Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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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Left uses stories and peer-pressure to indoctrinate children to support same-sex marriage

National Education Association

National Education Association

This is a striking story from Life Site News. It talks about how the school system gets pro-same-sex-marriage speakers to teach the children to support same-sex-marriage.

It says:

A primary grade lesbian teacher from an Ontario public school revealed in a workshop at a homosexual activist conference for teachers earlier this month how she uses her classroom to convince children as young as four to accept homosexual relationships.

“And I started in Kindergarten. What a great place to start. It was where I was teaching. So, I was the most comfortable there,” Pam Strong said at the conference, attended by LifeSiteNews.

The conference, hosted by the homosexual activist organization Jer’s Vision, now called the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, focused on the implementation of Bill 13 in Ontario classrooms. Bill 13, called by critics the ‘homosexual bill of rights,’ passed in June 2012 and gave students the right to form pro-gay clubs in their school, including Catholic ones, using the name Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

Strong, who is in an open relationship with another woman and who has been a teacher for about five years, focused her workshop on what she called the “power of conversation” for promoting LGBTQ issues in an elementary classroom. She began her talk by relating how she reacted the first time one of her students called another student ‘gay’ as a putdown.

“With [the principal’s] encouragement, we decided that I would go from class to class and talk about what ‘gay’ means, what does ‘LGBTQ’ mean, what do ‘I’ mean,” she told about 40 attendees, all educators, at her workshop.

There are some examples of how she manipulates the children, but I want to focus on one in particular:

Strong related an incident that happened last fall involving a new boy who had recently entered her grade 5 classroom. The new boy had not yet been made aware of Strong’s sexual preference for other women.

“All my class is very used to who I am. My family picture is very proudly in my room now. On Mondays they quite often will say, ‘What did you do with your wife?’ It’s normal in my classroom.”

Strong said that a conversation between herself and the students came up one day where it was mentioned that she was a lesbian. The new boy put his hands over his mouth and said, according to Strong: “Oh, my God, I think I’m going to puke.”

“As I took the abuse — personally, as an individual – of those words, I also saw half of my class look at me with incredible concern. One student who was right in front of me already had tears in her eyes. And I noticed several other students who were looking at him. They were just very, very upset with this kid,” she related.

Strong said the boy instantly became aware that “something he had said had just created this unbelievable tension in the room.” She related how she addressed the boy, telling him: “I think that what you might not be aware of is that I am gay, and I am married to a woman, and my family has two moms.’”

“His eyes just started darting around, and he was incredibly uncomfortable,” she related.

“I looked at the other kids and I said: ‘Ok guys, what I want to ask you is: Am I upset with him?’ And the one little girl in my class put up her hand — that doesn’t usually get into these conversations very much in my classroom — and she said, ‘Mrs Strong, I know you’re not upset with him, because he hasn’t had the benefit of our conversations.”

“And I looked at my little friend, my ‘new’ friend, and I said: ‘But, we’re going to have one now,’” she related.

Strong said that she then directed her class to the board and asked them to write everything she had told them related to LGBTQ.

“And my class all of a sudden popped up. ‘LGBTQ’ was on the board, ‘lesbian,’ and all the different words coming out there. And I sat back and said, ‘Let’s review.’ So, the last year and a half of ‘inclusive’ education came alive in my classroom.”

Strong told her workshop attendees that her “new little friend” is now a devoted champion of diversity. She boasted how he was the one in her class to count down the days to the pro-homosexual Day of Pink that took place earlier this month. When Strong took a photo of all the children wearing pink shirts in her classroom, she said the boy requested to be in the front.

She isn’t interested in presenting both sides of the argument, or persuading grown adults like Dr. Ryan T. Anderson. She wants to go after children with stories that make her side look a certain way, stories that cannot be challenged or refuted by children. And with no opt-out or notification for parents, because parents have to be kept in the dark. Parents just get to pay to feed and clothe and shelter the children – but what they think is decided by teachers with an agenda. This indoctrination against the values of parents is taxpayer-funded. With no opt-out.  This is the “big government” that so many young evangelicals support.

This is why I am concerned about finding a wife who understands these things and takes them seriously enough to make a plan to deal with it. I have had Christian women who responded to this challenge from the schools by telling me that they intended to entrust the children to daycare and secular schools so they could focus on careers, travel, buying bling, etc. I try to show them studies showing how children are affected by daycare, homeschooling, etc. Usually, it’s like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s almost as if they have to  get their way on these things even though they have not studied these things themselves. They have to find a way to escape from any responsibilities to others so they can be free to do what feels good to them.

I think that the feminism that they learn at college causes it – even for Christian women who want to get married “some day”, but who are not studying these problems because they are too busy trying to have a good time according to the standards of secular society. I’m flexible about solutions to these challenges, but I like people to study the problem seriously, not just dig in their heels and demand to get their own way regardless of the consequences to the children.

Keep in mind that even if you homeschool or private-school your kids, that they have live next door to the brainwashed kids. The brainwashed kids are taught to hold to their views at a brittle, non-rational, emotional level. This is why children who are indoctrinated by the secular left are so offended by “triggering” behaviors that they have to take refuge in “safe spaces” free of opposing views. Our kids (raised by us) might agree with us, but they are not free of the influence from a much larger group of brainwashed kids. Our kids have to work for them. Our kids have to go to school with them. Our kids have to live under the laws that these other kids will pass, as they are shuffled through the best schools because they have the “right” views. The brainwashed kids vote and we will have to live under the laws they pass. Do you have a plan to deal with this? It seems to me that if women want to get married and have kids “some day”, then they should have thought about this some and be willing to talk about what to do about it, and be open to the fact that they may have to make some adjustments to prepare for it.

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Will gay activists threaten this little girl for covering her eyes at a gay pride parade?

It seems to me that we need to have another massive protest like we saw in Indiana! Some impertinent little girl at a gay rights parade in Toronto has dared to refuse to celebrate at a gay pride parade.

Look at her committing a hate crime against this innocent gay man. (I am not posting this picture on my blog, and viewer discretion is advised)

The story says:

Earlier this week, our managing editor Steve Jalsevac published a slideshow with his photos from the 2011 Toronto Gay Pride Parade. Many of the photos were shocking. But one commenter pointed out a detail in one photo that many people probably missed.

The photo says it all: Naked men marching in Toronto’s Pride parade, showcasing what supporters cheer on as the advancement of “gay rights” and “sexual liberation.” The naked men march past men, women, and yes even children. Everyone is encouraged to celebrate “diversity.”

Oh, but what’s this? A young girl with blond hair in a turquoise teeshirt knows that something is wrong.

The girl, maybe 8 or 9, doesn’t want to see naked men displaying their genitals. She feels assaulted by what she sees. She implicitly understands that her innocence is threatened by what she sees. She knows something wrong is happening.

Death threats and getting people fired is getting to be a common response of gay activists to anything less than enthusiastic celebration of the gay agenda. That’s what happened to the religious liberty law in Indiana, to the pizza store that refused to cater a gay wedding. Maybe this little girl needs to be taught a lesson, too, right gay activists?

Where does it end?

Interesting to note that Ontario, the province where this occurred, has elected a gay premier (governor), and that their sex education curriculum was written in consultation with a convicted sex offender.

Read it:

A man who was once Ontario’s deputy minister of education has pleaded guilty to three child pornography-related charges in a Toronto court.

Benjamin Levin, who was also a university professor, entered a guilty plea for making written child pornography, counselling a person to commit a sexual assault, and possession of child pornography.

He was originally charged with seven child-pornography-related offences.

The investigation that led to Levin’s July 2013 arrest began in mid-2012 after officials in Toronto were contacted by authorities in New Zealand and later police in London, Ont.

From late 2004 to early 2007, Levin held the post of deputy education minister in Ontario, and was on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team as she took office.

He also served as Manitoba’s deputy minister of advanced education and deputy minister of education, training and youth between 1999 and 2002.

Levin has been back in the spotlight in recent days as Ontario released an updated sex-education curriculum.

Kathleen Wynne is the lesbian premier. She divorced her husband and left her three kids when she “came out”. Something to celebrate! You’d better celebrate it, or else. And the sex education curriculum will make sure that going forward, fewer and fewer people will see anything wrong with what she did.

You can read about the sex education curriculum here.

Look:

CLC has studied the 2015 proposed curriculum and we have found that the controversial elements of the program that angered parents in 2010 have remained unchanged, word for word, at the same age-inappropriate grade levels as before, when it was written under the direction of confessed child pornographer Benjamin Levin, then Deputy Education Minister.  The only difference now is that Kathleen Wynne has made the curriculum even more explicit and more age-inappropriate than before, dramatically increasing the mentions of “Gender Identity” theory, sexual “identities” and “orientations”.

Anal intercourse is still being presented in a way that students will interpret as carrying no higher risk for STIs than vaginal intercourse, an irresponsible and misleading presentation of the former which carries a 3000% higher risk for contracting HIV. The curriculum also downplays the seriousness of contracting HIV, potentially leaving the impression with students that it’s not really that big a deal. A section on HIV and AIDS seems to have an undertone of making it acceptable and normal for individuals who are HIV positive to continue having sex with others. Of course this is not science-based teaching. It’s political and social engineering. It is irresponsible and may also put lives at risk.

The 2015 version has added a new, controversial and very flawed theory that will be taught to elementary school children, called “gender expression”.   The new curriculum document also has a much stronger undertone of sex as a purely recreational activity whose purpose is pleasure, apart from love or marriage.  In fact, the words “love” and “marriage” never appear once in the sex-education strand of the curriculum. Not a single mention. Does that reveal the mindset of its writers, if not the philosophical underpinnings of the curriculum itself?

That’s what politicians on the left stand for. That’s what they want for your children. Canada is about 10-20 years ahead of us, but we are catching up to them with each new Democrat we elect.

Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign

Hillary Clinton and the Human Rights Campaign

Make no mistake that Hillary Clinton is on board with this agenda, and she gives speeches extolling the virtues of the gay agenda to the Human Rights Campaign, just as Obama did.

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UK’s largest teacher union tells teachers they MUST promote the gay lifestyle to students

Dina tweeted this article from the UK Daily Mail.

It says:

Schools should be forced to promote gay relationships in sex education lessons, union leaders say.

The National Union of Teachers has called for a ‘positive portrayal of same sex relationships’ in lessons to be made ‘compulsory’ under the next government.

It said MPs had a duty to tackle ‘homophobia, biphobia and transphobia’ in schools and create a ‘positive climate of understanding about sexuality’.

[…]Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: ‘This motion is itself an act of intolerance towards mainstream Christians and their beliefs. It would force Christian teachers to have to choose between their faith and their job.

‘I wonder whether Christian members of the NUT who have paid their dues can expect any help from the NUT when their jobs are on the line.’

He added that Church schools already teach ‘love and tolerance’ of others without having to explicitly approve of same sex relationships.

The proposal was contained in a motion on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights passed by the NUT at its annual conference in Harrogate yesterday.

It stated: ‘Conference instructs the executive to call upon the present and future government to … make it compulsory that all schools’ sex education policies include a positive portrayal of same sex relationships.’

That reminded me of this story from a few weeks ago about the Catholic teacher who was forced to take down pro-traditional marriage postings from her Facebook page.

The article says:

A Catholic high school teacher was forced to remove her Facebook page Wednesday after a petition surfaced online calling attention to her “homophobic” posts.

The petition was posted on change.org Tuesday and has 441 signatures as of Wednesday evening. It points directly to posts allegedly made by Patricia Jannuzzi, a theology teacher at Immaculata High School in Somerville, and has caught the eye of actress Susan Sarandon and former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Greg Bennett.

“Mrs Jannuzzi’s facebook is a religious curtain covering hateful message,” the petition reads. “The homophobic and short-sighted posts are disturbing and degrading.”

In a statement provided to NJ Advance Media, the school said it took “immediate action” and “mandated that the teacher involved permanently de-active her Facebook page.”

“The opinions reflected in these posts do not in any way represent the philosophy, mission or student experience of this high school,” the statement said. “… Through our investigation, we have determined that the information posted on this social media page has not been reflected in the curriculum content of the classes she teaches.”

[…]Another alumnus, Scott Lyons, who is gay and had Januzzi as a teacher, shared a letter on Facebook he sent to her after reading one of her posts. He said in the letter that he remembers Januzzi’s classes to be “focused on love and acceptance” but that he is “offended and disappointed” by her recent posts.

“While I respect the fact that people have different opinions on the matter what I can tell you from my heart is that I urge you to be careful with your words and the messaging you are putting out there,” he wrote.

Lyons is the nephew of Sarandon, who shared the post to her 3,000 followers.

“So proud of my nephew Scott and the dialogue he started,” Sarandon writes. “…High school is a tough time anyway… students don’t need teachers making it even more difficult.”

Immaculata said in its statement that the school is reviewing its social media policy with faculty and staff members.

“It is the policy of the school that all faculty and staff demonstrate respect and sensitivity to all people at all times and to avoid offending any individuals or groups,” the statement said.

The Catholic teacher linked to an article from Young Conservatives. A mainstream conservative site. And that’s what her employer did to her. Apparently, the employer is a Catholic school.

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Planet Fitness expels woman for judging transexual man in women’s locker room

Here’s the local news story from WNEM. (H/T Ari)

Excerpt:

It’s a business that sells itself on being non-judgmental but Planet Fitness has allegedly revoked the membership of a woman for complaining.

Yvette Cormier, a member at the Midland location, says she had no idea what that meant until a few days ago.

“I was stunned and shocked. He looked like a man.. He did not look like a woman,” Cormier said. Cormier is talking about a transgender woman who walked into the woman’s locker room while she was getting undressed. She says she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“This is very unprofessional. This is very scary,” Cormier said.

Not knowing why the person was in the women’s locker room, Cormier said she immediately complained to the front desk and eventually to corporate offices.

“They told me the same thing, that he was allowed in there because that’s the sex he wants to be,” Cormier said.

Cormier said she understands that some men self-identify as women and some women self-identify as men, but said the person looked like a man and that caught her off guard.

Cormier lost her membership for violating the company’s no judgement zone policy.

Moving forward, Cormier said she isn’t concerned with getting her membership back. Her concern now is to warn other women at this gym to make them aware of this policy, because she says Planet Fitness failed to warn her.

The company told TV5 that Cormier’s concerns about the policy regarding gender identity was inappropriate and disruptive by complaining to other members at the gym.

Representatives with Planet Fitness issued this statement:

“Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members. Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity.

In expressing her concerns about the policy, the member in question exhibited behavior that club management deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was canceled”

They are non-judgmental! They kicked this woman out of their gym because she did not want a man in the women’s (and girls!) locker room. But that’s not judgmental. She is welcome there, just like anyone else, except not really.

What does this policy really mean? Well, it means that any man can walk into the women’s locker room and expose himself naked to women – and girls! – so long as he “self-identifies” as a woman. And just keep in mind that this could easily be a registered sex-offender. And what Planet Fitness is saying is this – if you don’t stand up and salute this, then you are a bigoted hatemonger who needs to be excluded from their gym. They don’t want you.

Dennis Prager has an article that explains what is behind stories like this.

He writes:

Most Americans do not realize that, as large as the issue of same-sex marriage is (and it is very large), there is an even larger issue at stake in the same-sex marriage debate.

That issue is whether gender matters: Do male and female, man and woman, matter?

In the brief span of about 40 years, a war against the male-female distinction has been waged. And it has been largely successful.

[…]It began with modern feminism, a movement that has influenced vast numbers of men and women born after World War II. It was the movement’s goal of women’s equality that led to its denial of innate male-female differences. First, feminists feared than any acknowledgement of male-female differences would lead back to male-female roles. Second, they increasingly tended to equate “equal” with “same.”

Feminism convinced a generation of men and women, especially those attending college and graduate school, that (to cite one well-known example) the only reason boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls and tea sets is due to a sexist upbringing. Without sexist assumptions about boys’ and girls’ alleged differences, boys would just as happily play with dolls and tea sets and girls would just as happily play with trucks.

[…]The next societal force working to erase the significance of the sexes was the gay rights movement. The very premise of the movement is that the only thing that matters in sexual relations is that consenting adults engage in it. Whether men and women make love to one another or to members of their own sex makes no difference. Gender doesn’t matter.

And if gender doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter with regard to parents: It makes no difference whether children have two mothers, two fathers or a mother and a father. Schools such as New York’s progressive Rodeph Sholom Day School, in 2001, even banned any celebration of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day among its elementary school students.

Catholic Charities, the nation’s oldest ongoing adoption services, were forced out of the adoption business in states like Massachusetts and Illinois — because they placed children for adoption only with a married man and woman. Progressives consider such a sentiment — that, all things being equal, it is better for a child to have a mother and a father — as bigoted and absurd. Since the sexes aren’t different, a mother provides nothing that two fathers can’t provide, and a father provides nothing that two mothers can’t provide.

Prager is Jewish, and he adds this specific to Jewish Scriptures:

The Torah went out of its way to assert the monumental importance of gender distinctions. When God created the first human beings, the Torah tells us, “Male and female He created them.” Only of humans does the creation story make this statement; gender distinctions don’t matter among animals except with regard to procreation. And the Torah prohibits men from wearing women’s clothing and women from wearing that which represents manhood.

Do you think that men and women are different, and that it’s a good thing that they come together in marriage to work together as a unit? If so, be aware that you are in the cross-hairs of the radical feminism / gay rights agenda.

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