Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Christian baker who was sued for not customizing a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony but note the ruling focused on this particular case rather than broader issues of conscience and religious liberty. They also cringe as Bill Clinton still sees himself as the victim in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and scolds an NBC reporter for even bringing it up. And they’re incredulous as President Trump boldly announces he has the power to pardon himself and Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, contends Trump could not even be indicted for killing former FBI Director James Comey while still in office.More
The Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment Monday, ruling in favor of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakes in Lakewood, CO. In a narrowly crafted 7-2 opinion, the court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission demonstrated hostility to Phillips’s religious beliefs.
Although Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion was full of the woke posturing we’ve come to expect, had this case gone the other way, religious liberty would have suffered greatly. This ruling was a necessary brushback pitch to overreaching bureaucrats trying to stamp out diversity of thought and belief.More
In his famous poem “Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley describes the head of the tyrant’s statue lying in the desert sand:
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
In response to a strong but unsupported reply I made on a comment on a @richardepstein post Let Them Bake Cake , @tommeyer rightly challenged me: “That said, do you think that [Justice Anthony Kennedy’s] career can be summarized as a ‘secular supremacist project of effectively outlawing biblical Christianity.’” More
In its 2015 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Colorado Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which sanctioned Jack Phillips, a devout Christian and the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, for violating the Colorado Antidiscrimination Laws (CADA). His offense: refusing for sincere religious reasons to prepare a custom-made wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a gay couple. His insistence that he enjoyed the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion and speech were roundly rebuffed—as were similar claims in the 2013 New Mexico decision in Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock and the 2017 Washington decision in State of Washington v. Arlene’s Florists, Inc. The Commission then ordered Phillips “to take remedial measures, including comprehensive staff training and alteration to the company’s policies to ensure compliance with CADA.”
So Phillips had to submit to the state’s regulations if he wished to remain in business. But why this compulsory re-education program? Phillips does not insist that Colorado limit marriage solely to unions between one man and one woman. He only resists providing them services that go against his religious conscience. He routinely supplies his gay and lesbian customers with off-the-rack items for use in same-sex marriages. And he has courteously directed his gay and lesbian customers to other establishments that supply services for same-sex weddings. Phillips thus tolerates and accommodates the practices of others with which he does not agree. But the Colorado Commission decidedly does neither.More
OK, this time I checked before I posted, and nothing came back. I am Christian. I regularly attend a “Bible-centered” church in Houston. I do not understand why many evangelical Christians are so fervently for President Trump. I admit that I find Trump vulgar, distasteful and not especially effective as a politician. I did not […]
New “traditions” are entrenching themselves in America. Spontaneous one-man Civil Rights movements and the desecration of historical monuments have become authoritative expressions of the character and legacy of our society. Of course, these are not real “traditions.” They are the product of the fiery passion of democracy, the ardor of Jacobin fiends who have redefined what it means to be American. This is the chaos of a country without Tradition.
Tradition is a gift–an inheritance handed down over generations and not particular to any one person, family, or nation. It includes the mores of ancestors, and their heroes and holidays (as we had in this week’s Columbus Day) that express shared historical foundations. Tradition addresses the little things, like the proper attire at an evening party, even as it maintains great institutions, like the family, marriage, and religion. Though it cannot be explained by pure reason and logic, Tradition is in harmony with Nature, allowing us to better understand man’s origins and the world around us.More
Richard Epstein looks at a recent Supreme Court ruling that could have major implications for when and how religious institutions can access public money.More
A recent Supreme Court decision sheds light on an important tension in the religious clauses of the First Amendment of the Constitution. In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, a church’s application for a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to resurface its playground with poured rubber made from recycled tires was turned down solely because of the church’s status as a religious institution. The Missouri DNR held that it was bound by this provision of the Missouri Constitution:
That no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such; and that no preference shall be given to nor any discrimination made against any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.More
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America celebrate the Supreme Court decision that upheld a portion of President Trump’s travel ban, overturning lower court rulings. They also applaud the SCOTUS decision in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church against the State of Missouri in a religious liberty case. And they question Pride Month’s “inclusivity” as LGBT members of the Jewish community are ejected from a Chicago pride march for having the Star of David on a rainbow flag.More
President Trump declared his desire to do everything in his power to protect religious liberty in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. The beginning was rather brash, as he declared his desire to attend for “the next seven years,” which earned him some laughs. After being introduced by a friend from The Apprentice, the president asked for prayers for Arnold Schwarzenegger, his less-than-successful successor on the show. He then he turned serious. After explaining how his mother taught him from the family Bible, he spoke of the importance of “spiritual success” over material success.
He declared his desire to overturn the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which effectively silenced minsters from speaking out on political matters through provisions in the tax code. This is not the first time Trump has called for its repeal. For example, he spoke about it in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo last summer. And the Atlantic reported on it in August.More
Ricochet editor-in-chief Jon Gabriel appeared on OAN’s “Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler” to discuss Sens. Cruz and Lee’s State Marriage Defense Act and whether President Trump will make religious liberty a priority in the same-sex marriage debate.
Sitting in a warm, comfy home with gifts under the beautiful Christmas tree, listening to carols, watching Scrooge and feeling thankful, suddenly I am jolted with images of the bombed out ruins of Syria, and men in white hard hats digging with their bare hands through the thick, heavy rubble, moments after a deadly bomb […]
In the United States, we have typically had an expansive view of religious freedom. Behind the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment is a powerful argument against tyranny. As religion presents an authority higher than the State, there is a sense of judgement on even popularly supported laws and moral principles. Castro […]
The hangover from last week’s surreal edition of the Al Smith Dinner is finally wearing off, and things still look ugly. Host Timothy Cardinal Dolan says it was an “awkward” meeting between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who shared a dais with Dolan at the old televised dinner raising money for New York Catholic charities. Yes, obviously awkward, Your Eminence, but wasn’t it a tad awkward for you to be there, too?
Wasn’t it especially awkward for Your Eminence when Hillary, opponent of all that is Catholic (except liberal Jesuit heresy) said, “We need to get better at finding ways to disagree on matters of policy while agreeing on questions of decency and civility?” Dolan instead would agree, as he responded to calls to permanently cancel the dinner by saying, “nothing can ruin the event” as it is “America and the Church at their best.” Dolan is gravely wrong.More
Earlier this month, the US Commission on Civil Rights issued its report Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. The report, which was occasioned in part by the same-sex marriage debate, tries to determine the correct relationship between antidiscrimination laws and the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. Currently, persons of religious faith have been legally charged with discrimination under state antidiscrimination laws for refusing to provide their individualized services to same-sex couples because they sincerely believe that marriage is a relationship existing only between one man and one woman. The question is: should they be granted a religious exemption?
The report’s title, Peaceful Coexistence, conveys, perhaps unintentionally, a grim social reality in the United States. Historically, of course, it described the uneasy relationship between the US and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. In that context, the phrase described how two nations, organized under radically different principles, could avoid the dangers of mutual annihilation through nuclear warfare.More
The head of an Arizona agency visited France a few months ago, and offered to take employees’ “special intentions” on his visit to the Catholic holy site of Lourdes. Department of Economic Security Director Tim Jeffries’ email noted that he is a member of the Order of Malta, which is focused on “global works for the poor and the sick” and asked employees to reply with their intentions if they were comfortable doing so.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (headquarted in Madison, WI, because of course they are) was deeply offended by the director’s kind offer and declared it a violation of the First Amendment (PDF).More
Hurrah for the Christian Science Monitor. Yes, old-fashioned journalism still exists, hidden away in back corners of the mass media world. My favorite media critics at GetReligion brought my attention to a series on current issues in religious liberty. This is a series of articles that covers a lot of territory. Along the way they […]
Richard Epstein looks at a controversial judicial ruling in Mississippi limiting conscience protections for religious individuals on LGBT issues.More