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Judicial Secularists Attack Religious Freedom

On June 7, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida dealt the latest blow to religious freedom in our country.

The case arose from a request by Cambridge Christian High School, which had earned the opportunity to compete in the 2A division playoffs finals, to use the stadium’s public announcement system in prayer prior to the beginning of the game. The team’s opponent was another Christian school equally devoted to serving God and to conducting itself in His image with every activity it undertakes.

Citing issues of potential coercion and fearing that such prayer might be offensive to others, Dr. Roger Dearing, the executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), declined the request.

Of course, in so doing, Dr. Dearing dismissed the fact that the same FHSAA had approved such a request in 2012. He also dismissed the national tradition of engaging in prayer prior to the start of a football game. And most astoundingly he ignored that both teams, meaning all parties involved, wished to engage in a unified prayer as one community under Christ.

Following the denial, Cambridge Christian brought the case to the judiciary for consideration. After all, they weren’t asking for the announcer to lead everyone in prayer. They weren’t asking for the FHSAA to buy new equipment. They weren’t even asking for the game to be delayed for one moment because, in point of fact, the two teams were going to pray on the field and in front of the fans anyway.

No. The only question they were asking was, “Hey, man, can I borrow your microphone?”

Court predictably quashed religious freedom

But almost predictably, the court ruled against religious freedom citing issues of perceived endorsement of religion by government and of the infringement praying might have on the rights of others (yes, this is not a misprint).

Every time I learn of a case like this, I am baffled at the extent to which the state squashes the public’s ability to pray in an open forum merely because of government’s presence. This catastrophic road upon which the Supreme Court of the United States has placed us suppresses our right to worship and to pay reverence to God — in direct violation of the original intent First Amendment.  It ignores the spiritual aspects of human existence, and most importantly, casts aside the foundational roles of religion and religious worship in our nation’s birth.

Repeatedly, I am told that the reason for following this road is the wall of separation between church and state espoused by Thomas Jefferson in his letter written on the first day of 1802 to the members of the Danbury Baptist Church.

But there is so much that runs counter to this assertion.

First, President Jefferson’s comment was completely extrajudicial in nature.

Second, the concept of a wall of separation between church and state has been tainted by the agenda-driven nature of the Supreme Court’s 20th-century opinions. Following the 19th-century Court’s introduction of Jefferson’s wall into the legal corpus, the first two 20th-century cases invoking it did so in an effort to keep the government from interfering with state-based, religious-supporting programs.

But in 1947, the Court changed direction to one that would inhibit, rather than support, religious worship. With its McCollum decision, the court prohibited Bible verses from being recited in public schools, and later, it struck down prayer in schools as well as the observance of even a bland and neutral moment of silence.

The subsequent deterioration in the nation’s moral posture and the breakdown in the family as a central societal unit are the predictable consequences of these actions.

An alternative route ensuring freedoms

But lost in these recitations is the overt bias the Court displayed in selecting Jefferson’s wall of separation in its interpretation of the First Amendment.

Let’s consider a few similarly applicable observations made by some of the nation’s foundational greats in equally extrajudicial fashion.  George Mason, in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights, wrote, “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and. . . it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” His proposed amendment was subsequently approved by the Virginia legislature, the same legislature Madison and Jefferson inhabited — a far greater weight of influence than one man’s personal letter.

Based on Mason’s language, would it not have been more appropriate for a 20th century court to hold that in interpreting the First Amendment we should recognize that our nation was created with the purpose of guaranteeing that all men be able to engage in Christian forbearance? If so, wouldn’t using a public microphone for spontaneously requested prayer be not only allowed, but encouraged?

Or how about using John Marshall, the most prolific justice in the history of the Supreme Court? When asked about the nexus of Christianity and the nation’s government, he wrote in a letter, just like Jefferson did, that, “The American population. . . is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institution did not presuppose Christianity.”

Consequently, wouldn’t a more appropriate truism for the Supreme Court to follow in its interpretation of the First Amendment be that the United States of America, through its foundation and its culture, presupposes Christianity?

Or consider the observation made by Justice Joseph Story, one of the early members of the Supreme Court, who extra-judicially wrote, “My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with religion to some extent; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”

From this, wouldn’t a more appropriate guide for the interpretation of the First Amendment be that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests, foundations, and existence of these United States of America?

Back the need for a legislative override

If any of these guides had been adopted instead of, or perhaps in addition to, Jefferson’s wall of separation, imagine how different American jurisprudence would be as it relates to religious liberty and our freedom to worship! Sharia law would be an impossible legal threat, and the concepts of love for one’s neighbor and respect for the dignity of man would be freely taught in our schools under the direct supervision of the community’s parents.

From this analysis a few conclusions may be reached.

First, there is no inherent reason for Jefferson’s wall of separation, at least as the courts apply it today, to be the only compass in interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution. So long as all religious views are respected, the government can peacefully cohabitate with worshipers be they Christian, Jewish, or any peace-loving faith.

Second, neither the people of this great nation nor its elected representatives selected the road our nation has traversed regarding religious liberty. Instead, it was embraced by an oligarchy of legalists unaccountable to the will of the people.

Consequently, if it is true that the Courts have interpreted the Constitution in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people, then isn’t it up to We The People, as the true purveyors of the Constitution, to override an opinion of such a Court and reverse an ill-conceived opinion? We know, through their writings, that at least Jefferson and Madison would think so.

Truly, the road we are following regarding our religious freedom is nothing short of harrowing. It has diminished our sense of morality and has curtailed our abilities to teach our children that there are things bigger than themselves.

It is time for our country to navigate back to the road built upon Christian forbearance; the same road that would lead us to the shining city on the hill.

RELATED ARTICLE: 2 Cases Threaten to Shut Down Public Prayer. Why the Supreme Court May Need to Act.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

Ignorant Judge Lets “Trans” Man Legally Change His “Sex”

In an unprecedented move, an Oregon judge has allowed a so-called “transgender” man to legally change his sex from female (he had previously been allowed to choose female) to “non-binary.” It’s newsworthy enough to have made it to Drudge, but even that fact doesn’t do justice to the grave threat presented by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy Holmes Hehn’s ruling.

I’ll cut to the chase. Even if you accept the legitimacy of “transgender” status (more on this later), here’s what must be understood:

Psychologists and transgender activists do not say “sex” and “gender” are synonymous.

Rather, they often take pains to point out — sometimes quite dogmatically — that “sex” is a biological distinction while “gender” is a psychological one. As MedicalNewsToday.com wrote in March, “In general terms, ‘sex’ refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences. ‘Gender’ is more difficult to define but can refer to the role of a male or female in society (gender role), or an individual’s concept of themselves (gender identity).” You can find essentially the same definitions at Monash University’s website and numerous other places.

Even the man who petitioned Judge Hehn for the “sex change,” a fellow going by the name “Jamie” Shupe, has in so many words acknowledged the above. As The Oregonian reports, “I was assigned male at birth due to biology,” Shupe said. “I’m stuck with that for life. My gender identity is definitely feminine.”

Judge Hehn is clearly operating far above her pay grade. Like most people, she apparently views “gender” as a synonym for “sex,” oblivious to the evolution (or devolution) of the term and concept.

Up until relatively recently, “gender” was mainly used in grammar, pertaining to the categories into which words are divided, such as masculine, feminine and neuter. It was not traditionally used in reference to people.

This started to change with the now discredited quack psychologist Dr. John Money. In 1966, he originated the debunked “gender neutrality” theory and appears to have been the first person to popularize the application of “gender” to people. Even so, such usage of the term didn’t really catch on until the last 20 or 25 years.

And what was the purpose of this language manipulation? You couldn’t convince people many decades ago that there were more than two sexes, because that there are only two was rightly cemented in their minds. The biological distinction was the only thing people conceptualized and accepted. But “gender” was the perfect term as it included more than two categories: masculine, feminine and neuter. And thus did we see an attempt at the 1995 Conference on Women in Beijing to adopt language stating that a family could comprise up to five “genders”: male heterosexual, female heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian and bisexual (the attempt failed owing to Vatican opposition). Of course, that’s now old hat — the shape-shifting libertines now define scores of “genders.”

But no matter. Once the term caught on and most everyone accepted that a person could have “gender” — and once a minority had accepted that there could be more than two — the next step was to add to the concept the notion that a person could be “transgender” and transition from one to another. It’s incrementalism; step by step, inch by inch.

And now that even more people have accepted the fluidity of “gender” and virtually everyone confuses the term with “sex,” we’re witnessing the next step: the attempt to eliminate the concept of the biological distinction itself. The idea is that there will only be “gender,” and “sex” will just be a term describing what you do with a sentient biped (in most cases) who, hopefully, won’t transition in the middle of the act.

So first was just the correct concept of “sex” (biological), then the introduction of a new concept, “gender” (perception of what a person is). Then there was the confusion of the two terms attended by the expansion of the new concept and advent of another new concept, “transgender.” Now, with the terms long viewed as synonyms, we’re seeing the attempted elimination of the concept of “sex.” And just as the man on the street mindlessly adopted the term “gender,” expect to see a concerted effort to eliminate the term “sex’s” use in the legal realm.

And the proof is in the pudding. Note that among the more than 60 “genders” now imagined by the sexual revolutionaries is “cisgender,” whose definition is, “denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their [sic] biological sex; not transgender.” In other words, normality is now listed as just one of scores of flavors of the day along with abnormality. In this way of “thinking,” it’s no better to be a normal woman than a cross-dresser masquerading as a woman. So the first step was to try to normalize the abnormal, and now the effort is on to “denormalize” the normal.

Do you now see why I and a few others warned, for years and years and years and years, that we shouldn’t use the word “gender” in reference to people or embrace any aspect of the Lexicon of the Left? The side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate.

As for Judge Hehn, I doubt she’s sophisticated enough to understand any of the above. She likely was just operating on misconceptions and emotion. But as former “transsexual” Alan Finch said in 2004, “You fundamentally can’t change sex. … Transsexualism was invented by psychiatrists.” No, you can’t change sex. You don’t have “gender” unless you’re a word. And you shouldn’t be able to change sex in legal documents, either. You are what you are.

Judge Hehn’s ridiculous, destructive ruling should be overturned if possible, and she should be removed from the bench. Judges who can’t separate fact from fiction, emotion from reason or, even, boys from girls, need to be playing with blocks, not with our laws.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

LAWSUIT: ‘Neither the Courts nor Government Can Determine What Is a Sin’

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday, filed a friend of the court brief in the case of Zubik v. Burwell, in support of seven non-profit organizations including the Little Sisters of the Poor who claim they cannot comply with the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate (“HHS Mandate”) because even the so called “accommodations” make them actively complicit in the sin of abortion.  TMLC’s brief asserts that the Court is not the arbiter of sacred Scripture and, therefore, cannot determine whether or not an act constitutes a sin; it can only determine whether the government’s penalties for refusal to complete the sinful act are a substantial burden on religious liberty.

Thomas More Law Center Files Brief in Supreme Court Declaring Neither Court Nor Government Can Determine What Is a Sin

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, portrays this case as a potential turning point in American legal history, stating, “The HHS Mandate is a monumental attack on religious liberty.  If this appeal is lost, the government becomes the head of every religious denomination in the country by its assumed authority to determine what is in fact a sin.”

The HHS Mandate requires religious non-profit organizations to participate in a government scheme to provide free contraceptives, including abortion causing drugs and devices (abortifacients), to their employees or face monumental fines that would result in closing the doors of most non-profit organizations that object to the HHS Mandate.

However, the HHS Mandate allows non-profit organizations like the Little Sisters to receive a so-called accommodation from directly providing free contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees.  The accommodation  requires the non-profit organizations to either (1) fill out a form as notice of their objection to contraceptives and abortifacients and provide that form to their insurers, which includes language instructing the insurers to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients to the women in the non-profits’ health plans, or (2) write and send a detailed letter to HHS with all of the information necessary to notify the non-profits’ insurers of their newfound obligation to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients to the women in the non-profits’ health plans.

These notification requirements trigger the non-profits’ insurers to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients to the women in the non-profits’ health plans. This notification requirement makes the non profits complicit in the provision of a service that they find sinful, thereby causing them to sin themselves.

TMLC’s brief argues, supported by a long line of Supreme Court precedent, that neither the government nor the Supreme Court can determine whether an act does or does not violate a person’s religious beliefs.  Rather, the Supreme Court must accept the non-profits’ assertions that the notification requirement is indeed against their religion.  To accept otherwise is to supplant the Church and the Bible with the government, allowing the Supreme Court and the government to interpret tenants of faith.  This slippery slope would subject all religious exercise to the whim of the government’s approval.

 Excerpts from TMLC’s Amicus brief:

  • “This Court has already determined that the fines for noncompliance with the HHS Mandate impose a substantial burden on employers. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 2776 (2014). The ultimate question, therefore, is whether compliance is actually against the Petitioners’ religion. This is something that is for Petitioners to determine, not the Court.”
  • “The Court is not the arbiter of sacred scripture and cannot determine whether the notification form and letter are attenuated enough from the provision of contraceptives that they do not substantially burden Petitioners’ religion. Delving into this inquiry requires the Court to interpret Petitioners’ religious beliefs on the morality of the different levels of complicity with sin. Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indian Employment Security Div., 450 U.S. 707, 718 (1981).  Therefore, the Court can only determine whether Petitioners are being compelled to do something that violates their faith—here, filling out the notification form or writing a notification letter to HHS, both of which trigger the dissemination of contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees in connection with their employee health plans.”
  • “While women have a right to obtain contraceptives, see Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 485-486 (1965), this does not mean they have a right to free contraceptives and abortifacients. Moreover, this right certainly does not mean that a person has the right to obtain contraceptives and abortifacients—either directly or indirectly—from their employer at the expense of pillaging the employer’s religious liberty.”

Click here to read TMLC’s entire 19-page brief  

TMLC, representing thirty-six plaintiffs including six religious non-profit organizations, has filed twelve lawsuits challenging the illegal aims of the HHS Mandate.

Florida: A Day in Court for Marise London, an Elderly Jewish Woman

Marise London

Marise London

It was much better than a breath of fresh air or a refreshing swim in the sea; for I could see real jurisprudence.  Dissecting the word into its meaningful units, “juris” means judging, and “prudence” means with wisdom; but how often are the two actually combined into one?

Today, sitting in a Sarasota County, FL court as a spectator and an elder advocate for a lonely Jewish woman locked in guardianship in Florida year after year without due process that it rightfully due to her, I heard her new Probate judge press and press the battling lawyers in her case, drumming up thousands of dollars per hour in legal fees, to put her fate into perspective.  While the lawyers, at least seven of them in the courtroom on August 6, 2015, were preoccupied with rules and laws, the presiding judge kept a keen eye on the greater purpose of the hearing, that being what best serves the needs of Marise London, artist, mother, and beloved elder to so many advocates who stand with her in her ardent quest for dignity and freedom from the human bondage of guardianship.

What else could you call a system in which precious human beings are deprived of their most basic rights in life and to life?  A Ward of the State of Florida, where guardianship has become a major asset to the State and a tragic liability to the lives of its elders, is mentally, physically, and emotionally trapped in a network of professionals loyal to their livelihoods often more so than to the lives they are sworn to protect.

Guardianship is, in many respects, human trafficking, in which an elder is most commonly isolated from family and deprived of her rights to move and communicate freely according to her own choices.  She cannot marry or write a check.  She cannot contract or decide where she wants to live.  She cannot select her doctor or refuse a specific medical treatment, psychotropic, or narcotic.  She lives in isolation, subject to the will of her guardian, not of herself.

In a courtroom packed with Marise’s supporters, some of whom traveled hundreds of miles to advocate for her with their feet, a patient judge listened to lengthy proclamations of law for over an hour and then rightfully turned the entire focus of the hearing to Mrs. London, asking three crucial questions, the only ones that really matter: “Does Marise really need a guardian at all?” “Is there a less restrictive circumstance instead of guardianship that will meet Marise’s needs?” “Is there a better guardian available for Marise’s needs than the one she has had for years?”

The questions repeated by the judge a number of times were songs in my head because they were judging the fate of Marise prudently that she may face her future as the free woman she so truly deserves to be.

Supreme Court: No More Lifetime Appointments by Doug Bandow

Democrats and Republicans alike have turned Supreme Court appointments into a partisan slugfest. No wonder: while the judiciary has long been described as the least dangerous branch of government, the court has become instead a continuing constitutional convention. Just five votes can turn the Constitution inside out.

The latest Supreme Court term was seen as a shift to the left. The high court rewrote Obamacare to save the president’s landmark legislation to socialize American health care and completed a social revolution by nationalizing gay marriage. These decisions set off a flurry of promises from Republican Party presidential candidates to confront the judiciary.

Extreme Measures

Jeb Bush said he would only appoint judges “with a proven record of judicial restraint,” even though previous presidents claiming to do the same chose Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and John Roberts, among many other conservative disappointments.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) called for judicial retention elections. Such a change at the federal level would require a constitutional amendment, though it would mimic the practices of some 20 states. Even more controversially, Cruz suggested that only those whose case was brought before the justices had to respect Supreme Court rulings.

Extreme measures seem necessary because a simultaneously progressive and activist judiciary has joined the legislature and executive in forthrightly making public policy.

Should Justices Serve for Life?

The influence of judges has been magnified by their relative immunity from political pressure. Although the courts sometimes follow the election returns, in many cases — such as abortion and gay marriage — judicial decisions have short-circuited normal political discourse.

That fact alone makes judicial appointments important. Their significance is magnified by judges’ life tenure.

Lose the battle over filling a Supreme Court slot and you may suffer the consequences for decades. Gerald Ford’s unelected presidency merits little more than a historical footnote, but his Supreme Court legacy long persisted through Justice John Paul Stevens, a judicial ideologue hostile to liberty in most forms. Republicans going back to Dwight Eisenhower publicly lamented the evolution of their appointees, and every one of them made at least one choice that ultimately advanced a big-government agenda. Anthony Kennedy and John Roberts fill that role today.

Lifetime tenure has other consequences. The appointment process is endlessly arbitrary, as judges hang on, irrespective of advancing age. Although instances of obvious infirmity are few — the last clear Supreme Court case was William O. Douglas, who served more than 36 years before retiring in 1975 — outcomes should not be affected by actuarial tables. A gerontocratic court differs dramatically from the society on behalf of which its members purport to speak. The lack of turnover also may deaden court debate, reinforcing established patterns of thinking.

Life tenure is enshrined in the Constitution and rooted in history. The justification for lifetime appointment is to insulate the courts from transient political pressures. Some such protection is necessary if judges are to feel free to make unpopular decisions upholding the nation’s fundamental law.

Yet, judicial independence does not require lack of accountability. Judges are supposed to play a limited though vital role: interpreting, not transforming, the law. The dichotomy of activism versus restraint is the wrong prism for viewing judges. They should be active in enforcing the law, striking down legislation, and vindicating rights when required by the Constitution. They should be restrained in substituting their policy preferences for those of elected representatives.

When jurists violate this role, as do so many judges, they should be held accountable. Unfortunately, many of the proposed responses are more dangerous than the judges themselves. For instance, limiting court jurisdiction or impeaching errant jurists, oft proposed in the past, provides obvious opportunities for abuse. Worse is Cruz’s idea that most people should ignore the Supreme Court. Where government branches collide, someone must have a final say, or else the result will be enduring political conflict and limited legal legitimacy.

Ignore the Court?

More important, Cruz would presumably not want politicians to ignore court rulings with which he agreed. After all, as originally conceived, the judiciary was tasked with the critical role of holding the executive and legislative branches accountable, limiting their propensity to exceed their bounds and abuse the people. For instance, Alexander Hamilton imagined independent courts playing a “peculiarly essential” role to safeguard liberties and being an “excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body.” Indeed, he contended, the judiciary would “guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals” from “the people themselves.”

Thomas Jefferson argued that judges would provide a “legal check” on political majorities. James Madison, often viewed as the father of the Constitution, predicted that

independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of [Bill of Rights guarantees]; they will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive; they will be naturally led to resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the constitution by the declaration of rights.

Of course, all too often the judiciary fails to fulfill this role today. No less than the presidents and congressmen, judges have become avid advocates of statism. Jurists as well as politicians should be held accountable. Unreviewable power is always dangerous.

Throw the Bums Out?

Some 20 states have implemented Cruz’s second idea, of retention elections. Few judges are defenestrated, but on occasion, the results are dramatic. Three decades ago, California voters ousted three state supreme court jurists who had effectively repealed the death penalty. In 2010, Iowa voters defeated three state supreme court judges who ruled in favor of gay marriage.

National judicial elections, however, would be far more problematic. Should the decision be made via national vote or by a majority of state votes? Moreover, it is hard to believe that Americans who today choose their president based on 30-second television spots would pay serious attention to esoteric legal issues and make the fine distinctions characteristic of legal and constitutional analysis. Worse, judicial votes might reinforce the reigning political consensus, allowing majorities to remove justices most prepared to enforce the constitution against those in power. Unfortunately, further politicizing the judiciary would be an uncertain means of counteracting the problem of a politicized judiciary.

There is a better alternative.

The Solution: Fixed Terms

The Constitution should be amended to authorize fixed terms for federal judges. Perhaps one term of 10 or 12 years for Supreme Court justices, though Federalist Society founder Steve Calabresi suggested 18-year terms. Another option would be a renewable term of 6 or 8 years. Staggering terms would ensure every president at least a couple of appointments. Mixing short and long terms would expand diversity.

Such an approach would offer several advantages. While every appointment would remain important, judicial nominations would no longer be as likely to become political Armageddon. The new justice’s service would be bounded with his exit from office already set, and another appointment would be due a couple of years later.

Term limits also would ensure a steady transformation of the court’s membership. New additions at regular intervals would encourage intellectual as well as physical rejuvenation of the court. No longer would justices attempt to desperately hang on in order to outlast a president of another party. Law rather than health would determine the pace of judicial appointments.

Most important, fixed terms would establish judicial accountability. Justices still would be independent, largely immune to political retaliation for their decisions. Thus, if so inclined, they still could “resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the constitution by the declaration of rights.”

Nevertheless, abusive judges would no longer serve for life. Elective officials could reassert control over the court without destroying the judicial institution. There would be no court-packing, a la Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as transformation would take time, over two or three presidencies.

The Supreme Court has become as consequential as the presidency in making public policy. Indeed, contrary to their originally envisioned role, judges have become as likely as politicians to push to expand state power and limit individual liberty. It is necessary to find a way to impose accountability while preserving independence. Appointing judges to fixed terms would simultaneously achieve both objectives.


Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of a number of books on economics and politics. He writes regularly on military non-interventionism.

America Has Lost Its Identity

There is no example in the history of the world of a civilization, culture, or country that has survived without an intact family unit.

Historically, this has meant father, mother, sister, brother, grandparents, and sometimes other extended family members.  With the onslaught of the Industrial Revolution came what we now know as the nuclear family-father, mother, brother and sister.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, immigrants flooded into America in an effort to flee oppressive governments back home or to pursue greener pastures here.

It was implicitly understood that English was the de facto official language, being a good citizen was expected, and contributing to the betterment of America was one’s civic and moral obligation.

Children were taught to go to school, get a job, get married, and to raise a family.  These principles served us pretty well as a nation until recently.

Now, I no longer know what it means to be an American.

People come to this country, legally and illegally, and refuse to speak English.  Judges and politicians are redefining the family unit; gender is no longer determined at birth; the government is invading every aspect of both our public and private lives.

How is it possible for mankind to be so arrogant as to say their gender is no longer determined at birth, based on the anatomical features present when they are born?

Now that Mother Nature is getting up in age, she is beginning to make all sorts of mistakes.  Boys born with penises are claiming to be girls; girls born with vaginas are now claiming to be boys.

Some are even going so far as to say there is no longer a thing called gender; there is no male or female; but rather one can “self-identify” from moment to moment as to what their gender is.  Even President Obama has demonstrated his belief in this foolishness.  A few months ago, he made bathrooms in the White House “gender neutral.”  Bathrooms are no longer labeled as male or female. You can now choose which one to use based on how you “self-identify” at that moment.

I can’t help but be reminded of the Greek philosopher, Protagoras.  I studied him while attending Oral Roberts University.  He is considered the father of relativism, which basically said there are no absolutes.

Protagoras is best known for his statement, “Man is the measure of all things: of the things that are, that they are, of the things that are not, that they are not.”  So this insidious notion of “self-identifying,” is an extension of Protagoras’ philosophy.

According to this view, there is no God or any higher power.  Each individual is the all and be all of their existence.  There is no common moral framework by which man should live by; every man lives by his on individual moral code.

By believing thus, a society loses the very glue that keeps a people united.  Typically, language, moral values, and patriotism are some of those common threads that make a society cohesive.

I currently stand at five foot eight inches tall; but I currently self-identify as six foot eight inches tall, therefore, I should legally be recognized by that which I believe, regardless of whether it’s based on facts.

As crazy as the above sounds, is this not what Rachel Dolezal did.  She is the White woman who is the head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP.  Last week she admitted that she was born White, but now she self-identifies as Black; thus, making her Black.  Even on legal documents she has been listing her race as Black, though her own birth certificate states that she is White.

She should be prosecuted to every extent of the law and the NAACP should have fired her immediately.

But, as usual, the NAACP’s leadership showed why no one takes them seriously as an organization.  Here is what their national office had to say about Dolezal, “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.”  So, I guess lying is now a permitted quality for a leadership position with the NAACP.

Since there are no longer any absolutes, we now have a country where sex is no longer determined at birth and race is no longer determined by genetics or ancestry.  I can claim to be seven feet tall, though I am only five foot eight; but yet have the legal standing of being a seven footer simply because I say it’s so.

Would you go to a medical professional who only “self-identifies” as a physician; having never attended medical school?

A society without rules is a society in chaos.  You have little kids thinking they are homosexual; you have people in the country illegally who think they have a constitutional right to be here; entertainers like Kanye West and Omar Epps think it is OK for them to wear dresses.

Values are the DNA of a society and America has lost its values in the name of individual freedom.  Freedom only works within the context of shared rules or beliefs.

The game of basketball is a good example.  Everyone that plays the game agrees to a common set of rules by which the game is played.  Within these rules are opportunities for individual players to express their uniqueness.

But without a common acceptance of the rules of the game, basketball cannot exist.

So it is with America; without common acceptance of rules dealing with sexuality, morals law & order, we will no longer exist as a society.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Lie Obama Keeps Repeating About the Poor in America

Half of Democrats support laws curtailing the freedom of speech

The problems with this should be obvious, and it’s a sign of the fix we’re in that they aren’t. Who decides what speech is “intended to stir up hatred against a particular group”? Islamic supremacist groups such as Hamas-linked CAIR and other “Islamophobia”-mongers relentlessly claim that foes of jihad terror and Sharia supremacism are stirring up hatred against Muslims. This charge is entirely baseless, as any Muslim who sincerely rejects jihad terror and the imposition of Sharia in the West should be standing with us, and is welcome to do so.

But the key question here is, who decides? The allies and friends of those who believe, or claim to believe, that it is “inciting hatred” to oppose jihad terror and Sharia supremacism are in the corridors of power. If the Democrats succeed in criminalizing “hate speech,” there is no doubt that it will become illegal to speak honestly about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, and the jihadis will be able to advance unimpeded.

“Half of Democrats support a ban on hate speech,” YouGov, May 20, 2015 (thanks to Anne Crockett):

Most Americans support expanded federal hate crime laws, but are divided on banning hate speech

Since 1994 people convicted of federal crimes motivated by the ‘actual or perceived’ identity of victims have faced tougher sentences. Many other states had passed ‘hate crime’ statutes in earlier years, and in recent years many states have been adopting laws which make crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation of gender identity hate crimes which face tougher sentences, something the federal government did in 2009. Unlike much of the rest of the developed world, however, the United States does not make it a criminal offense for people to make statements which encourage hatred of particular groups. For example a prominent British columnist, Katie Hopkins, is being investigated by the police for referring to African migrants crossing the Mediterranean as ‘cockroaches’.

YouGov’s latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups.

Support for banning hate speech is also particularly strong among racial minorities. 62% of black Americans, and 50% of Hispanics support criminalizing comments which would stir up hatred. White Americans oppose a ban on hate speech 43% to 36%.

When it comes to crimes motivated by hatred, most Americans do back the current federal hate crime laws, including the expanded definition of hate crime passed in 2009. 56% of Americans back the federal law mandating tougher penalties for cimes motivated by race, religion or gender, and 51% support expanding that to include sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. Democrats (68%) tend to be much more supportive of the law than either independents and Republicans. Republicans (38% to 39%) are split over the expanded definition of hate crime, while independent tend to support (46%) rather than oppose (28%) it….

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What EPA Did to Sell Its Water Rule Might Have Skirted the Law

In March, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy bragged to a Senate Committee about the outpouring of public support for its proposed water regulations:

We have received over 1 million comments and 87.1 percent of those comments we have counted so far… are supportive of this rule.

No wonder EPA received so many public comments on its draft Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation; it helped drum them up, the New York Times reports:

In a campaign that tests the limits of federal lobbying law, the agency orchestrated a drive to counter political opposition from Republicans and enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama.

The Obama administration is the first to give the E.P.A. a mandate to create broad public outreach campaigns, using the tactics of elections, in support of federal environmental regulations before they are final.

EPA fired up its propaganda machine to defend WOTUS after a host of critics–farmersranchershome builders, thegolf industry, and other businesses pointed out how the rule will empower federal bureaucrats to regulate “wetlands, intermittent streams, ephemeral steams (those that only flow after a rainfall or snowmelt) , and man-made bodies of water like ditches, ponds, and canals.” They worry that WOTUS will federalize local land use decisions, and make it even harder to build things in America.

The Times describes one of EPA’s tactics:

The most contentious part of the E.P.A.’s campaign was deploying Thunderclap, a social media tool that spread the agency’s message to hundreds of thousands of people — a “virtual flash mob,” in the words of Travis Loop, the head of communications for E.P.A.’s water division.

EPA’s Thunderclap campaign said, “Clean water is important to me. I support EPA’s efforts to protect it for my health, my family, and my community,” and included a link to an EPA webpage (now unavailable) that directed the public to submit comments on the draft regulation. The effort reached 1.8 million people.

EPA WOTUS Thunderclap social media campaign

Whether what EPA did violated the Anti-Lobbying Act’s ban on agencies lobbying Congress, it certainly skirted the spirit of the law. The Times writes:

Federal law permits the president and political appointees, like the E.P.A. administrator, to promote government policy, or to support or oppose pending legislation.

But the Justice Department, in a series of legal opinions going back nearly three decades, has told federal agencies that they should not engage in substantial “grass-roots” lobbying, defined as “communications by executive officials directed to members of the public at large, or particular segments of the general public, intended to persuade them in turn to communicate with their elected representatives on some issue of concern to the executive.”

At minimum, the actions of the agency are highly unusual. “The agency is supposed to be more of an honest broker, not a partisan advocate in this process,” said Jeffrey W. Lubbers, a professor of practice in administrative law at the American University Washington College of Law and the author of the book “A Guide to Federal Agency Rulemaking.”

“I have not seen before from a federal agency this stark of an effort to generate endorsements of a proposal during the open comment period,” he said.

It appears the Thunderclap campaign violated the spirit of internal EPA policy. A 2010 memo on indirect lobbyingfrom EPA’s general counsel states:

EPA employees may not explicitly or implicitly encourage the public to contact Congress in support of, or opposition to, a legislative proposal, nor explicitly encourage the public to contact state or local governments for that purpose.

EPA didn’t use the campaign to encourage the public to contact Congress. It instead asked the public to leave comments in support of WOTUS, which EPA Administrator McCarthy then referenced in testimony before Congress to claim overwhelming public support for the controversial rule.

EPA defends its actions. The Times quotes EPA’s Director of Communications for Water Travis Loop: “We are just borrowing new methods that have proven themselves as being effective.” In a blog post, Liz Purchia, Deputy Associate Administrator for EPA’s Office of Public Affairs, writes, “A public outreach effort to increase awareness and support of EPA’s proposed Clean Water Rule is well within the appropriate bounds of the agency’s mission to educate and engage Americans.”

It’s bad enough that EPA is engaging in such unprecedented regulatory overreach by crafting WOTUS, but its aggressive advocacy–perhaps too aggressive–shows that it’s an agency that’s out of control on multiple levels.

CORRECTION: An previous version of this post stated that EPA staffer Travis Loop was a “former campaign operative for President Obama’s Presidential campaign.” That’s incorrect. It has been corrected, and I apologize for the error.

Sean Hackbarth  @seanhackbarth Follow @uschamber

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Renegade Christians

Followers of Christ are coming out from behind church doors to go where the poor and forgotten live.

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Overdue Recognition: Investigating Shariah Courts in the UK

British MPs and Peers may now have abandoned Parliament to campaign in our impending elections, but in doing so, they left one rather gaping hole in terms of public policy on counter-extremism.

The Parliamentary session was supposed to have broken with a new counter-extremism strategy having been published. It was to be put in place in order to ensure that the new government and Parliament will have a template on how to deal with one of the key issues of our time.

However, there have been a series of frustrating delays, and the full strategy is yet to be launched. This week, a key part was finally revealed. A cursory examination of this shows it encompasses many of those things which a counter-terrorism strategy really has to cover. But it crucially also included the proposal of something potentially more contentious: launching an investigation into the activities of sharia courts in the UK.

Hitherto the UK government has focused primarily on the violence problem. Yet now, a significant shift has occurred so that officials must also consider the extent to that there is also a non-violent problem. Women in the UK in the 21st century being subjected to sharia law is now to be appraised as part of the problem. People being taught to live segregated lives is now a criteria to consider as part of the problem. It has taken a long time to acknowledge this.

For years the presumption has been that stopping bombs is the role of counter extremism but that stopping the emergence of a divided and parallel society within our society is not. But violent extremists do not come from nowhere. They come from a place which encourages their us-and-them mindset, a mindset which portions of society have not only tolerated but even encouraged.

There are many fights left to win and many problems which remain to be addressed. Fortunately we now have one fewer to contend with.

Birth of a Movement: ‘I am Darren Wilson’

There is a growing concern among law enforcement officers, as they face daily the criminal elements in their communities, that their political bosses, chain-of-command and communities are no supporting them. Police officers are concerned that they will be thrown under the bus in the name of race relations. This concern has turned into the “I Am Darren Wilson” movement. Three Portland, Washington police officers recently posted on their Facebook page the photo of a badge with a “I Am Darren Wilson” wrist band across it.

16420666-mmmainThe reaction by Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, who ordered these officers to take down images posted on their Facebook pages of the Police Bureau’s badge, is indicative of who will support them when push comes to shove.

The worst fears of the “thin blue line” have now been realized. No one has their back.

Law enforcement officers have every right to defend themselves. Unlike some who believe there is nation wide shoot first and ask questions later policy, nothing could be further from the truth. Police officers are trained on when deadly force is permissible. Any time a police officer responds to a call there is at least one gun involved, that of the police officer. Other than our military, police officers are among the best trained on how and when to use their weapons.

Abandoning them in the name of racial equality or community outreach is a false notion.

There is a war raging on Main Street  across America. The Ferguson protests involved 140 cities. Two New Black Panther members tried to bomb the St. Louis gateway arch. When you see these types of terrorist activities, what would you do? How would you respond? Who do you trust to respond?

If the police do not respond for fear of retribution, as in the case of Darren Wilson, then ordinary citizens are put in the position of either arming themselves, which they are, or letting their homes, churches and business burn to the ground.

Is this a race war? Certainly!

When the Ferguson coalition uses whites as human shields then we are talking race. These tactics are used by others such as Hamas in Gaza, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Is this what American is faced with, terrorism of a different variety? It appears so.

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