Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama-appointed judge orders Ohio to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

From the Toledo Blade.

Excerpt:

Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere despite the state’s own ban on such marriages in its constitution, a federal judge in Cincinnati officially ruled today.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has said he will appeal the decision as he already has another by U.S. District Judge Timothy Black that required the state to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates.

The latest ruling, promised by Judge Black more than a week ago, does not mean that same-sex couples may be wed in Ohio. But it strikes a blow against another portion of the constitutional amendment Ohioans adopted in 2004 that prohibits government from extending rights approximating those of marriage to same-sex and unmarried couples.

The case before Judge Black initially dealt solely with the issue of having the names of same-sex couples legally married in another state on the birth certificates of children born here. But Judge Black, a 2010 appointee by President Obama, went a step further by ordering the state to recognize all such marriages performed legally.

[...]The case was brought by four couples married in California, New York, and Massachusetts who have had or soon expect to have children in Ohio. Three are female couples in which one spouse was impregnated through artificial insemination while the fourth is a male couple who adopted a child born here.

[...]Ohio is just one of a number of states with same-sex marriage cases in the appeals pipeline with at least one likely to work its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Christian News Network reported on the Obama-appointee’s previous related decision.

Excerpt:

As previously reported, Black similarly issued a ruling in December that required state officials to recognize same-sex “marriages” on death certificates. He rejected the state’s sovereignty argument at that time as well.

[...]Consequently, Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), a born-again Christian, is seeking to have Black impeached as he believes that the judge is rather trampling the state and federal constitutions.

“[Judge Black] persists in allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence,” he wrote in a recent statement.

Becker has submitted an impeachment resolution to the state assembly, but it has not yet come up for a hearing.

I wonder if the many people who claimed to believe in traditional marriage yet voted for Obama will stop voting for Democrats? One can hope that will be the case, now that everyone can see what people like me were warning about before the election. We warned back then, but were told that our concerns were silly and that Obama was just as much a Christian as George W. Bush. Now we know different. And so many people still claim to be pro-life and pro-marriage while voting for the most pro-abortion and anti-marriage President we have ever had. I suppose in 2016, they’ll vote for Democrats again, and be shocked when the Democrats push even more for expansions abortion and gay rights. When will we learn?

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Sharyl Attkisson on Fox News describing White House harassment of journalists

You’ll remember that Sharyl Attkisson used to work at CBS News, and did the best investigative journalism on the Obama administration’s”Fast and Furious” gun smuggling to Mexican drug cartels, and then again on the CIA cover-up of the Obama administration’s foreign policy weakness in the Benghazi massacre. I always disliked her as a journalist when she was attacking the Bush administration so effectively, but I’ve sort of realized that she just thinks that it’s her job to attack and expose whoever is in power. But whereas the Bush administration never did anything to her, the Obama administration is different.

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson accused the White House of running an unprecedented pressure campaign against journalists, claiming they are pursuing a “particularly aggressive, well-organized” strategy “designed to have some kind of a chilling effect” on the American press.

Attkisson spoke with Fox News’ Howard Kurtz on Sunday about her early departure from CBS and her battles with the Obama administration for access to information. An investigative reporter who covered White House bugbears like Benghazi and Fast and Furious, she left CBS before her contract expired because she felt network executives inappropriately shot down her stories.

But in her conversation with Kurtz, Attkission made it clear that she ultimately blames the Obama administration itself for her bosses’ timidity.

“I think any journalist who has been covering Washington for a few years would agree… that there is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before,” she began.

“There have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House — under any administration, I assume — when they don’t like a particular story,” she admitted. “But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration, and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized and designed to have sort of a chilling effect.”

“And to some degree,” she continued, “has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it. Why put on the controversial stories that we are going to have to fight people on when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?”

The reporter claimed she and her bosses both received direct pushback from the White House, including phone calls and emails pressuring them to change or retract stories.

Newsbusters has more:

Kurtz asked how Attkisson feels about the charge of liberal bias leading to soft coverage of Obama. “The press in general seems to be very shy about challenging this administration, as if it’s making some sort of political statement, rather than just doing our job as watchdogs,” Attkisson said.

ATTKISSON: I didn’t run into that same kind of sentiment [at CBS] as I did in the Obama administration when I covered the Bush administration very aggressively, on its secrecy and lack of Freedom of Information responses, and its poor management of the Food and Drug Administration and the national laboratories, the Halliburton-Iraq questions of fraud. I mean, there was one thing after another. The bait-and-switch of TARP, the bank bailout program. All of those stories under Bush were met with a good reception. There were different managers as well, but no one accused me of being a mouthpiece for the liberals at that time.

I’m surprised that the communist Democrat Party would suppress freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press. Communists have never done that before in history, have they? They never put in place disastrous plans and then had to cover it all up by suppressing journalists. And they certainly never did it in the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Vietnam, and everywhere else communism’s been tried. Whenever government government gets really, really big, we should expect individual liberties to increase. Right?

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Darrell Issa: e-mails suggest Democrat congressman prompted IRS to target conservative group

Katie Pavlich reports on Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings’ staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

But there’s more – Cummings DENIED that he had contacted the IRS before:

Up until this point, Rep. Cummings has denied his staff ever contacted the IRS about True the Vote and their activities during Oversight hearings. In fact, on February 6, 2014 during a Subcommittee hearing where Engelbrecht testified, Cummings vehemently denied having any contact or coordination in targeting True the Vote when attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing the group, indicated staff on the Committee had been involved in communication with the IRS. This was the exchange:

Ms. Mitchell: We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any – if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we – we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.

Mr. Cummings. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. Meadows. Yes.

Mr. Cummings. I want to thank the gentleman for his courtesy. What she just said is absolutely incorrect and not true.

After the hearing, Engelbrecht filed an ethics complaint against Cummings for his targeting and intimidation of her organization.

By the way, I did not blog a story that came out a couple of days ago that showed that contrary to the lies spread by the liberal media, not one single liberal/progressive group was targeted by the IRS.

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Mozilla claims to be inclusive but forces pro-marriage CEO Brendan Eich to step down

This article from Townhall by Guy Benson is a must-read.

Excerpt:

Eich is out on his ear for the unpardonable sin of subscribing to a moral and political belief so mean-spirited and close-minded that it was shared by President Obama back when the fateful contribution was made. (Obama was never actually against gay marriage, but it was his public stance for awhile). Indeed, a majority of California voters endorsed Proposition 8 that year, including substantial majorities of Hispanics and African-Americans. When Eich’s private beliefs recently came to light, online petitioners demanded that he either renounce them or be fired. Think about that. “Renounce your beliefs and agree with us, or else” is not a sentence that should be uttered lightly, if ever, in a free society. Scalp collected, and message received. They didn’t even seriously allege — let alone try to prove — that Eich’s tenure as CEO would be marked by discrimination in any way. It was his mere presence that was intolerable. An appeal to reason from one of Eich’s gay colleagues evidently fell on deaf ears:

Mozilla’s Education Lead Christie Koehler, who is gay, also defended the company in a blog post, despite stressing that she was “disappointed” to learn that Eich had made donations in support of Prop 8. “Certainly it would be problematic if Brendan’s behavior within Mozilla was explicitly discriminatory … I haven’t personally seen this (although to be clear, I was not part of Brendan’s reporting structure until today),” she wrote. “To the contrary, over the years I have watched Brendan be an ally in many areas and bring clarity and leadership when needed.”

Ah, but who needs “clarity and leadership” in a CEO when there are ideological conformity tests to satisfy? Upon Eich’s departure, Mozilla issued a statement expressing their support of “free speech and equality,” with no apparent trace of irony. Gay rights organization GLAAD was even less self-aware in its official response:

Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all.

Inclusive and welcoming to all…unless you’re a hateful “bigot” who disagrees with us on the definition of marriage — in which case, get the hell out.

[UPDATE: Link to PJ Tatler story removed, and title of this post changed]

Let’s take a look at one case of fascism in detail.

Frank Turek, too

You might remember that this happened to well-known Christian apologist Frank Turek when he spoke at Cisco.

Excerpt:

In 2008, Dr. Turek was hired by Cisco to design and conduct a leadership and teambuilding program for about fifty managers with your Remote Operations Services team. The program took about a year to conduct, during which he also conducted similar sessions for another business unit within Cisco. That training earned such high marks that in 2010 he was asked to design a similar program for about 200 managers within Global Technical Services. Ten separate eight-hour sessions were scheduled.

The morning after completing the seventh session earlier this year, a manager in that session —who was one of the better students in that class—phoned in a complaint. It had nothing to do with content of the course or how it was conducted. In fact, the manager commented that the course was “excellent” as did most who participated. His complaint regarded Dr. Turek’s political and religious views that were never mentioned during class, but that the manager learned by “googling” Dr. Turek after class.

The manager identified himself as gay and was upset that Dr. Turek had written this book providing evidence that maintaining our current marriage laws would be best for the country. Although the manager didn’t read the book, he said that the author’s view was inconsistent with “Cisco values” and could not be tolerated. (Dr. Turek is aware of this because he was in the room when his call came in.) The manager then contacted an experienced HR professional at Cisco who had Dr. Turek fired that day without ever speaking to him. The HR professional also commended the manager for “outing” Dr. Turek.

This firing had nothing to do with course content—the program earned very high marks from participants. It had nothing to do with budget constraints—the original contract was paid in full recently. A man was fired simply because of his personal political and religious beliefs—beliefs that are undoubtedly shared by thousands of your very large and diverse workforce.

When I meet people at lectures, debates and conferences, the first question they ask me is why I have an alias. This case explains why. It’s much harder to get a job or a promotion when people on the secular left can just search the Internet for all your views and rule you out – or have you fired. It doesn’t matter if you are using peer-reviewed data to make your case, as I do. They don’t care about facts, they just want you to stop disagreeing with them and start celebrating their views.

You absolutely have to have an alias if you are a man who expects to provide for a family. And don’t take chances – save everything you make for that day when they find out who you really are, so you can go down fighting.

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Six bad arguments against religious liberty from the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby hearing

From the Federalist. (H/T Jay Richards)

Here are the 6 arguments:

  1. A Government Surtax On Religious Exercise Is Totally Acceptable
  2. The Mandate Isn’t Really A Mandate
  3. This Is Just A Sneaky Way To Undo The Civil Rights Act
  4. Corporations Can Have A Racial Identity, Just Not A Religious One
  5. Don’t Start A Business If You Want The Government To Respect Your Religious Rights
  6. Abortifacients Aren’t Really Abortifacients

I want to highlight two of these.

First, number 1 makes clear that the Obama administration thinks that you should have to pay a tax in order to follow your conscience. Obama explained that very well in his campaign speeches. If you have a business, you didn’t build that. The government made that happen, and so they have a right to tell you how to run your business.

Here’s #1:

During her questioning of Hobby Lobby’s lead attorney, Justice Sonia Sotomayor appeared to endorse the concept of a religion surtax. Sotomayor’s rationale was that rather than providing health coverage that included abortifacient coverage, companies could refuse outright to provide any health insurance at all, thereby getting around the mandate.

But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all? These employers could choose not to give health insurance and pay not that high a penalty ­­– not that high a tax.

Given that the American Revolution started in large part due to a tax on stamps, it seems odd that the Founders would have agreed that citizens should be forced to pay a tax for the privilege of not doing things that might lead to the eternal damnation of their souls. At any rate, Chief Justice John Roberts interjected, and noted that Hobby Lobby’s owners believed they had a religious duty to provide health coverage to their employees. As a result, they would be forced to violate their beliefs no matter what: providing abortifacient coverage would be a violation, as would a failure to provide any health insurance coverage at all.

Number 4 is also interesting. The Democrats basically argued that although companies can be regarded by the law as Black-owned or Hispanic-owned, they cannot be regarded as Christian-owned. A Black-owned company can complain about racial discrimination, but a Christian-owned company can’t complain about religious discrimination. So corporations can have a race, but not a religion.

Here’s #4:

Corporations are people, my friend, just as long as they’re not religious people. That’s the essence of one argument offered by Verrilli. A major issue in the case is whether a for-profit company or corporation even has standing to sue under RFRA, or whether that right is granted only to individuals or non-profits. The Obama administration has argued that for-profit companies do not have standing. That argument led Roberts to ask the following:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, that’s a question of State corporate law. It’s not a question of who can bring an action under RFRA.

Could I just raise — eight courts of appeals, every court of appeal to have looked at the situation have held that Corporations can bring racial discrimination claims as corporations.

Now, does the government have a position on whether corporations have a race?

GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes. We think those are correct and that this situation is different.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So that — so that a corporation does have a race for purposes of discrimination laws.

“So the person — the corporation can bring as a person a claim of racial discrimination[?]” Roberts asked.

“That’s correct, but not exercise of religion,” Verrilli replied.

My opinion of this Hobby Lobby case is that the government’s real aim is to force Christian churches, groups and businesses to offer abortion as another service in a health insurance plan. They have no respect for religious liberty or conscience. They just want to make sure that no Christian can judge because we would all be complicit in the mass murder of millions of unborn children. There would be no one on the outside who could claim to stand in judgment over the pro-abortion people. That’s why it’s so important to make evil taxpayer-funded. That normalizes it and removes the stigma from the people who take advantage of it. “The whole society paid for this, so I don’t need to feel guilty about it – it’s normal”.

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