? And if we allow exceptions for weddings, what about other events? If broad exemptions are granted in all three areas, then, as she said, “whoa, this doesn't seem like such a small thing.”I believe, however, that there are sound reasons for narrowing the exemption regarding protected categories only to sexual orientation—logically, because it involves primarily conduct, and legally, because it is not subject to strict scrutiny and is never mentioned in the text of the Constitution. As noted above, there are also reasonable grounds for treating a wedding differently from other events.With the lines drawn narrowly with respect to those categories, I think there would be room for the line regarding which vendors can claim free speech protection to be drawn a bit more broadly. I would like to see the Supreme Court adopt Solicitor General Francisco’s view of a wedding itself as an “expressive event”—and therefore extend the protection against “compelled speech” to any vendor who provides wedding services—whether baker, florist, or photographer, or calligrapher; or even chef, hair stylist or makeup artist.Such a decision would leave Colorado’s non-discrimination law intact, while still recognizing the elevated threat to freedom of conscience that arises in the narrow and unique situation of participation in celebrating a same-sex wedding.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins addressed a rally outside the United States Supreme Court in support of Colorado baker Jack Phillips. The rally sponsored by the Radiance Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom marks the start to oral arguments for the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. ...
Tony Perkins outlines what the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is actually about....
Show all results in news 

FamilyNet Top Sites Top Independent Baptist Sites KJV-1611 Authorized Version Topsites The Fundamental Top 500 The Baptist Top 1000 The Best Baptist Web Sites at Baptist411.com

Powered by Ekklesia-Online

Locations of visitors to this page free counters