Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Barronelle Stutzman turns down deal from Washington attorney general

The attorney general offered her a lighter punishment in exchange for denying her Christian faith… and she surprised him by saying no.

Here is her full response:

Dear Mr. Ferguson,

Thank you for reaching out and making an offer to settle your case against me.

As you may imagine, it has been mentally and emotionally exhausting to be at the center of this controversy for nearly two years. I never imagined that using my God-given talents and abilities, and doing what I love to do for over three decades, would become illegal. Our state would be a better place if we respected each other’s differences, and our leaders protected the freedom to have those differences. Since 2012, same-sex couples all over the state have been free to act on their beliefs about marriage, but because I follow the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I am no longer free to act on my beliefs.

Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.

I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating, and having a home. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process. Thanks again for writing and I hope you will consider my offer.

Sincerely,

Barronelle Stutzman

The attorney general is a Democrat, of course, and Washington is a very blue state. The whole case is troubling, but it’s really troubling that Stutzman is paying Ferguson’s salary through her taxes. She is paying him to do this to her. It’s always a scary thing to me when Christians have to have their consciences trampled at the hands of a government that they pay taxes to employ. I am sorry for Barronelle. I don’t think that she should have to celebrate something she disagrees with.

If there is one thing that troubles me about her statement, it’s that she cashes out her opposition to gay marriage in purely religious terms, and I think that’s not he right approach. The right approach is to talk about how children suffer when they are denied their mother or their father or both, how same-sex marriage undermines marital norms of exclusivity and permanence, how same-sex marriage undermines religious liberty, etc. But still, it’s important that she fight this and that everyone understands how same-sex marriage changes society.

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Christian magistrate punished for saying children need a mother and a father

Dina tweeted this article from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A Christian magistrate has been disciplined by a Tory Cabinet Minister for expressing the belief that children should be raised by both a mother and a father.

Richard Page told colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case that he thought it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple.

He was shocked a week later when he found he had been reported to the judges’ watchdog for alleged prejudice, and was suspended from sitting on family court cases.

Mr Page, an experienced NHS manager, has now been found guilty of serious misconduct by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling – who previously spoke in support of a Christian couple who turned away a gay couple from their B&B.

He has also been ordered to go on an equality course before he is allowed back in the courtroom.

The married 68-year-old was told he had broken the oath sworn by all Justices of the Peace (JPs) as well as Labour’s controversial Equality Act, by being guided by his religious views and discriminating against the same-sex adoptive parents.

Last night, critics said the case was another example of how people who hold traditional Christian views feel they have no freedom of speech and find it difficult to hold public office in modern Britain.

Mr Page told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is tremendous pressure to keep quiet and go along with what is seen to be politically correct.

‘Everyone else seems to be allowed to stand up for their beliefs except for Christians.’ Mr Page was called on to consider an adoption order at a family court last July.

As a lay judge he is not required to be legally qualified and is meant to ‘bring a broad experience of life to the bench’ in making decisions. Because of the controversial secretive nature of such hearings, The Mail on Sunday cannot publish details of the case.

[…]‘I think there is something about a man, a woman and a baby, that it’s natural and therefore the others are not. That is the comment that I made,’ he said.

‘Therefore, since my task as a magistrate is to do the best for the child, my feeling was, quite reasonably, that a man and a woman would be better.’

I found it shocking that a Tory (Conservative Party) Cabinet minister would discipline this man, although I know that the Conservative Party in the UK is pro-same-sex marriage.

What is interesting is Grayling’s change of mind on conscience vs gay rights:

2010 As Shadow Home Secretary:

He backs Christian couple’s right to ban gay couple from their B&B (he subsequently lost his job)

‘I think we need to allow people to have their own consciences. If you look at the case of “Should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from their hotel?”… I took the view that if it’s a question of somebody who’s doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn’t come into their own home

December 2014 as Lord Chancellor:

He disciplines Christian JP who suggested a man and a woman would be better parents for child than gay couple

‘The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have Issued Mr Richard Page JP, a Magistrate assigned to the Central Kent Bench with a reprimand. Mr Page, whilst sitting in the Family Court, was found to have been influenced by his religious beliefs and not by the evidence.

‘The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice considered that this amounted to serious misconduct and that Mr Page should have recused himself from the matter.’

[…]As Shadow Home Secretary in 2010, Mr Grayling had backed a Christian couple’s right to turn away a gay couple from their B&B – and as a result of the furore initially missed out on a Cabinet post after the Election.

Wow. So this Anglican Christian initially used to support Christians doing what their consciences dictate, then after losing his job over it, he changed his mind, and now thinks the secular state should decide.I guess to me, being someone who is not in charge of other people and not very important, the most important thing to do with my life is to do whatever God approves of. At the end of the day, only his opinion matters.

I think what shocks me the most is the fact that Mr. Page was disciplined for just stating common sense about what children need. I wonder which parent the Conservative Party MP thinks a child can do without? Is it a mother? No, we have evidence showing that the mother is vital to boys and girls. Is it the father? I think everyone is well aware now what fatherlessness does to a child – be it a boy or a girl. So here is a Christian man trying to put himself in the place of this child and asking himself – what does a child need? A child needs a mother and father. Apparently, this is some sort of crime to say in the UK.

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NHS appeals decision allowing midwives to conscientiously object to performing abortions

What happens when you let a secular government take over health care provisioning?

Here is a story from the BBC about the state-run health care system in the UK.

Excerpt:

The UK’s highest court will hear legal arguments on whether midwives have a right to refuse to take any part in abortion procedures on moral grounds.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde appealed to the Supreme Court after judges in Scotland said Roman Catholic midwives had a right to conscientious objection.

[…]Five judges in London will hear the case. A ruling is expected next year.

Ms Doogan, from Garrowhill in Glasgow, and Mrs Wood, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, were employed as labour ward co-ordinators at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.

[…]This landmark case tests the balance between those whose religious beliefs do not allow them to play any part whatsoever in abortion, and the health authorities’ duty under the law to enable women to have an abortion. Many Christian groups back the midwives’ position.

The midwives’ counsel, Gerry Moynihan QC, told the court in the women’s earlier successful appeal that the law was clear that the right to conscientious objection contained in the Abortion Act was intended to apply to the whole team whose involvement was necessary to achieve the procedure.

If the Supreme Court upholds the midwives’ earlier successful appeal, it could set a legal precedent, allowing other midwives who object to abortion to take the same stance.

The Royal College of Midwives and the women’s charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service have both warned that any such ruling could have severe implications for the care of women choosing to terminate their pregnancy.

The BPAS is the largest abortion provider in the UK. I blogged before about their leader, Ann Furedi, who supports sex-selection abortions. I thought then that sex-selection abortions was the worst thing about abortion, but now I see that she would actually force her moral views on other people, compelling them by the power of government to act against their beliefs. There is something deep inside me that just recoils from making a person do something that they think is morally wrong. But I guess pro-abortion people don’t share my concern.

When I blogged before about these two midwives when they won their appeal case, I wrote this:

If the health care system were private, then it would be easy for midwives to find another company to work for that did not violate their consciences. But when the government runs the whole health care system, where are you supposed to go? They are a monopoly and they make the rules. Yet another reasons for Christians to vote for smaller government. In a free market, if you don’t want to buy something from one store, you can go to another store. There is competition. But where are these nurses supposed to go? They are midwives, and the government and the courts make the rules in a government-run health care system.

This is why we need to keep the government OUT of health care. When you work for a government monopoly, and they want you to do something that you don’t want to do, you have two choices – do what they want or leave the country. If the only health care system is government-run, then if you want to practice health care, you have to leave. That seems unfair to me.

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California State University system de-recognizes IVCF from 23 campuses

Princess Mandy posted this story from Christianity Today, and I am blogging it.

Excerpt: (links removed)

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) has been, in modern campus terminology, “derecognized” by California State University schools. Basically, they will no longer be a recognized campus organization on any of the 23 schools in that system. IVCF has been derecognized because they require their leaders to have Christian beliefs.

It’s not just InterVarsity that will be impacted. Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities. This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters.

[…]Now, it’s not persecution. Christians are not banned. People can share their faith. But, now, what we once called “equal access” has taken another hit—people of faith do not have equal access to the university community, like the environmentalist club, the LGBT organization, or the chess club.

The university system has decided that speech with beliefs that undergird it—and shape how it is organized—has to be derecognized.

I asked Greg Jao, who is National Field Director & Campus Access Coordinator, what this actually meant. He explained,

Loss of recognition means we lose 3 things: free access to rooms (this will cost our chapters $13k-30k/year to reserve room). We also lose access to student activities programs, including the new student fairs where we meet most students. We also lose standing when we engage faculty, students and administrators.

And while they still have freedom to request a meeting spot in some buildings, they no longer have the status when other officially recognized groups request the same spot—even though they are, well, fee-paying students in a facility owned by the people of California.

Jao indicated the work is not done, explaining,

We still intend to minister on campus but loss of recognition is a significant impediment.

The bigger, and ongoing, issue is the continual sanitization of unacceptable religious voices from universities. It’s ironic—those who champion nondiscrimination, in the name of nondiscrimination, are creating rules that push out those who “discriminate” based on biblical belief statements.

A few years ago, I asked in the pages of USAToday, are evangelicals no longer welcome in the public arena? If that arena is a California state university, and those evangelicals want an official school organization, that answer is obvious.

This has already happened in other places, perhaps most notably at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. But, Vanderbilt is a private university. Now, state schools have decided that, due to their odd policies restricting belief based organization from requiring belief, students who have evangelical beliefs—and think the leaders of their belief-based campus organization should also have beliefs—are no longer welcome as a student organization.

Christian taxpayers in California are paying into this school system, thanks to the compulsory collection of taxes. So now Christian families will have less money to send their own kids to schools that actually allow freedom of association and equal access to Christians. We have to pay twice – once into a system that treats us as second-class citizens, and once into a private system that recognizes our fundamental rights. This is why we should be voting to cut off the money supply to the non-essential responsibilities of government. We need to keep our money to work around the discrimination of the secularists.

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Senate Democrats new bill allows Gosnell-style abortion clinics in all 50 states

State-level pro-life laws

New state-level pro-life laws (by year)

From National Review.

Excerpt:

Readers will recall, though they will not enjoy it, the details of Dr. Gosnell’s case, the transcript of which reads like the screenplay for a Rob Zombie horror flick: the illegal abortions; the newborns who survived botched abortion attempts only to have their spinal cords severed with scissors; the obscenely unhygienic conditions, with free-ranging cats using the clinic as an open-air litter box; the dead patient and subsequent manslaughter conviction; and, finally, the murder convictions. The Gosnell gore-fest was a direct consequence of the elevation of abortion to divine office: Neither the local authorities in Democrat-dominated Philadelphia nor the Democrat-dominated statewide bureaucracies in Pennsylvania were much inclined to exercise basic oversight of abortion clinics. Even after a woman died under Dr. Gosnell’s knife, there was little interest in investigating his practice: It took allegations of illegal prescription-drug use and the piqued interest of the DEA to put Gosnell on the radar.

Senator Blumenthal proposes to apply the Philadelphia model to the nation at large. Under his bill, states would have effectively no power even to ensure that abortions are performed by licensed physicians — surely the most minimal standard of medical responsibility that there is. Laws covering grisly late-term abortions would be forcibly overturned and fetal viability would be redefined according to the subjective whim of the abortionist. While the Democrats are bemoaning a fictitious war on women, their bill would provide federal protection to sex-selective abortions — the barbaric practice under which generations of girls have been decimated in such backward jurisdictions as China and Azerbaijan, a practice The Economist describes as “gendercide.” Laws restricting taxpayer funding of abortion would be overturned. Laws protecting the consciences of physicians who choose not to perform abortions would be overturned.

Senate Democrats are also engaged in other pro-abortion activities, though – like trying to force Christian-owned businesses to pay for abortion-causing drugs.

Excerpt:

Senate Democrats today lost their bid to approve legislation to “overturn” the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby and other companies from being forced to comply with the HHS mandate that compels them to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.

Republicans were able to sustain their filibuster against the bill and prevailed on a 56-43 vote, with Democrats voting to move to a vote on the pro-abortion bill and almost all Republicans uniting to vote against it.

[…]The legislation Democrats wanted approved would change the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act in a way that would force companies to pay for birth control, contraception and those abortion-causing drugs.

Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), both abortion advocates, are behind the new legislation and they said, “The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act would ban employers from refusing to provide health coverage — including contraceptive coverage — guaranteed to their employees and dependents under federal law.”

I am always surprised when Christians vote for Democrats. I don’t see how a Christian could vote for a party that elevates abortion to the level of a sacrament, and diminishes the rights of conscience and religious liberty. What kind of religious person could vote for extremists like this?

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