Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Christian NHS worker charged with “bullying” for praying for Muslim co-worker

From the UK Telegraph. (H/T Well Spent Journey)

Excerpt:

A Christian health worker has begun a legal challenge after being disciplined by the NHS for praying with a Muslim colleague.

Victoria Wasteney, a senior occupational therapist in one of the country’s most racially diverse areas, was also accused of bullying the colleague after giving her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.

In addition, senior managers told Miss Wasteney that it was inappropriate to invite the woman to a community sports day organised by her church.

The complaints led to Miss Wasteney being suspended on full pay for nine months.

Three charges were upheld against the 37-year-old Christian at an internal disciplinary hearing in February and five charges were found to be unsubstantiated. She had to accept a final written warning at work which will remain on her records for 12 months, as well as accept a range of other requirements designed to stop her discussing her faith and beliefs with colleagues.

Miss Wasteney said she was challenging her employers in court because political correctness in the NHS was stifling ordinary conversations about faith.

[...]The young Muslim woman was appointed as a newly qualified occupational therapist in a team of 30 managed by Miss Wasteney at East London NHS Foundation Trust.

I do not recommend speaking to Muslims about anything other than work at work, because of cases. If you want to say something, come home and blog what you want to say under an alias. We are not in the same world we were in 50 years ago. The things we used to do then are no longer safe. You can still have an impact, you just have to be smarter about how you do it.

 

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Court forces baker to make gay wedding cakes and undergo sensitivity training

Todd Starnes covers the story at Fox News.

Excerpt:

A family owned bakery has been ordered to make wedding cakes for gay couples and guarantee that its staff be given comprehensive training on Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws after the state’s Civil Rights Commission determined the Christian baker violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colorado was directed to change his store policies immediately and force his staff to attend the training sessions. For the next two years, Phillips will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the commission to confirm that he has not turned away customers based on their sexual orientation.

[...]Nicolle Martin, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, called the ruling Orwellian and said they are considering an appeal.

“They are turning people of faith into religious refugees,” Martin told me. “Is this the society that we want to live in – where people of faith are driven out of business?”

Martin said it was “truly frightening” that Phillips will be forced to submit quarterly reports to the government disclosing whether he turned away any wedding cake business.
“There will be some reporting requirements so that Jack can demonstrate that he doesn’t exercise his belief system anymore – that he has divested himself of his beliefs,” she said.
He will also be required to create new policies and procedures for his staff.

“We consider this reporting to be aimed at rehabilitating Jack so that he has the right thoughts,” Martin said. “That’s offensive to everything America stands for.”

Phillips, who is celebrating his 40th year in business this week, told me he’s not going to create any new policies.

“My old ones are pretty adequate as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I don’t plan on giving up my faith and changing because of that.”

The controversy started in 2012 when a gay couple asked Phillips to make their wedding cake. Phillips politely declined, saying he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. He offered to make them any other baked item they wanted.

Charlie Craig and David Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission alleging they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. For the record, same-sex marriage is against the law in Colorado.

The commission affirmed a civil court’s ruling that the bakery cannot discriminate against persons in a public place based on sexual orientation.

“You can have your beliefs, but you can’t hurt other people at the same time,” Commission Chairwoman Katina Banks told The Denver Channel.

ACLU attorney Amanda Goad, who heads up the organization’s LBGT group, heralded the ruling.

“Religious freedom is undoubtedly an important American value, but so is the right to be treated equally under the law free from discrimination,” she said in a statement.

[...]“Jack doesn’t turn people away,” Martin told me. “There are just some events that he won’t lend his artistry to.”

[...]Martin said the Alliance Defending Freedom will “continue to stand with Jack against overreach and tyranny by the state.”

“Jack has gone out on a limb and taken this stand – and not capitulated to the government’s demands,” she said. “That speaks volumes about him.”

And should the highest court in the land force Jack to do the bidding of homosexuals?

“There’s civil disobedience,” Phillips told me. “We’ll see what happens. I’m not giving up my faith. Too many people have died for this faith to give it up that easily.”

Meanwhile, the bullying tactics of the militant gay rights community have not hampered the bakery’s bottom line. They’ve gotten so much business from the sales of cookies and brownies, they’ve temporarily stopped making wedding cakes.

“Obey Christ rather than worry about what man can do to you,” Phillips said.

There you have it, folks. In Colorado, you can’t have your cake and religious beliefs, too.

The most alarming thing that I see in the culture is the astonishing speed at which religious liberty is being crushed by the government in order to force everyone to promote gay rights. I don’t mind that people have a different sexuality than I do, but I don’t want to be forced to participate in a celebration of it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Muslims drag 25-year-old Coptic Christian woman from her car and murder her

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

Eyewitnesses have given a harrowing account of the murder in Cairo of a young Coptic Christian woman, hauled out of her car and beaten and stabbed to death by a Muslim mob, apparently targeted because of a cross hanging from her rear-view mirror.

The incident occurred in the Cairo suburb of Ain Shams after mosque prayer services on Friday, when police clashed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters angered by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to run for president.

An eyewitness appearing on “90 minutes,” a program on the al-Mehwar satellite network, said 25-year-old Mary Sameh George was attacked in her car near a church, where she planned to deliver medicine to an ill and elderly woman.

Protestors climbed onto her car, collapsing the roof, then hauled her from the vehicle, beating and mauling her – to the extent, he said, that portions of her scalp were torn off. She was stabbed multiple times, her throat was slit and when she was dead, the mob torched her car.

One Coptic outlet said that according to the health ministry, the young woman had been stabbed at least a dozen times.

The death of Mary Sameh George received little coverage in Egyptian newspapers.

Keep in mind that the Muslim Brotherhood was supported by the Obama administration.

Here’s a story from David Limbaugh about those two women who were imprisoned in Iran in 2009 for their Christian faith. (H/T Frank Turek)

Excerpt:

On Sunday, two remarkable Christian women, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, spoke at our church, describing their harrowing tale of imprisonment by the Iranian regime because of their Christian faith.

Both were raised in Muslim homes in Iran but never embraced Islam. As young adults, they became Christians and met each other while studying theology in Turkey in 2005. When they returned to Iran, they began evangelizing together for several years, covertly distributing Bibles to some 20,000 people and starting two secret house churches. In March 2009, they were arrested in Tehran for promoting Christianity, which is punishable by death.

The regime officially charged them with apostasy, anti-government activity and blasphemy, and they were sentenced to execution by hanging. Before being cleared of all charges and released in 2009 as a result of worldwide prayer and international pressure, they endured 259 days in Evin prison. Thereafter, they moved to the United States and wrote a book together describing their horrendous experiences, “Captive in Iran.”

In Evin, which is notorious “for torturing, raping and executing innocent people,” they experienced brutal and humiliating treatment, poisoning and illness. They each endured solitary confinement and were interrogated once a week for eight or nine hours at a time. All the while, whether together or separated, they prayed for each other.

The first week, they were horrified and prayed to be released. But soon, they came to see their presence in prison as an opportunity to witness to other prisoners, many of whom were prostitutes and addicts and “so hopeless and sad.” Maryam and Marziyeh prayed for them and saw God work in their lives as they cried and confessed their sins. It became “like a church for us,” said Marziyeh.

[...]At any time, they could have secured their own release by simply renouncing their Christian faith, but they each emphatically refused, saying, “We will never renounce our faith.” Marziyeh told one Muslim prisoner who said they were “silly” for not renouncing their faith: “Our insistence on our faith is not out of stubbornness. … I have lived with God for many years. … He is my all. We are inseparable. My life has no value without him. I love God so much that denying him would be denying my own existence. How could I ever deny something that is in every cell of my body? I would rather spend the rest of my life in prison if that’s what it takes to stay close to him. I would rather be killed than kill the spirit of Christ within me.”

I blogged about them way back in July of 2009. Nice to see that there is a happy ending here, but not without costs.

Most young Christians that I speak to who come from a church background seem to have this idea that all religions are basically the same because the main goal of religions is to make people “nice”. Well. Maybe instead of having their heads stuck up their butts, they should be reading stories like this to inform themselves about the real differences between Christianity and Islam in places other than their safe Western suburbs. The content of the beliefs matter, and the contents of beliefs are different between religions. Christians would rather be killed than deny their faith, and Muslims would rather kill and imprison others who have a different faith. It’s not the same thing, is it?

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , ,

Two families fighting for their religious liberty at the Supreme Court

The Heritage Foundation reports on the cases that will determine how far the Democrats can go to undermine religious liberty.

Excerpt:

In less than two weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in cases challenging an Obamacare mandate that is trampling on religious freedom. The Hahn family and the Green family will be at the Court on March 25 asking for respect of their religious liberty and the freedom to continue offering their employees generous health plans.

Let’s meet these families and what they’re fighting for.

A Christian Mennonite family, the Hahns have run Conestoga Wood Specialties near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for nearly 50 years. A second-generation family business, Conestoga employs almost 1,000 individuals to produce quality wood products.

The Hahns have always run their family business in accordance with their faith, including offering an employee health plan that aligns with their values. Under the mandate, however, Conestoga Wood could face fines of up to $95,000 per day for sticking to their deeply held beliefs and not complying with the mandate.

Speaking of their fight for religious freedom at the Supreme Court, Conestoga president Anthony Hahn explains the magnitude of their case: “It’s not really only for Conestoga; we’re taking a stand for other businesses as well. This is a religious liberty issue that is concerning to us. We feel that the government has gone too far in too many instances.”

And number two:

“We believe that the principles that are taught scripturally are what we should operate our lives by, so that naturally flows over into the business,” explains Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts retailer.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby has grown from one 300-square-foot garage to over 500 stores in 41 states employing more than 16,000 individuals.

The Greens’ faith is integral to how they operate their family business. Hobby Lobby storesclose on Sundays and are open only 66 hours a week so that their employees can spend more time with their families. The family’s faith influences not only the way they care for employees but their investment in communities through partnerships with numerous Christian ministries.

Yet under the Obamacare mandate, the government is forcing families like the Greens to violate those beliefs by funding coverage of potentially life-ending drugs and devices or face crippling fines—up to $1.3 million per day in the case of Hobby Lobby. Even if the business is forced to drop employee health care coverage to avoid the mandate, it would still face a fine of $2,000 per employee per year.

There are other victims as well, but these are the two that I am watching.  The Obama administration just recently established in the courts that parents have no human right to homeschool their children. Now there will be a fight to see if government can force Christians to violate their consciences in their business operations. We should all be watching and praying about this, and thinking about what we can do to protect our values.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

All the Arizone SB 1062 bill did was allow religious liberty to be raised as a defense

The Weekly Standard posted a letter by a group of law professors from various universities, including Harvard and Stanford, to explain what the Arizona religious liberty bill did. It turns out that all the Arizona bill did was specify how religious liberty protections apply within the state, using a federal standard that was already passed nearly unanimously by Congress during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

Here’s what the professors said about the Arizona bill:

The federal government and eighteen states have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs). Another twelve or thirteen states interpret their state constitutions to provide similar protections. These laws enact a uniform standard to be interpreted and applied to individual cases by courts. They say that before the government can burden a person’s religious exercise, the government has to show a compelling justification.

That standard makes sense. We should not punish people for practicing their religions unless we have a very good reason. Arizona has had a RFRA for nearly fifteen years now; the federal government has had one since 1993; and RFRA’s standard was the constitutional standard for the entire country from 1963 to 1990. There have been relatively few cases; if you knew little about the Arizona RFRA until the current controversy, that is because it has had no disruptive effect in Arizona. Few people had heard of the federal RFRA before the current litigation over contraception and the Affordable Care Act.

SB1062 would amend the Arizona RFRA to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs. It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief. And the government, or the person on the other side of the lawsuit, could still show that compliance with the law was necessary to serve a compelling government interest. As a business gets bigger and more impersonal, courts will become more skeptical about claims of substantial burden on the owner’s exercise of religion. And as a business gets bigger, the government’s claim of compelling interest will become stronger.

So basically, businesses have the same religious liberty right as individuals AND individuals can use religious liberty as a defense in a civil suit. That’s it. No one is being licensed to discriminate indiscriminately. The bill did not say that the defense could be used in every case, it just said that religious liberty could be used by businesses as a defense (more likely to be accepted by small businesses), and that religious liberty could be used as a defense in civil suits. Whether the defense would be effective would still be decided by the courts.

Even the libertarian Cato Institute‘s Ilya Shapiro, who favors gay marriage, thought the bill was FINE:

Even though I’m for marriage equality – next week I’ll be filing a brief supporting the challenge to the marriage laws of Oklahoma and Utah in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit – I have no problem with Arizona’s SB 1062.

SB 1062 does nothing more than align state law with the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which passed the House unanimously, the Senate 97-3, and was signed by President Clinton in 1993). That is, no government action can “substantially burden” religious exercise unless the government uses “the least restrictive means” to further a “compelling interest.” This doesn’t mean that people can “do whatever they want” – laws against murder would still trump religious human sacrifice – but it would prevent the government from forcing people to violate their religion if that can at all be avoided. Moreover, there’s no mention of sexual orientation (or any other class or category).

The prototypical scenario that SB 1062 is meant to prevent is the case of the New Mexicowedding photographer who was fined for declining to work a same-sex commitment ceremony. This photographer doesn’t refuse to provide services to gay clients, but felt that she couldn’t participate in the celebration of a gay wedding. There’s also the Oregon bakerythat closed rather than having to provide wedding cakes for same-sex ceremonies. Why should these people be forced to engage in activity that violates their religious beliefs?

That’s a libertarian speaking, there, and they are not social conservatives.

An article tweeted by Ryan T. Anderson from The Federalist asserts that the real lesson of the loss for religious liberty in Arizona is how easily the Republican Party will capitulate to pressure even when the truth is on their side. They just don’t care about religious liberty enough to defend it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,213,957 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,963 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,963 other followers

%d bloggers like this: