Monday, June 30, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court gets it right in Hobby Lobby case

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that forcing closely-held corporations to provide all forms of birth control to all female employees violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it overly burdens the consciences of the Christian owners of the three corporations involved in the decision. This is a victory for religious rights. Of course, feminists and others on the left are crying foul, saying this violates women's rights and that companies have no religious rights.

They are wrong on both counts. First, this case is not about contraception. It is about religious freedom. Women -- who are not forced to work for any company -- still have the right to use contraception, and none of the employers in this case said otherwise. In fact, two plaintiffs in the case, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, agreed to pay for 16 of the 20 federally mandated contraceptives under the HHS statute. They just objected to being forced to pay for the ones that cause an already conceived embryo to be terminated, a.k.a. aborted.

Female employees of both companies still have the right to use any one of these four contraceptives in their own private time if they choose. The company owners, who have deeply held religious beliefs against abortion, just don't have to be forced to pay for them now.

It’s interesting how feminists howl about keeping the government "off our bodies and out of our bedrooms" but they have no problem allowing the government to force private citizens to pay for what goes on in the bedroom, even if it violates a private citizen's beliefs.

As for the argument that U.S. closely-held companies don’t have religious rights, such as the plaintiffs in this case, these companies are run by human beings. The companies are not some autonomous, robotic function that exists independently of human input. The human beings running such companies - in this case American citizens - should not be forced to forfeit their religious rights simply because they decide to start a private business. This is precisely what the US Supreme Court put forth in its ruling.

To hold that a private business owner must forfeit his religious rights in order to run a business means that American citizens only have religious rights when they are in the confines of an actual church, or within the privacy of their own homes. That is not what the Constitution guarantees. The First Amendment says the government cannot prevent the free expression of religion. It does not say that private citizens need to keep their beliefs private and hidden from the public square, or that the government can force them to go against their conscience. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act underscores this right.

Some argue that it’s not fair that companies shouldn’t have to pay for some forms of birth control while other companies pay for things like Viagra. The key difference is that no company is forced to pay for Viagra - which does not prevent or destroy life -- while the companies in the Supreme Court case were being forced to pay for abortifacients.

As much as the left wants the country to believe this ruling means that companies like Hobby Lobby are imposing their views on women and that women will lose their rights to contraception - such as Hillary Clinton is now saying - it is nothing but a political smokescreen. A smart woman - regardless of her political affiliation - will see right through it and realize that stripping some citizens of their religious liberties for the benefit of others is antithetical to true freedom for everyone.

In fact, it seems the ones who should be most in favor of the court decision are feminists. After all, it is this group that has historically exalted the values of independence and autonomy, yet they have become fixated on being dependent on others for certain forms of birth control, even against a citizen’s will. Unfortunately emotions prevail over reason.

The simple truth is, the plaintiffs in this case were not and are not forcing their employees to stop using contraceptives, so they are not imposing their views on anyone. What the Supreme Court did was tell the government that it cannot strip employers of their religious rights, and by extension, employees cannot impose their private choices on their employers.

Unfortunately, the only reason this case got as far as it did is because we have an administration that is resolute in destroying the Constitution. This case should never have seen the light of day because it should never have even been an issue in a supposedly free country.

The Supreme Court’s decision – while it does not remove the threat of those who will continue trying to strip citizens of their religious freedoms -- it does give a much-needed shot in the arm to defend this fundamental American freedom. While liberals will no doubt twist the case to court votes in November’s election, I hope voters will see the bigger picture and celebrate the defense of authentic liberty that was at the heart of this case. 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Clinton & Biden: Don't hate us because we're wealthy

Have you noticed lately how Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and other filthy rich liberals (like Michael Moore) are making the rounds trying to convince the public that they're not wealthy, or at least, that it's okay they're wealthy because they worked hard for it?

President wannabe Hillary Clinton is telling the masses that she was dead broke when she and her philandering husband left the White House in 2000. Apparently now that her and Bill's exorbitant speech fees, government pensions and other sources of income have brought them back in to good financial standing, she is touting the great American ideal of working hard and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Clinton went as far as to say in an interview with The Guardian that she and her family aren't among the nation's wealthiest because they pay high income taxes. She went on to say that her daughter Chelsea -- who makes $600,000 a year as a news correspondent and who recently bought a $10.5 million apartment in Manhattan -- doesn't care about money.

Clinton said all this to explain why she has what it takes to be an advocate for combating income inequality.

"They [the public] don't see me as part of the problem, because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names, and we've done it through dint of hard work," she said.

Apparently she is different from other successful people who just have their wealth handed to them, don't work 100 hours a week making their business a success, and who often achieve their dream at the sacrifice of personal lives and relationships.

Hillary apparently is also unaware that the population in America that pays zero taxes are not the hard-working wealthy, it is the lower income citizens who pay nothing. She also doesn't seem to know that the top 0.1% of Americans pay more income taxes than the bottom 80%. If Hillary wants to be an advocate of anything, she should start by being an advocate of the truth.

The other president wannabe, Joe Biden, is doing essentially the same thing. He admitted in a speech recently that he wears expensive suits and that he gets an excellent salary and pension as Vice President of the United States, and then told people not to hold it against him,  because he has no savings account (a lie, by the way) and that he owns no stocks or bonds (another lie - they're just in his wife's name). Humility, apparently, is a great way to justify one's wealth when looking in the eye of the common man. Unfortunately truth becomes the collateral damage in Biden's desire to apologize for his wealth while trying to justify it.

Though Clinton and Biden both seem to believe that it is indeed okay to be successful, neither of them applies that support to those who have achieved success in the private sector by their own hard work. Look at how Mitt Romney was excoriated for his wealth, despite the fact that he achieved it honestly through hard work, and has demonstrated extreme amounts of charitable giving, both of his resources and his own personal time. You won't hear about that side of the story though. It would make him look too good.

I've heard a lot of discussion as to why Hillary and Joe are trying to outdo one another in their efforts to convince the public that they're just like everyone else. Some say it's because liberals feel guilty for their wealth. I've heard others say it just shows how truly out of touch they are with real America.

I say it's politics. Democrats win elections in two key ways: By promising handouts to those who don't want to work, and by demonizing those who are successful because they do want to work. They then take it a step further and execute an extremely successful public relations campaign that portrays Republicans in particular as the wealthy, successful (hateful, racist, bigoted) thieves that are causing all the problems in our country. And of course, Republicans, according to the PR campaign, are only concerned about the wealthy.

A Democrat admitting he or she is wealthy doesn't gel with the image of the "evil rich" that Democrats need the masses to hate in order to win their votes. The thing is, that by trying to soften the image of wealth by telling Americans they worked hard for it, Clinton and Biden are actually admitting that success comes from hard work and is not evil. But exercising such hypocrisy about this fact to win votes could be considered evil - or at the very least, extremely repugnant.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Church's decision on gay-marriage deceives truth-seekers

One of the largest and most influential Protestant groups in the U.S. - Presbyterian Church USA - voted this past Thursday in Detroit to allow pastors to perform same-sex marriages in their churches. They also voted to change the definition of marriage from one man and one woman, to two people of any gender.

The decisions were greeted with cheers and tears of joy from homosexuals and homosexual advocates present at the meeting, which took place at Cobo Hall. Commenting on the vote, the Rev. Sharon Mook, pastor of Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit said of LGBT people, "They deserve to have the same rights. People are born who are not heterosexual...God's love is for all of God's children."

Yes, God's love is for all His children. That is why Christ said, "Go, and sin no more." God Himself loves the sinner, but hates the sin. While so-called Christian practitioners of homosexuality want us to believe that sodomy is not a sin, the Bible calls it an "abomination". So what homosexuals are trying to tell us is that God has changed His mind on that, that homosexuality is no longer a sin. But then that is to say God is imperfect and was "wrong" about homosexuality.

Of course, since God is perfect and therefore incapable of making mistakes, logic follows that it is man who is imperfect and very capable of making mistakes. In the case of Presbyterian Church USA, when a so-called House of God rejects God's word, it is no longer a House of God, but a cult. In this case, we have a cult that seeks to please man over God, which aptly calls to mind the prophecy of 2 Timothy 4:3, "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths."

As mentioned earlier, a church that panders to cultural mores is no longer a church but a congregation of moral relativists. Yes, we are called as Christians to love one another and not to judge because we are all sinners. However, we are also called to reject sin by rejecting the empty promises of the world.

Churches that teach nothing but emotion-based love are missing half the message. Jesus showed love and compassion to all, and we are all called to follow His example. But He did not hesitate to call sin by its name, and true followers of Christ should be mindful of that. This vote by Presbyterian Church USA is not Christian or Bible based. It is a deception to pull weaker Christians away from the truth, and to confuse those seeking the truth as a way to blind them from it. As far as I can see, there is nothing loving in that.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Obama's actions favor lawbreakers over law-abiding Americans

I want very much to believe our president has America’s best interests at heart. But the constant scandals and betrayals under President Barack Obama’s watch tell a different story. Some say he doesn’t even deserve mention anymore. I say a president who shows more disdain than love for the country he leads doesn’t deserve a pass -- and we should never become complacent in the face of such things, lest we allow our country to slip away altogether.

Most recently, calls for impeachment have been made over Obama’s surprise trade of five high-ranking Taliban terrorists in return for US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. In doing so, Obama broke the very law he signed which states he must give Congress 30 days’ notice prior to releasing any Guantanamo Bay prisoner. But claiming this law was an unconstitutional check on his power, Obama felt no obligation to obey it. Once again, our president considers the Constitution’s merit only when he can use it to his advantage.

News outlets say Obama was justified in releasing the terrorists because past presidents have done the same thing and because Bergdahl’s health was in danger. The media also say accusations that Bergdahl was not a prisoner of war, but an Army deserter, are nothing but Republican attempts to make Obama look bad.

But these accusations aren’t coming from Republicans – they’re coming from Bergdahl’s own platoon members who also claim Bergdahl sympathized with the enemy, and that several troop members died while attempting to bring him back to the base he allegedly tried leaving on other occasions as well. Moreover, a Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl did indeed desert the Army.

Though top military officials advised against Obama releasing the Taliban leaders, the terrorist-for-Bergdahl swap now begs the question of whether the released prisoners will eventually return to wage war against America – not to mention the likelihood that American soldiers and citizens traveling abroad will now be at greater risk.

Underscoring this point, a Taliban commander told TIME magazine that Taliban fighters are now more incentivized to capture American soldiers and citizens. “It has encouraged our people,” he said. “Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

Despite public outrage, Obama said he makes no apologies for encouraging America’s enemies. In fact, he plans to release 78 more prisoners from Guantanamo for such bizarre reasons as a prisoner’s newfound love for yoga and another’s desire to run a milk and honey farm. To Obama, it matters nothing that some of these prisoners are known hard-core terrorists considered serious threats to America should they be released.

Many concede one positive outcome in this – for Barack Obama – is that the issue has temporarily dimmed the spotlight on the Veterans Administration scandal, where government officials are accused of falsifying data to hide how long US veterans are waiting to see doctors at VA hospitals, dozens of whom have died while doing so. The scandal also extends to several VA hospitals that show significantly higher mortality rates and dangerous infections than the agency's records reveal.

If anyone wants a snapshot of how all of American healthcare will look if Obamacare evolves into the single-payer, government-run program that Obama and Hillary Clinton hope for, just look at how our veterans are being treated. And while Obama’s 2015 budget includes a $10 billion spending increase for the VA, John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis aptly notes, “Government-run healthcare with global budgets — in Canada, Britain, the VA, Medicaid — almost always reduce costs by rationing care, reducing quality, and increasing waiting lines."

Ignoring this reality, Obama just says he’ll “wait for the facts” before acting on the VA issue. Never mind that the facts are staring him right in the face, illuminated by the lives lost under this disgracefully managed government bureaucracy.

Obama has no answers on how to better treat our nation’s veterans, but is chock-full of ideas on how to help illegal immigrants. Faced with over 60,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally this year, Obama is asking Congress for $1.4 billion to provide housing, legal counsel and healthcare to them.

With $17 trillion in debt, veterans dying while waiting for healthcare, and millions of struggling Americans forced to buy their own healthcare under Obamacare, whose side is Obama really on? Rather than offer ideas on how to prevent illegal immigration – or enforce existing laws on it -- his actions encourage it.

Nobody wants to see kids suffer, but with a president who willingly trades sworn enemies of America for suspected American traitors, and who turns a blind eye to virtual death panels at the VA, it’s easy to see this latest move with illegal immigrants as simply a ploy to further burden our already overwhelmed economy and cultivate future loyal Democratic voters. At the very least, it certainly favors lawbreakers over law-abiding Americans.

We recently acknowledged Flag Day on June 14. How nice it would be to have reason to believe our president was not only flying the Flag, but that he truly cherishes the country it represents. Since the evidence on that is lacking, it’s up to the rest of us to reflect on how blessed we’ve been to live in the greatest country the world has ever known, and to commit ourselves to preserving it from those who seek to fundamentally transform it.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Persecution of Christians gets more chilling

The homosexual fascists are at it again. This time they claim that a police officer in Utah refused to work a gay pride parade. The fact is, he didn’t refuse to work the event, he just didn’t want to work the motor team, which would have made him directly partake in the parade – and given his deep religious convictions, this would have been a serious conflict for him. The police officer did, however, offer to work other aspects of security detail during the event. Not good enough. He gave the impression he doesn’t support homosexuality, so therefore he deserves to be punished. In fact, he was suspended.

The list of occupations not open to Christians is growing rapidly. How quickly our country has forgotten that the First Amendment does not guarantee freedom from religion. It guarantees freedom of religion - and your right to express that religion. 

But denying that any wrong has been committed by Salt Lake police, spokeswoman Lara Jones said: "We don't tolerate bias and bigotry in the department, and assignments are assignments …to allow personal opinion to enter into whether an officer will take a post is not something that can be tolerated in a police department."

So apparently forcing a black police officer to be front and center at a KKK rally is the Salt Lake PD's policy.

There were plenty of other people available and willing to take the motor team assignment. The officer's superiors were well aware of his religious convictions, so did they deliberately assign this officer the post, knowing his religious beliefs would make him oppose it? If so, isn’t that blatant discrimination – to target someone because of his beliefs and then punish him for it? Either way, this officer is being punished for exercising his First Amendment rights and that should concern everyone.

For those of us who still believe in an objective moral code given to us by God, it is not wrong and is perfectly permissible to opt out of association or participation in behavior we deem immoral or perverted. The Constitution protects this inalienable right, and it is the height of real bigotry and cruelty for any person or organization to force people to violate their innermost convictions under penalty of incredible levels of humiliation, job loss or other sanctions declared suitable by politically correct zealots.

This is just the beginning. Christians are going to be targeted more and more by the intolerant anti-Christ crowd until we can no longer hold positions in most places in society. Unless we begin pushing back in peaceful but strong ways, the "paganizing" of America will move along at full pace and Christians had better prepare for persecution the likes of which we have not seen since the days of the anti-Christian Roman Empire. Is that the kind of America we really want? Think about it.

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