Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Will Define Freedom

The American view of law and government is summarized in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, by these three things:
  • There is a God.
  • Our rights come from God, not government.
  • Government's primary role is to preserve and protect those God-given rights.
 So - what will the Supreme Court Case arguing over same-sex marriage really be about?

Thirty-one U.S. state constitutional amendments banning legal recognition of same-sex unions have been adopted. Of these, only a handful declare same-sex marriage unconstitutional in their state. In virtually none of the thirty-one US states, are any same-sex couples penalized, prosecuted, fined or put in jail; or given any other form of penalty whatsoever. That would never happen. In fact, virtually all of the states (and federal law for that matter), specifically protect homosexuals from any form of discrimination with regard to employment, access to public schools and other services that are provided by the government. No one - I repeat no on - is allowed to legally get away with discriminating against homosexuals. And those of us who are believers and advocates for the spirit of our laws - to “Live and Let Live” - would defend each homosexual’s right to choose to live their life as they wish; as long as they are not forcing others to violate their own beliefs, or trampling on the specifically and constitutionally enumerated rights of individuals.

At our core we are a good and moral country, and we do not want people to be harmed, marginalized, discriminated against or persecuted in any way. Any individuals who have displayed in their behavior otherwise are not living in a spirit of harmony with “The American Way”.

The various state constitutional amendments and laws are not designed to try to force any individual to change their viewpoint, their belief system or their way of life. Nor are they designed to harm or discriminate against anyone. They are specifically designed to allow same-sex couples to continue to live in freedom, while at the same time preventing groups that seek to redefine who we are as a nation and as a people from doing so. These groups seek to force their beliefs on us by the rule of law.

The point, the goal and spirit of our basic laws is to “Live and Let Live”. That is the essence of liberty.

The spirit that exists within our laws, and within our founding documents and Constitution, is the idea that people possess a free will and should be free to live their lives; that is to “pursue happiness” however they see fit. Just as long as it does not harm others in any personal or physical way; as long as it does not violate them of their person or property rights, AND specifically it does not violate the enumerated rights within the United States Constitution – which include protected religious freedom.

It is no coincidence that the founders used the very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution to address these rights - which include freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of speech; which has always been interpreted as freedom of conscience.

From a commonsense standpoint; how does anyone, anywhere - whether that be individuals, elected officials, bureaucrats - and yes, Supreme Court justices - somehow think that they can use the power of law and government to force others to change their beliefs? It is a ridiculous premise. Nobody changes their beliefs because some government official, or new law mandates they must.

So you see, at its core, the Supreme Court argument has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not two people of the same gender who care about each other can live together like heterosexuals can. They absolutely can! There is no one in prison today, or faced with some punishment, because they violated their state's amendment defining marriage as a man and a woman.

The argument being made by those who want to force people and states to redefine marriage - IS about "you will be made to care." And - if you don't want to care, we will use the coercive power of government to force you to care. Even if it means forcing you to validate what your conscience and/or religion teaches is immoral or outside of the natural order.

We have experienced numerous and unprecedented assaults on religious liberty in recent times. Like the black fire chief of Atlanta, who used to serve in the Obama administration, and lost his job because he wrote a book on his personal time advocating the Bible's views on sexuality. Even though an investigation found no evidence he was discriminating against anyone who disagreed with his views, he was fired anyway for being a Christian.

An award-winning newspaper editor lost his job for being a Christian. Simply because he disagreed with the so-called "Queen James Bible" which revises the Scriptures to accept homosexuality. The editor did not write the article in a newspaper – he wrote it on his personal blog.

Funny - it seems as if it is the Left's business to stick their nose into what Christians do with their private time. Yet these same folks on the left most often tell others that what they do with their private time is no one’s business. That surely seems like hypocrisy to me.

I am guessing that many of you are already aware of some of the more prominent cases of discrimination against, and persecution of Christians right here in US of A! Some of the more obvious ones are the family-owned bakery that was sued and put out of business because they would not bake cupcakes or a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. A photography business that was fined for refusing to provide photography services for a same-sex wedding couple.

In virtually every one of these cases the owners of the businesses even offered to refer the same-sex customers to other businesses who would fulfill their request at an equal or lesser cost. These business owners did not want the same-sex couples to be denied the services they sought; they merely didn’t want to provide the services themselves out of a moral or ‘rights of conscience’ objection. But out of respect, each was willing to make sure that another service provider would fulfill the needs of the same-sex couple at a fair market price.

So much for mutual respect; so much for live and let live.

Here are a few more that didn’t get as much attention in the media.

·      Under Barack Obama, The Internal Revenue Service launched a widespread series of attacks on Christian ministries and pro-life groups—all deemed enemies of the Obama administration. The IRS even set its sights on one of the most famous evangelical Christians in the world: America’s pastor, Billy Graham.

·      A North Carolina pastor was fired from his duties as honorary chaplain of the state House of Representatives after invoking the name of Jesus.

·      Senior citizens living in a center in Georgia were told they could no longer pray over their meals.

·      A federal judge ordered a Texas school district to prohibit public prayer at the Medina Valley Independent school District graduation ceremony.

·      Massachusetts eight-year-old boy who was sent home from school and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation after he drew a picture of Jesus on a cross.

·      A professor at the University of Kentucky who applied for a job directing the university’s observatory but was turned down after the hiring committee found out he was a Christian.

·      Bibles and other religious materials that were briefly banned from Walter Reed Medical Center.

·      A  New York public school teacher who was ordered to remove inspirational Bible verses from her classroom. The teacher was also told to remove a quote from former Pres. Ronald Reagan. Ironically, the quote read, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under”.

·      A widow who lives in a Minnesota apartment complex funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was told she could not pray, read her Bible, or have a private discussion of any religious nature in the common area of the complex. A social worker told her that the apartment complex receives funding from the federal government and therefore she did NOT have a first amendment right because HUD does not allow religious discussions in public areas of the complex.

·      Officials at Rollins College in Florida ordered a group of students to shut down a Bible study they were holding in the privacy of a dorm room because, they said, it violated the schools rules. A resident Hall assistant entered the dorm room during the middle of the study and asked the student who was leading the group to step outside. He was told there were no longer allowed to hold a Bible study inside the dorm room, even with the express consent of the individual students, because InterVarsity (a Christian college organization), was no longer registered or accepted as an official student group on campus. It did not matter that they were individuals sharing a Bible study in the privacy of a person’s dorm room.

·      For more than seven years pastor Terry Sartain ministered to police officers and their families in Charlotte North Carolina. Whenever the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department invited him to deliver an invocation he prayed “in the name of Jesus”. But not anymore, volunteer chaplains in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department were told they were no longer allowed to invoke the name of Jesus in prayers at any public events or on government property.

·      In 2011 and evangelical Christian church was told by New York City officials it could no longer rent a community room at a federally funding housing project named after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. An attorney representing the Bronx Bible Church of the congregation was notified that Christmas day would be the last day the church could worship at the housing project.

·      The family of a Colorado preacher’s wife was told by the director of the city owned Cemetery that he refused to carve on her gravestone the name of Jesus because it might offend people.

·      A Florida-based ministry that has fed the poor for three decades was told by the state agricultural department they would no longer be allowed to receive USDA foods unless they removed from their facility any portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments and a banner that reads “Jesus is Lord”. They were also ordered to stop giving out Bibles.

·      Missouri Baptist have been gathering on the river banks of the Missouri River on Sunday afternoon baptisms for over 100 years. New believers are led to the water, draped in white robes as a choir sings “Shall We Gather at the River.” But now the long cherished tradition of taking the plunge has been drawn into a controversy with the federal government when the National Park Service band baptism in rivers and bodies of water that are within national parks.

·      A flower bed shaped like a cross in a Columbus Georgia Park was mowed down and removed after a non-Christian raised concerns with the city’s leadership. The city’s mayor determine the cross violated the law and ordered it to be removed.

·       A family-owned diner in Pennsylvania was investigated for discrimination after offering a 10% discount for diners who present a church bulletin on Sundays. The restaurant owners were served with a 16 page complaint from the state of Pennsylvania accusing them of discrimination.

·       The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

I could go on and on. There are least another dozen examples that I could share from the last six years alone.

So, is this honestly about some sort of immoral or unethical discrimination toward same-sex couples? I honestly don’t think so. At its core, this case is about an attack on religious liberty and an attack on the American way of life that has existed since our founding. 

This case is also about -   is it right, healthy or wise for our nation to redefine what marriage is. I for one, certainly do not believe that it is the role of government to be defining what marriage is. Most importantly, it is not the job of government to mandate by law what people must believe or not believe. That is an idea that is disconnected from reality, and ignore the nature of human thought and free will.

Footnote on Where Court Arguments May Lead

Loving v. Virginia and other important freedom to marry cases have affirmed some constitutional guarantees, the very guarantees nearly 60 state and federal courts have invoked in the waves of rulings in favor of the exclusion of gay couples from marriage.

The problem is that Loving v. Virginia was about making sure states could not ban interracial marriage. Why is this a problem? Because we know from over 100 years of hard science that the racial ethnicity, or the color of a person’s skin, is completely driven by biology and genetics. The new revolutions and discoveries from genetic science proves what we’ve already known for a thousand years; the discriminating against someone for their skin color is ridiculous because they were born that way. On the other hand, these great achievements in genetic science have nearly completely proven that there is no “gay gene”. In fact one of the most recent studies released in February 2014, and completed in conjunction with a handful of cooperating universities; a study that took more than a decade to achieve - clearly shows that there is no genetic contributor to a propensity for same-sex attraction. Combining this with the behavioral sciences that have been used to research and help better understand people with same-sex attraction - it is a safe conclusion that same-sex attraction is more an outcome of nurture then it is nature.

The question is, will the 50 to 100 years of biological and genetic science and its results be permitted within the discussion and the arguments in the courtroom. I certainly think it should.

So at its core, this case is not just about the American way of life and defending religious freedom, it is certainly about defining what a “civil right” actually is. I personally know several black Americans who gave their all to fight for their rights, and to get civil rights legislation passed in the 1960’s. These Americans take issue with the idea that same-sex attraction and the color of someone’s skin are on par and considered a civil right. They object because a Black American is born black; while there is no real evidence that a gay American is born same-sex attracted.

If the core facts of biology and genetics, and the definition of civil rights are not considered within this case - I fear that very little will be resolved for the American people.

Links & Resources

Associated Press, “Religious Groups: IRS Scrutinized Us,” May 15, 2013,
 (accessed January 31, 2014).

“IRS Caught on Tape Telling Nonprofit: ‘Keep Your Faith to Yourself,’” Fox News,

Mark Becker, “CMPD chaplains told to stop invoking Jesus at public events,” WSOCTV, June 19, 2012,

First Amendment Center, “Meal Prayer at Ga. Senior Center Stopped, Then Restored,” May 11, 2010,

Christa Schultz, et al., v. Medina Valley Independent School District, United States District Court Western District of Texas,

“Taunton Second-Grader Sent Home Over Drawing of Jesus,” Taunton Daily Gazette, December 15, 2009,

“Astronomer Sues the University of Kentucky, Claiming His Faith Cost Him a Job,” December 18, 2010,

NBCWashington, “Whoops! Walter Reed Temporarily Bans Bibles.”

American Freedom Law Center, “Christian Teacher Sues New York Public School District for Restricting Her Religious Speech,” January 10, 2013,

“TH Magazine: Persecution of Christians . . . in America,” Townhall Magazine, August 6, 2013,

Alliance Defending Freedom, “Evicting a Widow’s Prayer,” October 19, 2012,

The Salem News, “Park Service Rescinds Permit Requirement for Baptisms,” August 20, 2010,

“Controversy Still Surrounds a Cross-Shaped Flowerbed in Local Park,” WTVM, July 25, 2012,

“Atheist Files Complaint Over Restaurant’s Sunday Promotion,” York Daily Record, July 15, 2012,

LanscasterOnline, “Atheist Files Complaint Over Restaurant’s Sunday Promotion,” July 2, 2012,

Loving the Supreme Court’s decision to take on gay marriage

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rebuilding After the Riots

My heart is literally grieved as I watch events unfold in Ferguson MO. I have an all too familiar sick feeling in the pit of my stomach – because the images on TV bring back memories of the Los Angeles Riots; which I personally experienced in 1992.

 Looter running past building that was burned by rioters - LA Riots, April 1992

The LA Riots broke out when the mostly white officers (and at least one black officer) were videotaped beating Rodney King, a Black-American man, following a high-speed police pursuit. As a citizen living in Southern California, and working in and around downtown Los Angeles as an employee for the Los Angeles Times; these events had a profound and deeply troubling effect on me.

The differences in the two events are clear. The evidence in the Rodney King case clearly showed that the police went too far in their continual beating of King after he was subdued and on the ground. I, along with many of my friends and family, were deeply disturbed when the police officers in the Rodney King Beating Case were acquitted. The physical and forensic evidence in the Rodney King case left many of us, myself included, feeling that justice was not served. The apparent evidence in the Ferguson event, does support a case that officer Wilson had to defend himself, and was legally permitted to do so.

The heartbreaking and mind boggling facts, is that anyone would use either of these cases to incite riots – to loot, burn and destroy their own communities.

Rebuilding Ferguson? Los Angeles is a Good Historical Indicator.

Despite the fact that it was anger toward whites and the police that erupted in Los Angeles in 1992, it was primarily Korean owned local business that were destroyed, along with various national chains and locally owned franchise businesses. Twenty-plus years later; the neighborhood has simply never recovered, and the local residents remain under-served by the local businesses, and schools they need.

Korean Business Owner Protecting His Business from Rioters - LA, April 1992

In LA, after three days of arson and looting, 3,767 buildings were burned with over $1 billion in property damage. Donations were given to help with food and medicine and the office of State Senator Diane E. Watson provided shovels and brooms as racially mixed volunteers from all over the community helped clean-up. 13,000 police and troops patrolled the area protecting gas stations and food stores that were not affected by the looting, which were able to reopen along with other areas such as the Universal Studios tour, dance halls, and bars.

Many organizations stepped forward to rebuild Los Angeles; South Central's Operation Hope and Koreatown's Saigu and KCCD (Korean Churches for Community Development), all raised millions to repair destruction and improve economic development. President George H.W. Bush signed a declaration of disaster; which activated Federal relief efforts for the victims of the looting and arson which included grants and low-cost loans to cover their property losses. The Rebuild LA program promised $6 billion in private investment to create 74,000 jobs; which unfortunately never came to fruition.

The majority of the local stores were never rebuilt because, even though store owners had great desire to rebuild, they had trouble getting loans; business owners and investors were naturally discouraged in rebuilding and planting businesses because they considered the risk in the local community too high. So of course this lack of growth prevented increased employment; and the circumstances for the local resident just became worse. Few of the rebuilding plans came to be because business investors as well as the community members rejected South Central L.A.

The members of any community, Ferguson or otherwise, do themselves no favors by burning and destroying the local businesses that provide them services and jobs. One year after the LA Riots fewer than one in four damaged or destroyed businesses reopened, according to the survey conducted by the Korean-American Inter-Agency Council. According to a Los Angeles Times survey conducted eleven months after the riots, almost 40% of Korean-Americans said they were thinking of leaving Los Angeles.

The bottom line – the events in Ferguson today have stirred up grief and even the feelings of fear that I experienced living in Los Angeles in 1992. The racial hatred in the community was completely palpable. Nothing can or will ever excuse such anarchy and the personal actions of destruction and violence. The rioters are simply not justified; which is something that few elected officials, including President Obama have the courage to emphasis.

A QuikTrip Convenience Store in Ferguson - Franchise says they will not risk reopening.
QuikTrip closed 4 local area stores immediately after the recent riots in Ferguson, MO

Twenty years later; much of the immediate community where the LA Riots occurred is far worse off now than it was then. The local poverty is worse, the schools are worse, and the local residents remain under-served - fewer business means fewer jobs and less access to groceries, gas stations, physicians and other essential services. The rioters in Ferguson will most likely create the same outcome for the local community they are today destroying physically. Corporations, private investors and entrepreneurs will not risk future investment in Ferguson area businesses.

This is just truly sad. The situation, poverty and other problems that this particular community in Ferguson MO has been dealing with for years - will now get worse with very little hope of improvement.

The hate filled-rioters are in the process of creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Local Business Owner - Natalie DuBose crying after looters
vandalized her cake store to get "justice" for Michael Brown

Links & Resources

QuikTrip closes 4 Ferguson area stores

20 Years Later: Legacies of the Los Angeles Riots

1992 Los Angeles riots – Wikipedia

Why Officer Darren Wilson wasn't indicted

A cop may use lethal force when he or she “reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life, including the officer's own life” and in the Ferguson incident, that’s precisely what happened

Video - Mike Brown's Mom Incites a Riot: You Mother f*%ckers Think this is a Joke!

Video - President Obama gives lip service to rioters while he lectures local law enforcement to be careful in how they treat the local Ferguson community. Lots of talk about hurt feelings, but no emphasis on personal responsibility to themselves and their community.
President Obama's full statement on Ferguson grand jury decision

Ferguson looting: My bakery's window is busted
Natalie Dubose has no choice but to carry on, one day after rioters smashed the windows of her Ferguson bakery.

Video -‘Burn This Bi**h Down!’: Mike Brown’s Step-Dad Caught on Vid Inciting Violence, and Here’s How the Family Attorney Responded

Video - Brown family attorney responds to step-dad's 'burn this bitch down' comment

If Al Sharpton had no intention for his rhetoric to contribute to raw emotions and violence; then why was he agitating the local community for the last month?