Category Archives: Religious Freedom

Supreme Court’s Outrageous Over-reach Not in Best Interests of America or Homosexuals

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage” — at odds with Supreme Court precedent — will not help people with same-sex attraction. It will not empower them; it will not enhance their lives.

It will expose their most pressing need: to overcome same-sex attraction.

This decision, imposed by judicial fiat and not by the people through their elected representatives, will demonstrate the many problems fraught by same-sex dynamics – namely short-lasting, unstable, and risky relationships, high rates of domestic violence, higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse.

And most sadly, the children trapped in homes without their father or their mother will become a living testimony to developmental deficits forced upon them by adults.

Furthermore, only small percentages of same-sex attracted people are even interested in getting married. The institution of marriage is at odds with their libertine view of relationships and sexual activity.

Same-sex marriage is now to be on full display, and it cannot match the timeless union of one man and one woman as the gold standard for men, women, children, communities and society.

This decision does not move America forward. It is a societal setback rubberstamped by over-reaching judicial activists.

This is not progress. It is a digression which will have serious, negative long-term consequences.

Militant homosexuals need to heed this call: do not persecute, do not punish those who disagree with you. You will only prove the threats we raised against same-sex marriage are on full display and are ringing true. No matter how much you deny it.

Stop the vandalism. Stop the harassment. Stop the fascism. And stop the hate.

Respect the consciences of those who don’t agree with you. Don’t force anyone to participate in something they consider immoral. You can find others who do agree with you and who will participate in your ceremonies.

Be as respectful to others as you wish them to be to you. Those of you considered leaders of homosexual pressure groups must call for civility and restraint from those among you who are now emboldened to lash out against us.

America is watching you now. You are getting what you wanted, but not what you need.

You are selling yourselves short of something that is so much better for you, so much more fulfilling and wholesome. You can overcome same-sex attraction with counseling. And with prayer and the support of your family and friends. It is available to you today. Here in Arizona and elsewhere. Accept it. Embrace it. Seek what is best for you, not what others, not what homosexual pressure groups guided by a profit motive tell you that you need.

RFRAs have NEVER Harmed a Homosexual Person

By Casey Mattox
The Federalist

It has been 22 years since President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. For two decades it has applied to every law in the District of Columbia and the federal government. In the intervening decades, 20 other states have followed suit with their own state RFRAs. These RFRAs hold government to a high burden of proof when it burdens religious exercise. Under RFRA, there are no guaranteed outcomes, but the government cannot take burdens on religious exercise lightly.

In two decades of RFRAs, the world has not ended. In fact, not a single person who identifies as homosexual has been harmed by these RFRAs. None. This may come as a surprise to you if you have watched any of the media coverage or been on social media for the last several days. The unhinged claims from the Left have been entirely detached from the reality that these laws have actually existed for decades and have never resulted in any of the things they worry will happen. This is not new. Dire warnings that are unsurprisingly not confirmed by future events have been a common theme in arguments from the Left in recent years.

Prophesying Doom that Never Materializes

The Equal Access Act is the reason your child can have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at school. Most Americans would think that permitting students to voluntarily get together before school to pray is a good thing. But when Congress considered the act in 1984, some Democrats, including then-Rep. Barbara Boxer, opposed it because allowing Christian students to gather to pray “could usher in KKK and Nazi” student groups. More than 30 years later, it is clear Boxer was on the wrong side of history. Her worry that letting kids study the Bible would lead to “Mein Kampf” has not been realized.

Boxer’s worry that letting kids study the Bible would lead to ‘Mein Kampf’ has not been realized.

When the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2006, abortionists argued that approximately 2,200 partial-birth abortions per year were necessary for health reasons. This was important because the law lacked any health exception (except to save the mother’s life). When the Supreme Court issued its opinion eight years ago in April 2007, it held that the law was generally constitutional.

However, the Court invited any abortionist or woman filing a new challenge to show why a partial-birth abortion was necessary in one of those 2,200-per-year instances. Planned Parenthood warned of consequences for women’s health from the decision, just as Justice Ginsburg wrote in a dissent: “One may anticipate that such a preenforcement challenge will be mounted swiftly, to ward off serious, sometimes irremediable harm, to women whose health would be endangered by the intact D&E prohibition.”

Eight years later, no such complaint has been filed. I’m not aware of a single example of any woman who was harmed by not being able to have a partial-birth abortion procedure in that time.

There are three possible reasons: (1) by incredible fortune, the threats to women’s health making partial-birth abortion necessary ceased on April 18, 2007; (2) Women are harmed daily, but Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry lack the resources to file the invited lawsuits; (3) the claim that partial-birth abortion was necessary to protect women’s health was a lie.

Finally, when Texas passed HB2, the pro-life law that brought stardom to Wendy Davis, a primary focus of abortion supporters who opposed the bill was its prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks gestation, when the unborn child is capable of feeling pain. This provision was the centerpiece of the controversy, and Davis opposed it at length. But while virtually every part of the Texas law has been challenged in the intervening two years, the prohibition on abortions after 20 weeks has never been challenged. It has been Texas law since October 2013.

Time to Stop Listening

And Texas isn’t alone. Laws like it have been enacted in 13 states. But despite their cries of harm to women’s health, abortionists have only challenged these laws in the Ninth Circuit and in a now-pending Georgia state court case. At least 10 of these laws, including Texas’s, are in effect without legal challenge. As MSNBC reported, there is

a strategic reason to avoid challenging that [20-week] ban…. [A] Texas challenge would go to the conservative Fifth Circuit. Not only would that court potentially uphold the law…, the combination of decisions would create a split in the circuits that would make the Supreme Court likelier to hear it.

This is their choice. But at some point when your warnings of imminent harm are stifled by your own prudential choices, and none of the bad consequences you warn about ever happen, perhaps your claims just aren’t true. That’s critically important to keep in mind with the needless hysteria happening now over completely mischaracterized state religious freedom laws.

But history need not repeat itself. In the children’s story, when Peter repeatedly cries, “Wolf!” the townspeople finally stop listening. It’s time to stop giving credence to the Left’s cries.

Glendale Pastors Rise up in Defense of Religious Freedom

By Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy

When five Houston pastors had their sermons subpoenaed after speaking out against an overreaching ordinance that severely threatened religious freedom, clergy across the nation began to recognize what is at stake.

Not only are businesses at risk of being penalized or shut down for holding to their religious beliefs, but the fundamental freedoms of churches and pastors are on the line.

It’s in this context that I’ve been blessed to see church leaders throughout the town of Glendale rise up to speak out against a so-called “non-discrimination” ordinance in their town.

Prior to Christmas, some members of the Glendale City Council made it clear their goal was to pass one of these ordinances before the Super Bowl. Yet after an outcry from the people of Glendale and local pastors, this process has been greatly slowed down.

Pastor John Kelley of Calvary Community Church spoke at a Council meeting in December and urged the Council to not hastily pass the measure, and truly hear from the community.

“The city has historically made decisions quickly that we’ve regretted. I plead with the council to not hurry but to listen. It will have a tremendous impact on people of faith as well as the rest of the citizens,” Pastor Kelley said. “Please, listen to us and seek our voice in this decision.”

Then just this week, more than 50 pastors and church leaders from Glendale showed up at the Council to urge them not to pass one these ordinances.

Senator Flake: You’re Just Wrong

Senator John McCain’s surrogate, Senator Jeff Flake, says opponents of Obama’s Cuba normalization “are just plain wrong.”

But here’s the truth: Senator Flake, you’re just wrong about a lot of things.

You’re wrong about Cuba, and you’ve used this topic to deflect your constituents’ attention away from your support for amnesty.

You’re just plain wrong on the need for amnesty.

You’re also wrong on your support for ENDA — the crown piece of legislation coveted by the radical, left, homosexual lobby. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act will force churches and others to employ people who disagree with their belief systems, under excessive punishment. It is intended to directly attack and undermine religious freedom in America.

Gee, Senator Flake, you sure agree with our hard-Left president a lot. In fact, the difference between your positions and those of Barack Obama are getting less and less distinguishable as time goes by.

Til the Last Shot’s Fired

President Ronald Reagan’s Speech at Point-du-Hoc, Normandy

It’s Ducey, Brnovich, Douglas, Reagan in GOP Primary

Doug Ducey has won the Arizona Republican primary race for governor. RINO Scott Smith is in second, with Christine Jones third, Ken Bennett fourth, Andy Thomas fifth and former congressman Frank Riggs sixth.

Mark Brnovich is ending scandal-ridden RINO Tom Horne’s reign as Arizona attorney general.

Diane Douglas ousted incumbent John Huppenthal for Superintendent for Public Instruction. Douglas ran on her opposition to Common Core education, which Huppenthal supported.

RINO Michele Reagan is winning the nomination for secretary of state. She will most likely lose in November to Democrat Terry Goddard.

Jeff DeWitt is heading for victory in the three-man primary race for state treasurer, with RINO Hugh Hallmann in second and former AZ GOP chairman Randy Pullen running third.

Wendy Rogers is leading Andrew Walter by about 5,000 votes in the GOP Congressional District 9 race.

Gary Kiehe is surprisingly leading in the GOP Congressional District 1 in a close race with Adam Kwasman and Andy Tobin.

Several incumbent congressmen ran unopposed.

In the Republican race for Arizona Corporation Commissioner, Tom Forese and Doug Little have secured nominations for November’s general election.

In a huge disappointment, Arizona-bashing Bob Worsley has defeated challenger Dr. Ralph Heap in the State Senate race for District 25.  

Additionally, John Giles won handily over conservative Danny Ray in the election for mayor in Mesa. Giles was backed by all the current councilmen — all of whom, incidentally, were identified as “friends” and “champions” of Big Government by Americans for Tax Prosperity.

During the summer campaign, The Arizona Conservative questioned the loyalty of many Republican candidates to GOP principles. Several of those candidates won or did well tonight, raising additional questions about Republican voters, as well. Do personalities and advertising tactics weigh more heavily with Republican voters, or do they observe GOP principle as their criteria for voting decisions? The answer is in, and the GOP platform was a big loser in here in Arizona this summer. And as we said previously, it hasn’t been tried and found wanting. For many of the candidates — particularly Smith, Hallmann, Reagan, Worsley, Horne, and others — it has not been tried. Obviously, conservatives have much to do to educate Republicans in this state, which appears to be drifting away from the conservative principles that made America great.

DEVELOPING …

In Arizona Primary, Who Would President Reagan Vote For?

Primary season is in full swing here in Arizona until its conclusion August 26th. Many hotly contested races are already being impacted by early voting. Until now, one very crucial question has evaded all: if President Ronald Reagan were still alive, and if he was a registered voter in Arizona, who would he vote for?

President Reagan personified the very essence of what it means to be a true Republican. If he examined the candidates in the Grand Canyon State, their past performances and what they stand for, how would he fill out his ballot? It’s a burning question that has waited until now to be asked and answered.

President Reagan once said, “The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom.”

President Reagan was one of America’s greatest champions for liberty:

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.

Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.

The other party exploits the natural division between business and labor. Republicans are trying to bring all our citizens together in a campaign for economic progress.

Here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights. We the people declared that government is created by the people for their own convenience. Government has no power except those voluntarily granted to it by we the people.

I will not stand by and watch this great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose.

President Reagan was the first presidential candidate to adopt a position in support of the value of human life:

I call America–a good nation, a moral people–to charitable but realistic consideration of the terrible cost of abortion on demand. To those who say this violates a woman’s right to control of her own body: Can they deny that now medical evidence confirms the unborn child is a living human being entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion and with a human life amendment making, of course, an exception where the unborn child threatens the life of the mother. Our Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the right of taking a life in self-defense. But with that one exception, let us look to those others in our land who cry out for children to adopt.

With President Reagan’s values in mind, we have a pretty good idea of how America’s greatest modern era president would have filled out his 2014 Arizona Primary ballot. Here it is:

Governor: Andy Thomas
Secretary of State: Will Cardon
Attorney General: Mark Brnovich
Treasurer: Randy Pullen
Supt. Of Public Instruction: Diane Douglas
State Mining Inspector: Joe Hart
Arizona Corporation Commission: Tom Forese, Vernon Parker

Congress
District 1: Adam Kwasman
District 2: Martha McSally or Chuck Wooten
District 3: Gabriela Saucedo Mercer
District 4: Paul Gosar
District 5: Matt Salmon
District 6: David Schweikert
District 7: no one
District 8: Trent Franks
District 9: Wendy Rogers

State Senators

Connie Uribe
Kelli Ward
The late Chester Crandall
Irene Littleton
Steve Smith
Andy Biggs
Ralph Heap
Don Shooter
Gail Griffin
Nancy Barto
David Farnsworth
Steve Yarbrough
Tom Morrissey
Kimberly Yee
Debbie Lesko
John Kavanaugh
Gary Cox

State Representatives

Linda Gray
Karen Fann
Sam Medrano
Brenda Barton
Darla Dawald
Vince Leach
Mark Finchem
Eddie Farnsworth
Warren Peterson
Darin Mitchell
Steve Montenegro
David Gowan
David Stephens
John Allen
David Smith
Kelly Townsend
John Fillmore
J.D. Mesnard
Jeff Weninger
John King
Jill Norgaard
Paul Boyer
Carl Seel
Rick Gray
David Livingston
Phil Lovas
Jay Lawrence
Michelle Ugenti
Rusty Bowers
Jerry Walker
Justin Olson
Shawnna Bolick
Mayor
Mesa–Danny Ray

Social Justice Defined

By Janice Shaw Crouse

Social justice, as it is popularly used, is probably the worst threat to freedom of religion in America today. Under the guise of helping the oppressed and uplifting victims of society, progressives, using the rhetoric of social justice as a battering ram, are attacking freedom of religion in America. Social justice is not a coherent concept so much as it is yet another form of social engineering in disguise. (See Michael Novakhere and here.)

Instead of addressing the real moral problems of society or working to find solutions to situations involving fundamental injustice, social justice focuses on the popular causes of special interest groups. Often, those who disagree with the social justice agenda are accused of injustice, and their right to freedom of religion is trampled over by social justice advocates demanding the rights of special interest groups.

The recent Hobby Lobby case is a good example of the harm that the social justice philosophy can do to freedom of religion. Business owners whose personal moral convictions would not allow them to provide abortifacient birth control methods for their employees were accused of social injustice toward women. Conservatives and other pro-life advocates pointed out that birth control is available inexpensively and conveniently at clinics and over the counter at corner pharmacies. The Hobby Lobby case had nothing to do with social justice and everything to do with religious freedom. The case was a battle of ideologies — a battle of opposing viewpoints and a battle to decide the future of freedom in America. Essentially, the Hobby Lobby case was a fight between those who advocate special “rights” for a particular segment of the American population and those who believe in the importance of preserving religious freedom for all Americans.

Generally, conservatives avoid using the phrase “social justice,” but that does not mean lack of interest in the well-being of others. Justice requires equal treatment before the law for everyone; it should never be preceded by a word that would limit the extent of its capacity to only a portion of the population. Social justice is, therefore, not real justice and, indeed, hurts true justice, because it focuses on discrimination in favor of special interest groups and segments of society instead of justice for all individuals.

Indeed, the words “social” and “justice” represent mutually exclusive concepts. TheConservative Mind states, “Justice implies a person is getting what he deserves for acts committed by him as an individual … [while social justice] rewards others not on their merit but on their membership in a chosen group.” By themselves, the words “justice” and “freedom” are both principles that most Americans wholeheartedly believe in, principles that have always existed in harmony with each other. But when other words are added — “social justice” and “freedom of religion” — the two become incompatible concepts.

While religious freedom is a universal right to which everyone is entitled, social justice is inherently discriminatory. Instead of empowering people to stand for their individual rights, it herds them together and classifies them based on their gender, race, economic condition, or other qualifying factor. Although the proponents of social justice tout it as a means to eliminate discrimination, the very foundation of its advocates’ principles and actions is the discrimination they claim to oppose. Social justice is both “divisive and destructive,” as well as being a “concept that festers both hatred and guilt.” Without discrimination to separate people into distinct groups, social justice could not exist. On the other hand, religious freedom is inherently non-discriminatory and unifying. It doesn’t relate to one’s skin color, gender, education, or any other form of classification. Instead, social justice ignores the importance of individual responsibility in society. Instead of acknowledging people’s personal responsibility for their actions, social justice chooses to view people only as they fit into certain groups: the oppressors and their victims who deserve redress and compensations. The end result is ultimately a “sense of entitlement” that “tears down incentives and builds up dependence.”

While freedom of religion brings people together through its acknowledgment of and respect for personal convictions, social justice divides communities by forcing people into unrealistic classifications. When the individual’s freedom of religion is respected, citizens can hold and express personal convictions. But when social justice is enforced, citizens face a hostile environment where they are forced to play the role of either the oppressor or the oppressed, as either the exploiter or the victim. Social justice creates a society where one is automatically cast as a “good guy” or a “bad guy” simply on the basis of factors that one cannot necessarily control. As it champions the supposed rights of a portion of the population, social justice accuses the rest of the population of being the perpetrators of injustice and labels those who disagree with its philosophy as “racists” or “haters.”

The social justice vision of America is neither just nor reasonable. Freedom of religion is an element of true justice, while social justice, as preached and practiced, is an element of injustice.

AZ GOP Brand? What Brand?

If this primary election season demonstrates one thing, it’s the wanton disregard of the Arizona Republican Party brand. Five out of six gubernatorial candidates are far off the Republican Party platform reservation, and so are many, many other so-called “Republican” candidates for public office.

It is not that the Republican brand has been tried and failed. For many, it’s never been tried.

That’s especially true for some of our highest-ranking elected officials, such as U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and current candidate for governor Scott Smith. What they’re talking about, and the way they legislate, is currently motivated by self interest — in no way consistent with the written word of the Republican brand.

It’s not a recent phenomenon. It stretches back for quite some time.

If you just listen to elected officials and candidates for public office speak, you’d think being being Republican is a 360-degree range, including views from pro-life to pro-abortion, from pro-family to redefinition of the family, from big government to limited government. You quickly hear situational ethics by candidates, promises and yarns spun just to get elected — detached by miles and miles from the GOP national platform.

The 2012 Republican Platform preamble begins as “a statement of who we are and what we believe as a Party and our vision for a stronger and freer America.”

Sen. McCain blazes a John McCain trail unlinked to much of what the GOP platform states. He has spent thousands of dollars to remove platform-aligned Republicans from his pathway. They are an impediment to the arbitrary and unwritten “McCain Platform.” He fights conservatives much harder than he fights radical Democrats, much harder than he fought against Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. Sen. Flake is his hand-picked puppet, now in the tank for the radical homosexual agenda. Retired Sen. Jon Kyl is his first lieutenant. McCain seldom shows his face at AZ GOP events, but make no mistake he is pulling the strings from behind the curtain, through his surrogates.

Do you hear many Arizona candidates heeding this from the party platform?

This platform affirms that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness.

Scott Smith, the entire Mesa City Council, and numerous Republican legislators, like Bob Worsley and Jeff Dial, and numerous city councilmen and women are champions of big government.

State Sen. Michele Reagan is a virtual Planned Parenthood activist and also a friend of the homosexual agenda.

Smith and former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman are in the tank for the radical homosexual agenda, supporting policies that ensnare Christians trying to freely live out their faith and their consciences. The platform calls for preserving and protecting traditional marriage and family — not undermining it.

It’s clear that Sen. Worsley, McCain, Smith, Hallman and others establish their own personal brand as they go, bending every which way but Republican. It’s just helpful to tack on the Republican identifier to fool some voters at election time.

The GOP platform speaks of reforming government to serve the people. Many Republicans in Arizona are drafting policies to make people serve government. They love spending other people’s money, and they are very, very good at it. For those leaders offended by this admonishment, the platform includes a phrase about “protecting the people’s money.” That means safeguarding the hard-earned dollars of the people you serve, not gulping up their money to dream up non-essential ways to burn through it.

It is not only the elect who stray from GOP branding; it’s many of the citizens, too. Few bond elections, raising your taxes, ever lose. And over-rides extend the taxes that the wise elected so often under-estimated the original costs. It’s time to learn the value of a dollar, the public’s dollar.

Arizona Republicans are too often lacking in principle. Governor Jan Brewer opposed Obamacare at first, then caved in and said let’s grab that money — the taxpayers’ money. The platform talks of repealing Obamacare.

The platform discussed building great schools. Our Republican education superintendent of public instruction, John Huppenthal, abandoned his conservative roots and took us down the road of Big Government Common Core “education” and now claims he didn’t do such a thing. Common Core’s brand is so trashed the name has been changed in Arizona in an attempt to cover its true identity.

The Republican Party says it values the sanctity of human life. Our de facto state Republican leader, Sen. McCain, is in favor of cheapening life to the point of supporting destructive embryonic stem cell research. He speaks the leftist talk of choice.

The platform is conservative to the core, but the political director guiding Doug Ducey, one of those candidates for governor, trashed conservatives. Among the other GOP candidates for governor, Christine Jones praised Hillary Clinton to the hilt, Ken Bennett is pro-life but bashed a bill aimed at strengthening religious freedom, Frank Riggs did the same and his time as a California congressman wasn’t quite as conservative as he wants us to believe. Only Andrew Thomas resonates as a true conservative, despite an outrageous judge taking him down for exposing county corruption during his time as Maricopa County attorney.

Sen. Worsley says he needed to run in 2012 because his district was divided over harsh rhetoric. This from a man calling conservatives “extremists” and “haters” and labeling Arizona “a police state.” That’s hypocrisy at its finest.

As you cast your ballots for the primary election, again in the November general election, and in future elections, the following list of brand violaters should prove helpful:

Sen. John McCain
Sen. Jeff Flake
Gov. Jan Brewer (term limited out)
State Sen. Bob Worsley
State Sen. Steve Pierce
State Rep. Doug Coleman
State Sen. Jeff Dial
State Sen. Michele Reagan (Secretary of State candidate)
State Rep. Heather Carter
State Rep. Frank Pratt
State Rep. T.J. Shope
State Rep. Bob Robson
State Sen. Adam Driggs
State Sen. Steve Pierce
State Rep. Ethan Orr
Congressional Candidate Andy Tobin
Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman
Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith
Arizona Corporation Commission candidate Lucy Mason

Former elected officials/candidates Susan Bitter-Smith, Betsy Bayless, Carol Springer, Carolyn Allen, Randall Gnant, Steve Huffman, Pete Hershberger, Slade Mead (now officially a Democrat for all to see), Steve May, Linda Binder, Sue Gerard, Jane Hull, Fife Symington, Toni Hellon, Mike Hellon, Carol Somers, Jim Kolbe, Kris Mayes, Bill Konopnicki, Neil Giuliano