Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Host a same-sex wedding on your property or pay a $13,000 fine

From the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Should the government be able to coerce a family farm into hosting a same-sex wedding?

In a free society, the answer is no. Family farms should be free to operate in accordance with the beliefs and values of their owners. Government shouldn’t be able to fine citizens for acting in the market according to their own—rather than the government’s—values, unless there is a compelling government interest being pursued in the least restrictive way possible.

But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn’t see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration. The Human Rights Commission ruled that “the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords’s] violation of the Human Rights Law also warrants a penalty.”

[...]Here’s the back story. In 2012, Melissa Erwin and Jennie McCarthy contacted the Giffords to rent the family’s barn for their same-sex wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford responded that she and her husband would have to decline their request as they felt they could not in good conscience host a same-sex wedding ceremony at their home. The Giffords live on the second and third floor of the barn and, when they host weddings on the first floor, they open part of the second floor as a bridal suite.

[...][The Giffords] do not object to gay or lesbian customers attending the fall festivals, or going berry picking, or doing any of the other activities that the farm facilitates. The Giffords’ only objection is to being forced to abide by the government’s views on sexuality and host a same-sex wedding. The Human Rights Commission has now declared this historic belief about marriage to be “discrimination.”

The Giffords must pay a $1,500 mental anguish fine to each of the women and pay $10,000 in civil damages penalty to New York State. If they can’t pay in 60 days, a nine percent interest rate will be added to that total. Like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Giffords must also institute anti-discriminationre-education classes and procedures for their staff.

How would gay marriage affect your marriage? Well, you would have to go to court, be found guilty, be re-educated, pay the gay people you offended, and then pay the government for punishing you. And remember, you’re already paying for the government to prosecute you for your views on marriage every time you pay taxes. We pay the salaries of our own executioners. How did it come to this?

Well, may I suggest that Christian pastors who drive a wedge of separation between the Christian faith and public knowledge are to blame. What I find in church is that pastors preach the same shallow gospel sermon every week, week in and week out. Everything is assumed to be true without examination, no alternatives or critical viewpoints are presented and defeated, and nothing in the sermon is ever connected to evidence in the real world. There is no emphasis on defining the Christian worldview, or on criticizing other worldviews like postmodernism, naturalism, pluralism or relativism. It’s all mystical privatized fundamentalist anti-intellectual emotional piety.

The net result of this is that when Christians go out into the world, they are not equipped to discern the dangers posed by non-Christian ideologies, and they often vote for the very policies that later come back to destroy them – because secular leftists make their policies sound so nice. Who could be against “affordable health care” – until you realize that you’re going to be paying for someone else’s abortion drugs. Maybe pastors need to do a better job of connecting the Bible to real world knowledge and policies so that we don’t just retreat from the field and let secular leftists rule over us.

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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.

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Iowa Human Rights Commissioner told pastor and family to “burn in Hell”

The Weekly Standard reports.

Excerpt:

In Sioux City, Iowa, a local pastor is asking for the removal of a newly appointed member of the city’s human rights commission. The city council appointed Scott Raasch to the commission, which adjudicates discrimination complaints, on July 8. However, the Rev. Cary Gordon, executive pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach, recently brought to light threatening comments Raasch left comments on Gordon’s Facebook page over Gordon’s vocal opposition to the Iowa Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage.

According to the report from the Sioux City Journal:

In one comment, Raasch wrote: “You are haters and bigots and you will get what’s coming to you sooner or later. I hope you rot in hell.”

Gordon replied, “I hope you repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I wouldn’t want you or anyone else to go to hell.”

Raasch wrote, “I know Christ and don’t need a snake oil salesman like you to tell me about him. I guess that’s the difference between us because I think there are many people that deserve to burn in hell … including you and your entire family.”

“He gives blatant death wishes to anyone who disagrees with his political or sexual views,” Gordon said Thursday. “He is obviously unstable and filled with raging hatred.”

It’s very important to understand what kinds of people are appointed to these Human Rights Commissions. They sound so good, but actually they are just politically correct Inquisitions. And they appoint the most radical left-wing extremists to them – people who are incapable of even listening to points of view other than their own. We don’t need Inquisition panels to tell us what to think.

 

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Colorado man faces fine and/or jail for refusing to bake for gay couple

The Heritage Foundation reports on the latest episode of the conflict between gay activism and religious liberty.

Full text:

A same-sex couple in Denver has filed a discrimination complaint against baker Jack Phillips for refusing to provide his services to help celebrate their wedding.

Phillips declined on the grounds that participating in such a ceremony violates his religious beliefs about marriage. Similar cases have involved a Washington florist and a New Mexico photographer.

Even though the Colorado celebration was for a marriage actually performed in Massachusetts, and Colorado does not recognize same-sex marriage under its laws, the baker stands accused of violating Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. Heritage’s Tom Messner has written how situations such as those in Colorado are triggered:

Conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious freedom will often involve some type of previously adopted nondiscrimination law or policy, and nondiscrimination laws can impose burdens on religious freedom even in jurisdictions that do not legally recognize homosexual unions as marriages.

Colorado is proving the point. Same-sex marriage is not formally recognized in the state, but nondiscrimination law can, even in states without same-sex marriage, produce conflicts with religious freedom.

In this case, the attorney general of Colorado issued a formal complaint at the behest of the ACLU. The case is expected to go before Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission. The complaint urges Phillips to “cease and desist” his activity. Phillips could face fines of $500 and up to a year in jail.

For Phillips, the issue at stake is whether law will force him to use his creative services in a way that violates his faith.

Phillips told a reporter he serves non-wedding cakes to all customers—regardless of sexual orientation. It’s the same-sex marriage to which he objects.

Phillips’s attorney believes that actions against him are yet another example of recent trends that restrict conscience.

“At its heart, this is a case about conscience,” said Nicolle Martin, his attorney. “It would force him to choose between his conscience and a paycheck. I just think that’s an intolerable choice.”

Phillips refuses to compromise and remains determined to stand up for his religious views. “If it came to that point, we would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs, so that may be what it comes to,” Phillips told KCNC-TV.

There was a pretty good article on this issue a few days ago on the Public Discourse, and it’s worth reading and sharing with people who think that gay marriage won’t affect them. The truth is that gay marriage is not compatible with religious liberty, and gay activists are willing to use the state to push their views onto anyone who refuses to celebrate and affirm their lifestyle.

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Police and social workers ignored sex-trafficking, rape and abuse by Muslims

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

The gang recruited its victims from the Oxford area between May 2004 and January last year, deliberately targeting vulnerable girls.

Some were spotted drinking or playing truant along the city’s Cowley Road, while others were chosen because they were living in care homes.

Once under their control the abusers forced the girls to have sex using threats of extreme violence.

Some were gang raped, while others were prostituted to men who would travel from all parts of UK to have sex with them.

If they did not comply they were beaten and burned with cigarettes while one girl was even branded with her abusers’ initials.

When one victim fell pregnant at the age of 12 she was forced to undergo a dangerous backstreet abortion.

Another girl was abused with a string of bizarre sex toys to ‘prepare’ her for one of the gang rapes.

Police were first alerted to the activities of the grooming ring in 2006 when a 14-year-old girl complained that she had been held against her will by two Asian men and forced to take drugs.

Seven months later the same girl was found by officers in an Oxford park complaining that she had been forced to perform a sex act on one of the defendants, Akhtar Dogar.

Dogar was interviewed by police but denied raping the girl and the case was dropped when the girl withdrew her complaint.

The same year another 14-year-old girl informed police she had been forced to have sex with several different men, but again the case was dropped when she became too scared to press charges.

Again in 2006 police were called to a guest house in Oxford after a man staying there dialled 999 to report that he feared a prostitute was being beaten up in an adjoining room.

When police arrived they found a 14-year-old girl cowering in the basement and complaining that had been raped and beaten.

She too eventually withdrew her complaint and the case was dropped.

Social workers also claimed they alerted police to concerns about one of the victims who regularly ran away from her care home and was often seen in the company of older Asian men.

A serious case review was announced while Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council apologised for their failure to spot the pattern earlier.

[...]The case is the latest in a string of high profile trials involving Asian gangs who have convicted of targeting and abusing vulnerable white girls.

Last May eight men of Pakistani origin and one Afghan were convicted of trafficking and raping girls in the Rochdale area.

Five Asian men were also jailed in 2010 after being convicted of grooming girls as young as 12 in the Rotherham area.

Just last week a gang of Asian men who groomed vulnerable white girls in Shropshire between 2006 and 2009 were jailed for more than 50-years.

More here from the Evening Standard:

Police and council leaders today apologised for their failings as a gang of paedophiles was convicted at the Old Bailey of serial abuse of schoolgirls while in care.

The girls, some as young as 11, were drugged, raped, trafficked and used as prostitutes while supposedly in the safe-keeping of the local authority in Oxford.

They had all been targeted because they were vulnerable, drinking and taking drugs.

The exposure of this child sex ring comes less than a year after a similar gang was jailed in Rochdale and an inquiry by a group of MPs found systemic failings in care across the country.

Last month police revealed that new evidence had emerged of abuse by 84 staff at the Bryn Estyn home in North Wales dating back to the 1960s.

Today five men of Pakistani origin and two from North Africa were convicted of more than 40 charges spanning eight years. They will be sentenced at a later date by judge Peter Rook QC. Two defendants were cleared.

The charges involved six girls between the ages of 11 and 15 who were abused over nine years in the Cowley area of Oxford.

After the guilty verdicts a fight broke out in the dock with one of the convicted paedophiles punching another who had been cleared.

The men were described by police as “predators who identified the most vulnerable girls in society and corrupted them entirely”. Police missed several chances to catch gang members before they were finally arrested.

The victims were forced to relive the horror in some of the most distressing witness evidence heard at the Old Bailey.

One after the other, the girls broke down as they described how they were groomed, beaten, betrayed and sold into prostitution around the country.

Girl D told how, at the age of 11, she was branded with a heated hairpin by a trafficker and loaned to other abusers for £600 an hour.

Over five years she was repeatedly raped by large groups of men in what she described as “torture sex”.

She was so frightened of her attacker that she refused to give evidence for fear he would hurt her again.

It was only after she was given legal advice that Girl D agreed to tell her story from a videolink from another room in the building.

Another victim, Girl A, complained of her plight to police on two occasions but no one was charged.

What caused police and social workers to avoid rescuing the white girls from the Muslim men? Well, I think if you ask any university-educated liberal, they would explain to you that charging Muslims with crimes in Western societies  is “Islamophobia”. This is what people learn in university. You can’t treat Muslims like everyone else, equal under the law, because that’s “Islamophobia”. The Labor Party, which enacted the lax immigration policies of the last decade in the United Kingdom, would tell you that those British pre-teen girls just need to be more sensitive to other cultures and stop being so racist while they are being raped.

The previous Muslim sex-trafficking gang

Here are the facts from the previous “grooming” case from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A sex grooming gang targeted white girls because they were not part of their ‘community or religion’ said a judge as he jailed them for a total of 77 years yesterday.

Detectives are now preparing to make more arrests after they revealed they suspect up to 50 mainly Pakistani-born men took part in the abuse.

But despite the judge’s hard-hitting comments, police in Greater Manchester continued to insist that the men’s race and religion were not factors in their crimes.

Yesterday senior politicians clashed over the case – with one former Labour MP claiming police and social workers ignored complaints because they were ‘petrified of being called racist’.

With experts on paedophilia insisting street grooming by Muslim men was a real problem, Judge Gerald Clinton made it clear he believed religion was a factor.

He jailed the 59-year-old ringleader for 19 years and eight other men for between four and 12 years, telling them they had treated their victims ‘as though they were worthless and beyond all respect’.

He added: ‘I believe one of the factors which led to that is that they were not of your community or religion.’

But he branded outbursts by some of the men claiming the prosecution was racially-motivated ‘nonsense’, telling them they found themselves in the dock because of their ‘lust and greed’.

The gang raped and abused up to 47 girls – some as young as 13 – after plying them with alcohol and luring them to takeaways in Heywood, near Rochdale.

Detective Inspector Michael Sanderson, of Greater Manchester Police, said none of the convicted men had ever shown ‘the slightest bit of remorse’.

The keeping of sex slaves is sanctioned by the Qur’an.

What’s interesting about this case is that the police knew about the ring years before, but refused to prosecute:

A victim of the ring said she was ‘let down’ by police and the Crown Prosecution Service because the issue of Asian gangs grooming young white girls was ‘unheard of’ at the time.

The girl, who was 15 when she was targeted by the gang, reported the abuse to police in August 2008 but the CPS decided not to prosecute because they did not believe a jury would find her ‘credible’.

After reporting the abuse she suffered for four more months at the hands of the gang and continued to be forced into having sex by her ‘friend’ – a teenage girl who was acting as a pimp for the men.

She said the problem got ‘worse’ after telling the police.

‘I felt let down. But I know that they (police) believed me… but… because they said to me at the end that something should have been done but the CPS just would not – what’s the word? – prosecute is it?

‘It’s like, then, in 2008 it weren’t really heard of… Asian men with white girls.

‘It was just unheard of. I’ve never heard of it. Now it’s going on everywhere. You think of Muslim men as religious and family-minded and just nice people. You don’t think… I don’t know… you just don’t think they’d do things like that.’

The girl, now 20, only escaped the gang in December 2008 when she fell pregnant and moved away. She was then made to wait until August 2009 for the CPS to tell her they were not taking the case to trial.

She called the men who abused her ‘evil’ and said she hopes they pay for their crimes.

‘They ripped away all my dignity and all my last bit of self-esteem and by the end of it I had no emotion whatsoever because I was used to being used and abused daily,’ she said.

‘It was just blocked out, it was just like it wasn’t me any more. They just took everything away and I just think hopefully they’ll pay for what they’ve done.’

Under the policies of the UK Labour Party, the police had all been fully trained in multiculturalism and political correctness. Some groups favored by the secular left are above the law and cannot be persecuted, even when they rape little children. We can thank Harriet Harman and her ilk for this. We can even thank her for the immigration policies that created isolated communities that do not respect the laws and values of Western civilization, and Judeo-Christian values in particular.

But that’s not all. Think about what the feminism promoted by the Labour Party achieves. The feminism embraced by the Labour Party under Harriet Harman had one goal. To destroy the institution of marriage and eject fathers from the home. Men were to be replaced with government handouts and welfare payments. Under the rule of the Labour Party, illegitimacy has skyrocketed while marriage has declined. The UK government literally pays women to have children out of wedlock – children who will grow up fatherless. IVF is taxpayer-funded under the NHS.

When women do not have to care about whether a man is a good provider, they can have sex with any man – whichever one they like, based on the unwise standards of the culture. But men who have not been carefully picked by women to be husbands and fathers do not stick around. Who is left,then, to protect the girls who are born without fathers to raise them? No one. This is the end result of feminism’s attempt to destroy the traditional roles that men play in the home: protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. Government programs, politically correct social workers and welfare checks are not a substitute for a father.

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