A Big Win
The Supreme Court today stunned legal observers. First, it issued a decision on one of the most of high profile cases of the term. Normally, a decision on a case like this would have been issued when the court concludes its term at the end of June.
But the decision itself is far more important than its timing. The case involved Colorado cake maker Jack Phillips. As you may recall, Phillips refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The state of Colorado came down on him like a ton of bricks.
The state's civil rights commission was blatantly hostile to Phillips' claim of religious liberty, and that hostility seemed to be the focus of the court's opinion. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared:
". . .the record here demonstrates that the commission's consideration of Phillips' case was neither tolerant nor respectful of his religious beliefs. . . The commission's hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion. . ."
To give you some idea of just how biased the Colorado civil rights commission was, consider this: Two liberal justices -- Breyer and Kagan -- joined the majority, making today's decision a 7-to-2 ruling!
Only two justices -- liberals Ginsburg and Sotomayor -- felt the state of Colorado was free to run roughshod over Phillips' religious liberty.
In addition, the fact that today's decision was written by Justice Kennedy speaks volumes. He has authored the court's biggest pro-gay rights opinions, including the decision redefining marriage. I and many others feared that if this opinion had Kennedy's name on it, the decision would go the wrong way.
While the Supreme Court in many ways dodged more fundamental issues in its decision, at least it is willing to impose some limits on the left's intolerance toward men and women of faith.
Standing For Faith
As the Judeo-Christian foundation of the culture has been eroded by relentless attacks from the left, once commonly accepted values that would normally be part of a Christian worldview are increasingly seen as threatening or defined as "bigoted."
Holding traditional Christian values opens one up to be castigated and potentially punished. This is something that Dr. James Dobson and I warned about in "Children At Risk" way back in 1990. You may have heard about one example that came to light last week. It is a both inspiring and depressing.
Jaelene Hinkle is a professional women's soccer player. She currently plays for the North Carolina Courage. Last June, she was called up for the U.S. Women's National Soccer team, an incredible honor that speaks highly of her tremendous talent.
But when she was called to play, the team was sporting jerseys promoting homosexual pride. When did a great nation get into the business of celebrating private bedroom behaviors?
As a committed Christian who believes that God made the institution of marriage for the union of one man and one woman, Hinkle informed the team that she could not in good conscience wear that uniform. In short, she was refusing to worship the new secular "gods."
As a result, she was prevented from playing on the team and she gave up the chance of a lifetime. Here's how she explained her decision in a recent interview:
"I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life and I’m saying no to it. . . I think there's where the peace trumps the disappointment. I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient."
Once again, we see how a movement that began by demanding privacy and tolerance now insists that everyone must publicly celebrate what they do in private. It is using the power of big government and its ownership of the culture to crush any dissent.
Here's another example involving left-wing activists attempting to force a Catholic Church to rent its facilities for same-sex weddings.
Some people, perhaps even some Christians, would argue that God would not want her to lose this opportunity. "Just wear the jersey," they might say, just as some have told Christians bakers to "Just bake the cake" for a same-sex wedding. But where do we draw the line?
I think it would have been totally demoralizing for Hinkle to wear a jersey or to serve as a billboard for values that violated her faith. Increasingly it seems that Christians who want to live out their faith will have to live outside of the new cultural consensus.
Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory is making headlines once again, and sadly it is for similar reasons. The last time Mallory made news was when she outed herself as a staunch supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The Anti-Defamation League considers Farrakhan "America's leading anti-Semite."
Not long after that, Mallory attacked the ADL and demanded that Starbucks drop the Jewish organization from its recent anti-bias training. Incredibly, Starbucks caved.
Now Mallory is putting her own anti-Semitism front and center. After a recent trip to the Middle East, she is publicly speaking out against Israel and denouncing the Jewish state. Mallory called the founding of Israel a "human rights crime." She also said:
"This is not about stopping one side. This is about ensuring that the native people are able to enjoy the land. They shouldn't ask anybody for their land! This is their land!"
Mallory said that she has learned a lot from radical Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, which explains a lot.
Sorry, Tamika. But the Israelis are the native people. Jews have lived in Jerusalem for three thousand years, long before Islam ever existed. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any people other than the Jewish people.
If Mallory is ever forced out of her leadership role at the Women's March, perhaps she can get a teaching job at Columbia University. Professor Hamid Dabashi is under fire for a tweet blaming Israel for "Every dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world."
As The Algemeiner notes, Dabashi's anti-Semitic tweet "is reminiscent of rhetoric used by former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke." Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni are demanding that Columbia discipline Dabashi. Unfortunately, the university's problems with anti-Semitism go far beyond one professor.
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