Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Rev Martin Luther King

by Diane Rufino, January 21, 2019

We remember Martin Luther King Jr. and his contributions to the Civil Rights movement today. I just heard that many members of the King family and the Kennedy family are requesting that an investigation be opened (re-opened) into the assassinations of JFK, MLK Jr, RFK, and Malcolm X. It would be about time we finally learned the truth about why these men were deemed too powerful or too controversial for their time and who arranged their assassinations. Anyway, when I taught government and politics, I stressed the writings of Martin Luther King. To phrase the civil rights movement for blacks as cashing in on a promissory note that had been denied them for too long was brilliant and perfect. I think his letters from a Birmingham jail are the most compelling. I read them and I wonder why it took so long (100 years) for society to treat black people with the dignity and equality they deserve. Equality was enshrined, by letter and spirit, in the Reconstruction era amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th), adopted in the years shortly after the end of the War of Northern Aggression, but it took a man like Martin Luther King Jr, with his charisma and passion, his intellect, his articulation of man’s injustice to his fellow man, and his call for peaceful protest that finally convinced national leaders to end the segregation that instinctively taught and reinforced that persons of different skin color were inherently different and unequal.

I’m glad God blessed Martin Luther King with the voice and the messaging, and the passion and fortitude to lead his people to the promised land. I just pray that we move forward from this current era where certain people and groups believe that everything you need to know about a person can be gleaned from his or her skin color. If people truly believe that, then much of MLK’s legacy is already forgotten.

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I hope everyone will read the following excerpt from King’s letter from a Birmingham jail to understand the depths to which blacks were mistreated and burdened with second-class treatment. He wrote the letter, as an “open letter” to those who condemned his methods in protesting racial injustice. Reverend King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) coordinated with the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) to address the gross racial injustice in Birmingham, perhaps the most racially segregated city in the country, and together, on April 3, 1963, they organized marches and sit-ins against racism and racial segregation. They were, of course, non-violent. King’s movement was always about peace protest. On April 10, a circuit court judge issued a blanket injunction against “parading, demonstrating, boycotting, trespassing and picketing,” but King and the leaders of the ACMHR announced they would ignore the ruling. On April 12, King was arrested and throw in jail. What he didn’t expect was the reaction by various members of the clergy. While they agreed that social injustice existed, they argued that King and his movement were “extreme” and that the battle against racial segregation and the violation of voting rights should be fought solely in the courts and not the streets. On April 16, King wrote a long letter addressing those members of the clergy to defend his tactics and his movement of peaceful protest and civil disobedience.

Reverend King wrote:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct-action movement that was “well timed” according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “wait.” It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This “wait” has almost always meant “never.” It has been a tranquilizing thalidomide, relieving the emotional stress for a moment, only to give birth to an ill-formed infant of frustration. We must come to see with the distinguished jurist of yesterday that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness” — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

YOU express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. To use the words of Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes an “I – it” relationship for the “I – thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. So segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, but it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Isn’t segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, an expression of his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? So I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court because it is morally right, and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances because they are morally wrong.

Let us turn to a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a majority inflicts on a minority that is not binding on itself. This is difference made legal. On the other hand, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow, and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

Let me give another explanation. An unjust law is a code inflicted upon a minority which that minority had no part in enacting or creating because it did not have the unhampered right to vote. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up the segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout the state of Alabama all types of conniving methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties without a single Negro registered to vote, despite the fact that the Negroes constitute a majority of the population. Can any law set up in such a state be considered democratically structured?

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The urge for freedom will eventually come. This is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom; something without has reminded him that he can gain it.

King’s life was cut short, just as great men before him who dared to challenge the existing order and politics have been assassinated. We can only imagine what other great things he would have gone on to do and what other great writings he would have contributed.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day !!

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The 45th President Addressed the 45th March for Life – LOVE SAVES LIVES

WASHINGTON MARCH FOR LIFE 2018

by Diane Rufino, January 20, 2019

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence addressed this year’s March for Life, the 45th annual March for Life in DC, by video from the White House Rose Garden.

The March for Life, which was held on Friday, January 18, marks the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, handed down on January 22, 1973, which condemned millions of unborn to the torturous and heartbreaking… the life-taking, practices of abortion doctors. The decision was based on activism, on women’s so-called rights to control her fertility, and equal protection for the woman. The decision did not include any deliberation based on science or any equal protection considerations for the unborn. The March for Life began just one year later, in January 1974, to continue the protest over that hugely over-broad and one-sided decision, and it has continued each year since.

The theme of this year’s march was LOVE SAVES LIVES.

We are lucky to have an administration that honors the most essential of fundamental rights – the Right to Life. Women and Women’s Rights organizations, ACLU lawyers and other powerful legal groups, pregnant plaintiffs, and progressive judges have the power to fight for the woman who wants the unborn growing and developing inside her to be killed and removed. But who speaks for the ones who can’t speak for themselves?  Who defends the ones who haven’t even had the chance to take a breath, let alone find their voice?  We know they feel pain inside the womb and we know they try the best they can to protect themselves from harm (as when a suction device is inserted into the womb or saline solution injected – the fetus moves away from them).  Living things feel pain; living things exercise efforts to preserve their lives.

The first step is simply to sign a law defining life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at conception, but a simple thing as a  definition automatically saves life because once society recognizes life, then all the protections of our Bill of Rights and our Constitution are recognized.  What are our legislators waiting for?

A woman’s right to control her fertility doesn’t necessarily have to translate into wholesale slaughter of the unborn.

Anyway, again, we’re lucky and grateful to have a president, a vice president and an administration that sides with the unborn and a woman’s choice to give life and not death. It’s refreshing to hear a message of love and life, as opposed to the left’s message of self-love and death.

 

References:

Trump’s Message to those at this year’s March for Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TNjvpzCpA0&feature=youtu.be

March for Life Blog –  https://marchforlife.org/

The Democratic Party is the Greatest Threat to America

democrats - bad for america

by Diane Rufino, January 20, 2019

In a nutshell, this is what the Democratic Party wants for American citizens….. This is what it believes government can impose on us —

It wants open borders – to allow the uncontrolled immigration and smuggling of drugs into our country to overwhelm our system and our services and to poison and kill our children. It wants to continue allowing drug traffickers to make drugs readily available on our streets and on our college campuses, and to allow dangerous and brutal MS-13 gang members to terrorize our communities and neighborhoods. These are all simply non-important, non-crisis-level collateral problems caused by the more righteous decision to ignore immigration laws and do what is “moral.

As it allows more and more criminals and drugs into our country, it wants at the same time to confiscate firearms and to outlaw most of the common guns (205 of them) that citizens purchase and acquire to defend themselves, their families, and their homes. [Dianne Feinstein has already introduced the bill, co-sponsored by a slew of Democratic Senators, and Democratic states are already enforcing gun confiscation laws, other gun control laws, and Red Flag laws].

And then for the coup-de-grace…. in return for providing no safety or national security, for increasing the level of crime in our country, in our cities, and towns, and in our communities, and for taking away our most essential of human rights (the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense and to defend against government tyranny), it wants to jack up our federal income tax rate to 70% to pay for all the freebies that will be provided to those who don’t work, who don’t want to work, who are not “comfortable enough” in their poverty, who are having more and more kids without being married or being able to afford them, and who pour into the country illegally.

Don’t be fooled by their rhetoric or their feigned concern for morality or compassion. It’s about one thing and one thing only – growing the voter base for the Democratic Party. A party that prides itself on everything unpatriotic, unnatural, and illegal must grow its votes by increasing those bases. They despise our Constitution and our laws; they despise our traditional values and they despise our sense of nationality and “America first.”

A government that offers no protection, no security of rights, and nothing of real lasting value is one that is no different from Rome’s “bread and circuses.” Like the history of the Roman Empire, a government that just treats man’s basic urges and distracts him while the country falls into a downward spiral, is one that signal’s the country’s eventual demise.

Democrats are the biggest threat to our country and to our Constitution. They are bad for you and bad for America.

The Democratic Party: The Party Without Ideas, Morals, and Principles

democratic party - bad people

by Diane Rufino, January 19, 2019

Democrats used to be the party of Bad Ideas. Now it’s the party of Bad People.

If you don’t believe me, let’s just take a look at some of the leaders, new representatives, movements, and individuals that call themselves “Democrats.”

Barack Obama – the great Divider-in-Chief.  He left the country far more racially-divided than he found it in 2008. Five months after he took office in 2009, he couldn’t help but comment on a news story he saw – where a black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, was arrested for trying to break into his own house. Without knowing the facts, President Obama commented at a prime time press conference: “”I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that [Gates case]. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”   The facts were that the police acted in full accordance with proper procedure, and that it was Gates itself who obstructed the police by accusing them of being racist by asking for proof that he in fact lived at the residence and then refusing to show identification. The Cambridge Police Department insisted that Obama apologize for casting the officer, the department, and the police in general, in a disparaging and racist light, which he did.  The impact and fall-out couldn’t have been worse – the beginning of the Black Lives Matter.  Obama made things worse when again, without knowing the facts (because the mainstream media wasn’t providing the facts), he took the side of Travon Martin in the Travon Martin – Zimmerman incident (resulting in Martin’s shooting death). We all remember how the media kept showing a young, sweet-faced, innocent-looking grade school age Travon, which prompted Obama to comment: “He could be my son.” The reality was that Travon was a big, thug-looking, drug-taking high school student who was prone to violence and in fact, had been expelled or suspended from school because of it. It was he who sought out Zimmerman that fateful night, beating him to a bloody pulp, breaking his nose and causing blood to fill his lungs, which caused him to find his gun and shoot Travon in self-defense. Again, the real facts were ignored by Obama. And the Black Lives Matter Movement became stronger and stronger, and more violent. Many police lives were taken for no other reason than the Black Lives Matter movement inspired the killings. And race relations took two generations backwards. I’m not suggesting that Barack Obama did anything intentional, but his actions were reckless and he should have anticipated the violent response by black communities.

Bill and Hillary Clinton – serial criminals. They haven’t encountered a law they haven’t broken, and in the case of Bill, there isn’t a woman he’s encountered that he hasn’t tried to have sex with or wanted to have sexual relations with. As Secretary of State, Hillary used her position to enrich herself, her husband, and her foundation in order to prepare for her presidential campaign.  She engaged in a “pay-to-play scheme where she promised foreign leaders, foreign companies, global players favors with the US government and with our laws in return for personal (financial) aggrandizement. She arranged to sell Russia most of our Uranium in return for speaking engagements and huge donations to the Clinton Foundations. In other words, she sold out American interests for Clinton interests.  Bill and Hillary are the quintessential political elite – believing they are better, smarter, and above the law. In 2016, Hillary honestly believed she was entitled to the presidency, and she probably continues to believe that.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer – the chief obstructionists in government. Pelosi, as House Speaker, is commandeering that chamber to obstruct Trump in every way, shape, and form (simply because he won the presidency, frustrating Democrats’ plans to continue control of the government, the Swamp, and the Deep State). And Schumer, the cry-baby of the Senate, is commandeering that chamber against Trump. They had the nerve, in their rebuttal to President Trump’s appeal to the American people from the Oval Office, to accuse him of trying to get support for his wall by creating fear through a “manufactured crisis” at the southern border. After all the deaths at the hands of illegals, after all the seizures of deadly drugs crossing the border (fentanyl being the worse), after the increase in the brutal MS-13 gang activity (comprised almost entirely of illegals), after data showing an alarming amount of human trafficking across the border, and after the caravan fiasco and a 37% increase in aliens flooding over the border illegals, Pelosi and Schumer had the nerve to dismiss the situation at the border as nothing more than a “manufactured crisis.” They called the wall immoral, yet themselves live in gated, walled communities. They enjoy the security provided by a wall in their own lives, but believe the American people should not be entitled to that in their lives. When a reporter scaled the wall to Pelosi’s house, the House Speaker had her arrested; I guess, the reporter wasn’t entitled to the sanctuary provided by Pelosi’s property. When Angel Mom’s visited Pelosi’s office and Schumer’s office, they refused to meet with them. To me, that is immoral.

Rep. Maxine Waters –  or better known as “Mad Max.”  Maxine is the “non-thinker’s representative.” She encouraged supporters to harass Trump administration officials whenever and wherever they find them. “Make them feel like they don’t belong.”  Imagine telling a group of Americans – taxpayers – that they don’t belong in the country they pledge allegiance too. Of course, Democrats were all-too happy to oblige and harass our government officials in their private time, with their families, at restaurants, at movies, etc. Aside from her antics, her dishonorable conduct, and being voted the most corrupt member of the US Congress for many years, she is a notorious race-baiter and race hustler.

Rep. Roshida Tlaib – the new Muslim representative from Michigan. After taking the oath of office, she told her supporters: “We will impeach the Mother F***er!”  Tlaib not only has no understanding of the US Constitution (for nowhere in it are members of Congress given the authority to impeach a president simply because they don’t like him), but she hopes one day to see the total destruction of Israel.

Rep. Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio – the new representative from New York. She is another “non-thinker’s representative.”  Cortez-Ocasio is not only a dull-brained, uninformed, unprepared representative, she is also an avowed socialist who believes the government should provide everybody everything for free. (She apparently is unaware of the studies of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven who predicted, back in 1966, that one day, welfare alone will overwhelm our system and cause it to crash).  But she is photogenic and loves the camera.

Senator Elizabeth Warren – aka, “Pocahontas.”  Warren lied about her heritage, claiming she has Indian blood in her, in order to take advantage of the affirmative action hiring benefit for the protected minority group. It is one thing to lie but another, far worse thing, to misappropriate an opportunity that has been set aside for someone who has actually been the victim of past discrimination or the victim of policies that at one time put a group of people at a great disadvantage for social equality. And that is what Warren did. The path of that gross misappropriation put her on a path that ultimately put her in the position to run for the US Senate.

Senator Cory Booker – aka, “Spartacus.”  As a member of the Black Caucus, he is a race-baiter and was one of the members of the Senate who helped turn the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings into a circus and to bring dishonor to the body in general. At the Hearing, he was going to put everything at risk, he said, even his place in the US Senate, and break the rules. He would release confidential documents that he believed would expose Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh as a supporter of racial profiling. Oh how excited he was. He was flushed with pride at being able to have such a moment – his “Spartacus moment.”  Who can forget what he said, and with a straight face too: “This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment.”  Rather than being a dramatic moment, one that would be the revelation to tank Kavanaugh’s chances of confirmation, it ended up being nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt (and a great source for some pretty funny political memes!!)

Senator Dick Durbin – He admitted to plotting, along with Richard Blumenthal and other Democrats, to disrupt the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. He sided with Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault without any corroborating witnesses or without any evidence, and his line of questioning reflected that. In fact, even though Kavanaugh proclaimed his innocence in the alleged incident, provided what seemed to be an air-tight alibi (with the calendar/diary he kept during the alleged time period), and had already been screened by the FBI at least 5-6 times already, he called for an FBI investigation into Ford’s allegations.

Senator Richard Blumenthal – a particularly slimy Democrat. Like Durbin, he admitted to plotting to disrupt the Kavanaugh hearing, and like Durbin, he took Ford’s side in the matter of her allegations of sexual assault.  Blumenthal had the audacity to lecture the honorable, squeaky-clean Supreme Court nominee on the implications of telling even a single lie, when he himself had not been truthful as a public servant. For 15 years, he claimed not only that he served in the Vietnam War, but that he served in the notorious Da Nang province, which was where some of the bloodiest fighting took place. He did not serve in the Vietnam War. In fact, he requested 5 times to defer service. It was this lie that prompted President Trump to nickname him “Da Nang Dick.”  That name appears to be so true on many levels.

Senator Dianne Feinstein – cunning as she is ignorant of what is protected by the Second Amendment.  Feinstein intentionally withheld information about Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her back in college in order to release the accusation at the most opportune moment during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. She held onto a letter that Ford had written, not sharing it, and most importantly, not putting Ford in contact with law enforcement or lawyers who could address her claims; her interest was making sure that the revelations in the letter did maximum damage to Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s chances of being confirmed to the Supreme Court. She had no concern for the American principle that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty and she had no qualms about destroying the reputation and character of a loving family man, model citizen, and honorable public servant. She put the politics of personal destruction over her duty to be honorable in reviewing a nominee to the Supreme Court. Most recently, she introduced legislation to ban 205 different weapons. (Many other Democratic senators co-sponsored, including Senators Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris)

Senator Bob Menendez – from New Jersey, who was indicted on a slew of federal corruption charges.

Keith Ellison – former US congressman from Minnesota (2007-2019) and now, the state’s Attorney General. He was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and another race-baiter in Congress. In 2006, during his first run for Congress, Ellison admitted that he had worked with the notorious anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, for 18 months leading up to the October 1995 Million Man March. In 2005, a picture emerged of then Senator Barack Obama and then Rep. Ellison with Farrakhan. Apparently, members of the Black Caucus met with the controversial leader. Ellison has denied any contact with Farrakhan since 1995 and has denounced the Nation of Islam, yet the 2005 photo would suggest otherwise. And then in 2013, more evidence arose to show that he again met with Farrakhan.

Black Lives Matter Movement – a movement originating in the African-American community, which for all intents and purposes, implicates Democrats. The movement was intended to campaign against police brutality and alleged systemic racism against blacks. In 2014, after the deaths of two African Americans, Michael Brown (resulting in protests, riots, and unrest in Ferguson) and Eric Garner in New York City, protesters marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City, led by the so-called Reverend Al Sharpton in support of the growing “Black Lives Matter” movement. They chanted: “What Do We Want?  — Dead Cops.  When do we want it?  — Now!”  A few months later, retaliation against law enforcement began.  On December 20, 2014, NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were targeted and shot in their vehicle in Brooklyn. The following year, additional officers were targeted and killed, for no other reason than they wore a blue uniform.

Hollywood specifically, and the Entertainment Industry in general –  Actors, actresses, singers and other musicians, comedians, and talk show hosts such as Kathy Griffin, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Jimmy Kimmel, Rosie O’Donnell, Peter Fonda, Chelsea Handler, Michelle Wolf, Samantha Bee, Cher, Richard Gere, Sarah Silverman, Tom Hanks, Ashley Judd, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, John Legend, Jay-Z, Snoop Dog, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello, Jennifer Lawrence, Stephen King, Louis C.K., Miley Cyrus, George Clooney, Stephen Colbert, Jim Carrey, Pete Davidson (SNL), and others I can’t think of off the top of my head use their celebrity, take to social media, and misuse the many platforms open to them to make hateful and vile comments about President Trump, his family, and members of his administration. Kathy Griffin posed happily with a fake severed and bloody head of Donald Trump. Others have expressed hope that members of his family would get raped. These are sick and demented human beings who have no decency. They are clearly pre-occupied with sex, sex acts, orifices, and rape.

Democratic Voters – in general Democrats elect representatives who will pursue policies of government plunder and wealth redistribution. They enjoy confiscating money and property from the wealthy in order that its confiscation will enrich them and will further social policies to keep voters tied to the Democratic Party. They willingly ignore God’s commandment that reads “Thou Shalt Not Covet,” and because they rarely earn the money that the government takes in in tax revenue, they spent it recklessly and without regard to actual necessity.  Interestingly, while they demand equality of the laws in every other aspect of existence, they have no problem depriving such to the wealthy, joyously and energetically demanding that the rich (and the government decides who is “rich enough”) be disproportionately (greatly, too) taxed.  The problem with Democrats, in a nutshell, is that they have no problem and no limits when it comes to taking money from others and spending other peoples’ money.

And so…   Yes, Democrats are bad for the image of our country and for decent, honorable, patriotic Americans. And they are simply bad for our country.

Of course this article is not meant to suggest that there aren’t some Republicans who can’t be accused of less than honorable conduct, but there is nothing on the right that runs so foul of decent conduct and on such a widescale basis as on the left.

Does President Trump Have Authority to Secure Our Southern Border?

trump - with wall behind him (jan. 2019)

by Diane Rufino (also referencing an article by Publius Huldah), January 15, 2019

QUESTION:  Can President Trump seal off our southern border?

There are three theories, perhaps even four, upon which President Trump can close our southern border, including providing a permanent, physical barrier:

(1)  IMMIGRATION AUTHORITY.  The President can suspend entry of individuals from Mexico and countries of Central and South America, per an express provision of the US Immigration & Nationality Act, and per the opinion of the Supreme Court in the recent case of the so-called “Muslim ban.”  Since the restraints in place at the order are currently ineffective to prevent the uncontrolled illegal entry into our country, a physical barrier would be necessary (under the “Necessary & Proper Clause”)

If Trump takes this option, he neither needs to get Congressional approval nor approval of (or review from) the courts. Neither can stop him because they have already given him that authority and recognized that he was given that authority. Congress did so in federal law (Title 8, Chapter 12 of the US Code – “Immigration & Nationality Act”) and the Supreme Court re-affirmed (in Trump v. Hawaii, June 2018).

Title 8, Chapter 12 of the U.S. Code, which governs “inadmissible aliens,” reads:

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

Notice some key language in that statutory provision:  “for any such period as he shall deem necessary”  and “impose on the entry of aliens ANY restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

Again, every power that Congress is delegated (Article I, Section), including the power it willingly delegated to the President on this particular immigration issue, is subject to the “Necessary & Proper” Clause which the Supreme Court interpreted as “pretty much any means necessary which the government believes will help carry out the particular responsibility.”

The president has the authority to close the borders. And no lower court can stop him with an injunction…..  if he chooses to go this route.

(2)  DUTY TO REPEL INVASION. Congress can seal off the border pursuant to the authority granted to it to call up the militia (“to repel invasions”; Article I, Section 8) and pursuant to the DUTY delegated to the federal government in general to repel invasion (Article V, Section 4).  Additionally, Article II, Section 3 requires the President, as the Chief Executive of government power, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Article I, Section 8 authorize s Congress to call up of the Militia for three (3) purposes: To execute the Laws of the Union; To suppress Insurrections: and To repel Invasions.

Article IV, Section 4 reads: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

Article IV talks about a GUARANTEE.  It delegates an absolute responsibility on the federal government to provide certain protections for the States – to guarantee each State a republican form of government and to protect each against invasion. States are entitled to EXPECT this absolute guarantee. So, if Congress refuses to do its part, then the responsibility shifts to the President. In the end, the federal government MUST – absolutely MUST – protect all states against an invasion.

Indeed, there is an invasion of illegal aliens into our country, imposing severe burdens on our resources (including education, health services, social services, our tax dollars, and our law enforcement system. Taxpayers are entitled to the expectation that the money siphoned off their hard work and property will go only to those who are legal citizens in this country. More seriously, there is an invasion of illegal criminals, gangs, drug cartels and drug traffickers, and human traffickers. Prisons house disproportionate numbers of Hispanic criminals.

There are 48 US-Mexico border crossings – LEGAL crossings. But thousands upon thousands each year evade these legal points of entry to come to this country illegally, hoping to take advantage of our government’s refusal to enforce our country’s immigration laws and to take advantage of every benefit that America offers. (Note though that is the US were to go to war and impose a draft, illegals would not be called). There are approximately 414,000 illegals apprehended each year by a severely-limited and constrained task force of border agents. Imagine how many make it across the border and are not able to be apprehended. The numbers are staggering. And in the past several months, the rate of illegal crossings has increased 37%.  New American (online journal) estimates that 14,000 of these are violent criminals.

Most aliens that come to the United States illegally do so for a better life, for a chance to make more money. But the open border and uncontrolled illegal immigration brings other problems into our country. The United States is one of the key destination countries, if not the key destination country, for thousands of men, women, and children trafficked from all areas of the world. These victims are trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs; instead, they are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into our country each year, certainly prompting a humanitarian crisis.

And then there is the increase in drug smuggling across the border. Seizures of hard drugs like heroin, methamphetamine (meth), cocaine, and fentanyl spiked to the highest levels in years. The numbers reflect the trend of cartels turning to more potent drugs in pursuit of profits, as many of the individual states have decriminalized the use of marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. In the past two years, enough fentanyl (a synthetic opioid which is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, and can be fatal the first time a person takes it) came into our country from across the southern border to kill every person in the United States. Two Hispanic men were arrested last year in NJ with enough fentanyl to kill the entire population of New Jersey and New York City (with intent to distribute). In NJ alone, in 2016, there were over 800 overdoses from fentanyl, and fentanyl was found in 2% of heroin that was tested in the state. Users are unaware of this. Just recently, in Nebraska, two Hispanic men were arrested for possession of enough fentanyl to kill about 28 million people (with intent to distribute and sell).

Finally, there is a significant increase in MS-13 gang membership and activity. MS-13 is a notoriously brutal gang based in El Salvador. In 2005, the Bush administration waged war on the deadly gang (similar to what President Trump is doing), and gang activity was stifled, but under the Obama administration, especially from 2012-2016, the gang has been able to rebuild itself. This resurgence represents a very serious threat to public safety in communities where MS-13 has rebuilt itself. The resurgence is directly connected to the illegal arrival and resettlement of more than 300,000 Central American youths and families that came here, undeterred, during the Obama years. All criminal gangs are a threat to public safety, but MS-13 is a unique problem because of the unusually brutal crimes its members have committed, its success in using intimidation to victimize and control people in its territory, and its focus on recruiting young members, often in schools. Technically, because most of the gang members are illegal, they could be targeted and removed from the communities they terrorize by law enforcement and ICE. However, because of sanctuary policies, and the proliferation of sanctuary states, cities, and communities, these gang members are protected from apprehension.

Taken together, it sure sounds like our country is being invaded. And that being so, every state is entitled to protection against it by the federal government. The simplest way to protect the states is simply to enforce our immigration laws and to seal and secure the border with a physical barrier. Make no mistake, we are suffering an invasion of individuals who are first seeking to evade our laws (the cornerstone of our society), and secondly, to do us harm (whether intentional or not, and whether violent or simply by overloading our resources, inciting protests and instability, or presenting a political crisis).

(3)  DECLARE A NATIONAL EMERGENCY (pursuant to the National Emergencies Act).  The goal of this approach is to get border wall funding thru the National Emergencies Act, by diverting money allocated to the military to use to build the wall.  The reason this option is an attractive option to President Trump is because once he declares a “national emergency,” a decision that is entirely within his discretion (and which many presidents before him did, for much more urgent matters), he is able to set aside many of the legal limits on his authority. He would become vested with certain “emergency powers,” such as by instantly becoming Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, or by vesting in him a broad, undefined executive powers. President FDR used national emergency powers to intern Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Bush used them to pursue warrantless wiretapping related to the war on terror, and President Obama on account of the Swine Flu outbreak in 2009.  (Actually, Obama claimed a state of emergency, thus invoking the Act, a total of 12 times].

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 authorizes presidents to issue an emergency declaration, but under certain constraints; he can only use powers Congress has already codified by law and he has to say which powers he’s using. The 1976 law was actually passed to rein in presidential abuse with relation to national emergencies. Past presidents such as FDR, Truman, and Nixon abused the power [In the 1952 case, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, the Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of President Truman’s seizure and control of most of the country’s steel mills, in anticipation of a strike by the United Steelworkers of America. The Court ruled that Truman had over-stepped his authority].

The first thing President Trump would need to do is issue an emergency proclamation, explaining the nature of the emergency. Then he would need to identify which powers he intends to use. If Trump were to try to get border wall funding through the National Emergencies Act, the question then becomes which existing laws he could use to get the money. The Brennan Center for Justice believes there are at least 130 laws that contain special powers Trump could access (other legal experts say there are as much as 136 laws). Apparently, the law Trump is particularly interested in is one that allows him to reallocate military spending on construction projects for the wall. One law allows the defense secretary, after a national emergency declaration, to direct the army’s civil works program to construct a structure needed for national defense and use the military budget to do it. Another lets the secretary direct other military services for construction projects. For example, money could come out of the budget for building housing on military bases for service members and into the budget for the wall.

The White House has also reportedly directed the Army Corps of Engineers to take a look at its budget for potential funds to divert to the wall, including $13.9 billion from a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year designed for relief projects in California, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico.

Alternatively, Trump could declare a “state of immigration emergency,” which unlocks an immigration emergency fund, which is generally supposed to be used to help states feed and house migrants and process their claims. The problem with this choice is that the immigration emergency fund doesn’t have nearly enough money to meet the amount requested – $5.7 billion.

Note, though, that the National Emergencies Act contains a mechanism for Congress to overrule the president by passing a joint resolution (both House and Senate). With Democrats in control of the House, it would presumably pass there easily, but most likely it would not pass the Senate, where Republicans recently increased their majority.

(4)  THE PRESIDENT’S DUTY TO ENSURE THE LAWS ARE ENFORCED.  Again, as mentioned above, Article II, Section 3 requires the President, as the Chief Executive of government power, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. If Congress won’t provide the necessary funding (less than 1% of the total US budget, and a fraction of what Congress spends on “pork” projects), than President Trump may have to accept funding from other sources, including donations.

Those are my thoughts anyway.

The real authority, however, is my good friend, renown Constitutional attorney and activist, Publius Huldah. In her latest article , “Yes! Trump Has the Constitutional Authority to Secure Our Southern Border,” she goes into detail as to why President Trump has the authority to secure our southern border.  Please take a read:

 

YES!! TRUMP HAS CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO SECURE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER, by Publius Huldah

Instead of reading our Constitution and seeing what it says, Americans get their legal advice from what “everybody says.”

Now, they are hearing about “emergency powers”, and are in a tail spin. Did Congress’ “Emergency Powers Act” delegate to the President the power to call whatever he wants an “emergency” and then do what he deems best?

Our focus shouldn’t be on what can be called an “emergency,” but what does our Constitution authorize the federal government to do (if anything) with respect to the hot topic of the day?

Let’s look at Migration (immigration) in the context of the hordes of aliens storming thru our Southern Border. What does our Constitution say about it?

Art. I, § 9, clause 1, delegates power over Migration (immigration) to Congress. So Congress is to make the immigration laws; and the President, as Chief Executive, is to put Congress’ laws into effect.

Art. IV, § 4 REQUIRES the United States to protect each of the States against Invasion.

Art. I, § 8, clauses 15 and 16, authorize the calling up of the Militia for three (3) purposes: to execute the Laws of the Union; to suppress Insurrections; and repel Invasions.

Art. II, § 3 authorizes the President to recommend to Congress such measures as he deems necessary and expedient; to convene Congress on extraordinary occasions; and requires him to take care that the laws be faithfully executed (that includes the immigration laws.)

Art. II, § 2, provides that the President is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He is Commander-in-Chief of the Militia when it is called into active service of the United States. As noted above, the Militia may be called into active service to “repel invasions”.

So those are the Constitutional Provisions which apply to the invasion of our Southern Border.

America is finished if we don’t control our Southern Border. Congress and the President have clear constitutional authority – actually, they have the DUTY – to control our Southern Border.

The best way the control the Southern Border is to build a wall. [I know from personal observation during the Cold War that the wall the Soviets built between East and West Germany prevented people in the East from escaping to the West.]

What if Congress refuses to fund the wall? Must the President tell the American People, “Well, I tried. But my hands are tied. You better get ready for civil war.”

No! Art. IV, § 4 imposes on the United States the Duty to protect each of the States against invasion. If Congress won’t do it, the President must. He is Chief Executive of the United States. For him to refuse to act for the reason that Congress won’t fund the wall would be as contemptible as the Husband and Father who refuses to get armed to protect his Family because the government says he can’t be armed.

So, the President may solicit donations from the American People for funds, labor, and construction materials, to build a wall.

About “calling up the Militia” to “repel invasions” —   Well, we no longer have the Militia provided for at Art. I, §8, clauses 15 and 16. During 1903, the American People and their federal and state legislators (who had all “mainlined” on Progressivism) went along with the federalizing of the Militia. This was done with the federal Dick Act of 1903 (Militia Act of 1903), which converted the Militia into the National Guard, which is an adjunct of the federal military.

If we still had the “Militia of the several States,” it would be obvious that the Militia must be – and could be – called into national service to repel the “invasion” coming through our Southern Border.

But since we no longer have the Militia, we must rely on the closest thing to a Militia we have left, which is the National Guard. Congress has passed laws which authorize the President to call the National Guard into national service. The Militia Act of 1903 established the creation of the National Guard of the United States as the primary organized reserve force for the U.S. armed forces, thus federalizing state militias. The National Defense Act of 1916 gave the President authority, in case of war or national emergency, to mobilize the National Guard for the duration of the emergency. And the National Guard Mobilization Act of 1933 made the National Guard a component of the Army

The point is that the President probably has authority to call up the National Guard to protect our Southern Border and the construction workers while the Wall is being built.

But if push comes to shove, the President has the Clear Duty to protect our Southern Border and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Remember – the Questions are always: “What does the Constitution authorize” & “What Duties does the Constitution impose on the federal government?”

There is no substitute for reading the Constitution for yourself. Article by Article – and then seeing how the Articles all work together – hand in glove.

 

References:

Publius Huldah, “Yes! Trump Has the Authority to Secure Our Southern Border,” Publius Huldah blog, January 15, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2019/01/15/yes-trump-has-constitutional-authority-to-secure-our-southern-border/

Cort Kirkwood, “Trump Can Close the Border, Former Federal Prosecutor Says,” New American, October 25, 2018.  Referenced at:  https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/immigration/item/30446-trump-can-close-the-border-former-federal-prosecutor-says

Hilary Hurd, Yishai Schwartz, “Supreme Court Travel Ban Ruling Summary,” Lawfare, June 26, 2018.  Referenced at:  https://www.lawfareblog.com/supreme-court-travel-ban-ruling-summary

11 Facts About Human Trafficking, Do Something.  Referenced at:  https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-human-trafficking

Raphael Carranza, “Harder Drugs, Higher Profits: US-Mexico Border Sees a Shift in the Kinds of Drugs Seized,” azcentral, February 23, 2018.  Referenced at:  https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/border-issues/2018/02/23/united-states-mexico-border-patrol-drugs-seized/353260002/

“Synthetic Opioid Overdose Data,” Center for Disease Control.  Referenced at: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/fentanyl.html

Jessica M. Vaughan, “MS-13 Resurgence: Immigration Enforcement Needed to Take Back Our Streets,” Center for Immigration Studies, February 21, 2018. Referenced at:  https://cis.org/Report/MS13-Resurgence-Immigration-Enforcement-Needed-Take-Back-Our-Streets

Emily Stewart, “How Trump Could Use a National Emergency to Get His Border Wall, Explained,” VOX, January 11, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/8/18172749/trump-national-emergency-government-shutdown-wall

Elizabeth Goitein, “What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency,” The Atlantic, January-February issue.  Referenced at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418/    [Elizabeth Goitein is a co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice]

Religious Liberty is Still Under Attack

jack phillips - with his cakes, masterpiece cake shop (photo credit - matthew staver for the new york times)

(Photo Credit – Matthew Staver for The New York Times)

by Diane Rufino, January 11, 2019

GREAT NEWS !!

But first the bad news:  Religious liberty continues to be in jeopardy in Colorado, the home of Christian baker and cake artist, Jack Phillips, and his Masterpiece Cakeshop.

But here is the good news:  The judicial system has once again ruled in its favor. A federal district court in Denver has ruled that Christian cake artist and baker, Jack Phillips, can proceed in his lawsuit against the State of Colorado for its alleged continued harassment of him on account of his religious beliefs. The district court, in allowing the case to go forward, found there is evidence that there continues to be hostility against Phillips on account of his religious beliefs which is responsible for the unequal treatment against him.

You may remember that Phillips was censured by the state of Colorado (the Colorado Civil Rights Commission) for declining to create a cake for a same-sex couple back in 2012. The couple had asked for a 7-layer cake, representing the colors of the rainbow, with two men in tuxedos being married on top. Phillips declined the request, explaining that the message he would be sending through his design would offend his sincerely and deeply-held religious beliefs. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission claiming Phillips and the Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against them in violation of the state’s public accommodations law, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA). The Commission agreed and ordered the cakeshop owner and his staff to undergo a rigorous re-education program (teaching “tolerance”), as well as to invoke certain serious restrictions on them [by requiring that he bake cakes for same-sex couples (ie, he cannot discriminate for any reason) and requiring that he and his staff record, subject to regular state audits, every customer who requests a custom cake and the reasons when a request is denied]. Phillips appealed but was denied, and then finally appealed the Commission’s decision to the Colorado appellate court. The court upheld the Commission’s finding and decision. Phillips chose to stop creating wedding cakes rather than cave to government coercion. He lost a significant portion of his income and could no longer support the staff he had working for him. He, with help from the pro-First Amendment legal team, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

In June 2018, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case (Phillips v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission), ruling that Phillips was wrongfully prosecuted for declining to bake the cake. Rather than address the actual issue of “compelled speech” or religious liberty (see below), the decision rested on the obvious hostility towards religion that clearly motivated the Commission to take action and penalize the Christian baker. For example, in 2014, Commissioner Diann Rice makes the following comment just before denying Phillips’ request to temporarily suspend the commission’s re-education order:

“I would also like to reiterate what we said in…the last meeting [concerning Jack Phillips]. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust… I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use – to use their religion to hurt others.”

On June 26, 2017, the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Jack Phillip’s appeal, an attorney, Autumn Scardina, called Masterpiece Cakeshop and requested a birthday cake. During a discussion of the customer’s preferred specifications for the confection, Scardina revealed that she wanted the cake to have a pink interior and a blue exterior. Then she added that the colors were to celebrate her coming out as transgender on her birthday, some years earlier. At that point, Debi Phillips (Jack’s wife, and the co-owner of the cake shop) declined to create the cake because of the Phillips’ belief that gender is biological, and immutable.

Scardina later asked Phillips to design a cake with satanic themes and images—a request that Phillips also declined because of the message the cake would communicate. Scardina then filed a civil rights complaint against Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, charging discrimination on the basis of gender identity, a protected status under Colorado anti-discrimination law.

Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in his first case (June 2018), the state of Colorado surprised him by finding probable cause to believe that he violated the CADA by declining to create the requested gender-transition cake. The Commission concluded that the statute includes transgender individuals in its prohibition against discrimination based on gender.

As with his decision not to create a cake celebrating gay pride and same-sex marriage, Phillips’ decision not to make the pink/blue cake which clearly was intended to express a message celebrating Scardina’s transgender status was based on his connection to (and what outsiders might view as his acceptance of) that message and not based on the identity of the customer.

In response to this renewed attack against him, Jack Phillips and his lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed their own suit, in the US district court in Denver, against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and specifically, Aubrey Elenis, the director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division. It was Elenis who issued the finding that that there is “sufficient evidence” to support a claim of discrimination against Phillips. ADF argued that “the state of Colorado is violating Phillips’ First Amendment free exercise of religion rights by continuing to treat him differently than other cake artists and by acting with hostility toward him and his faith.”  District court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel issued a ruling on January 4, concluding that Phillips may proceed with a second lawsuit claiming the state of Colorado is again wrongly prosecuting him. Judge Daniel said there is evidence of unequal treatment against Phillips, given that the state of Colorado, through the Commission, allows other cake artists to decline requests to create cakes “that express messages they deem objectionable and would not express for anyone.” This “disparate treatment,” the court said, “reveals” the state officials’ ongoing “hostility towards Phillips, which is sufficient to establish they are pursuing the discrimination charges against Phillips in bad faith, motivated by Phillips’ religion….” The ruling further added that Phillips “has adequately alleged his speech is being chilled by the credible threat of prosecution.”

A commissioner set to decide the state’s new case against Phillips has publicly referred to him as a ‘hater’ on Twitter, which was just one of several clear indications of the commission’s ongoing bias against him, the bad faith motivating its continued harassment of him, and its outright hostility towards his beliefs.

ADF also argued that Colorado is infringing Phillips’s due process rights, and that the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Commission’s adjudicative process is flawed because the same commissioners act as both accusers and adjudicators in the same case, an arrangement that the Supreme Court condemned in a 2016 decision. There is probably a 14th Amendment challenge as well, alleging arbitrary treatment under its Anti-Discrimination statute.

It is important to understand the issues at the center of this continued hostility towards Jack Phillips. It is not simply the case of one person claiming another violated his civil rights or aggieved him in some way. It is not simply the case of an employer being sued because he offer a job to someone else instead of the minority candidate. This situation is one where the state itself has taken a formal position that anti-discrimination rights and the rights of groups like the LGBT and transgender community are more important than the historic and founding right of religious freedom. Today it may be the state that is trying to take away our religious liberty right, but tomorrow, it may be 30 states, and then the federal government itself. The landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Phillips v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission stemmed from the baker’s refusal, on the basis of his faith, to design a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. The Colorado government then attempted to compel him to do so, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission treated Phillips with open hostility, even comparing his invocation of sincere religious beliefs to defense of the Holocaust. Additionally, they treated him differently from other cake artists who had declined to design custom cakes because of the images they would have conveyed.

The Supreme Court found that Jack Phillips did not act out of animus (hatred) when he politely declined to make the same-sex couple a cake celebrating gay pride and same-sex marriage [which was not allowed, by the way, in the state of Colorado at the time of the suit (2012); in fact, according to the state constitution, the only marriage recognized in the state was between a man and a woman]. He offered them any other cake he had in the shop and offered to bake them any cake they liked, but he just could not “create” an artistic cake to celebrate same-sex marriage.

Animus and blind intolerance form the crux that makes discrimination so offensive. But that is not what happened in the case of Phillips v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. It was a case of a man, a Christian, believing the First Amendment protected him in his right to exercise his deeply-held religious beliefs (Free Exercise of Religion) and protected him from being coerced into expressing a viewpoint that goes directly against what he believes (Free Speech and the Right to be free from compelled Speech).

The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (or CADA) outlaws discrimination in the area of public services, goods, and accommodations – yet it makes several exceptions for certain groups of people who have particular sensitivities – such as Muslims (can refuse a customer if they feel it offends Allah or the Koran), atheists (obvious; they don’t have to be compelled to make anything with a cross or a bible verse, etc), and African-Americans (don’t have to accept business which they feel discriminates against them, or which represents white supremacy). We all know that discrimination, in many forms, continues to exist in the marketplace. Fashion designers who were outraged over Trump’s election refused to design for our stunning First Lady, Melania (wow, what a stupid decision there!)  Bruce Springsteen and other artists refused to perform concerts for those who hold political views they don’t agree with. Businesses choose states to move to or expand to that are favorable to their political views, and reject those that are unfavorable. The list goes on.

Indeed, over his years as a cake artist, Phillips has declined to create cakes with various messages that violate his faith, including messages that demean LGBT people, express racism, celebrate Halloween, promote marijuana use, and celebrate or support Satan. It was the refusal to create a custom cake for the same-sex couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, and the backlash created by the LGBT community, that prompted the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (tasked with reviewing challenges under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act) to file a suit against him. As the ADA continues to explain: “Jack serves all customers…But Jack doesn’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his deeply-held beliefs.”  He will tell you the same thing himself.

Apparently, tolerance is not a two-way street.

In addressing the issues presented in Jack Phillip’s case against the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Commission – Phillips v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018 decision), the Supreme Court focused primarily on his claim that CADA, and the Commission itself (ie, the state of Colorado) was forcing or compelling him to engage in speech that he disagreed with.  The creative process whereby Phillips designed a custom cake to represent and mark the particular occasion is a form “expression” or “expressive speech,” which is protected under the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech provision. Therefore, as his ADF lawyers argued, he cannot be compelled or forced to create a cake that delivers a message that the government demands him to deliver but that he personally opposes.

And the Supreme Court has upheld such a view. In its “compelled speech” rulings, the Supreme Court has protected the right not to be forced to say, do, or create anything expressing a message that one rejects. Its most famous cases are West Virginia v. Barnette (1943) and Wooley v. Maynard (1977). In the Barnette opinion, the Court barred a state from denying Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to attend public schools if they refused to salute the flag, and in the Maynard opinion, it prevented New Hampshire from denying people the right to drive if they refused to display on license plates the state’s libertarian-flavored motto “live free or die.” The justices of the Supreme Court addressed both cases during oral arguments and referenced them in the Court’s opinion as well.

The question, of course, was whether the liberal members of the Supreme Court would agree that cake design constitutes “expression.”  It turned out that all agreed that it does.

The main purpose of having a cake “created,” as opposed to buying a ready-made cake, isn’t to satisfy a sweet tooth or to top off the meal; the main purpose is aesthetic and expressive. That is why they are displayed in such a creative way or in a choreographed fashion at receptions or parties, and that is why they are often the center of a live program (such as the feeding of the cake by the bride and groom to one another), much like a prop in a play.  Luckily, the Court was able to distinguish between simple goods and services (not requiring expression) and services like those offered by Jack in creating a custom cake, which involve expression.

In that case, NC Family co-signed a “friend-of-the-court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court and, in November 2017, led a North Carolina delegation of concerned citizens (including myself and several of my friends) to Washington, D.C. to show support for religious liberty and Phillips. In June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Phillips’ favor.

While progressives (like those who sued Phillips in the 2017 case for not baking a gay marriage celebration theme for a same-sex couple, and now those currently suing him, transgenders) believe the First Amendment must remain silent when a person’s views make another feel uncomfortable or hurt their feelings or make them feel undignified, or when a person’s religious beliefs result in what may be viewed as discrimination against a group of persons, the reality is that the First Amendment has no “conditions” on it. And, as the plain language of the Amendment, as well as the Preamble to the Bill of Rights, makes clear, there is no right for the federal government to impose any conditions on it.  Incorporation of the First Amendment on the States (thru the 14th Amendment, or even per the Bill of Rights included in the state constitution) prohibits the state legislature as well from making any law that abridges the right of free speech and the right to exercise one’s religious beliefs. The First Amendment is precisely needed when one’s ideas offend others or when it contradicts the orthodoxies of the reigning social and political majority. In those times, in particular, it protects more than one’s freedom to speak one’s mind; it also guards one’s freedom not to be forced, compelled, or coerced (including by law) to speak the mind of another.

Here is some sobering information:  Since 2014, approximately $9.9 million in grant funding has been collected for the sole purpose to oppose religious liberty and protections for religious freedom.  Welcome to the new America. The grants predominantly come from LGBT groups, backers of the LGBT movement, abortion supporters, and those calling for government-provided contraception coverage. These grantees, in general, hold the position that abortion rights and anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals are equally important, or more important than religious freedom. Next time you hear the LGBT community demand tolerance, keep this in mind.

Again, welcome to the new America.

Friends, the fight continues.  Either we have the Right to Speak freely or we don’t.  Either we have the Right to Believe as we want and to Freely Exercise our Religion or we don’t. In other words, either we are free or we are not.

I will keep you updated as this new case develops.

 

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References:

NC Family Staff, “Jack Phillips Can Continue His Fight Against Government Harassment,” NC Family Policy Council bulletin, January 11, 2019.  Referenced at:  http://my.ncfamily.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=5170.0&dlv_id=9031

Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis, “Opinion: First Amendment Wedding Cake,” New York Times, December 4, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/opinion/first-amendment-wedding-cake.html

“Colorado Loses Bd to Dismiss Cake Artist’s Lawsuit,” Alliance Defending Freedom, January 7, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/press-release-details/colorado-loses-bid-to-dismiss-cake-artist-s-lawsuit

“Christian Cake Baker’s Second Lawsuit Can Go Forward, Federal Judge Says,” Catholic News Agency, January 7, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/christian-cake-bakers-second-lawsuit-can-go-forward-federal-judge-says-24315

“Revealed: Colorado Commission Compared Cake Artist to Nazi,” Alliance Defending Freedom, January 12, 2015.  Referenced at:  http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/9479

New From the APA: Masculinity is a Bad Thing

toxic masculinity

by Diane Rufino, January 11, 2019

OK, the loony left has struck again. Liberals/progressives have finally left the planet. Lights out, nobody is home. They’ve “opened their minds” so much that their brains have literally fallen out.

Here is their latest mind-numbing thesis —

For the first time in its history, the American Psychological Association (APA) released guidelines concerning men and boys, saying that so-called ‘traditional masculinity’ is harmful to them.  Not only is it ‘harmful,’ according to the APA, but it could also lead to homophobia and sexual harassment.

The main thrust of their so-called research is that traditional masculinity – marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression – is, on the whole, harmful. According to the APA, their research shows “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly.”  The 36-page document goes on to coin the phrase “masculinity ideology,” which, as the APA defines, is “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” Of course, “masculine ideology” is understood to stem from traditional masculinity.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” the report warns.

The research goes on to suggest that masculine boys may put their energy toward disruptive behaviors such as homophobia, bullying and even sexual harassment rather than strive for academic excellence.

The left is becoming more and more hostile to traditional masculinity, even coining the term “toxic masculinity.”  Liberal scholars use the term “toxic masculinity” to refer to stereotypically masculine gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions allowable for boys and men to express and furthers conduct that solidifies men’s dominant position in society.  Some on the Left think “manliness” is something they must eradicate. Some on the left believe it causes violence, including rape. “Manning up,” they say is a toxic idea, forcing boys to act in a way they may not otherwise feel comfortable with. The left, clearly, has come up with a solution – we must emasculate them.  Let’s not understand men; let’s emasculate them. And that is now what the left is pushing in our schools.

As usual, schools are less about actual learning than allowing the government the opportunity to mold our children’s brains and to take our place as parents in raising them.

I don’t know about the APA, but shouldn’t we be grateful for traditional masculinity?  Hasn’t it been traditional masculinity that has safeguarded and taken care of women and children all through the ages. If men put their feelings first, would they have been able to “man up” all these years to do the hard work and make the hard choices to overcome adversity and to take care of their families?

The bottom line, it seems, is that liberals/progressives know better. All these years, we’ve apparently been raising our sons wrong.

 

References:

Lukas Mikelionis, “’Traditional Masculinity’ Deemed Harmful, Could Lead to Sexual Harassment, Medical Group Says ,” Fox News, January 9, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://www.foxnews.com/health/american-psychological-association-deems-traditional-masculinity-harmful-could-lead-to-sexual-harassment

Frank Miniter, “Is Toxic Masculinity Toxic?” Forbes, November 15, 2016.  Referenced at:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/frankminiter/2016/11/15/is-masculinity-toxic/#2307531a3c3f