Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds marriage amendments in four states

GOOD NEWS! Ryan T. Anderson writes about it in The Daily Signal. (H/T WGB)

Excerpt:

Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled lower court decisions that had struck down state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The 6th Circuit Court ruled that constitutional amendments passed by popular vote in Michigan (2.7 million votes), Kentucky (1.2 million), Ohio (3.3 million) and Tennessee (1.4 million) do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Citizens remain free to define marriage as a male-female institution.

Today’s decision helpfully explained why these laws are constitutional, why it is reasonable for citizens to support such laws, and why arguments for court-imposed redefinition of marriage do not succeed. It also sets the stage for marriage to return to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is a beautiful decision. It does NOT tell the people in the states what marriage is or is not. It simply says that the people in the states have to decide – NOT a handful of judges.

Look:

As the 6th Circuit decision helpfully notes, at issue in these cases is “whether to allow the democratic processes begun in the States to continue in the four States of the Sixth Circuit or to end them now by requiring all States in the Circuit” to redefine marriage. The court ruled that the democratic process should continue:

Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority, one that would allow just three of us—just two of us in truth—to make such a vital policy call for the 32 million citizens who live within the four states of the Sixth Circuit.

[...]A dose of humility makes us hesitant to condemn as unconstitutionally irrational a view of marriage shared not long ago by every society in the world, shared by most, if not all, of our ancestors, and shared still today by a significant number of the states.

Look what Ryan writes at the end:

Today’s decision pointed out that in our system of government, a change to marriage, if it should come, should occur “through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”

Indeed, “When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers.”

[...]Ultimately, the 6th Circuit ruled that it would not usurp the authority of the American people to discuss, debate and make marriage policy. The ruling argued that change could come in one of two ways: through a judicial usurpation of politics or through the political process. And the court rightly refused to take the former course. It would leave to the people the question of whether to take the latter.

The court argued that it “is dangerous and demeaning to the citizenry to assume that we, and only we, can fairly understand the arguments for and against gay marriage.” No, judges alone should not have this discussion—all Americans should.

We are so often bombarded with the arrogance of judges imposing laws on us from the bench, that it is amazing when we actually hear a judge doing what judges are supposed to do – interpret the laws passed by the representatives of the people. When you hear Republicans like George W. Bush talk about “strict constructionist” judges, these are the judges he means – interpreters of the law. When you hear the Democrats like Barack Obama talk about “the Constitution is a living document”, they mean that judges make the law – not the people. We need to elect a President who believes that judges are not superior to the people’s representatives.

I recommend printing out and reading the entire article. It’s very good. It assesses the reasons for a state to define marriage, explains the concept of federalism, and assesses common objections to natural marriage. It’s good for us to know how these arguments are used so we can talk about it.

You can also read the press release from Liberty Counsel, the law firm that argued the case for marriage.

UPDATE: More on the decision from Ed Whelan of National Review.

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How would gay marriage affect your marriage?

The Daily  Signal explains what it costs for those who refuse to celebrate same-sex marriage.

Excerpt:

A bakery owner in Oregon broke down in tears while discussing the fallout of her and her husband’s decision not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on the basis of their Christian beliefs.

Earlier this year, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries found “substantial evidence” that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, discriminated against the lesbian couple.

They now face a fine in excess of $150,000.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal on Friday at the 2014 Values Voter Summit, Aaron said the fee would “definitely” be enough to bankrupt the couple and their five children.

[...]In January 2014, the Kleins were charged with violating Oregon’s Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of the LGBT community.

[...]Melissa and Aaron Klein are in the process of appealing the decision handed down by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Following threats, vicious protests and boycotts, they have also been forced to close their bakery.

Melissa told The Daily Signal the charges have “definitely impacted us pretty hard financially.”

“This was not the first time we’ve served these girls,” said Aaron, maintaining their refusal was not about the couple’s sexual orientation, but rather, about their religious convictions.

Sometimes, when a person is doing something they know is wrong, they will try to drown out their conscience by getting everyone around them to tell them that what they are doing is actually right. But what happens when the people around them don’t perform? Well, if you’re on the secular left, that’s where the fascism comes in. On a secular worldview, you can’t ground human rights. They don’t exist. So when a secular leftists is confronted with a lack of approval for his sinfulness, he turns to government to punish anyone who disagrees with them. Even if it means violating their fundamental human rights. The gay couple in question could have gone somewhere else, but instead they chose to punish people who disagreed with them in order to push their agenda by coercion.

I think a lot of atheists like to console themselves that even if God exists, that they will be OK because they never did anything really bad. You know, like rape or murder. And those things are indeed terrible, and definitely worthy of capital punishment now, and an eternity of separation from God later. But I think there is something even worse than those things. Jesus says that the most important commandment is for a person to love God with everything he has. I think that when a secular leftist uses the power of government to force Christians to break their allegiance to Christ, that they are doing something worse than rape or murder, (in terms of final judgment – not criminal law). And this is in addition to the widespread support for abortion (which is murder of an innocent child) that is widely supported in the atheist community.

You definitely do not want to be found to be one of those people who made Christians feel ashamed of taking the teachings of Jesus on sexuality seriously on that day. I really think it would be nice if atheists stopped kidding themselves about being good people. You’re not good people. We might treat you nicely, because you were made to know God and so have the same value as anyone else, but that doesn’t mean you are a good person. In fact, atheists cannot even ground objective morality rationally in their accidental universe. I guess we should not be surprised, then, when we see them using government to force their nihilism on people of faith.

Here is atheist morality:

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

(“God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, November, 1995, p. 85)

That’s why they can do these things. Because for them, rape, murder, anything – are all neither praiseworthy nor prohibited. There is no moral oughtness on atheism. And if they have enough power, then it just leads them to behave like the atheist Josef Stalin did in his ruthless suppression of free religious expression. Killing millions of people is no problem for atheists. There is no evil and no good, as Dawkins says. I think what this intolerance towards Christians for their faith is a slippery slope that leads to the kind of religious persecution that we have seen against people of faith in atheist regimes of the past. This is not speculative. Atheists have been willing to kill in order to protect their worldview from challengers. I think fining Christians $150,000 in order to bankrupt them is a step on that path. They lack the power today, but not the will. History teaches us that there is a deep hatred for Christianity inside atheism, and there are no limits to how far they will go to act on that.

You can read more about atheist morality in this post where I talk about Richard Dawkins’ support for extramarital affairs and infanticide. Like I said, if you’re an atheist, there is no evil and no good. It’s so strange to me when they try to make moral judgments. Like a monkey trying to write a novel. They act so outraged but really they have no standing to declare anything right or wrong. It’s not grounded in their worldview, and it’s important to understand what we are dealing with when we meet people who cannot distinguish right from wrong, and have no problem with coercing others against their consciences. It’s easy to see where Stalin and Mao came from, isn’t it?

Filed under: News, , , ,

The seven worst things Eric Holder did as attorney general

The list is from the Daily Signal.

The list:

  1. Gun smuggling
  2. Corrupting election process
  3. Failure to investigate IRS targeting of conservative groups
  4. Failure to take the threat of terrorism seriously
  5. Refusing to respect and defend the rule of law
  6. Allying with leftist groups to “sue and settle” with conservative groups
  7. Treated the oversight responsibility of Congress with contempt

I’ve written about the one that bothered me the most – the refusal to investigate the IRS. I just want to make clear how bad this one was.

Look:

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s legacy – or at least a big part of it – will be obstructing the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups, said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who set a low bar for the next attorney general.

“Whoever is going to be next, they have to be better than Eric Holder was,” Jordan told The Blaze on the day Holder announced he was retiring from his controversial tenure as head of the Justice Department.

Jordan is the chairman of the subcommittee for regulatory affairs for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in which he has probed the IRS targeting of tea party and conservative groups.

Primarily, he points to Holder naming DOJ attorney Barbara Bosserman, who contributed more than $6,000 to President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee, to run the investigation.

“It just shows the arrogance that is in this attorney general’s agency during his tenure,” Jordan said.

Every House Republican and 26 House Democrats voted for a resolution asking for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal. Holder ignored the resolution.

Not only that, but Jordan points out that Holder is stepping down in the middle of other unanswered questions, such as Operation Fast and Furious and Solyndra – matters that were not resolved but dropped out of focus.

Jordan said of the entire IRS scandal, “This is like a third rate, B actor crime drama.”

The reason, he is because of a predictable script. First, he said, Obama talks about shadowy conservative groups, then Democratic senators write letters to the IRS demanding an investigation. Once the IRS is caught for their targeting, they blame lower level employees. When that didn’t work, they blamed Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for being unfair.

“The last thing they do what everyone else does when they’re caught in a crime, they lose the evidence,” Jordan said, referring to the lost e-mails from Lois Lerner, the former head of the tax exempt organizations unit for the IRS.

This is the kind of administration we’ve had for the past 5+ years. It was Watergate every day in this administration. And it’s not going to stop unless we throw the out the crooks in the next election and put in moral people.

Related posts

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New e-mails: IRS official Lois Lerner called conservatives “a**holes” and “terrorists”

CNS News reports.

Full text:

A newly discovered email exchange from Lois Lerner’s official IRS email account “directly demonstrates Ms. Lerner’s deep animus towards conservatives, which she refers to as ‘—holes,’” House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp wrote in a letterto Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday.

In that Nov. 9, 2012 email, Lerner further suggests that conservatives will ruin the country: “So we don’t  need to worry about alien teRrorists (sic). It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” she wrote.

Camp (R-Mich.) told Holder the email “shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives.”

Camp said he also has discovered that Lerner used her personal email to conduct official business,including confidential tax return information, and he once again urged the Justice Department to ramp up its investigation:

“While the Committee has not seen any evidence of a serious investigation by  your Department, it is my sincere hope that in light of this new, strong evidence that you immediately begin aggressively investigating this matter or appoint a special counsel.”

Camp warned that failure to do so “will only further erode public trust” in the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department.

Ways and Means is one of three congressional committees investigating the way the IRS, during Lerner’s tenure, handled groups seeking tax-exempt status. The IRS admits that conservative groups were singled out for inappropriate scrutiny and delay before the 2012 election.

But of course all the e-mails showing the direct intent to use government to persecute conservatives have been “lost”, as Newsbusters recalls:

The committee released a partial transcript of an interview it conducted last week with IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Tom Kane, who reported the computer problems. When asked how many others might be having this problem, Kane said it was “less than 20.”

The IRS has told the House that several more IRS workers have experienced a computer crash, including some who worked with former IRS official Lois Lerner. Among that number are a few who worked closely at the IRS division dealing with tax-exempt organizations, which Lerner headed. Lerner has since become the prime target of Republican investigators, although the GOP has been hindered by the supposed loss of her emails.

According to the committee, another IRS official who suffered computer problems is Justin Lowe, a technical adviser to the commissioner of Tax-Exempt and Government Entities.

Another is David Fish, an adviser to Lois Lerner. Andy Megosh was also named; he is a manager of Exempt Organizations Guidance.

Has the mainstream media done a good job of reporting on all this?

No:

The saga of Lois Lerner’s missing emails took a bunch of twists and turns this past week, but you wouldn’t know that if you only got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. On July 21, it was reported that even more IRS officials had their hard drives crash on them, including employees who “routinely corresponded” with Lerner. What a coincidence! On that same day it was revealed that a top IRS official was uncertain if backup tapes of Lerner’s lost emails still existed. The next day the story changed again when it was reported that Lerner’s hard drive was only “scratched” and the data was recoverable.

Then on July 23 the head of the IRS testified that the back up tapes had finally been discovered but stressed he does not “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” So how many of these intriguing nuggets were reported on any of the network evening or morning shows last week?

Zero.

The last time the IRS story was mentioned on the Big Three nets was almost a week ago on the July 19 CBS This Morning. The last time ABC offered an IRS story was on the July 17 Good Morning America. And you have to go all the way back to last month (June 24 Today show) to find the last time NBC touched the scandal.

And the Lerner missing email story didn’t exactly heat up coverage of the IRS targeting controversy. Since the story first broke over a month ago on June 13 there have been a total of just 18 stories (CBS 10, NBC 5, ABC 3) on the IRS scandal through the morning of July 28.

I always find it a mystery when I go to the gym and see people watching something other than Fox News for news. Do they actually think that these mainstream leftist networks show news?

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

IRS Lois Lerner pushed to have Republican senator Chuck Grassley audited

From the web site of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Full text:

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative individuals includes a sitting United States Senator.  According to emails reviewed by the Committee under its Section 6103 authority, which allows the Committee to review confidential taxpayer information, Lois Lerner sought to have Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred for IRS examination.

“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” said Camp.  “At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights.  We may never know the full extent of the abuse since the IRS conveniently lost two years of Lerner emails, not to mention those of other key figures in this scandal.  The fact that DOJ refuses to investigate the IRS’s abuses or appoint a special counsel demonstrates, yet again, this Administration’s unwillingness to uphold the rule of law.”

Background: 
While the Ways and Means Committee investigation into Lerner’s involvement in the potential Grassley examination is ongoing, documents show that Lerner received an invitation to a speaking event that was intended for Senator Grassley.  Instead of forwarding the invitation to Grassley’s office, Lerner immediately suggested to others in her office that the issue should be referred for examination.  The Committee was able to investigate this information through its authority under Section 6103 of the tax code.  A waiver was signed by Senator Grassley and his wife in order to make this information public.

And there is good news about the corruption at the IRS – the news is reaching the American public.

The Daily Signal reports:

Americans are running out of faith in the Internal Revenue Service.

Seventy-six percent believe that the “lost” Lois Lerner emails were deliberately destroyed, according to a Fox News poll. Only 12 percent believe the destruction resulted as an accident.

This skepticism crossed party lines. A whopping 90 percent of Republicans doubt the IRS’s most recent claims, as do 74 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats.

There remains desire for congressional action. Seventy-four percent feel that lawmakers should continue investigating the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups “until someone is held accountable.”

Americans are also dubious about President Barack Obama’s claims that he first learned about the scandal through the media, with just 31 percent believing this to be true.

This poll surveyed 1,018 adults at random and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.

And finally, this, which I posted previously, but it’s SO GOOD:

Now that’s effective cross-examination.

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