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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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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Homosexual man complains to NZ Human Rights Tribunal for being barred from seminary

Some friends of mine in New Zealand sent me this article.

Excerpt:

A homosexual man is taking the Anglican Bishop of Auckland to the Human Rights Tribunal after being rejected for training as a priest.

A hearing begins today following a complaint from the man, who says he feels discriminated against because of his sexuality.

It is understood the man – who is in a sexual relationship with his partner – has wanted to enter the church’s training programme for priests for years.

But after applying to enter after years of study, he was rejected by the Bishop Ross Bay, who approves entrants.

Bishop Bay told One News last night that he was simply following the church’s doctrines.

The man was rejected “by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church,” the bishop said.

That means that anyone wanting to become ordained needs to be in what the Anglican Church deems to be a chaste relationship – a marriage between a man and a woman or committed to a life of celibacy.

In a statement to the tribunal, the complainant says he “felt totally humiliated that I had spent six years of my life in study, for a process that I was not permitted to enter because I was a gay man and in a relationship”.

“My humiliation and disappointment continue to this day.”

And this humiliation is so terrible that the government has to step in and drag the church in front of a secular court to pass judgment on Judeo-Christian values.

And here’s another story from Mercator:

Family First New Zealand has received notification that government’s Charities Commission intends to deregister the charity. Why? Family First has a traditional view of marriage being one man and one woman. The commission’s investigation began just after NZ’s gay marriage debate started last year.

The decision means that the organisation will no longer be exempt from income tax and, more importantly for a non-profit, donations to it will no longer be tax-deductible.

“This is a highly politicised decision which is grim evidence that groups that think differently to the prevailing politically correct view will be targeted in an attempt to shut them up,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

New Zealand recently decided to legalize gay marriage, and now we are seeing some of the repercussions. This is exactly what happened in Canada as well, where Christians are regularly dragged in front of Human Rights Tribunals and Human Rights Commissions for refusing to affirm the goodness of homosexuality and gay marriage. There, Christians can be tried by non-Christians for months and even years. They are never found innocent, and can look forward to being censored, forced to apologize, fined, etc. Why? Because once gay marriage is made legal, it becomes a crime to disapprove of homosexuality or disagree with gay marriage.

Legalized gay marriage is not compatible with religious liberty. We as a society have to choose one or the other.

UPDATE: Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on New Zealand, gay marriage and liberty.

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Feminist lawyer’s son falsely charged by university kangaroo court

From the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Stuart Schneiderman)

It starts like this:

I am a feminist. I have marched at the barricades, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and knocked on many a door in support of progressive candidates committed to women’s rights. Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act.

But that was before my son, a senior at a small liberal-arts college in New England, was charged—by an ex-girlfriend—with alleged acts of “nonconsensual sex” that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship a few years earlier.

What followed was a nightmare—a fall through Alice’s looking-glass into a world that I could not possibly have believed existed, least of all behind the ivy-covered walls thought to protect an ostensible dedication to enlightenment and intellectual betterment.

It began with a text of desperation. “CALL ME. URGENT. NOW.”

That was how my son informed me that not only had charges been brought against him but that he was ordered to appear to answer these allegations in a matter of days. There was no preliminary inquiry on the part of anyone at the school into these accusations about behavior alleged to have taken place a few years earlier, no consideration of the possibility that jealousy or revenge might be motivating a spurned young ex-lover to lash out. Worst of all, my son would not be afforded a presumption of innocence.

In fact, Title IX, that so-called guarantor of equality between the sexes on college campuses, and as applied by a recent directive from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today’s college campuses, neither “beyond a reasonable doubt,” nor even the lesser “by clear and convincing evidence” standard of proof is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct.

These safeguards of due process have, by order of the federal government, been replaced by what is known as “a preponderance of the evidence.” What this means, in plain English, is that all my son’s accuser needed to establish before a campus tribunal is that the allegations were “more likely than not” to have occurred by a margin of proof that can be as slim as 50.1% to 49.9%.

How does this campus tribunal proceed to evaluate the accusations? Upon what evidence is it able to make a judgment?

The frightening answer is that like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, the tribunal does pretty much whatever it wants, showing scant regard for fundamental fairness, due process of law, and the well-established rules and procedures that have evolved under the Constitution for citizens’ protection. Who knew that American college students are required to surrender the Bill of Rights at the campus gates?

My son was given written notice of the charges against him, in the form of a letter from the campus Title IX officer. But instead of affording him the right to be fully informed, the separately listed allegations were a barrage of vague statements, rendering any defense virtually impossible. The letter lacked even the most basic information about the acts alleged to have happened years before. Nor were the allegations supported by any evidence other than the word of the ex-girlfriend.

The hearing itself was a two-hour ordeal of unabated grilling by the school’s committee, during which, my son later reported, he was expressly denied his request to be represented by counsel or even to have an attorney outside the door of the room. The questioning, he said, ran far afield even from the vaguely stated allegations contained in the so-called notice. Questions from the distant past, even about unrelated matters, were flung at him with no opportunity for him to give thoughtful answers.

The many pages of written documentation that my son had put together—which were directly on point about his relationship with his accuser during the time period of his alleged wrongful conduct—were dismissed as somehow not relevant. What was relevant, however, according to the committee, was the unsworn testimony of “witnesses” deemed to have observable knowledge about the long-ago relationship between my son and his accuser.

That the recollections of these young people (made under intense peer pressure and with none of the safeguards consistent with fundamental fairness) were relevant—while records of the accuser’s email and social media postings were not—made a mockery of the very term. While my son was instructed by the committee not to “discuss this matter” with any potential witnesses, these witnesses against him were not identified to him, nor was he allowed to confront or question either them or his accuser.

This reminds of exactly what Ari wrote about in his novel “Bias Incident“.

Dr. Schneiderman adds his comments:

The process rests on a sad irony. Many years ago feminists decided strong, independent liberated women do not need to be protected by men. Not by their fathers, not by their brothers, not by their husbands.

As a matter of fact, a gentleman who offered a small courteous gestures of respect was routinely denounced by feminists as a gross insult. He was treating a woman as a member of the weaker sex.

If a man opened a door for a woman, he was called a sexist for assuming that the woman could not open the door herself.

The feminist message was clear: modern women can take care of themselves.

Well, not exactly. Since men are predators, prone to abuse and molest strong, independent women, these women need an extra level of protection: they need to have an extra-judicial procedure that can inflict serious punishment on any male who would see fit to ill-treat them.

No one needs to worry that women might abuse the privilege by bringing unfounded charges against certain men. No, it can’t happen. Women always tell the truth.

Apparently, the problem of violence against women is so bad that the criminal justice system cannot deal with it. It is so out-of-control that the civil justice system cannot do the job.

That’s the real problem: feminism.

When you have a group of feminists who set out to destroy the traditional gender roles of men, and who criminalize the traditional virtues of men, then you should NOT be surprised that government has to grow to fill the void. They told women that chastity was out, and chivalry was out. Traditional male roles of protector, provider, and moral/spiritual leader are out. What kind of men do women choose if they want to avoid all of those traditional male virtues? Bad men. And when bad men aren’t doing what the feminists want, they resort to big government to coerce and punish them. Every other man looking on to this situation is going to be reinforced not to pursue relationships with women, out of fear that they could be hit with false accusations for upsetting her – even if he hasn’t done anything at all!

Eventually, men will just opt out of all contact with women in order to have their freedom to say and do what they feel like. I will look forward to the day when feminists spent the last 40 years of their lives alone in their apartments, talking to their cats. What man in his right mind would want anything to do with these nutcases and their weird ideology?

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