Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Warning: if the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage, you could lose your church

Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign

Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign

This is by John Zmirak, who is writing at The Stream. You should read the whole thing.

He writes:

If you aren’t following the arguments over same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court, you should be. Even if you don’t cater weddings or sell pizza in Indiana, your religious freedom is in danger. For detailed accounts of the debate and the questions asked by justices that might be readable tea leaves, see Ryan Anderson’s analysis and the capsule summary provided by Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker.

The outcome of this week’s debate will determine whether orthodox American Christians will fall to the status of dhimmis, the third-class Christian citizens of sharia Muslim states. (Dhimmis have bare freedom of worship, but pay special, heavy taxes and are excluded from any positions of influence.) If the court imposes same-sex “marriage,” it will be exposing the churches attended by the majority of Americans to sustained legal attack. Does that sound like crazy alarmism? The Solicitor General of the United States agrees with me. Except that he is in favor of it.

Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether acceptance of same-sex marriage would subject orthodox Christian churches to the treatment once accorded Bob Jones University, which lost its tax-exempt status because its ban on interracial dating contradicted federal policy. Verrilli seemed a little taken aback, then answered yes, “it’s certainly going to be an issue.”

In other words, if the Supreme Court votes against natural marriage, it will free up the feds to target organizations you might have heard of, such as the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. (In theory, the feds might also take aim at every mosque in America, but something tells me that the mosques are likely to get a pass.) Remember that the Obama administration has already tried to force these same churches to provide abortifacients to their employees. Attacking their tax-exempt status over biblical sexual ethics is peanuts next to that.

In case you don’t follow tax policy as a hobby, see Joe Carter’s detailed account of the grave consequences this would have for churches. Put briefly, most would close. Unless, of course, they caved.

Imagine if your house of worship needed to turn a hefty profit, so it could pay the same taxes on its property and income as a casino or a strip joint — unlike Planned Parenthood, since that abortion business is a tax-exempt (and federally funded) “charity.” Imagine if none of the money you gave your church were deductible from your taxes, unlike the money you sent to Greenpeace. Many if not most religious schools and colleges would also shut their doors, unable to pay the same business taxes as for-profit diploma mills.

The First Amendment won’t prevent any of this. When the dictates of a religion conflict with what courts have ruled is a constitutional right, the church’s claims give way every time.

Practical point:

When presidential candidates come to our states to court us during the primaries — the only time faithful Christians exercise any real leverage in this country — the issue of same-sex marriage must now rival abortion in its importance. Any hopeful should be pressed repeatedly to give a straight, unambiguous answer to this question: “Do you support a constitutional amendment restoring natural marriage? If not, then what exactly will you do to protect my religious freedom? If nothing, why should I support you?” We should print that question on cards and distribute it in Iowa and New Hampshire, and candidates should hear nothing else from us till they answer. We need to know whether a year from now we will be living like Americans, or increasingly like Christians in China.

You don’t have to speculate about these things, you just have to look north to Canada, or east to Europe, where the secular leftists are much stronger. Same-sex marriage is a club that the secularist leftists can use to get publicly expressed religious convictions out of the public square, once and for all. All they have to do is leverage sentiments of tolerance that come from religion to pass the gay marriage law, and then use the gay marriage law to get rid of the moral convictions that make it harder for them to do what they want without feeling ashamed. And it’s working, because we have reduced Christianity to emotions, instead of grounding it on reason and evidence. It’s all about feeling good now, and feeling good is more important to most Christians than respecting God’s actual character.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Atheist Richard Carrier, who divorced his wife to go polyamorous, seeks new sex partner

Is atheism a rational worldview, or is it just rationalizing sexual misbehavior?

A while back, prominent atheist Dr. Richard Carrier explained how he was divorcing his wife – who supported him financially – in order to go polyamorous full-time.

The Yeti’s Roar, a libertarian atheist blog reacted to the news: (link removed)

In a recent blog post, entitled “Coming Out Poly + A Change of Life Venue”, the esteemed Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, discusses his “coming out” as polyamorous, an “orientation” that he just discovered at the young age of 47.

[…]Carrier claims that after 17 years of marriage, he cheated on his wife multiple times, for reasons that he won’t disclose.  In the midst of his infidelity, he suddenly “discovered” (as a middle aged man) that he was polyamorous.  Even though his wife attempted to make the marriage work by allowing him to see other women under the guise of an “open marriage”, Carrier still decided to kick her to the curb.   So in Carrier’s view, his affairs were not a mistake, but rather a fun new “lifestyle choice” that he will pursue, regardless of the past commitment to his wife.

What is even more despicable about Carrier’s behavior toward his wife is the fact that she supported him financially.

[…] The only reason he has been able to live a comfortable lifestyle while blogging and writing obscure books is due to his wife’s financial support.  The reason that he could afford to invest his time in getting graduate degrees from Columbia in subjects that will never land him a decent paying job is due to the support of his wife.  The reason he was able to travel around the country for low paying speaking engagements instead of having to get a real job is due to his wife’s financial support.  And how does he repay his wife for the support she has given him?  He cheats on her, waits until he is making enough money where he no longer needs her income, and kicks her to the curb.

So, whenever Richard Carrier was talking about morality without God, now we know what he meant. He even dedicated his book on morality without God to his now ex-wife. How ironic. I feel very bad for his ex-wife and I prayed for her redemption. Although, she must take responsibility for choosing him – there were lots of other chaste, commitment-minded men out there, and she chose him.

But the new polyamoratheism news is that Carrier is actually searching for a new “date”.

I am not linking to his blog post, but it says: (H/T The Yeti’s Roar)

I’ll start by making sure anyone considering this is up to speed. I am polyamorous. I currently have many girlfriends. All I consider my friends. Some are just occasional lovers. Some I am more involved with. They are also polyamorous, or near enough (not all of them identify that way, but all of them enjoy open relationships). And I will always have relationships with them, as long as they’ll have me in their life.

Many different things can be meant by the following terms, but just for the present purpose, if by a primary relationship is meant someone you live with or just about as good as live with, a secondary as someone you date regularly, and a tertiary as someone you date occasionally, all my relationships are tertiary, but only because of geography. I live just below Sacramento, California, where the rents are cheap, which means, where no one wants to live. And I’m unlikely to move anytime soon. So relationships with me, at best, are likely to be tertiary—long distance chatting with occasional being together throughout the year. Even so, I always take such friendships seriously.

[…]I’m 0.5 on the Kinsey scale. Not heavy into kink (but get along well with people who are). I have an unusual fetish or two but don’t expect any of my partners to share them. I’m pro sex worker, and though I personally find strip clubs and brothels uninteresting at best (uncomfortable at worst), I like partners who are or who have been sex workers. I also like women who have or pursue a lot of partners or who love to boast of their sexual exploits, especially over wine or whiskey or equivalent. I’m not going to get all butt-hurt or angsty over how high Your Number is. It very much has the opposite effect on me.

[…]I am also planning to have a hotel room, and am comfortable sharing it platonically. Certainly I would enjoy sharing it non-platonically, but I don’t expect it. I can’t believe (even though I know) there are still guys who assume the other sh*t buys them sex, thus necessitating I say this: if you are going to have sex with me, it has to be because it’s fun and you want to, not because it’s something you owe me. On the same understanding, if you have a place for me to crash in town (platonically or not), and are happy to have me over to spare me the cost of hiring a room, that would be lovely. And yes, if you are poly or open and live with a partner or two, I’m comfortable with that as well.

This also means you don’t have to live in the LA area to join me for this. If you can get to LA, and don’t mind sharing a room (at my expense), the opportunity remains.

This is Richard Carrier’s book on morality without God:

Goodness Without God: Now we know what it looks like

Goodness without God: Now we know what he was talking about

And the book is dedicated to his wife, now ex-wife:

For Jen…

My buxom brunette
My wellspring of joy
My north star of sanity

Indeed.

You can read a multi-part review of the book here on Deeper Waters (Nick Peters’ site)

I trust that everyone now understands what I was saying about the reasons why atheists jettison God and objective morality. Sexual freedom is definitely a big one, and probably the biggest. This is not a worldview, people, it’s not something that is derived from logic and evidence. It starts and ends with getting rid of moral accountability to the Creator. Period. End of issue.

Not that all atheists are as immoral as Carrier, and not all atheists are motivated by sexual perversion. But the primary motivation is always to be able to seek selfish pleasure apart from any responsibilities, expectations and obligations. Although atheists may try hard to look nice on the surface, there is no moral core that is stopping them from pursuing pleasure apart from morality.

Finally, I just want any atheists reading this to know that I am now in my late 30s, with so much income and net worth that it would make Richard Carrier’s head spin. Since I was a teen, the thing I’ve wanted most was to be married and to have children. And yet unlike Richard Carrier, I am still saving my first kiss on the lips for that one woman. I am a virgin, and determined to keep it so until I marry. I never thought that the wealth that I saved for her was to be used to break the rules so I could get what I wanted right now. When I made my decision to serve God, it meant serving him according to his moral character, whether I got what I wanted or not. When Christ calls a man, he call him to die to himself and his own self-interest.

There is no commonality between a Christian man sacrificing his own interests to serve God, and an atheist man who thinks that this life is all there is. We are running different playbooks in this life. There is no overlap. There is no sense in which an atheist is “moral” according to the Christian game plan. And atheist cannot be moral within the Christian worldview by picking and choosing what rules to follow. What is required is total abandonment to God’s calling and a 100% re-prioritization of your life. It’s not about doing X and Y, but not A and B, and getting a passing grade. It’s about putting Jesus Christ in as your commanding officer in every area and facet of your life. No atheist can be “moral” according to the Christian worldview, and none of their “moral” behaviors that ape our own count when their heart is oriented away from God.

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

Only 10% of money given to Clinton Foundation goes to charity

Astonishing article from The Federalist.

It says:

After a week of being attacked for shady bookkeeping and questionable expenditures, the Clinton Foundation is fighting back. In a tweet posted last week, the Clinton Foundation claimed that 88 percent of its expenditures went “directly to [the foundation’s] life-changing work.”

There’s only one problem: that claim is demonstrably false. And it is false not according to some partisan spin on the numbers, but because the organization’s own tax filings contradict the claim.

Look:

Only 10% of their income goes to charity

Only 10% of their income goes to charity

And:

In order for the 88 percent claim to be even remotely close to the truth, the words “directly” and “life-changing” have to mean something other than “directly” and “life-changing.” For example, the Clinton Foundation spent nearly $8.5 million–10 percent of all 2013 expenditures–on travel. Do plane tickets and hotel accommodations directly change lives? Nearly $4.8 million–5.6 percent of all expenditures–was spent on office supplies. Are ink cartridges and staplers “life-changing” commodities?

Those two categories alone comprise over 15 percent of all Clinton Foundation expenses in 2013, and we haven’t even examined other spending categories like employee fringe benefits ($3.7 million), IT costs ($2.1 million), rent ($4 million) or conferences and conventions ($9.2 million). Yet, the tax-exempt organization claimed in its tweet that no more than 12 percent of its expenditures went to these overhead expenses.

How can both claims be true? Easy: they’re not. The claim from the Clinton Foundation that 88 percent of all expenditures go directly to life-changing work is demonstrably false. Office chairs do not directly save lives. The internet connection for the group’s headquarters does not directly change lives.

[…][T]he IRS 990 forms submitted by the Clinton Foundation include a specific and detailed accounting of these programmatic expenses. And even using extremely broad definitions–definitions that allow office supply, rent, travel, and IT costs to be counted as programmatic costs–the Clinton Foundation fails its own test.

According to 2013 tax forms filed by the Clinton Foundation, a mere 80 percent of the organization’s expenditures were characterized as functional programmatic expenses. That’s a far cry from the 88 percent claimed by the organization just last week.

[…]In 2013, for example, only 10 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s expenditures were for direct charitable grants. The amount it spent on charitable grants–$8.8 million–was dwarfed by the $17.2 million it cumulatively spent on travel, rent, and office supplies. Between 2011 and 2013, the organization spent only 9.9 percent of the $252 million it collected on direct charitable grants.

While some may claim that the Clinton Foundation does its charity by itself, rather than outsourcing to other organizations in the form of grants, there appears to be little evidence of that activity in 2013. In 2008, for example, the Clinton Foundation spent nearly $100 million purchasing and distributing medicine and working with its care partners. In 2009, the organization spent $126 million on pharmaceutical and care partner expenses. By 2011, those activities were virtually non-existent. The group spent nothing on pharmaceutical expenses and only $1.2 million on care partner expenses. In 2012 and 2013, the Clinton Foundation spent $0. In just a few short years, the Clinton’s primary philanthropic project transitioned from a massive player in global pharmaceutical distribution to a bloated travel agency and conference organizing business that just happened to be tax-exempt.

As if that were not bad enough, now Bloomberg News is reporting that there were 1100 UNREPORTED DONORS to the Clinton Foundation, most of them non-US residents.

Look:

There are in fact 1,100 undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, Giustra says, most of them non-U.S. residents who donated to CGEP.

[…]The reason this is a politically explosive revelation is because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the Clinton Foundation signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Obama White House agreeing to reveal its contributors every year. The agreement stipulates that the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative” (as the charity was then known) is part of the Clinton Foundation and must follow “the same protocols.”

It hasn’t.

So, if none of the money from all these foreign donors was being used for charitable activities, then what was it being used for? Hmmmn, what could a Secretary of State who wants to run for President do with all that money?

Filed under: News, ,

GoFundMe shuts down fundraising accounts of pro-marriage baker and florist

 

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Here’s the latest, from The Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Less than 48 hours after the crowdfunding website GoFundMe shut down a campaign setup for Sweet Cakes by Melissa, GoFundMe yanked a similar fundraiser for a 70-year-old Washington florist facing seven-figure financial penalties for violating her state’s anti-discrimination law.

The campaign, created for Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist who refused to make flower arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding, had been operating on GoFundMe for over two months.

It wasn’t until GoFundMe removed the Sweet Cakes by Melissa campaign—meant for Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon-based bakers who were fined $135,000 for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding—that it closed the account for Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers.

Before it was shut down, Stutzman’s GoFundMe page had raised more than $174,000 in donations.

[…]Meanwhile, the Sweet Cakes by Melissa campaign had raised more than $109,000 in nine hours before being removed.

What happened?

A Facebook group, called “Boycott Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Gresham, OR,” sought to shut the account down.

In multiple posts, the group linked to the Klein’s GoFundMe page, writing, “How fast can we shut this down.”

Kristen Waggoner, the attorney representing Stutzman on behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Signal that opponents are trying to bully people like Stutzman and the Kleins who are trying to live in accordance to their faith.

“It’s not enough to have the government redefine marriage or to punish those who disagree,” she said.

The opponents of freedom have to ruin every aspect of the lives of those who disagree—denying them a living, the ability to feed their families, and the opportunity to raise money to pay the so-called ‘victims.’ This type of vindictive, hateful behavior is terrifying. Corporations like Apple, Salesforce, and GoFundMe want to make sure they can live and work consistent with their beliefs about marriage, but then deny that same right to people like Barronelle Stutzman who lovingly served her customer for nearly a decade but simply couldn’t participate in the celebration of his same-sex wedding.

I’m not expert, but it seems to me that the businesses who receive death threats and are put on trial and fined tens of thousands of dollars are bigger victims. But I guess now the “right to not be offended” is more important than freedom of religion. All I want to be able to say in public is that marriage is better for children than divorce, cohabitation, single motherhood by choice, and same-sex marriage – because children need their mother and father. Apparently, it’s now illegal to say that, and not just in the way that a parking ticket is illegal. This is serious. I think a lot of Christians on the margin are going to be even more intimidated about speaking out and donating to pro-marriage causes the more these persecutions intensify.

Filed under: News, , ,

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal to anti-marriage corporate bullies: “Save your breath”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal is my #2 pick for President, just behind Scott Walker. Previously, I blogged about how Jindal had the best pro-life record of any of the GOP primary candidates. And now were going to see that he is tough on defending marriage, as well.

Jindal defends marriage in the radically leftist New York Times, of all places.

Jindal writes:

THE debate over religious liberty in America presents conservatives and business leaders with a crucial choice.

In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. It was disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to free exercise of religion in a court of law.

Our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief?

That is what Indiana and Arkansas sought to do. That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all.

It might be a surprise for my readers, but big greedy corporations are as liberal as big greedy unions – conservatives don’t like unions or big corporations. We like small businesses. And so does Bobby Jindal.

While Indiana and Arkansas retreat, Jindal wants to double down:

As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.

In 2010, Louisiana adopted a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits government from unduly burdening a person’s exercise of religion. However, given the changing positions of politicians, judges and the public in favor of same-sex marriage, along with the potential for discrimination against Christian individuals and businesses that comes with these shifts, I plan in this legislative session to fight for passage of the Marriage and Conscience Act.

The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other “adverse action” — based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage.

Some corporations have already contacted me and asked me to oppose this law. I am certain that other companies, under pressure from radical liberals, will do the same. They are free to voice their opinions, but they will not deter me. As a nation we would not compel a priest, minister or rabbi to violate his conscience and perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. But a great many Americans who are not members of the clergy feel just as called to live their faith through their businesses. That’s why we should ensure that musicians, caterers, photographers and others should be immune from government coercion on deeply held religious convictions.

I know that many of you have not heard of Bobby Jindal, but he is one of our best and most conservative candidates. I think that for people who vote primarily for social conservatism, he is the most effective on those issues – much more than all the other candidates. Honestly, I don’t think he cares about being popular, he just does what he thinks is right.

Filed under: News, , , ,

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