War on Christianity

I am so very sorry

I have this feeling. Haven’t I been over this before. Maybe yes:

I previously wrote about the war on Christianity. I made a big joke about it then. There is more, however. Apparently there really is a war on Christianity, and it’s being waged by no less than the United Nations. A conservative friend posted this on Facebook. I have copied and pasted the ensuing exchange with some editing to remove superfluous text and to obscure the identity of some participants:

The post centered on a short Facebook exchange and ended when I posted the whole mess on this blog. In the result I was unfriended and lost the ability to comment further on the thread. I groused about my misfortune and in a fit of poor sportsmanship I posted my final say so:

It’s an old game, but I got the title from a not quite as old TV show. It’s called “ring and run,” and what you do, if you’re a kid, is to ring somebody’s doorbell and skedaddle before they can get to the door. See what fun it is? You make somebody go to all the trouble for nothing, but the best part is, you don’t get caught. You get to leave your message and not have to answer for the consequences.

That’s all come and gone, but the supposed war on Christianity surges forward, at least in the minds of some:

Conservative Tribune

We’ve seen this happen in Syria, where the destabilization that the civil war caused allowed the allies of al-Qaeda come in and begin slaughtering Christians.  In Egypt, the Coptic Christians had no help from the Muslim Brotherhood as they suffered serious persecution after Mubarak’s regime fell.  In Iran, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned since September 2012 by the Islamic radicals who run the country.

Well glory be. What a stunning news break. Muslim extremists are killing people, especially Christians. Who would have thought it?

Wait! Here’s an even later news break. Al-Qaeda operatives are also killing Jews, Hindus and Muslims. These snarly rascals are giving religious conservatism a bad name. They are killing anybody who looks at them sideways.

And the president is not jumping up and down about the murder of Christians? Conservative Tribune, you need to find some real news to report.

Of course the outcry doesn’t end there, and am I ever glad. Else I would have little to write about. Now we have this:

Arizona SB 1062 is a legislative Act in the U.S. state of Arizona, introduced by Senator Steve Yarbrough. The bill is one of several state bills that would allow anyone in the state to legally refuse business or service to LGBT people based on religious freedom. The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate, along party lines, it was also passed by the Republican-controlled state House. Governor Jan Brewer, also Republican has until February 28 to act. The bill will become law if she does not either sign or veto the bill, only once has she allowed a bill to become law without her signature.

It would be a first-of-its-kind amendment to religious freedom laws in the U.S.

Section 41-1493 of the Arizona Revised Statutes regulates who can claim religious freedom or exercise thereof as a defense in a lawsuit. AB 1062 revises that law by expanding the definition of who is a person to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity”, and allows for religious-freedom lawsuits “regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.”

[Extraneous links removed]

Here is the text of the bill.

Many believe the bill was prompted by litigation in neighboring New Mexico. I touched on this in a previous post:

BEFORE THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
VANESSA WILLOCK
Complainant, v. ELANE PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC,
Respondent.
DECISION AND FINAL ORDER
HRD No. 06-12-20-0685
THIS MATTER came before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for determination of a discrimination claim based on sexual orientation, brought by the Complainant, Vanessa Willock, against the Respondent, Elane Photography, LLC. The designated hearing officer, Lois Dogliani, heard the above-captioned matter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 28,2008. The Complainant appeared, gave witness testimony and was represented at the hearing by her attomey, Julie Sakura. The Respondent appeared through its representative and co-owner, Elaine Huguenin, and was represented at the hearing by its attorney, Jordan Lorence.

Conservative legislators in Arizona don’t want the same kind of thing to happen in their state, and the bill is their defense against businesses having to work with unsavory members of society.

A prime mover was the Alliance Defending Freedom:

Alliance Defending Freedom is a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.

Recognizing the need for a strong, coordinated legal defense against growing attacks on religious freedom, more than 30 prominent Christian leaders launched Alliance Defending Freedom in 1994. Over the past 18 years, this unique legal ministry has brought together thousands of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations that work tirelessly to advocate for the right of people to freely live out their faith in America and around the world.

There’s additional information on Wikipedia:

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF, formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an American conservative Christian nonprofit organization with the stated goal of “defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.” ADF was founded in 1994 by Bill Bright (founder, Campus Crusade for Christ), Larry Burkett (founder,Crown Financial Ministries), James Dobson (founder, Focus on the Family), D. James Kennedy (founder, Coral Ridge Ministries), Marlin Maddoux (president, International Christian Media), and Donald Wildmon (founder, American Family Association), along with the leadership of over thirty other conservative Christian organizations.

ADF supports the inclusion of invocations at public meetings and the use of religious displays (such as crosses and other religious monuments) on public lands and in public buildings.[3] The ADF opposes abortion, and believes that healthcare workers have a right to decline participation in the performance of abortions and other practices an individual health worker finds morally objectionable. ADF opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, as well as adoption by same-sex couples based on their belief that children are best raised by a married mother and father. ADF believes parents should be able to opt their children out of sex education in schools that run counter to a family’s religious beliefs.

ADF states that it has “had various roles of significance” in thirty-eight wins before the United States Supreme Court, including such cases as Rosenberger v. University of Virginia,Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. ADF is representing a litigant in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

On July 9, 2012, the Alliance Defense Fund changed its name to Alliance Defending Freedom. The name change was a strategic initiative designed to reflect the organization’s shift in focus from funding allied attorneys to litigating cases.

Alan Sears heads up the ADF:

Alan Sears has served as president, CEO, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom since its founding in 1993. He leads the strategy, training, funding, and litigation efforts of this alliance-building legal ministry that brings together thousands of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations to protect religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family in America and around the world.

He is also author, along with Craig Osten of The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today [Kindle Edition]:

Authors Alan Sears and Craig Osten expose the goals of the homosexual movement and its rising legal activism. The homosexual agenda has as its primary aim to “trump” the rights of all other groups, especially those of people of faith. The saddest part of the story is that it is working. In 1988, 74.9 percent of the American public thought that sex between two people of the same gender was always wrong. By 1998, the percentage had fallen to 54.6 percent. Sears and Osten provide well-documented proof that America; is not only becoming more tolerant of homosexuality, through the indoctrination of children, positive exposure on TV, and the support and approval of corporate America, it is becoming less tolerant of those who disagree.

I have purchased a copy of the book and will be doing a review in the future. If you don’t see my review after a few weeks have passed, then send me a hammer by e-mail to remind me.

Some people call me cynical, but I am beginning to suspect that AB 1062 is a lot about protecting religious people from having to deal with homosexuals. Apparently others feel the same way, and you all know how it makes me feel whenever I find myself in the main stream. However, I’ve gone this far, so let me plow ahead.

What got me onto the Arizona case tonight was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN. If you have just come back from several years at the South Pole, then I need to remind you that Cooper is a major news anchor and commentator on CNN. And he is also openly homosexual. How about that for adding juice to his interview with Arizona State Senator Al Melvin:

08:06 PM ET

Arizona Republican State Senator Al Melvin voted for SB-1062 and wants Governor Brewer to sign it. His interview tonight with Anderson ran too long for air. The full unedited conversation which included NYU Law Professor Kenji Yoshino is available here in two parts.

Andy Towle has posted significant text of the interview:

Anderson Cooper Destroys Arizona GOP State Senator’s Defense of Anti-Gay Law: VIDEO

02/24/2014

On AC360 tonight, Anderson Cooper confronted Arizona State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Al Melvin about SB 1062, the bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs. Constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino joined the debate and spent the segment rebutting Melvin’s arguments.

Melvin either didn’t appear to know or didn’t want to admit that his state can already fire someone for being gay because sexual orientation is not included in the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. Melvin also couldn’t give an incredulous Anderson Cooper a single instance in which someone has been discriminated against based on their religious beliefs.

Said Melvin:

“Not now. No. But how ’bout tomorrow?”

Using a hypothetical situation under the proposed law, Anderson went on to ask the Senator if, because Jesus spoke against divorce, he would support a business person who wanted to discriminate against a divorced woman or an unwed mother.

“I think you’re being far-fetched with all due respect sir. As a Christian, as most God-fearing men and women would respect unwed mothers, divorced women, who would discriminate them? I’ve never heard of discriminating against people like that. I never have…”

Melvin’s only response was to return to his wingnut talking points:

“All of the pillars of society are under attack in the United States, including religious freedom…We want to protect traditional marriage. Traditional families…”

Finally, Anderson blasts Melvin when he can’t say if he believes it is discrimination if someone is fired for their sexual orientation.

There’s probably a good reason I’m not a TV anchor. However, I would like the chance to interview somebody like Al Melvin in this case. I watched through the video, and there were questions I kept wanting Cooper to ask:

“How is this bill going to protect religious liberty? Let’s play through a scenario. I’m sure when you were considering whether to vote for this bill you thought about how enforcement would play out. Please do that for me. Run the tape starting at the point where a religiously repugnant person pushes through the front door of an Arizona business, and demands service. Finish up at the point where the deeply offended business owner invokes SB-1064 and tells the deviant to get lost.”

Senator Al Melvin refused to consider any of the cases Cooper proposed in the interview. When it was brought to his attention he shrugged off suggestions that a business might show an unwed mother the door.

In all sincerity, it is unlikely a real business would do exactly that. I mean, there are varying levels of repugnance. Why turn down the sale of a $3500 wedding gown just because the bride is showing six months already? There is, after all, the business bottom line.

And it appears the bottom line is about to win out in Arizona:

As expected, the measure has drawn criticism from Democrats and business groups who said it would sanction discrimination and open the state to the risk of damaging litigation.

On Friday, the LGBT group Wingspan staged a protest march to the governor’s office that drew about 200 people. Some carried signs with messages “God created us all equal” and “Shame on Arizona.”

Tucson-based Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria posted a photo on its Facebook page of a sign with a message for state lawmakers: “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona legislators.”

“It’s a ridiculous bill,” pizzeria manager Evan Stevens told CNN on Friday. “Arizona has much bigger problems than allowing businesses to discriminate against people.”

In a statement, Anna Tovar, the state senate Democratic minority leader, said: “With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation. This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council, in a letter to Brewer on Friday, urged the governor to veto Senate Bill 1062, saying the “legislation will likely have profound, negative effects on our business community for years to come.”

“The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes,” council President Barry Broome wrote, adding that four unidentified companies have vowed to locate elsewhere if the legislation is signed.

He added, “With major events approaching in the coming year, including Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona will be the center of the world’s stage. This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts.”

Some of the Republican lawmakers who originally voted in favor of the bill are now wishing to change their vote. There is religious preference, and there is profit. A little hand-holding with evil may not be all that bad. I am reminded of a Russian proverb that I came across reading Winston Churchill’s book Closing the Ring from The Second World War. It’s a long clip, and the cutting line is at the end. I have highlighted it:

From the moment when the Armistice was signed and when the Italian Fleet loyally and courageously joined the Allies, I felt myself bound to work with the King of Italy and Marshal Badoglio, at least until Rome should be occupied by the Allies and we could construct a really broad-based Italian Government for the prosecution of the war jointly with us. I was sure that King Victor Emmanuel and Badoglio would be able to do more for what had now become the common cause than any Italian Government formed from the exiles or opponents of the Fascist régime. The surrender of the Italian Fleet was solid proof of their authority. On the other hand, there were the usual arguments against having anything to do with those who had worked with or helped Mussolini, and immediately there grew an endless series of intrigues among the six or seven Leftish parties in Rome to get rid of the King and Badoglio and take the power themselves. Considering the critical nature of the battle and the supreme importance of getting Italy to fight with a good heart on our side, I resisted these movements whenever they came to my notice. In this I was supported by Marshal Stalin, who followed the Russian maxim, “You may always walk with the Devil till you get to the end of the bridge.”

Churchill, Winston (2010-07-01). Closing the Ring (Winston Churchill World War II Collection) (Kindle Locations 3056-3065). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

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