Chris Christie Is Not Telling the Truth about Religious Liberty

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

If Chris Christie now supports religious exemptions for marriage clerks – that is good. But he is misleading Iowans, in the exact way Americans hate career politicians, if he says he has always supported them or Kim Davis.

Straight-talking is a precious resource. I welcome Chris Christie to the circle of those who are willing to provide religious accommodations for gay marriage dissenters. But if he really is willing, why won’t he provide them for marriage clerks in New Jersey? And why has he refused to support FADA, which protects gay marriage dissenters from discrimination by the federal government?

Here’s Christie’s record on exemptions for marriage clerks – the facts:

  • When asked about exemptions for marriage clerks, Christie said on July 1st, 2015: “You took the job and you took the oath. When you go back and re-read  the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it.”
  • As for Kim Davis? When she went to jail, he expressed sympathy and said he’d try to get her into a different job, but he never said she must be able to keep her job.
  • Christie on Kim Davis: “And the law has to be these licenses have to be issued,” he said. “If she has a religious objection, we should move her to another job inside the government.”
  • And what if she (Kim Davis) refuses to go? “Well, you know, then there’s going to be an issue.
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Worst Kasich Scenario for Religious Liberty

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

There are plenty of GOP presidential candidates competing hard for the social conservative vote. Governor John Kasich hasn’t been one of them. Since entering the race, the Buckeye leader has done his best to keep his distance from core values — until recently, when, like the rest of the country, he realized just how influential this half of the primary voting bloc is.

It was a wake-up call that coincided (not-so-coincidentally) with the November 3rd election, when voters pushed back on the Left’s radical idea of social change. The political backlash was so stunning that even the media wondered: “Have liberals lost the culture war?” Now, two weeks later, the candidates are trying to learn from the Matt Bevins of the party who turned their campaigns around just by emphasizing the issues the GOP Establishment ignored. In Kentucky, the man about to be sworn in as governor closed a double-digit gap simply by vowing to protect the religious liberty that his predecessor denied to clerks like Kim Davis.

Now, Governor Kasich is apparently trying to replicate that success by running to catch up with the social issues bandwagon. There’s just one problem: he’s spent the last several months selling the same principles out. That hasn’t deterred the Kasich team, which this week unveiled its plan for a special government agency whose sole purpose would be to promote Judeo-Christian values around the world. In particular, the governor explained, he wants to encourage a Christian-based belief system to four of the most volatile regions of the globe: Iran, China, Russia, and the rest of the Middle East. Continue Reading

Cruz Calls for Justice Anthony Kennedy to Resign

Ted Cruz was on the Steve Deace Show when the subject of Justice Anthony Kennedy came up. Kennedy recently compared the refusal of people like Kim Davis to comply with his gay marriage ruling to the judges who resigned in protest of Nazi Germany. Kind of odd to compare yourself to the Nazi regime, don’t you think? Cruz responded:

DEACE: …To compare himself with Nazi Germany – what does that say?

CRUZ: Look, Steve, that was stunning. … I thought it was so stunning to have a Supreme Court justice compare his own lawless rulings to the draconian oppression of the Nazis is beyond stunning, and it’s worth underscoring – this is not you or me comparing the Supreme Court to the Nazis. This is Justice Kennedy comparing the Supreme Court to the Nazis, his own decision that was utterly lawless. And what he is saying to Christians is, ‘You will obey [inaudible] what we decree, or you will pay the price.’ It is a statement that embodies so much arrogance, so much hubris, so much contempt for our democratic process.

And you know, one of the things that’s also buried in what Justice Kennedy said – he says to all other officials, ‘You must obey the law.’ Well, Steve, you know well that courts don’t make law. Justice Kennedy’s opinion in which he laid down his view, that in his enlightened view, the definition of marriage that has been true for millennia that state legislatures have adopted across this nation, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman – his opinion that is no longer sufficiently enlightened is not law.

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Yes, Standing With Kim Davis Helped Matt Bevin in Kentucky

Booking photo of Rowan County clerk Kim Davis

When Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, national Democrats derided her. However, in Kentucky, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin made a strong stand in defending Ms. Davis’s religious liberty. In a statement, he said:

It is utterly unnecessary that Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, is sitting in a jail cell, when there is a simple solution that would respect the rights of every Kentuckian. I first put this solution forward many weeks ago. Why the cowardly silence from our Attorney General, Jack Conway? Jack Conway violated his oath of office as Attorney General when he refused to defend our state in court.  Where was our Governor then demanding his resignation? The double standard applied in this case is reprehensible. Jack Conway refused to defend our state constitution and now he is refusing to stand up for the religious liberties of our county clerks. This is unconscionable and, as Governor, I will stand up for all Kentuckians, not just the ones who agree with me.

Bevin’s strong stand in defense of Kim Davis and religious liberty has paid off. He is now Governor-elect Matt Bevin, having defeated Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway 52.5 percent to 43.8 percent. Most major polls of the race had Bevin either in a statistical tie with Conway or losing to the sitting attorney general.

Perhaps most interesting are the results in Kim Davis’s home county of Rowan. Continue Reading

Conservative “Perfect Storm” Delivers Resounding GOP Win in Kentucky

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

The Kentucky election this week was a “perfect storm” for conservatives. Matt Bevin, a social and fiscal conservative, ran against Jack Conway, a social and fiscal liberal. A number of key factors came into play to secure Bevin the victory:

  • Religious liberty was important because of the Kim Davis ordeal, which rallied and awakened Christians.
  • Planned Parenthood had impact because Bevin is pro-life and Conway is pro-choice. Though not highly publicized, in the days before the election, Planned Parenthood endorsed Conway and engaged in phone calls, hoping to impact the election.
  • Bevin is a political outsider; Conway is a “career” politician. Kentucky does not like Obama, and Conway was successfully and accurately linked to him.
  • Conway went over-the-top negative in advertising, and the candidates are polar opposites. This presented a very clear choice (conservative vs. liberal) for voters.
  • The Tea Party was immensely active for Bevin, while the Republican establishment was moderately engaged (political outsider vs. the political insiders).
  • Ultimately, God’s sovereignty made all these pieces work together for good.

Because of all of these components, Kentucky’s election could be a bellwether for 2016. Conservatives got off their sofas and the Church woke up, thus bringing in a number of new faces to Kentucky’s executive branch. The key now is that they must deliver!

Kent Ostrander is the founder and has been the executive director of The Family Foundation for 26 years. Continue Reading

Bevin’s Shock Kentucky Win Shows Social Issues Help GOP

Kentucky Governor-Elect Matt Bevin (public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Just a couple of days ago, the now-elect Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said, according to The Washington Post, that he had planned to campaign on economic issues, but after Kim Davis and the Planned Parenthood videos, he found voters wanted to hear about social issues: “I hear more about those now as I’m out on the campaign trail than I do about anything else,” he said.

Bevin’s upset victory in Kentucky is a victory for Kim Davis, a rebuke to those who say social issues hurt the GOP, and a call for Republicans nationally to support the First Amendment Defense Act.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Kentucky GOP Turns to Kim Davis, Planned Parenthood in Governor’s Race

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Tuesday marks Kentucky’s gubernatorial election day, and the contest is coming down to the wire. Republican candidate Matt Bevin is surprised that it isn’t economic issues he’s hearing most about on the campaign trail, but social ones:

Republican Matt Bevin planned to emphasize economic issues in his campaign, but he discovered that voters preferred to talk about social issues, including gay marriage and defunding Planned Parenthood. ‘I hear more about those now as I’m out on the campaign trail than I do about anything else,’ he said. ‘This is what moves people.’

The electorate’s keen interest in these issues has prompted a response from Bevin, who is banking on Evangelical voters to push him over the top.  Bevin endorsed embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in September, and is making religious liberty a major theme in the closing days of his campaign:

As Bevin traversed the Bluegrass State the past few days, his body man handed out postcards that described him as ‘the only candidate for governor that has stood up for traditional marriage and religious liberty.’ In his stump speech, Bevin asserts that only 25 percent of born-again Christians vote compared to 75 percent of ‘agnostics and atheists.’

‘This is why the tail seems to keep wagging the dog,’ he says. ‘We need to stop being so sheep-like, so silent and being led around. We’ve got to stand firm.’

So how likely is Bevin’s strategy to work?  Well, the outgoing Governor Steve Beshear asserts that ‘it’s still maybe a 60/40 split against gay marriage’ and even Democratic nominee Jack Conway has felt heat from the Kim Davis jailing, saying recently he’ll sign a ‘narrowly tailored’ religious objection law.  Continue Reading

Will Kim Davis Defeat Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway?

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Day by day we hear of rallies like this, unreported or underreported by the media.

Democrat Jack Conway was up by ten points or more in polling against Matt Bevin, but Kim Davis just may defeat the Kentucky Democratic party.  The race is close enough that the Republican Governors Association just jumped in with $1.6 million in funding in the home stretch.

Kim Davis went to jail because the Democratic governor refused to provide any accommodation for clerks under the state RFRA, although the eventual resolution in Rowan County demonstrated how easy it is to provide such an accommodation. This governor’s race will be a bellwether for the future of conscience protections for gay marriage dissenters.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Clinton: Jail Time Was the “Right Thing” for Kim Davis

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Hillary Clinton’s outspoken support for same-sex marriage is old news, but now she’s going after religious liberty.

While traveling through Iowa for two days this week, Clinton stopped to speak to over 700 people at Cornell College.  On the topic of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses based on her Christian beliefs, Clinton said that jail was the “right thing” for Davis.

“People are totally entitled to their private, personal beliefs, religious or otherwise, but when you take an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States, that is your job,” Clinton told the crowd.  For this reason, Clinton said Davis was “treated as she should have been treated.”

The fact that Clinton publicly supports the idea that religious belief should only be a private affair, and that she supports the imprisonment of those who attempt to practice their faith in the public square, signals a massive threat to religious liberty should the Democrats win the next election.

Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

“Stop Slut-Shaming and Bigot-Shaming Kim Davis”

Booking photo of Rowan County clerk Kim Davis

Over at The Hill, one good man, a liberal at that who support same-sex marriage, calls for an end to shaming Kim Davis — about her failed marriages, about her looks, about her rural roots, and about her views on gay marriage.

Don’t get him wrong, he’s for gay marriage and thinks people who disagree are wrong. Some of them are bigots. But not all of us, in his view.

Disagreeing with someone, even very vehemently, need not involve dehumanizing them with insults intended to shut down dialogue.

He includes the word “bigot” in this camp. And he notes, amazingly for a liberal, that standing up for your moral convictions takes courage:

So while many are laughing at the ugly slut of a hillbilly who went to jail for standing up for her religious beliefs, would they have the courage to do so for their own? Would you really? Or would you fold?

So let’s stop slut-shaming, hillbilly-shaming and bigot-shaming Kim Davis. Deal with the issue as an intellectual matter. I know it’s hard, and it’s a more interesting narrative to demonize the enemy and glorify those on your side. It’s our instinct to tell stories this way, but sometimes it serves to obscure not only complex issues, but also the truth.

But for those of you who continue to fail to deal with the topic as a matter of law, logic and justice, and continue to hurl insults like “slut,” “hillbilly” and “bigot,” go look in the mirror.

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