Jon Stewart Tries and Fails to Harass Rand Paul on Religious Liberty

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rand Paul, fresh from his filibuster of the Patriot Act, went onto “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” where Stewart inevitably wanted to talk about gay marriage and Christian bigotry.

“Don’t they sell cakes to sinners all the time?” Stewart asked, “Adulterers. . .”

Um, talk about missing the point. Maybe it is hard for allegedly brilliant minds like Jon Stewart to notice that nobody is saying they don’t want to sell cakes to gay people.  And if some philanderer wanted to host a solemn satanic ceremony joining his mistress in adultery, I am guessing Melissa of Sweet Cakes would say politely, “No, thank you” to baking that cake, too. Moreover the law would let her.

Why are gay wedding cakes worth crushing poor Melissa’s livelihood over? Why not ask gay couples buy a cake next door instead?  And, O brilliant Jon Stewart, why haul in the “corporations are not people” thing when what we are dealing with is corner bakeries and small business owners, not big corporations?  In Barronelle Stutzmann’s case, the so-called law pierced the veil of the florist business to say all her personal assets could be garnished, including her pension fund, to pay for the terrible, horrific act of declining to arrange flowers for your gay wedding. Here’s a thought for next time this happens—and it will—for Paul and every other GOP candidate.

Rand Paul pioneered this fabulous riposte to the media’s obsession with exploring what it thinks are hard questions on abortion but for Republicans only.   Continue Reading

Bush: “People of faith…need the space to act on their conscience”

Watch Jeb Bush defend the little guy here in the fight against the full wrath of gay equality.

Too many insiders have concluded from the Indiana debacle that religious liberty is not a defensible line.  I would say, rather, it is not an easy retreat from supporting gay marriage, it is just the next step in preventing gay rights from being misused to marginalize traditional believers in the public square.

If corporations continue to insist that Republicans fail to defend religious liberty when it conflicts with gay rights, they are going to rip apart the GOP, and they will face the Democrats unhindered and alone. The public square can get to be a pretty naked place when the pro-business party gets slashed in half by siding with those who want to redefine traditional Christians beliefs as the equivalent of racism.

And I continue to be astonished at how strongly, and how commonly and reasonably, Jeb Bush is standing by the little guys of faith in all this.  Of course politics may play a role, but watching him, he doesn’t talk like someone merely trying to appeal to Iowa caucus voters.

He talks like a man who understands a principle and is willing to defend it:

The best example is the florist in Washington state who may lose her business because of this, and has lost a lot because of the cost of all off this. She had a regular customer who came in and she would provide flowers to him and he was going to marry his significant other, asked her to participate as a friend in the wedding to help organize it and she thought about it and say, ‘look, I love you, you’re my friend but I can’t participate, it goes against my conscience.’ A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs.

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Lessons from the Georgia Religious Liberty Fight

Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta (photo credit: Connor.carey via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Last session, the Georgia House refused to pass a state RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), despite intense pressure from the base, after Coca-Cola and other iconic corporations weighed in against the bill—pitting, in an intense new way, the corporate wing of the GOP against the voter base.  Corporations wanted “anti-discrimination” language attached that would gut the possibility the RFRA would protect the little florists, bakers, print makers, and wedding photographers now being run over and put out of business if they won’t participate in serving gay wedding.

The fight, a window into the soul of the GOP,  spilled over into the Georgia GOP convention, when all 11 Congressional delegations among others voted to support the original language.

However, the bill is still not law, and Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston both side with the let the little guys be punished out of business in the name of avoiding gay equality wrath.

What are the lessons to be learned from the Georgia fight?

  1. This is an issue that can tear apart the Republican Party.  Corporations had best think a bit about how much they like working in Democrat-controlled territory before jumping on board this train.
  2. State RFRAs are bad vehicles for this fight, because they are broad and vague and their outcome is uncertain. It is very unlikely that a state RFRA will protect anyone from any gay equality wrath, precisely because courts uniformly view equality as a compelling interest, and because there is no way to make sure everyone gets treated equally while permitting some people to refuse to serve gay weddings.
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Stop Attacking Cruz for Talking to People

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The New York Times is proud of creating a little, minor media problem for Cruz by reporting he changed his “tone” talking to some gay folks at a fundraiser in New York.

We need to have better measures of a candidate than this.  Christian conservatives have been repeatedly betrayed and have responded by trying ever hard to determine the real heart of the candidate, hoping for a secular messiah in the White House.

But this is a strategy doomed to repeated failure.  Politics can have a profound affect on culture, but it does so through political strategies.  We are to blame for the fact that with ten times the numbers of gay people, we are in a position of such profound weakness.

What we need to do is to decide on a legislative agenda that is really potentially passable and find a champion who is willing to fight for it.  And then donate time and treasure to elect him.  Trying to find a candidate who will prove his heart by shunning gay people is not only un-Christian, it is a recipe for political failure at a time when the future of Christianity in the U.S. is at risk.

This is why I keep focusing my attention on the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act. It isn’t perfect, but it is directed at least at the core problem: our people are being stripped of their livelihoods and publicly shamed by the progressive mob.  Continue Reading

Cruz’s Two Step Strategy: A Constitutional Amendment and a Court-Stripping Bill

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

According to Bloomberg, Ted Cruz has introduced two pieces of legislation, a constitutional amendment backed by a bill stripping courts of authority to rule on marriage until the amendment passes:

Cruz’s legislation would establish a constitutional amendment shielding states that define marriage as between one woman and one man from legal action, according to bill language obtained by Bloomberg News.

A second bill would bar federal courts from further weighing in on the marriage issue until such an amendment is adopted.

Last year, he and Sen. Mike Lee filed similar legislation to protect 30 states that define marriage as one woman.  Cruz is clearly fearless and unafraid about standing for marriage.

But with Arizona and Arkansas unable to pass simple RFRA legislation because of a full court press calling it anti-gay, what realistic hope do we have of passing a Constitutional Amendment?  To build a political movement capable of resisting the crush that is coming, indeed that is already here, we need some realistic protective legislation to build towards. There is no reason, if we elected a committed president and a GOP Congress, we could not quickly pass the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.

This is why this is for me a definitive test of whether Republicans plan to sit quietly by while progressives redefine Christian teaching as racism.  Or if there is a will to fight.

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

Bobby Jindal: No Government Coercion Based on Marriage

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gov. Jindal has taken to the most prominent enemy territory he can find, the op-ed pages of the old grey lady herself, to say: “no retreat baby, no surrender”*:

In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. It was disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to free exercise of religion in a court of law.

There are two primaries going on simultaneously: the money primary and the voter primary.  Jindal knows which side he is on:

I plan in this legislative session to fight for passage of the Marriage and Conscience Act.

The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other “adverse action” — based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage.

Some corporations have already contacted me and asked me to oppose this law. I am certain that other companies, under pressure from radical liberals, will do the same. They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me.

The Marriage and Conscience Act prevents the government from punishing anyone because they refuse to participate in a marriage against their conscience. It is viewpoint neutral; that fab gay caterer doesn’t have to help faithful Catholics get married either. Continue Reading

Jindal Supports “Marriage and Conscience” Act

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In Louisiana, Bobby Jindal is supporting a Marriage and Conscience Act which would prevent the government from denying any benefit, business license, or tax deduction because of a conscientious belief about marriage.

I haven’t analyzed the language, but this bill at least appears to be a more targeted effort to protect those who are being forced to choose between their convictions and their livelihoods.

State RFRAs are good things, but they will not achieve the end of protecting the Christian baker, florists, photographers etc. Specific conscience protections will be required.

Kudos to Jindal for focusing on practical and real relief from the economic attacks that traditional believers are facing (under the Left’s theory, our views are the equivalent of racism).

Other GOP candidates need to move beyond words to actions too—and not just at the state level.

An important first step: will a candidate pledge to pass the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act?

Maggie Gallagher is editor of Continue Reading