Defying state legislators who rejected a measure that sought to protect “the right of conscience as it relates to marriage,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal acted on his own Tuesday.
“I’m going to do anything I can to protect religious liberty,” the Republican governor told The Daily Signal in a phone interview on Wednesday.
His executive order, issued after state legislators voted down the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act, prohibits “all departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and political subdivision of the state” from discriminating against people or businesses with deeply held religious beliefs about marriage.
“My executive order accomplishes the intent of the [Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act]. It prevents the state from discriminating against people or their business with deeply held religious beliefs,” Jindal said.
Jindal believes that both sides of the debate should be able to tolerate one another’s stance on marriage, but has a stern message for those who believe business owners must check their religious beliefs at the door:
“Don’t waste your breath trying to bully me in Louisiana,” he said. “It is absolutely constitutional to have religious liberty and economic freedoms.”
Category Archives: Religion
Franklin Graham Speaks Out Against School District’s Sex Ed Program as Being a ‘Poison’ Aimed at ‘Brainwashing’ Children to Believe Their Gender Can Change Over Time
Leading evangelist Franklin Graham has spoken out against a Virginia school district that’s weighing a curriculum change to its family life classes that focus on educating students on the “fluid spectrum” of sexuality, which would include teaching the concept that one’s sexuality “evolves” throughout his or her lifetime.
The Fairfax County School Board will introduce on Thursday recommendations provided by its Family Life Education curriculum subcommittee suggesting that the school district teach middle and high schools students about transgenderism, gender identity and sexual identity.
According to a 28-page recommendation report by the subcommittee, starting in the eighth grade, students in the county would be taught that sexuality is a “broader spectrum.”
“Students will identify that development of individual identity occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity,” the report states. “Individual identity will also be described as having four parts — biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual). The concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum will be introduced.”
In ninth and tenth grades, students would be taught that their sexual orientation could naturally shift throughout their lifetimes.
After reading about the subcommittee’s proposal in a Fox News article, Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, took to Facebook to offer his opinion that the subcommittee’s recommendations are nothing more than “poison” and an attempt to “brainwash” students.
“Can you believe these idiots? Gender fluidity? Here’s an example of some of the wicked things misguided educators today want to expose our children to,” Graham wrote. “It should make your blood boil that they want to brainwash our children! Teaching them that there is no difference between boys and girls is nothing more than a lie. We are different because God made us different. School districts should not allow this poison anywhere near the classroom!”
The Supreme Court is soon to decide a case that could potentially impose same-sex marriage as a nationwide civil “right.” During one exchange in oral arguments in the case, Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked by Justice Alito whether a religious school could lose its nonprofit status if it held that marriage is between one man and one woman. Here is the solicitor general’s response: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”
That certainly sounds like a “yes.” Will it end with religious schools? What about churches? Will Christian churches lose their nonprofit tax status if they hold firm to one of their foundational beliefs—a sacrament of their faith?
It is no exaggeration to say we are at a tipping point of one of the pillars of the American founding: Religious liberty. Can religious liberty be sustained in the America of today which understands itself, and the idea of liberty, in a different way than our forefathers did? John Adams, that venerable founder of our republic, once wrote that we are “a government of laws, not of men.”
Christians must hold in tension our personal desire for liberty, and religious liberty in particular, with the God-given desire to see the culture around us receive spiritual liberty from all the destructive desires which hold it in bondage. The best way we can do this, the best way I believe we can save this fragile and declined republic, is by going back to our founding principles—principles founded on the laws of nature and of nature’s God—even when rogue governors, tyrant judges, and media-enabled shout-downs are encroaching upon us.
We must prepare for this to take a very long time, and along the way we will encounter setbacks: religious institutions losing tax-exempt status may or may not yet be one of the many we face. Our culture will give us repeated occasions to prove our integrity and sincerity. The fight is on two fronts: civil and spiritual. Both require our energy and commitment. Both require humility and peace-ability.
The American left has spent the past few weeks trying to tell us that they believe in free speech, but…—and the “but” is that anything that offends the sensibilities of Islamic fanatics is unnecessarily provocative, hateful, and possibly racist. Therefore, such “hate speech” shouldn’t be allowed.
Now they’ve gotten a taste of their own medicine. They tried to censor an anti-censorship event.
This raises a big question, one of the great paradoxes of our era. Why is it that a large segment of left has embraced a code of appeasing “sensitivity” toward Islam—when they are its obvious next victims? Why do they wring their hands over “microagressions,” while urging us not to provoke people who execute homosexuals and throw acid in women’s faces?
They kowtow to Islam precisely because it is a real threat, a macroaggression that trumps all of the microaggressions. So you could say that it is simple cowardice. They protest against people they know are extremely unlikely to harm them, and they shut up about the fanatics who might actually follow through on their threats.
In fact, a running theme of the left’s arguments, repeated with a great deal of apparent sincerity, is the notion that it is irrational to fear Islam, that describing the religion as violent and dangerous is “Islamophobia.” They seem to have largely talked themselves into believing that they have nothing personally to fear from Islam. Jihadists may throw gays off of buildings in Syria, but it can’t happen here.
This is nonsense, of course, but it is revealing of the mindset. They actually talk themselves into believing that “censorship of LGBT artists” is an equal or even greater threat, far more urgent than anything having to do with Islam. For the left, the main source of evil in the world always comes from within America and from within the West, never outside of it.
The left is fundamentally reactionary. It is a reaction against capitalism and against America. The left are defined by what they are against, or more accurately who they hate. So they are drawn to sympathy toward Islam because it is not-us: non-Western, non-American, neither Christian nor a product of the Enlightenment.
Now, I’m not pretending that I never make bad choices in the media I consume. I have and I do. But I recognize, even in those moments, that entertainment is not a neutral exercise. In every instance, it’s going to be a net positive or a net negative for my mental and spiritual welfare. I am inviting these messages, images, and ideas into my mind. I am doing something that is active and purposeful, and it will either help me or hurt me in the end.
Music, movies, TV, games — we spend so much of our lives wrapped up in all this stuff because it affects us. There’s a reason why, in this economy, Americans still commit an inordinate amount of their income to cable bills, Netflix accounts, movie tickets, and video games. It’s important to us. Too important, clearly. But even in proper proportion, this is art, and art is a powerful thing. Art says something to us and about us. It drives us. Transforms us. Art moves the heart and the mind in a particular direction. It can pull us closer to Him or push us further away, but whatever it does, it does something.
So anytime we sit in front of the tube, we should ask: am I progressing or regressing? Is this drawing me to God or away from Him? What am I getting out of this?
The opposing argument, however, says that entertainment is never a moral concern. A thing is pleasurable because it is, and it is because it is because it is. Why worry about it? Why analyze it? Just sit back and let it sweep you away into its world. Be so utterly passive and lethargic that you don’t even stop to think about what you’re thinking about. Become like a vacant shell, filled in and emptied again according to the whims of these glowing screens. If the entertainment industry says, “here, stuff this in your brain, it’ll feel good,” just do it. Take whatever they give you. Take it and go with the flow.
Actually, I guess that’s not so much an argument as it is a whimper.
Another day, another misquote.
I hate to get into a public disagreement with a colleague here, but the outrage du jour seems to be based on a translation that may or may not be deliberately wrong. As the BBC and the Associated Press are at the root of it, I’m leaning towards the former.
A BBC reporter in the room claimed that Pope Francis said “you are an angel of peace” while presenting a gift (which is Vatican tradition) to Abbas.
The Vatican reporter for the Italian newspaper La Stampa has it differently:
As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting: “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”
Calling someone something and exhorting him to be that something are two entirely different things.
What has befuddled me and several of my conservative friends who are also devout Roman Catholics is the willingness of our conservative friends to take news about this pope at face value from MSM outlets that aren’t trusted for anything else.
I can tell you this: MSM reporting on the Vatican, the Church or whomever is pope at the time almost always needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The media has an obsession with Francis because they’ve convinced themselves that he’s the pope who will make the Church become a gay marriage, abortion loving free-for-all. This, even though barely six months into his tenure, Francis excommunicated a priest for supporting women priests and gay marriage.
As with any political agenda supported by the MSM, it is willing to bend facts to shoehorn stories into the narrative.
Obama’s socio-economic analysis of 9/11, at the time of the tragedy, reveals an inability to see clearly on a matter of national security:
The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers…. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.
But the root of the 9/11 terror attacks was not a “lack of empathy” or “poverty and ignorance.” It was an ideology of religious terrorism that Bin Laden willingly embraced. His beliefs flowed from forces more potent than the superficial categories Obama suggested. Islamist terrorism is grounded in a rigid theocratic-political view of the world. As Walter Lohman, director of Heritage’s Asian Study Center has put it, “the threat cannot be honestly separated from its religious context…. Calling the threat ‘Islamist’ allows us to distinguish friend from foe.”
There is no need for America to declare its own “fatwa” against all Muslims. Rather, we must recognize that ISIS and Al-Qaeda represent a clear and present transnational danger that calls for precise definition and decisive action. We must be willing to understand our enemy as he is, not as we might wish him to be.
A jury’s ruling today to sentence marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death is “justice” and a warning Boston “will not tolerate terrorism,” survivors and police said after the verdict.
“This is nothing to celebrate. This is justice,” said first-responder Michael Ward. “He wanted to go to hell and he’s going to get there early.”
The verdict against Tsarnaev, who’ll turn 22 in July, was announced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.’s courtroom clerk Paul Lyness. Tsarnaev showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost a third of her left leg in the bombing, told the Herald she’s “happy with the verdict.”
“My heart goes out to everyone in the survivor community and to the victims’ families,” she added. “It’s still a lot to process right now.”
Only three of the 12 jurors bought into the defense argument that Tsarnaev was influenced by his older brother Tamerlan. The jurors unanimously agreed that Tsarnaev showed no remorse for the marathon attack and its aftermath that killed four young people, maimed 17 and injured hundreds.
The jurors unanimously voted to put him to death for the week of terror.
When will Obama intervene and invite him to a “Summit” to show the world he’s simply a misguided youth?
The Washington Post reported last week that “Chinese authorities have ordered Muslim shopkeepers and restaurant owners in its troubled Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes, and promote them in ‘eye-catching displays,’ in an attempt to undermine Islam’s hold on local residents.” According to the order, anyone who fails to comply with it “will see their shops sealed off, their businesses suspended, and legal action pursued against them.”
Hmmm, sound familiar?
This order, to be sure, is just one part of the aggressive campaign that China has launched against Islam. But it very much resembles the progressive effort in this country to dragoon religious believers to provide their services for ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs about what marriage is. It also calls to mind, as law professor (and Becket Fund attorney) Mark Rienzi points out in this USA Today op-ed, the HHS contraceptive mandate that the Obama administration tried to impose on employers with religious objections to facilitating contraception and/or abortifacients—and that, in the form of the so-called “accommodation,” it is still trying to impose on the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious ministries.
As Rienzi observes, when other means of providing the objected-to services are widely available, a “dogged insistence” on forcing religious believers to violate their beliefs “is no better than China bullying Muslims to sell alcohol: an effort to weaken a religious belief that the government dislikes.” Such an assault on religious liberty is something that all Americans should oppose.
his is a pre-partisan statement that should find agreement across the political landscape: None of the front-page stories on any newspaper in the country are understood by anyone.
From the Wall Street bailout to the Middle East to the Ukraine and Russia, no content or clear lines to content are available, and that’s true of any American TV news, network or cable.
This is the result of a complete absence of teaching current events in our schools and teaching without context or candor. We have eviscerated our children’s education and unconsciously treat them as people we hate, denying them any excellence or agility of mind.
Western kids are reportedly trying to join ISIS; why? Perhaps because the only spiritual movement being discussed in public, however ugly its ideology, is extremist Islam. Judeo-Christian spirituality seems pallid and disconnected; certainly Americans are no longer learning the secular faith of the Constitution, the musculature of republican democracy, its values of individual worth, its religious tolerance, its embrace of opportunity and merit.
Kids who grow up in a spiritual void may drift to ideological thuggery because we let go of its most powerful enemy, the mobility of mind that comes from Enlightenment values.
Our values are not transmitted genetically; they must be taught. They’re not. We’re asked to make choices between political parties that have ceased all rational intentions to communicate their stand on issues with any clarity. We live in an hypnotic trance of inaction because we aren’t taught how to run the nation, that we as a people are the highest sovereign power, that we can and should hold villains accountable.
Voting doesn’t make you a better citizen, comprehending the issues makes you better. Voting without that makes us all suckers.
Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is the founder of The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative.