Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

A friend from Ireland reports on their referendum on same-sex marriage

Ireland 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

Ireland 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

I got an e-mail from a friend in Ireland about the referendum they just had where the pro-marriage side lost by a margin of 62-38.

He writes:

Hope you don’t mind the link suggestions but I’ve listed some interesting articles from the marriage referendum in Ireland. I’m from the North part of Ireland so I couldn’t vote but some of the vitriol and hatred from the so-called “tolerant” left was absolutely vile. From “all the no voters should be murdered” to “why don’t all you no voters jump into a well”, it was fairly clear to see just what the true colours were.

The slogans all around the country were “marriage equality for all”. By hijacking the term “equality”, this effectively suggested that any naysayers are just vile, intolerant bigots. It wouldn’t be like the secular left to shut down discussion now would it?

[…]What I think you may be interested in is the sheer scale of the bullying that went on here. “Vote No” posters were ripped down, eggs were thrown at no campaigners and a young child was even hurt at a demonstration. Virtually all discussion was closed and no debate was allowed with respect to the politicians. All parties were enforcing the whip and any dissenters would no doubt be expelled from the party. Then you have to throw in the huge corporations that have offices in Ireland like Google, Microsoft and Twitter. They all have policies which promote diversity and inclusion so how would any no-voters who happen to be employees of these companies feel when their employer takes a political stance?

He understands the problem with the redefinition of marriage so that it is based on “love” rather than a lifelong commitment centered around producing and raising children:

What frustrates me about this slogan is that they absolutely were not about “marriage equality for all”. They still place limits on marriage such as close relatives, young children or indeed other topologies of relationship such as polyamory.

It seems to be that marriage in Ireland from this point forward is just some genderless institution for the purposes of validating love. Perhaps the government will introduce some means-testing to ensure that the love of those involved really is valid!

Yes, that’s the problem with love, it comes and goes. And that’s why male-male and female-female relationships are so short lived. If marriage is about feelings of love and self-fulfillment, rather than the needs of the children you make to have a mom and a dad who love them and care about them, then it does not last. Period. (Aside: and that’s why you never marry a woman who rejects responsibilities, expectations, and obligations for fun and thrills!)

Here are his three links:

  1. Ireland’s ‘tolerant’ elite now demonise anyone who opposes gay marriage
  2. Ireland’s gay marriage vote was never an equal contest
  3. Asking questions about funding for referendum campaign

I had already read the first two, but not the third. I really recommend reading the first one, so you can reflect on where your money is going when you choose to patronize big corporations, and when you vote for parties on the secular left, as many Christians do.

Just briefly from the first:

The president, Michael D Higgins, and the prime minister, Enda Kenny, back gay marriage. So does virtually every politician. Indeed, the main parties are enforcing the party whip on gay marriage, meaning any Senator or TD who votes against it is likely to be expelled from his or her party. According to the Irish Independent, even politicians who harbour ‘reservations about this major legislative change’ are not speaking out, ‘for fear of disobeying the party whip’.

[…]The public sector also backs gay marriage. It’s apparently being strongarmed to do so. According to one dissenting politician — the only one — ‘agencies who receive state funding are being pressured [by officials] into supporting a Yes vote’.

Silicon Valley is fully behind Yes: Twitter, Google and eBay have all come out for gay marriage. Twitter’s Irish boss says a Yes victory will enhance ‘Ireland’s international reputation’ — another way of saying that if you vote No, you are damaging your own country. Even the police are saying Yes: the Garda Representative Association caused a stir by calling on its members to support gay marriage, leading some to wonder if it’s right for coppers to stick their truncheons into politics.

So, the armed wing, political wing and chattering wing of the Irish elite is behind Yes.

The second article mentions that U.S.-based gay activist groups bankrolled the Yes side effort:

I suppose it is possible that the vote would have been quite as conclusive – roughly 60:40 – if the debate had not been both staggeringly one-sided and the Yes campaign had not been bankrolled so overwhelmingly by US pressure groups. Certainly the youth vote would have gone that way anyway.

[…]But one of its in-house dissidents – the impression of balance is desirable – is Breda O’Brien, a Catholic commentator, who rather put the cat among the pigeons with a piece on 9 May on the funding for the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) and other lobby groups by a US organisation called Atlantic Philanthropies. The striking thing about the donations was not just their size – $4.7 million to Glen in 2005-11, nearly $475,000 to Marriage Equality; some $11.5 million to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, 2001-213 – but that they refer to years before the referendum debate got under way. I can’t wait to see the actual figures for the campaign itself. By comparison the No campaign got by, I gather, on a shoestring budget of about 200,000 euros.

So when friends of mine found that when they entered a shopping centre in Limerick by one entrance on Thursday and left from the other, they were bombarded with leaflets from the Yes campaign, there was a reason for it besides spontaneous enthusiasm. One side could afford a PR campaign; the other couldn’t, though the papers heroically made the most of the tiny-by-comparison sums that US Christians put the way of the No campaign. The motives of Google for entering the fray are probably similar to those that made it take sides on the issue in the US; the referendum was on Friday, and you couldn’t open their bloody homepage without being told it was in favour of marriage equality.

The third article he mentioned talks about how well gay activist organizations were funded. While Christians are giving away billions to feed the hungry and help the poor, our freedom to speak and practice our religion was being removed by groups with very different priorities.

My friend writes, in a second e-mail:

If I was a blogger here I’d be asking three things this morning…
  1. If marriage is now a genderless institution focused only on adult love, is the government going to propose a new institution that is solely focused on children?
  2. If marriage is now purely about a validation of love then wouldn’t it be wise of the government to consider investigating the depth and sincerity of this love before before handing out marriage licences? They surely wouldn’t want to validate a relationship where the two parties weren’t really in love. Some sort of means-test perhaps? /irony
  3. Given the slogans aiming for marriage equality for all, at which point does the government plan to remove the current limits that restrict marriage to two persons?

My question would be this: when will Christians realize that they are under attack and start redirecting funds to pro-marriage groups rather than anti-poverty groups and big government? That money could have been used to fight back in Ireland, but instead Christians just seem to have their heads in the sand on how the world really works.

And finally, I want to add one more article to his list, about a baker in Northern Ireland who was fined for refusing to bake a cake that celebrated same-sex marriage.

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

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.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

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.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

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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