Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Ted Cruz shows how to answer questions on social issues from leftist reporter

This is from Real Clear Politics.

Transcript:

SEN. TED CRUZ: Let me ask a question: Is there something about the left, and I am going to put the media in this category, that is obsessed with sex? Why is it the only question you want to ask concerns homosexuals? Okay, you can ask those questions over and over and over again. I recognize that you’re reading questions from MSNBC…

[…]You’re wincing. You don’t want to talk about foreign policy. I recognize you want to ask another question about gay rights. Well, you know. ISIS is executing homosexuals. You want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals. That ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.

REPORTER: Do you have a personal animosity against gay Americans?

CRUZ: Do you have a personal animosity against Christians sir? Your line of questioning is highly curious. You seem fixated on a particular subject. Look, I’m a Christian. Scripture commands us to love everybody and what I have been talking about, with respect to same-sex marriage, is the Constitution which is what we should all be focused on. The Constitution gives marriage to elected state legislators. It doesn’t give the power of marriage to a president, or to unelected judges to tear down the decisions enacted by democratically elected state legislatures.

His delivery is smooth, fluid, natural. He speaks like this because he has thought about it a lot, and he knows how to present his views to hostile audiences in the best possible light. His positions are not check boxes that he ticks in order to appeal to Christian voters. He actually believes the things we believe, and he will debate with those who disagree.

My concern with Cruz is that he hasn’t got the experience of building consensus to move legislation and enact policies, the way others like Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker have done.

Here’s Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, for example, backing up his words with actions.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Excerpt:

Defying state legislators who rejected a measure that sought to protect “the right of conscience as it relates to marriage,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal acted on his own Tuesday.

“I’m going to do anything I can to protect religious liberty,” the Republican governor told The Daily Signal in a phone interview on Wednesday.

His executive order, issued after state legislators voted down the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act, prohibits “all departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and political subdivision of the state” from discriminating against people or businesses with deeply held religious beliefs about marriage.

“My executive order accomplishes the intent of the [Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act]. It prevents the state from discriminating against people or their business with deeply held religious beliefs,” Jindal said.

The measure builds on a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was enacted during Jindal’s first term as governor. The state of Louisiana, under a Constitutional amendment, also defines marriage strictly as the union between a man and a woman.

[…]“Even if you don’t agree with me on the definition of marriage … you still should want those folks to have their rights—our rights to live the way we want,” he said.

Jindal, who is exploring a 2016 presidential bid, doesn’t shy away from his support for traditional marriage.

“I believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” he said. “Unlike President Obama and Hillary Clinton, my opinions are not evolving on this issue. But at the end of the day, this is even bigger than marriage.”

[…]“Don’t waste your breath trying to bully me in Louisiana,” he said. “It is absolutely constitutional to have religious liberty and economic freedoms.”

I have actually been saying “Don’t Waste Your Breath” to a lot of people lately, it’s become my motto whenever I am defiant.

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Pro-gay marriage study retracted for using “completely” fake data

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

The story was reported in the ultra-leftist Politico.

They say:

One of the authors of a recent study that claimed that short conversations with gay people could change minds on same-sex marriage has retracted it.

Columbia University political science professor Donald Green’s retraction this week of a popular article published in the December issue of the academic journal Science follows revelations that his co-author allegedly faked data for the study, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support of gay marriage.”

According to the academic watchdog blog Retraction Watch, Green published a retraction of the paper Tuesday after confronting co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate assistant at UCLA.

The study received widespread coverage from The New York Times, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and others when it was released in December.

“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science,” Green told the blog.

[…]The investigation into the paper began when graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, were initially impressed with the work and wanted to do an extension of it, according to a timeline of their probe posted Tuesday. When the students started a similar study, they found they were not getting the large response rate that Green and LaCour received in theirs.

[…]Qualtrics said it was not familiar with the project and “denied having the capabilities” to do some of what the survey described, according to Green, after UCLA’s political science department chair contacted the company. The graduate students also contacted a Yale political science professor to help look into the discrepancies.

After speaking with LaCour, Green told one of the graduate students and the Yale professor that the UCLA graduate assistant [Michael LaCour],had confessed to “falsely describing at least some of the details of the data collection.”

The equally leftist Washington Post is even more forceful – calling the data a complete fake.

Excerpt:

[…]…[W]hat really happened was that the data were faked by first author LaCour. Co-author Green (my colleague at Columbia) had taken his collaborator’s data on faith; once he found out, he firmly retracted the article.

Ironically, LaCour benefited (in the short term) by his strategy of completely faking it. If he’d done the usual strategy of taking real data and stretching out the interpretation, I and others would’ve been all over him for overinterpreting his results, garden of forking paths, etc. But, by doing the Big Lie, he bypassed all those statistical concerns.

The Christian Post has an article on this that makes the faking of the data look deliberate.

Excerpt:

According to Hughes, after Green was alerted to the irregularities, he contacted LaCour’s dissertation advisor, Professor Lynn Vavreck. After Vavreck confronted LaCour, he was unable to provide the study’s raw data and claimed he accidentally deleted the file. A representative from Qualtrics, the company that provided the survey program LaCour used, told UCLA there was no evidence that the data had been deleted.

Isn’t it amazing that the fake study was quickly picked up by the mainstream media, but none of them thought to check the data? Well, I guess it’s what they wanted to believe, and there was not even one person who thought critically about it. That’s the trouble with surrounding yourself with people who agree with you. I doubt that anyone in the mainstream media can even state the case against same-sex marriage without resorting to insults or caricatures. And that’s how these mistakes get made.

Here’s an older post that summarizes what we know from research on same-sex parenting. This post is more recent, and links to two studies – one from the UK, and one from Canada – that show that same-sex parenting does have a negative effect on children. Surprise! Moms matter. Dads matter. You can’t switch either one out without hurting the child. That’s one reason why people oppose same-sex marriage. And another is because it is not compatible with religious liberty and freedom of conscience. We’re getting more proof of that almost every day.

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Republican Governor Mary Fallin defends religious liberty against gay marriage

Oklahama Governor Mary Fallin

Oklahama Governor Mary Fallin

Great news about one of my favorite Republican governors, Mary Fallin.

Excerpt:

If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn the millennia-long definition of marriage, Oklahoma clergy will not have to be concerned that they will be forced to perform such ceremonies.

On May 1, Governor Mary Fallin signed a law that would allow ministers to exercise  their religious beliefs on marriage and decline to “wed” same-sex couples.

Governor Fallin’s office said in a press release that H.B. 1007 is “a bill protecting religious leaders from being compelled to perform marriages that are in direct contradiction to their religious beliefs.”

The law says that “no regularly licensed, ordained, or authorized official of any religious organization shall be required to solemnize or recognize any marriage that violates the official’s conscience or religious beliefs.”

Unlike other governors, the Oklahoma Republican did not back down from the potential controversy that could surround her signature of H.B. 1007.

“This bill makes it clear that the government can never compel our religious leaders or houses of worship to act in violation of their faith where marriage is concerned,” Fallin said. “I am proud to join our legislature in taking a strong stand in defense of religious liberty and the freedoms awarded to all American citizens by the U.S. Constitution.”

Somehow, I missed this story about a similar bill passed last week – although this one has not been signed:

The bill is similar to one passed by the Texas Senate last week, the “Pastor Protection Act.” The bill, which is being considered by the House, has enraged some LGBT activists.

The Texas Freedom Network, which says its mission is “to counter the Religious Right,” said the bill would give religiously affiliated entities the “authority to discriminate against almost any Texas family.”

The bill’s supporters say they are simply trying to guarantee conscience rights, which even the Obama administration’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, has admitted could be imperiled by a Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage.

I wonder if either of these states will draw protests from the big corporations and the gay activists? I am more optimistic about Oklahoma, because they don’t have the same exposure to the big corporations that Texas does. Remember that in Indiana it was the big corporations like Apple, Salesforce, Wal-Mart, Angie’s List, etc. that caused Governor Mike Pence to back down, and then the legislature passed a law that made it even tougher on people who want to refuse to celebrate gay marriage.

Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood

Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood

Meanwhile, Obama the atheist wants Bible-believing Christians to convert to Marxism:

[…]…President Obama told the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit that churches should spend less time focusing on abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

During a panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University last Tuesday, Obama criticized churches for how they engage politically, focusing on “divisive issues” such as protecting life and preserving marriage.

[…]While the Christian religion has rejected abortion since its founding, and always considered homosexuality a grave sin, traditionally no welfare state economic theory has been endorsed by the Christian Church.

[…]”I reject his premise,” blogger Stan Guthrie, an editor at large at Christianity Today, commented. “People of faith already do far more for the poor than secular leftists.”

President Obama’s comments, he said, exemplified “unbelievable ignorance on display.”

The unusual scene of a sitting president criticizing churches for emphasizing traditional doctrines opened the question of whether the president and others on the Left intend to influence, cajole, or bully Christians into altering their fundamental moral beliefs. Obama’s remarks came shortly after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton declared that religious beliefs against abortion “have to be changed.”

She had previously likened beliefs that homosexuality is immoral to “honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

[…]Those churches which have emphasized issues like economic redistribution or climate change have had the most precipitous loss of members, according to a new Pew Research Center report on the decline of Christianity in America.

In his remarks at Georgetown, Obama also criticized Fox News for its reporting on welfare and government aid recipients, declaring, “We’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues.”

I blogged about Hillary Clinton’s comments about forcing Christians to endorse abortion in a previous post. I have no doubt that she has the same views on forcing Christians to celebrate gay marriage, too.

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Well, the good news is that we get another shot at this in 2016. I expect a lot of people who claim to be Christians to vote for Hillary Clinton, the candidate of abortion and gay marriage. The candidate of anti-Christian fascism. Will it be different this time? Are we going to put the lives of children, born and unborn ahead of global warming and free birth control pills, this time?

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Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman explains what it is like to face persecution

Barronelle Stutzman vs Washington state

Barronelle Stutzman vs Washington state

This article appeared in the Washington Post, and I though it might be good for us to find out what it is like when big government comes after you for taking the Bible seriously.

Barronelle writes:

I’ve been a florist in Richmond, Wash., for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve developed close relationships with many of my clients.

One of my favorites was Rob Ingersoll. Ingersoll came in often and we’d talk. Like me, he had an artistic eye. I’d try to create really special arrangements for him. I knew he was gay, but it didn’t matter — I enjoyed his company and his creativity.

Then he asked me to create the floral arrangements for his wedding. I love Rob, and I’d always been happy to design for his special days. But there’s something different about a wedding.

Every person in the creative professions regularly has to make decisions about where they lend their artistic talents and which events they will participate in.  For me, it’s never about the person who walks into the shop, but about the message I’m communicating when someone asks me to “say it with flowers.”

I was raised Christian. In my religious tradition, marriage is a sacred religious ceremony between a man, a woman and Christ. It’s a covenant with the church. To participate in a wedding that violates those principles violates the core of my faith.

When Rob  asked me, I thought about it carefully. I talked over the decision with my husband, and I prayed. But ultimately I know I had to stay true to my faith. I couldn’t do it.

When I told Rob, I felt terrible that I couldn’t share this day with him, as I’d shared so many with him before. I took his hands and said, “I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” Rob said he understood, and that he hoped his mom would walk him down the aisle, but he wasn’t sure.  We talked about how he got engaged and why they decided to get married after all these years. He asked me for the names of other flower shops. I gave him the names of three floral artists that I knew would do a good job, because I knew he would want something very special. We hugged and he left.

I never imagined what would happen next. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued me after hearing in the media what had happened. That was shocking. Even more surprising, Rob and his partner Curt, with their ACLU attorneys, filed suit shortly thereafter. A judge ruled against me, but this week, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, I appealed.

We’ve always heard that same-sex marriage would never affect anyone aside from the same-sex couples who wanted to be married. But a judge recently told me that my freedom to live and work according to my beliefs about marriage expired the day same-sex marriage became the law in my state.

Our government is supposed to protect our First Amendment rights — freedom of religion and expression. But the government is telling me I can only be a faithful Christian within the four walls of my church. That’s impossible and it’s unjust. What would Rob and Curt say if the government told them they could only be who they are in their own homes?

This isn’t about bigotry. I’ve had gay and lesbian employees and friends. And it’s important to remember that Rob was a long-time customer and friend despite our different beliefs about marriage. When I had to refer him for this one event, I did everything I could to avoid hurting his feelings and I believed we would remain friends when he left the shop.  He got enough offers after this situation became public to do about 20 weddings.

In Washington, Rob and Curt have the right to get a marriage license. But that doesn’t mean that the state should be able to force people in the creative professions like myself to create expression celebrating the ceremonies.  We all have different viewpoints about how to live our lives.  One thing I’ve loved about our country is that we protect the freedom of artistic expression and the right to disagree over these kinds of issues without one side being threatened by the government over it.

But whatever the state says and however they want to try to punish me, they can’t change my faith. What happens in my business or my life is in God’s hands. Having a clear conscience means much more to me than any amount of money or my business. Rob and Curt have their beliefs about marriage and aren’t being stopped by the state from living them out. I only ask for the same freedom.

If you want to understand just how bad things are in the culture right now, read some of the comments to her post. Lots of non-Christians telling her that true Christianity consists in abandoning morality completely and celebrating whatever non-Christians tell her to celebrate.

Anyway, I definitely would not live in Washington State. But not all states are like Washington.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Here’s Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana:

Louisiana Governor and prospective GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal argued that to President Obama and Hillary Clinton religious liberty only means “you get to go to church and say what you want inside church” during a speech in South Carolina on Saturday.

Jindal said, “There was a time when the left believed in the First Amendment. There was a time when the left really understood that religious liberty is the foundation of our freedom of speech, and freedom of association…without religious liberty, there are no other freedoms like freedom of speech, and freedom of association, and freedom of the press.

He continued, “And make no mistake about it this isn’t just about marriage, though, unlike President Obama and Secretary Clinton, my views on marriage are not evolving with the polls. I continue to believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. This debate is much, much bigger than that. It is bigger than marriage. This is about the power of the state to to close or fine Christian business owners, this is about the left trying to silence us and telling us we don’t have a right to live our lives according to our sincerely held beliefs. When Secretary Clinton, when President Obama say, ‘you’ve got the freedom of religious expression,’ to them, that just means you get to go to church and say what you want inside church. That’s not religious liberty. Religious liberty is  the ability to live our lives according to our faith 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Christianity is a whole life worldview. I want to be able to speak out in the public square for the Christian worldview, just like the gay activists can speak out for their worldview. That’s what the First Amendment is all about, after all. If I wanted secularism, I’d move to North Korea. Unfortunately, we seem to be headed in that direction.

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A positive thing, should the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision go against us

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

I am looking forward to something if the Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage to remove the complementary genders.

This USA Today article from Michael Farris, head of the HSLDA, hints at it.

He writes:

Justice Alito posed a predictable, but revealing question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage oral argument: “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

Verrilli replied that he would need to know more specifics, but allowed that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”

The solicitor general’s answer should have been and probably was practiced. The question was unlikely to have surprised Verrilli, especially with the kind of preparation undertaken by the highest appellate lawyer for the United States in such high stakes situations. Such preparations would include multiple moot courts, simulated arguments with various lawyers playing the roles of each of the members of the Supreme Court trying to ask as many questions as possible.

As an appellate litigator and the coach of eight collegiate national moot court championship teams, I understand the goal of such preparation. You never want to hear a question from the bench that you have not thought about ahead of time.

Alito’s question was premised on the Bob Jones University case from 1983 in which the IRS revoked the school’s tax exempt status because of its policies on interracial dating and marriage. BJU defended on the basis of the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court rejected their defense holding that the government’s goal of eradicating racial discrimination in marriage was more important than BJU’s religious rights.

So, the follow-up question from Alito’s question is obvious: If the court rules in favor of same sex marriage, how can religious colleges that refuse to acknowledge such unions avoid BJU’s fate?

No one should think that IRS implications will stop with colleges. Religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches.

All of these entities are exempt from taxation under the same section of the IRS code. And even though churches can be exempt without application, their exemption can nonetheless be revoked.

Even if it takes the IRS years to begin the enforcement proceedings against such institutions, we can expect other fallout from this decision to begin shortly after the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding will be coerced into immediate compliance. Accreditation agencies will ratchet up their bullying of Christian institutions, as has already been done against Gordon College in Massachusetts. Threats to accreditation are fatal. Colleges may not legally operate in several stateswithout it.

Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.

A slogan of the American Revolution, “We have no King but Jesus” may well be overturned by a 5 to 4 decision of the Supreme Court near the end of June.

Now here’s what I want to see.

I have spent a lot of my life in church, youth groups, campus Christian groups (not talking about Ratio Christi of course) and around happy-clappy Christians who focused on feelings and being accepted. In my current church, issues like abortion and same-sex marriage have never been discussed, much less economics and foreign policy. The leaders of the church are very pious Calvinists who struggle with the idea that they should discuss anything. It probably has something to do with losing the money they get from having a tax-exempt status, but they couch it in piety when they explain to us why we are getting a gospel sermon for the millionth time in a row.

Well, now. I think that if we lose this same-sex marriage case in the Supreme Court, one of the wonderful things that will happen is that these pious churchy ministers will at last be confronted with the mistake they made by giving away the culture to the secularists. At last, all the decades of anti-intellectualism and feminization will hit them right where it hurts – in their pocketbooks. And there will be no denying that they made a terrible mistake in trying to make church solely about praise hymns, devotions and Bible study then. There is a price to pay for focusing on good feelings and comfort, and the churchy pastors are about to find out what it is.

Maybe the Sunday after the decision, the pastors in my church might actually talk to us about the good secular arguments and sociological evidence that there is in favor of traditional marriage. Hey, we might even get a sermon on the evils of divorce, with more arguments and evidence to support the Bible’s position on that issue. Maybe even a sermon on the sexual revolution and premarital sex, that pairs what the Bible teaches with secular arguments and secular evidence that can be used by the flock to make an impact with non-Christians in the culture. Money has a wonderful way of focusing the minds of the most pious of pastors.

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