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ABC’s Outrageous Anti-Christian Smear

ABC News reports [1], under this headline:

From the story:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a speech to an alleged hate group at an event closed to reporters on Tuesday night, but the Department of Justice is refusing to reveal what he said.

Sessions addressed members of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was designated an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016, at the Summit on Religious Liberty at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, in Dana Point, California.

The event promised to “bring together prominent legal advocates, scholars, cultural commentators, business executives and church leaders to examine the current state of religious freedom” and “develop legal and cultural strategies to allow freedom to flourish in the United States and around the world.”

This is genuinely shocking to read. I went to the same annual ADF meeting last summer. It was a normal gathering of religious conservative lawyers and others, who talked about various challenges to religious liberty. Yet those scamming trolls at the Southern Poverty Law Center tagged them a “hate group,” and ABC News repeats that slur. What ABC says is technically true. SPLC does in fact call ADF a “hate group.” The shocking thing is that ABC News takes that incredible charge for granted, and uses it to trash both ADF and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Here’s a link to a PDF file from ADF [2]that gives you the basic facts about the organization. Does this look like the moral equivalent of a neo-Nazi outfit to you?

Here’s the link to the SPLC page explaining why they labeled ADF a “hate group.”  [3] You should be aware that if they say this about ADF, they must also say it about any church that upholds orthodox Christian teaching on sexuality. SPLC calls it “hate” — and again, ABC News repeats that vicious smear, because no doubt they think it’s true.

Mark my words, this is coming for every church and every Christian in America that holds to Biblical orthodoxy on sexuality. We will be regarded as no better than Klansmen by the media and others. I am grateful to the Attorney General for going to speak to ADF today. This kind of reaction from the media is a reminder of what our opponents think of us. The kind of people who regard Trump’s boilerplate speech in Warsaw last week as a farrago of white supremacist dog-whistling are the same kind of people who look at organizations like ADF — and churches — and see not ordinary Americans defending their religious liberty, but a confederacy of Kluckers.

This is what many critics of The Benedict Option [4] don’t get (probably because they haven’t read the book): we in the Church had better start planning for this kind of world, because it’s coming fast. We have to fight it at every turn — supporting ADF [5] and other religious liberty advocates in their courtroom fights is a critical part of that mission — but we have to have a Plan B in case that law and politics fail. Besides, even if ADF and its counterparts succeed in protecting religious liberty, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be tremendous pressure from the media and others in the overclass to stigmatize orthodox Christians as dangerous bigots and haters.

The SPLC is not remotely a non-partisan group. Would ABC News quote from Don Wildmon’s American Family Association calling the Human Rights Campaign a “hate group”? Of course not. But ABC News is so far removed from the lives of ordinary Americans, and what they believe and stand for, that they take SPLC’s disgusting slur as a putatively neutral description of an Evangelical Christian legal organization that fights for religious liberty.

What are you going to do in a world where your religious beliefs and practices are stigmatized in law and custom? When your church is designated a “hate group”? How are your kids going to hold on to the faith when doing so will cost them professionally, socially, and perhaps even legally? If you aren’t asking these questions of yourself and your church now, and making plans for the near future, you are being willfully blind.

UPDATE: Jeryl Bier in the Wall Street Journal [6]:

Aided by a veneer of objectivity, the SPLC has for years served as the media’s expert witness for evaluating “extremism” and “hatred.” But while the SPLC rightly condemns groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Westboro Baptist Church and New Black Panther Party, it has managed to blur the lines, besmirching mainstream groups like the FRC, as well as people such as social scientist Charles Murray and Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of Islamic extremism.

A clear illustration of the SPLC’s pervasive and insidious influence is the March riot at Middlebury College, where Mr. Murray had been invited to speak. “The SPLC is the primary source for the protesters at my events,” Mr. Murray told me. “It is quotes from the SPLC, assertions by the SPLC that drive the whole thing.”

Mr. Murray’s politics are libertarian, but the SPLC labels him a “white nationalist.” In reporting on the Middlebury fracas, numerous news organizations repeated the SPLC’s characterization without noting it was false. The AP even put it in a headline: “College Students Protest Speaker Branded White Nationalist.”

More:

Some journalists harbor doubts about the SPLC. “Any time a group like that is seen as partisan it undermines itself and its noble mission,” a network anchor told me on condition of anonymity. “Anti-LGBTQ bigotry is heinous, but classifying the Family Research Council in the same terms as Nazis did not help SPLC in its nonpartisan mission.”

Still, as long as journalists serve up what the SPLC dishes out, the group has little to gain by directly engaging its critics.

135 Comments (Open | Close)

135 Comments To "ABC’s Outrageous Anti-Christian Smear"

#1 Comment By George On July 13, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

I think the SPLC did have an important role to play at one point of our history. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. Ironically to them the only group that cannot hate are white progressives. Regardless I analyzed the group a few years ago and came to the conclusion that their methodology for determining a hate group was so suspect that it was useless. If you are interested in my article then here it is.
[7]

#2 Comment By russ On July 13, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

The ADF recognizes that there has indeed been a slippery slope since Lawrence. Therefore it makes total sense to support anti-sodomy laws from that perspective, and has nothing to do with hating anyone. Much like the ACLU representing NAMBLA doesn’t mean the ACLU is an anti-child hate group.

#3 Comment By Thrice A Viking On July 13, 2017 @ 4:00 pm

Kevin, I don’t believe that my contention was ridiculous. Even though she was technically a private citizen, she had made plain that she intended to run for POTUS, and most observers believed she’d win it. That was the implicit reason she was offered so much money for her speeches, as her oratory isn’t that impressive. It’s true that Sessions is currently an office-holder – but one who can be removed at the pleasure of the POTUS.

Besides, the most you can say about his association with the alleged “hate group” is that you strongly disagree with it. The ADF, so far as I know, doesn’t have the kind of money to raise the specter of corruption. The groups to which HRC spoke are a rather different matter, wouldn’t you say, Kevin?

#4 Comment By russ On July 13, 2017 @ 4:38 pm

Probably should have said, in my last comment
…Much like the ACLU representing NAMBLA doesn’t ipso facto mean the ACLU is an anti-child hate group.

#5 Comment By SE Penna On July 13, 2017 @ 4:38 pm

“Oh, and also… the SPLC is tarnishing our language and its reputation by throwing around such loaded terms so loosely. They need to refocus on real hate groups.

No. They need to up stakes and git. We don’t need the SPLC or any other nasty, corrupt little hypocrites setting themselves up as arbiters of what is or isn’t “hate”. Adult Americans can make that call themselves.

#6 Comment By Clifford Ishii On July 13, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

Biblical Christians consider homosexuality as a sin, period.

#7 Comment By Kevin 2 On July 13, 2017 @ 5:08 pm

To be fair to the ADF and Sessions, they had now released the text of his speech.
[8]

I obviously disagree with the maximalist view of religious freedom the speech hints at, but here is nothing particuslrly offensive on controversial in the text .

[NFR: I have changed your screen name to “Kevin 2,” because there’s another Kevin who posts here, and who has been posting here longer than you have. — RD]

#8 Comment By Carl Eric Scott On July 13, 2017 @ 5:28 pm

The dysfunctional behaviors at SPLC go waayyy back. Agreed that it once served an important role. But how is that our current journalist class never knew about essays like this one in from Harpers, 2000, or had editors to point them towards it? I seem to recall several around that time. [9]

#9 Comment By A Libertarian Guy On July 13, 2017 @ 5:33 pm

Oakinhou’s post (7-13-17 at 10:28 am) contained some illogical comments about the source of Barronelle Sutzman’s legal problems (Ms. Suntzman turned down an order to make flower arrangements for a gay “wedding”).

When anti-dicrimination laws go to the extreme of punishing someone for not providing services for a gay wedding, those laws have gone too far. The only victim in the Stutzman case is Barronelle Stutzman.

Ms. Stutzman’s Thirteenth Amendment right to not perform services against her will was grossly violated by all of the following: Rob Igersoll and Curt Freed (the gays who sued her), the American Civil Liberties Union, far-left Judge Alex Ekstrom, and the State of Washington.

A wedding is an event, not a person. A videographer has a natural right as a human being to turn down a request to video-tape a gay wedding, just as much as he (or she) has a right to turn down a request to video-tape a wet-t-shirt contest.

Some Americans (even non-religious people like myself) don’t want to be involved (even in a small way) with gay weddings. That’s our natural right as human beings; it is not bigotry or hate. And as I stated, it’s also our right under Section 1 of the Thirteenth Ammendment to refuse to provide services for gay “weddings.”

It has become perfectly clear that there is a sizable faction on the left– including left-wing judges, many Democratic Party politicians, and left-wing LGBT political activists– who have no interest in following the principle of “live-and-let-live.” The real bigotry in these gay wedding conflicts is on the left– particularly the gays who won’t leave people like Ms. Stuntzman alone.

#10 Comment By mrscracker On July 13, 2017 @ 6:49 pm

JonF,
Absolutely. You first have to have access to the internet and cable tv,etc for it to be a problem.
That’s one reason we kept those out of the home for many years. Smartphones make that much harder now.

#11 Comment By CMPT On July 13, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

Me: “Does a state have the right to criminalize opposite sex intercourse or even all sex of any kind? Or, to make the hypothetical a little more realistic, does a state have the right to permit its cities to outlaw these things?”

Rod: “I think so, though it would obviously be an incredibly stupid thing to do. If the state does not have that right, then all morals laws go out the window, as Scalia noted in his dissent.”

I guess I can appreciate your intellectual consistency, although I don’t believe any straight people – including those who adamantly oppose gay marriage – would, in practice, accept the state telling them they can’t have sex with their spouses. I also don’t think the Founding Fathers believed it permissible for a state government to prohibit sex between married people. Instead, I suspect they never gave any thought to the possibility that the federal government or any state government would ever even consider such a thing and, therefore, they never bothered to make explicitly clear that states couldn’t do that.

In short, I believe there are some matters that are so personal that the government, state or federal, has no business interfering with. Your apparent belief that any right not expressly granted by the U.S. Constitution can be taken away by the state or even your local municipality is, I suspect, way outside the mainstream.

#12 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 13, 2017 @ 7:28 pm

Keep in mind: SPLC is not a state organ of any sort, and their designations of who is a “hate group” are not binding on anyone.

Many people still take them seriously, obviously, and my comment is neither praise nor damnation for their work, but ultimately any moral authority they may possess depends on a receptive public.

#13 Comment By Kevin On July 13, 2017 @ 7:32 pm

“Kevin, I don’t believe that my contention was ridiculous. Even though she was technically a private citizen, she had made plain that she intended to run for POTUS, and most observers believed she’d win it. That was the implicit reason she was offered so much money for her speeches, as her oratory isn’t that impressive. It’s true that Sessions is currently an office-holder – but one who can be removed at the pleasure of the POTUS.

Besides, the most you can say about his association with the alleged “hate group” is that you strongly disagree with it. The ADF, so far as I know, doesn’t have the kind of money to raise the specter of corruption. The groups to which HRC spoke are a rather different matter, wouldn’t you say, Kevin?”

All I can say about this spin is:
1. You have a great future in political communications.
2. It’s a good thing that, as the other Kevin pointed out, Sessions disagrees with you and released the transcript. Because by your standards, pretty much any senior government official can avoid transparency, because they are all fireable by the president.
3. And you know and you know that had the shoe been on the other foot, and it was Holder speaking to BLM and SPLC, organizations about organizationally on par with the ADF when it comes to resources, and was not releasing transcripts, you’d be screaming to high heaven.

#14 Comment By Kevin On July 13, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

“Ms. Stutzman’s Thirteenth Amendment right to not perform services against her will was grossly violated by all of the following: Rob Igersoll and Curt Freed (the gays who sued her), the American Civil Liberties Union, far-left Judge Alex Ekstrom, and the State of Washington.”

Notably, Stutzman is suing over First Amendment issues, not over the Thirteenth Amendment. And that’s for two very good reasons:
1. If you take “forcing to provide services” as equivalent to slavery, then the entire edifice of anti-discrimination law goes out the window.
2. And in fact, this same argument was made by segregationists to protest against civil rights laws.

Say what you say about the Stutzman case, her lawyers are making a good choice narrowing down the issue to expressive activities.

#15 Comment By Kevin Smith On July 13, 2017 @ 9:09 pm

First they came for the Anti-Semites, but I was not antisemitic, so I didn’t speak up. Then they came for the racists, but I was not a racist and I didn’t speak up…

#16 Comment By Oakinhou On July 13, 2017 @ 9:46 pm

“Ms. Stutzman’s Thirteenth Amendment right to not perform services against her will was grossly violated by all of the following: Rob Igersoll and Curt Freed (the gays who sued her), the American Civil Liberties Union, far-left Judge Alex Ekstrom, and the State of Washington.”

Ms Strutzman’s Thirteenth Amendment rights are violated in the same way as the poor AL or MS luncheon counter owners’ Thirteenth Amendment rights were violated by being forced to serve lunch to black patrons against their will.

Let’s assume that the Supreme Court carves a gay-wedding exception to anti-discrimination laws. Next time a gay person walks into Ms Stutzman’s store to ask for flowers because it’s his wedding anniversary, will she be excused again from following the anti discrimination laws because she refuses to contribute to a celebration that more likely than not will end in ….you know….. (sodomitic acts)?

Will we all have to sign affidavits to buy flowers from Ms Stutzman, certifying the flowers will not be used in any occasion that might lead to, …..you know …. (sodomitic acts)?

Once you agree that religion is an excuse from following general anti discrimination laws, there’s no end point in sight. There’s no logical reason why “gay marriages are ok to discriminate, but gay wedding anniversaries are not”

#17 Comment By Jack Caughran On July 13, 2017 @ 10:47 pm

“it is within the realm of Christian orthodoxy to believe in sodomy laws. I don’t believe in them, but I wouldn’t call someone who did a “hater”.” — What then would it take? Would you call someone who believed in laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage a hater?

#18 Comment By Anne On July 13, 2017 @ 11:54 pm

NFR: “I believe they are primarily a fundraising scam?”

The Southern Poverty Law Center?
Scam, no. But the group has raised a lot of money for poor Southerners and a number of other worthy individuals via many successful — not to mention, historic — lawsuits against bully organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan. We remember the SPLC here in Oregon for its successful $12.5 million suit against the White Aryan Resistance, a group of skinheads, for their brutal beating to death of Ethiopian student Mulugeta Seraw in the early 1990s. That finished off that hateful organization in one fell swoop.

The SPLC has gone after a number of groups like that, but its longest and meanest foe was undoubtedly the KKK in its many manifestations, which founder Morris Dees began fighting first in Alabama back in 1971.
It was, in fact, a case involving the Klan during which Jeff Sessions and the SPLC first crossed paths — i.e., the 1986 prosecution of Klansman Henry Hays for the 1981 lynching murder of Michael Donald, a black man, a case with which Sessions as US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama was peripherally involved. This is the go-to case Sessions uses repeatedly to counter allegations of racism in his past, but after it was alleged during his Senate confirmation hearings this year that his handling of the case “broke the back of the Klan in Dixie,” The Atlantic ran an investigative piece that concluded Sessions played a relatively small role in the Hays prosecution, and that, in any case, it wasn’t the outcome of that case, but the successful $7 million lawsuit by the SPLC in 1987 against the entire United Klans of America that finally bankrupted the organization once and for all. After that, the Klan’s leader Robert Shelton told the Associated Press, “The Klan is gone. Forever.”

(For what it’s worth, Richard Cohen, legal director of the SPLC, does credit Sessions’ office with arranging for an FBI agent to testify at the SPLC’s historic civil trial.)

I mention this case because of its historic importance, and because of the Sessions connection, but the fact is the SPLC has successfully litigated a wide variety of important cases on behalf of clients who would not otherwise have been heard n court at all, from Vietnamese fishermen in Texas tormented by Klansmen to cotton mill workers whose work environment gave them brown lung disease. Following that particular suit in the 1980s, federal regulations were passed to control dust exposure and require textile companies to provide regular medical screenings. And on and on.

A fundraising scam?

#19 Comment By FiveString On July 14, 2017 @ 12:11 am

Perhaps the SPLC is going too far, but the truly heinous crime here is that conservatives who supposedly oppose big government and believe in the Constitution (which does in fact call for separation of church and state) — along with Christians who supposedly believe in love and forgiveness for all — are Hell-bent on depriving United States citizens of their Constitutional rights. If you think that’s what Jesus would have wanted, then you should be ashamed of yourselves.

In short, your “religious freedom” is nothing less than a demand for cherry-picked Christian dogma (Jesus said nothing about homosexuality) to become the law of the land. Again, that’s far more heinous than the SPLC’s hyperbole.

#20 Comment By not their finest hour On July 14, 2017 @ 9:23 am

“but ultimately any moral authority they may possess depends on a receptive public”

… or on having soundbites like “a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center says is … [blah blah blah]” beaten into your head by the MSM several times a year over the course of a lifetime.

#21 Comment By MichaelGC On July 14, 2017 @ 10:57 am

Siarlys Jenkins says on July 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm:

I was waiting for you to weigh in. 🙂

That is really no different in its constitutional dimensions than saying that the state may not require Jehovah’s Witnesses to join in recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Its compelled expression.

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion”. — Minersville School District v. Gobitis, (1940)

While I believe that Hobby Lobby should properly have been decided as a workers rights case, not a religious liberty case, it seems that if first amendment rights can be invoked by a large corporation, albeit closely held, then a small business owner may certainly invoke such protections also.

One would certainly think so, but I can see Kennedy swinging with the left on this one, as much as he rhapsodized about free exercise in Burwell:

“Free exercise in this sense implicates more than just freedom of belief. . . .. It means, too, the right to express those beliefs and to establish one’s religious (or nonreligious) self-definition in the political, civic, and economic life of our larger community.”

From that to this brief afterthought in Obergefell:

“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

Funny that, how “free exercise” is now conspicuously absent, and “may” comes into play with respect to people’s faith, as in they are allowed to have it, or they have permission from the Court for the time being. In fact, free exercise now only appears in the four dissents, and they are ringing the alarm loud and long about it

As with Windsor, Prop 8, and Obergefell, we again wait for the Imperial Supreme Court to decide our fate (because that’s not for us anymore, is it?) with a decision not based on any profound precedent or enduring jurisprudence, but based entirely on the power of their high rank, because they can. I doubt that anything means as much to Kennedy as his precious gay legacy, so I am about 75 to 90% certain that he will concoct a majority decision (assuming we have the same majority, with no one retiring or dying on the bench) which will effectively strike the free exercise clause from the Constitution in the same arrogant, reckless way they inserted SSM into it. We will get an explanation as to why the gay couple’s sweet mystery must trump the Christian baker’s sweet mystery. Not that it will make any sense; it doesn’t have to any more than Kennedy’s other ramblings.

#22 Comment By M_Young On July 14, 2017 @ 11:27 am

“Ms Strutzman’s Thirteenth Amendment rights are violated in the same way as the poor AL or MS luncheon counter owners’ Thirteenth Amendment rights were violated by being forced to serve lunch to black patrons against their will.”

Yes, that’s exactly right. ‘Civil Rights’ laws are, as Barry Goldwater pointed out, massive government intrusion into private businesses and violations of the right to free association and freedom to contract (and not contract). And that’s why the original ‘Civil Rights’ laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in the 19th century.

#23 Comment By Anne On July 14, 2017 @ 12:21 pm

“When anti-discrimination laws go to the extreme of punishing someone for not providing services for a gay wedding, those laws have gone too far.”

The way judges have interpreted those cases isn’t the way vendors who refuse to cater gay weddings and their supporters do. Judges see them as people discriminating against the couples marrying, not as people taking a religious stand against the weddings per se. The problem is legal precedents were set 40 or so years ago when vendors, who were most often Christian (and Southern), used virtually the same argument as Christians today who won’t cater gay weddings to refuse to cater marriages between mixed-race couples. Legal opinion across the board decided then that the weddings themselves weren’t the issue before the court, only the rights of the individuals involved. Looked at that way, the vendors were clearly discriminating against the two individuals marrying, since if they had been two other people, the vendors would have served them.

If Christian attorneys want different outcomes in these cases this time around, it seems to me they’re going to have to find a way to move the court’s focus away from the individuals involved and on to the more nebulous matter of principle, as in can an individual’s religious scruples take precedence over anti-discrimination statutes in certain cases if following the law requires him/her to violate them? I’m sure anyone legally trained could phrase that better than I have, but the point is arguing — much less deciding — these cases on religious liberty grounds isn’t the slam-dunk many seem to think it should be.

#24 Comment By PA Moderate On July 14, 2017 @ 1:26 pm

I perused the SLPC website a couple of years after following a link to a map that essentially showed “Hate Groups Near Me”. Most were KKK-like groups but there were a couple of them where “Hate Group” seemed like too strong a term.

That being said, the SLPC does seem to define a line between “legitimate religious belief” and “hate”. For instance, when a member or members of an organization blame things like natural disasters on gays, that organization gets put into the “hate” category. One can see why some people might have a problem with that. That being said, maybe the SLPC should come up with a different category for these types of groups, as I think it dilutes the meaning of the term “Hate Group”.

This leads me to a question: what is the line between legitimate religious belief and “hate”?

#25 Comment By Kevin On July 14, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

“Whys is this? Because the SPLC is funded and run by Jews – the worst hate group of them all.”

“Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clarke are dancing cheek to cheek.
It’s fun to eulogize
The people you despise,
As long as you don’t let ’em in your school.

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It’s American as apple pie.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans ’cause it’s very chic.
Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can’t stand.
You can tolerate him if you try.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.”

[NFR: Wait, did somebody post on here something calling Jews “the worst hate group of all”? If so, I approved that comment in haste. Let me know, because I want to take it down. — RD]

#26 Comment By MikeCA On July 14, 2017 @ 4:09 pm

Moderate Mom,I think you might want to change your name. Taking comfort in someone burning in eternal hellfire is not something a moderate of any stripe would do. I don’t know a lot about Morris Dees but what has he done that warrants that sort of animus?

#27 Comment By TA On July 14, 2017 @ 5:03 pm

[NFR: Wait, did somebody post on here something calling Jews “the worst hate group of all”? If so, I approved that comment in haste. Let me know, because I want to take it down. — RD]

Graham M @ 11:54 am today.

[NFR: Got it, removed it. Thanks. — RD]

#28 Comment By A Libertarian Guy On July 14, 2017 @ 5:42 pm

MY RESPONSE TO KEVIN:

I’m well aware that Ms. Stuntzman didn’t use a Thirteenth Amendment defense. My contention is that the Thirteenth Amendment could and should be used in cases like Ms. Stuntzman’s.

As a non-religious person, my right to not service a gay wedding should be upheld. The Thirteenth Amendment would be my only constitutional defense.

MY RESPONSE TO OAKINHOU:

Read my response to Anne below. Your affidavit scenario is absurd and would never happen in the real world.

MY RESPONSE TO ANNE:

Obviously, left-wing judges contend that refusing to service a gay wedding is discrimination against the gay individuals. Those judges are wrong. In Ms. Stuntzman’s case, she had sold flowers to Ingersoll (the gay who sued her over his wedding order) for nine years, fully aware that Ingersoll was gay. Ms. Stuntzman drew the line at producing a flower arrangement for a gay event. That’s no different than a videographer refusing to video tape a wet-t-shirt contest. It’s also no different than a gay florist refusing to produce a flower arrangement for a wedding at the Westboro Baptist Church.

FOR EVERYONE ON THIS THREAD:

All human beings have a natural-born right to decide who we will or will not interact with. That includes an entrepreneur’s right to not be involved with gay weddings, or polygamist weddings, or weddings at Westboro Baptist Church. (Please don’t waste my time saying gays are a protected class and Westboro Baptist Church members are not. If you believe in equal protection under the law, then you must believe that protected-class laws are wrong.)

How is it right to force an entrepreneur to provide services for a gay wedding? Anybody with a well-formed conscience can see that forcing someone to bake a cake or make a flower arrangement is a violation of the same moral principle that was violated when blacks were forced to pick cotton. I fully acknowledge that slavery was far more severe than fining someone for refusing to bake a cake. But the same moral principle applies to both scenarios.

In American law, the highest law of the land is the U.S. Constitution, NOT the Civil Rights Act. Concerning discrimination against blacks, the Civil Rights Act accomplished its goal concerning lunch counters and the back-of-the-bus issues. At this point in time, no law is needed toward those ends. Wal Mart, McDonald’s, Sears, The Waffle House, IHOP, Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, Disney, Hampton Inns, and a kazillion other companies and business, would NOT start discriminating against blacks if the Civil Right Act was sunsetted. At this point in time, there isn’t really a genuine need for laws designed to protect blacks.

The U.S. Constitution trumps federal and state laws. Any and all laws that provide for the punishment of entrepreneurs who don’t service gay “weddings” are unconstitutional and unjust. If lefties don’t like that, then they can start a drive for a constitutional amendment that’s to their liking.

The Thirteenth Amendment specifically forbids both slavery and involuntary servitude. Ms. Stuntzman’s Thirteenth Amendment right to not service a gay wedding was clearly violated by Judge Alex Ekstrom, and the State of Washington.

#29 Comment By Thrice A Viking On July 14, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

Kevin, don’t get your panties in such a bunch. I never said that Sessions was right when he apparently wasn’t going to release any such transcript, I just said that it was even worse when Hillary did the same (and still refuses, AFAIK), as she was running for POTUS. I’m glad that the AG did consent to their release, BTW, I actually agree with you on that.

I’m sorry that my allusion to all heads of the cabinet keeping their jobs only on the president’s sufferance was misunderstood by you. My point was rather an ironic one. That is, how can you be so exercised by someone with so many potential reins on him while being so unperturbed by one running for the highest office in the land, without the curbs imposed on the AG and other cabinet officials?

As to your vast knowledge of how I think in re AG Holder visiting with BLM and/or SPLC: yes, I probably would be irate about that. But that’s because (1) he is on record as saying “his people” in apparent reference to African-Americans, not US inhabitants in general; and (2) BLM is a thoroughly disreputable organization, IMO. If you feel the same about ADF as I do about BLM, I’ll understand your being upset. I would have to say that neither ADF nor SPLC seems to advocate violence, AFAIK, whereas BLM does seem to do so. The first two apparently just advocate for laws they’d like to see passed. If so, that’s a rather large difference, it seems to me.

Two BTW questions for you: (1) you did mean to write an “I know” rather than repeating “you know”, didn’t you? (2) Would you have been upset with Eric Holder in his term as Attorney General if he had spoken to either or both of the groups you mentioned, but refused to have transcripts released?

#30 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 14, 2017 @ 9:10 pm

Judges see them as people discriminating against the couples marrying, not as people taking a religious stand against the weddings per se. The problem is legal precedents were set 40 or so years ago when vendors, who were most often Christian (and Southern), used virtually the same argument as Christians today who won’t cater gay weddings to refuse to cater marriages between mixed-race couples.

Anne you may be right about the muddled thinking of the judges who have ruled on these cases, but please read the briefs submitted to the court by the attorneys for Elane Photography. And you might try reading the cases cited therein, which I’ve posted here too many times to do so again. Distinct and different arguments have most certainly been made.

The problem is, many of the intellectual elites and professional classes have gotten into their heads that this, that, or the other, is “the civil rights issue of our time,” or some demographic statistical minority is “the new black,” none of which is tenable based on real facts.

One of the stark differences between the issues in Loving v. Virginia and the issues in the cases from Goodridge to Obergefell is that nobody denied Mr. and Mrs. Loving were married — they were prosecuted for the crime of having married. Whereas, nobody prosecuted the Goodridges, they were merely denied a marriage license, because they did not constitute the substance of a marriage.

“Ms Strutzman’s Thirteenth Amendment rights are violated in the same way as the poor AL or MS luncheon counter owners’ Thirteenth Amendment rights were violated by being forced to serve lunch to black patrons against their will.”

I’ve already disposed of that shabby resort to Potemkin analogies, but M_Young seeks to revive it because he hates that Jim Crow laws have been tossed out.

Barry Goldwater was right in principle, but wrong about how those principles applied to civil rights laws. Jim Crow was not a simple matter of evil attitudes and deeply ingrained culture. They were deliberately and violently instituted by massive retaliation and intimidation, violent overthrow of elected officials, persistent statutory requirements. So it was quite appropriate to put as much legislative muscle and enforcement into undoing them. Actually, once the dust settled, few southerners really wanted to go back, but it sure took a brick to the head.

The claim that racial segregation was a long standing “way of life” was laughable. People were still living who could remember the first day that new laws required people of African descent to sit in the back of the street car. And, as C. Vann Woodward, among others, pointed out, slavery was not a system of “racial segregation” in the least.

There ARE quite a number of matters that the blunt instrument of government is incompetent to fix, or change. What we need is to learn the difference, instead of demanding that everything in the world be nailed down by law.

#31 Comment By Kevin On July 15, 2017 @ 12:34 am

“The U.S. Constitution trumps federal and state laws. ”

And the wonderful thing about the US constitution is that A Libertarian Guy is one and only arbiter of what it means, amen, selah.

#32 Comment By Kevin On July 15, 2017 @ 12:43 am

Thrice a Viking.

1. Yes, I think Hillary should have released the transcript of her speeches. But let’s be real for a second: every single politician speaks to donors multiple times every week, and 99% of the time, what is told there is unknown to the public. (Romney’s 47% speech and HRC’s deplorables speech are major recent exceptions to the rules). We decided, collectively,that that’s ok, and any attempt to change those laws would probably run into the Supreme Court. I don’t know why Hillary should be made the exception. We also have very strict rules executive branch regarding transparency, on the theory that people who serve in the executive branch are not answerable to the public in the way politicians do. Would I love where we lived in a system where there was a wall of separation between politicians and the moneyed class? Yes, I would, but I am not the one voting for people who are nominating judges that are systematically destroying any restraints on money-politics nexus.
2. Yes, I would be very upset at any Holder speech that was not disclosed. I think that besides some very limited circumstances (classification, confidential policy debates, and privacy) everything executive branch officials do should be made public. Definitely when we are talking about the AG, who is probably the 2nd most important person in any administration.

#33 Comment By Thrice A Viking On July 15, 2017 @ 5:59 pm

Thanks, Kevin, I appreciate your civil response, and am greatly pleased by your answer to my query about AG Holder. However, it does seem to me that “everything [they] do” is a bit too expansive. Or better, perhaps, that the “very limited circumstances” extend to most of the things they do in office. I’d say that all public speeches – “public” would include gatherings before small groups of private citizens – should be transcribed, if not recorded electronically, and made available to the public at large.

I have a bit of a quibble about your saying that the AG is likely the most important person in an administration besides the POTUS. I’d probably go with the Secretary of State myself, and possibly Treasury too before the AG. Or perhaps the most important of all is the Fed chairperson, who is appointed in a similar manner to cabinet officials, and is, IIRC, considered part of the executive branch.

And yes, Kevin, I agree that secrecy in fund-raising is the name of our American political game. I’m not sure it’s several times a week, but I’ve no doubt it’s a lot. But we differ as to whether the SCOTUS would declare such a law to prevent this unconstitutional. True, they have declared that money and speech are equivalent in political campaigns – but said nothing, AFAIK, about such donors’ meetings having to be strictly secret if the participants so wished. I’m at least guardedly hopeful that they’d allow a law forbidding such pacts. BTW, did I ever mention on TAC that I wish Trump would have released his tax returns at least a few years into the past? I do so wish.

I can see a possible way to sever the nexus between private wealth and political aspirants – but it has a couple of major drawbacks. That is to give each major party nominee a large sum of money for her/his campaign – more than many, if any at all could raise from private sources – on the condition that this amount would constitute their whole “war chest”. So, no private donations would be allowed. But the two drawbacks are: (1) I’m not sure how you could give an equal amount to each primary or caucus challenger, nor to minor party candidates. And this would be especially problematic if many more candidates decided to run for office under these conditions. And (2), related to that last sentence, this would have the potential for being a target for scammers, especially if all the P&C and minor party candidates were given wads of money. The taxpayers wouldn’t be apt to like that. So, I’m somewhat pessimistic about that.

#34 Comment By JonF On July 16, 2017 @ 7:52 am

RE: My contention is that the Thirteenth Amendment could and should be used in cases like Ms. Stuntzman’s.

No it should not. The 13th amendment abolished slavery (under the euphemism “Involuntary Servitude”). Words have meaning and “slavery” does not mean a legal requirement to to do or not do any given action. If it did I would have a 13th amendment case against obeying traffic laws I find silly and unnecessary in my case. Ms. Stutzmann may be unjustly put upon in this matter, but she is not being made into anyone’s literal property, liable to be bought and sold and possessed of no rights which are enforceable in the courts. Let’s not muddy the waters with hyperbolic claims.

#35 Comment By Catalan On July 18, 2017 @ 10:00 am

I agree that SPLC can go overboard sometimes in its definition of what constitutes “hate.” For example, while I don’t agree with everything that Charles Murray concludes from his work, I find the reactions to his work to be rather disturbing.

That said, ADF is not Becket. I applaud Becket for being rather consistent in its positions. As far as I know, Becket has consistently defended religious liberty, and has generally remained silent in instances where the state is taking action against people because their conduct violates the subjective mores of a conservative Christian majority. I would prefer that Becket defend those injured by those policies, as any consistent defense of religious liberty would presumably extend to those who are exercising their right to live free of religious restraint so long as their conduct injures no one else. Even so, the same cannot be said of ADF. ADF has consistently defended state laws whose only purpose is to favor a conservative Christian majority (usually a white evangelical majority) at the expense of those who do not live by the subjective precepts of that belief system. In my view, that does make them a “hate group.”

I believe that people should be free to live any way they please without government interference, so long as they don’t impose material harm onto others. This is the bedrock principle of our Republic. ADF has consistently defended organizations that seek to curtail that right and enshrine their particularist visions of “morality” into law. You have a right to go to church and worship as you please; I have a right to throw up a proverbial middle finger to that.

There seems to eb a suggestion that such a society leads to disorder. I disagree. I spent a fair portion of my childhood living in Japan. Japan is a relatively libertarian society, where you’re free to do what you want as long as you don’t burden others. I don’t see why the same can’t work here. In my view, we in the US have become corrupted by moralistic thinking, and therefore have lost the ability to live in ways that properly reflect sound econometric judgment.

[NFR: Because Japan is full of Japanese, with their long history of cultural formation. — RD]