Christians in the crosshairs

The Supreme Court ruled in June, by a vote of 7-2, that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated the First Amendment rights of the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop after he refused to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. The owner, Jack Phillips, repeatedly made clear he was not denying service in general based on sexual orientation. Rather, he was refusing to participate (by creating a custom cake) in a ceremony that ran contrary to his Christian beliefs.
Phillips was subjected to a lengthy six-year process of hearings and appeals before receiving vindication from the Supreme Court, which strongly rebuked the Colorado Commission for clear “religious hostility” to Christian beliefs. While this was a judicial victory for Phillips, the phrase “the process is the punishment” is appropriate here.

End of story, right? Wrong.

Just as the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, a caller to the cakeshop requested a special cake celebrating a gender “transition.” It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point that Phillips politely declined that order as well. The result? The Colorado Commission has initiated the same type of proceedings that were invalidated in the previous case! On that basis of that fact, Phillips’ attorney has filed suit against the Commission in Federal Court. The result of that action is still pending, but it’s safe to say the Supreme Court’s view of the Commission’s bias has been confirmed.

This is by far not the only example of Christians being targeted. The wholly misnamed “Military Religious Freedom Foundation has demanded the removal and arrest of an Air Force General assigned to Edwards Air Force Base in California. Why? Because he’s had the audacity to do things like ask people to pray for wisdom for his leadership. He also shares his beliefs and experiences with other Christians via a personal website. This is only the latest crusade by the MRFF to create a military environment where one can only have beliefs if they keep them wholly to themselves. That’s far from religious freedom. The group should go by the name “freedom FROM religion foundation,” because that’s what their track record shows as its goal.

Vocal atheists still like to laugh at the idea Christians are persecuted in the United States. Granted, American Christians have yet to be subjected to the level of cruelty inflicted on their brothers and sisters in other countries. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a pronounced and growing hostility to the Gospel. That official hostility is the wellspring from which persecution can grow.  The seeds are already sprouting in America.

Christians in the U.S. do not have a special immunity from the schemes of the Ruler of this Present Darkness. Only vigilance and vigorous defense can protect the unusual freedoms we’ve enjoyed through our history. As the fabric of the Surveillance State model becomes tighter and tighter, we need to understand there will soon be no middle ground or choice of apathy. We will all either profess Jesus as our Lord, come what may, or else deny Him at our eternal peril.

Watch and pray, brothers and sisters. And seek discernment how you can engage, for the battle already rages around you.

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Freedom of… uh… umm…

The latest example of why I believe we need not only strong voter ID laws, but mandatory civics testing before anyone is registered to vote:

Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed in May and June of this year, only one person was able to name all five First Amendment rights. A whopping 40 percent, however, couldn’t name any.

This report comes at a time when the American Civil Liberties Union, allegedly a bastion for personal liberties, is reconsidering whether “hate speech” should be excluded from the provisions of free speech. Such a development, of course, would give great power to the person defining “hate speech,” as Christians in Canada have found out the hard way.

Americans take their First Amendment rights for granted… even those who can’t name them.  If they paid closer attention, many would be shocked at how more restrictive other supposedly “free” countries are about the limits of speech, including our erstwhile parent country, Great Britain.  A lack of appreciation for the uniqueness of our traditions is a key element in undermining them.  This level of ignorance is what has allowed “hate speech laws” to become in fashion.

It is never “hateful” to speak the truth.  Uncomfortable at times, yes.  Inconvenient, often.  But never “hateful.”

This ‘n’ that

A few notes to hopefully provoke your thinking today:

I’ve thought for some time that our nation’s enemies use our desire for civility and decorum to handicap us in the culture war.  When the other side says “have you no decency,” it’s usually a dodge to avoid being accountable for their own actions.  It seems I’m not alone in thinking so:

…while appropriate restraint is always a part of this consideration, we go too far when we decide that we must always adhere to every aspect of a dying civility no matter the cost. Failing to openly defy the Left’s blatant aggression does not preserve civility — it only emboldens the uncivil and betrays their victims.

…civility is not a moral absolute and its form is always adjusting along with culture, it’s requirements are determined primarily by social contract — the kind of behavior we all implicitly or explicitly agree to when interacting with one another.   …when one party violates a contract, the other party is no longer bound by all of its terms. If you sign a contract to buy a car, and the dealer refuses to turn it over you, you aren’t “sinking to their level” by refusing to hand over your money. If you contract an employee who never shows up for work, you aren’t “repaying evil for evil” by withholding his wages. The same is true when dealing with people who are deliberately uncivil to civil people — it fundamentally changes what the rest of society owes them.

We need to stop taking the lazy road of “be civil though the heavens fall” and begin being deliberate about when to be civil — and when not to be.  For starters, I suggest the following guidelines…  (read the whole post here)

One of the biggest areas in which ‘civility’ and emotional blackmail is used against us is in the area of immigration.  So it’s nice to see the rest of the world COMBINED recently took in more refugees than the U.S. for the first time in 38 years.  Keep that little factoid handy for the next time your Leftist acquaintance decries the supposed ‘heartlessness’ of the U.S.

Leftists also demand expensive judicial proceedings for everyone who shows up on our borderlands, in order to accord them “due process rights.”  Turns out the Supreme Court has ruled consistently since the late 1800s that non-citizens are not entitled automatically to the same expensive access to our judicial system that citizens have.  Another handy note to have in countering our enemies’ talking points (and yes, I’m calling them enemies now.  Their actions show it’s an accurate term, whether using it is civil or not).

One reason the media are held in such contempt today is the realization they, too, have broken the social contract.  Presenting slanted information while claiming to be impartial is hardly being ‘civil.’  Yet the Associated Press seems to have done it again, trying to tug heartstrings by claiming the military is ‘discharging’ immigrants rather than allowing them to become citizens.  But it turns out there is more to this than the AP would have you know, including the fact that ‘discharge’ is not the appropriate word for someone who hasn’t even been to Basic Training yet.  But remember, kids, “fake news” is only a Trump laugh line…

Finally, for those of us who aren’t tired of winning yet, the economy is strengthening to the point labor is becoming in short supply — and hence, more valuable and lucrative.  Could it be that allowing thousands of people to flow into our nation unchecked each month helped depress wages for decades?  Inquiring minds should want to know…

Saturday Sounds Sedition

It’s good to see the GOP finally pushing back on the extremist rhetoric coming from the Democrats and their allies in the entertainment industry.  But it should be noted this ad doesn’t even mention the shooting at Republican legislators at a baseball practice that left Congressman Steve Scalise critically injured, or the attack on Senator Rand Paul by a neighbor who broke several of his ribs.

The Left has not just crossed a line — they have run well past it.  Free speech famously doesn’t include the right to falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater, because people could get hurt. How much more harm can this kind of activity cause? Unless our society quickly decides to once again enforce consequences for this kind of behavior, mass violence is likely inevitable in the near future.  The idea of it is being normalized by the day.

Let’s hope the GOP has found a spine and will continue to highlight this trend.

A turning of the tide?

Leftists are in full meltdown over the announcement Justice Anthony Kennedy will step down from the Supreme Court July 31. This action provides President Trump an opportunity to nominate yet another Constitutionalist like Neil Gorsuch to the court. Should Trump serve two full terms, it is likely he will nominate the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg as well.

The enemies of our Constitutional system are in abject terror over the possibility, now increased, the Court will undo decades of judicial activism. Unable to enact their agenda through the ballot box, the Left sought to impose it instead by abusive judicial fiat. But just as unconstitutional executive orders by Obama could be undone by corrective orders from Trump, the shredding of the Constitution can be reversed by a Supreme Court made up of Justices who respect it.  The impact of these nominations on the next 20 to 30 years cannot be overstated.  It’s vital to elect America First Constitutionalists (sadly, only a subset of the GOP) this fall, and ensure Trump’s reelection in 2020.  Things are going well for patriots lately, but as Glenn Reynolds frequently channels Han Solo, “don’t get cocky, kid.”

On other fronts:

-The Supreme Court, even with Justice Kennedy still on it, has issued a couple of key rulings, freeing pro-life crisis pregnancy centers from being forced to provide information on how to obtain an abortion, and denying unions the ability to force payments from non-members (which usually ends up in liberal political campaigns).

– The reputation of the FBI is hardly helped when Peter Strzok answers a Congressional subpoena to testify in a classified forum, but reportedly refuses to answer the most germane questions by claiming “it’s classified” or declining to answer “on advice of counsel.”  What are the FBI’s lawyers encouraging him to continue hiding?

– A former Hillary 2016 Campaign officer has been indicted for soliciting sexual access to children as young as two years old.  And from the “you can’t make this up” files, he was also chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict charity.  As they say, fishermen go where the fish are.

– Without Obama propping them up with pallets of cash, the Iranian regime is suddenly experiencing a popular backlash again.  The previous administration’s failure to support Iranian dissidents was inexcusable.  Worth noting: “Q” indicated a week ago Iran was about to get interesting again… another tick of credibility for those keeping score.

– The GOP seems to have a few more members with spines lately, as the latest attempt to pass an amnesty for illegal immigrants has been soundly defeated.  Eternal vigilance is required on this issue, however.

Keep praying hard!  If God can resurrect His Son or an army of dry bones, He can certainly revive our nation!  Let’s seek daily to have our nation bless Him, that He may show favor to us even at this late hour.

Break the shackles

Vox has an important post up noting that the tech giants have the ability to shut down any speech they dislike, because they control the popular platforms.  As he puts it, “stop fighting on their ground.”  It’s important to reach the public beyond an echo chamber, so it’s not necessarily wrong to engage on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  The problem is those platforms are strongly converged and in no way believe in unfettered free speech.  So if Christians, American traditionalists, classical conservatives and libertarians are going to continue to have a voice online, they are going to have to have alternative channels.

In other words, it’s time to break the monopolies.

I’ve already gotten into the habit of using DuckDuckGo for my online searches.  (In an era where “google” has become a verb, this has been an interesting exercise in habit-breaking.)  This avoids the way Google skews search results, and also denies them my traffic and data to track.  I strongly urge all my readers to do the same.

Other alternative platforms available and/or in development:

Instead of Google’s Chrome browser, try Brave.

Instead of the socially leftist Wikipedia, use Infogalactic for encyclopedic information.

Instead of YouTube (owned by Google), develop and view content on BitChute.

Instead of Twitter (which recently purged a number of conservatives and broke up a number of members’ “following” communities), try out Gab.

Instead of Facebook, look into Minds.

As time permits, I’m developing a presence on each of the above, and will eventually update the header on this blog so those who are inclined to do so can find me.  I’m still active on Twitter, but with the awareness they can shut me down at any point just like any other voice they want to silence.  The alternative sites listed above have publicly committed to free and open discussion.  What a concept.

Our use of a given platform is what gives it power and influence.  Stop feeding the tech giants who have already proven themselves hostile to anything short of Leftist conformity.  Support the efforts to break their stranglehold on the public conversation.  It will take time — and the breaking of deeply ingrained habits — for these alternatives to pose a threat to the stifled communities they are trying to supplant.

The rise of the Internet broke the information chokehold of the legacy corporate media.  It’s not surprising The Powers That Be have spent time and effort to reestablish that grip.  With your participation — and, more importantly, spreading the word — this new effort to break the monopoly again can flourish.

And so can the free exchange of ideas once more.

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Iran

The clerical regime in Tehran is facing perhaps its biggest challenge since the immediate aftermath of the 1979 revolution that put it into power.

This is a very big deal.

For years, Iran has been the world’s biggest state sponsor of international terrorism (in particular the Hezbollah organization).  That’s why it was criminally irresponsible for the Obama administration to weaken sanctions on Tehran, and airlift $1.7 billion in paper currency to them!  This, after essentially ignoring previous unrest in 2009.  In his quixotic quest for a meaningless “nuclear deal” with Iran, Obama spared no opportunity to help the mullahs.  In doing so, he was enabling a regime that exported considerable trouble, including cooperation with other rogue regimes like the one in North Korea.

Many Obama alumni are calling on the current administration to also be silent, saying to speak out risks having Iran’s leaders brand the dissidents as “foreign agents.”  This overlooks the power of moral support.  Trump’s initial statement on the matter — a remarkably statesmanlike missive — was translated into Farsi and quickly passed around among the dissidents before the regime blocked access to social media.  Obama’s team might well be wondering what else will come to light about them, should the mullahs lose power.

America remains the original modern Constitutional republic, however battered that system may be.  The most powerful foreign policy tool available to us is modeling what a free society should look like.  For more than two centuries people in other countries seeking a better way have looked to us for inspiration and example.  We have not always lived up to such scrutiny, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  Inspiration is far to be preferred over invasion as a means to advance freedom.

“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she (America) goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.”  – John Quincy Adams, 1821

Let us all offer “prayers and benedictions” that the Iranian people will finally free themselves of the original Islamist gangster regime.  The world could be a much better place if they do.