The owners of a pizza shop at the center of the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law have gone into hiding.
— T Bradley (@TBradleyNC) April 3, 2015
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) April 4, 2015
The law’s latest version now prohibits business discrimination against protected groups like the gay community. It also forbids using the law as a legal defense in situations where such discrimination may have occurred. Read the rest of this entry »
Muslim Facial Hair, Amish Buggies, and Native American Peyote Rituals: This Map Shows Every State With Religious Freedom LawsPosted: April 2, 2015
Dave Johnson and Katy Steinmetz report:The national outcry over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has turned attention towards the 19 states with their own versions of the law and the others that are considering similar measures. The timeline below shows when each state passed legislation, starting with Connecticut in 1993. Click on a state for links to the laws or pending bills.
The fight over RFRAs dates to 1990, when the Supreme Court ruled against an Oregonian named Al Smith, who was a quarter American Indian. He had argued that his use of peyote in a Native American Church ritual—an act that cost him his job—should be protected by the First Amendment. He lost, and the ruling made it easier for the government to place restrictions on the freedom of religion. Read the rest of this entry »
The debate over religious liberty has brought out some odd readings of American history
Fred Bauer writes: A number of forces are fueling the current debate about religious liberty in the United States: among them, good-faith efforts to promote the continued improvement of the Union, senses of cultural grievance, anti-religion paranoia, ignorance, self-righteousness, opportunism, partisanship, and new-wave authoritarianism. However, it might be helpful to see this debate as taking place against the backdrop of a clash between two different views of the role of religion in public life. On one side stand sectarian secularists, who want to remove religion from public life altogether, and on the other stand pluralists, who support a more open society.
“Leaving aside the religious and political beliefs of Americans before 1776, appeals to the divine suffuse American culture and politics. Many of the Founders — along with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others — would have a bone to pick with those who say that our foundational rights do not come from God.”
Modeled in some respects on the French tradition of laïcité, sectarian secularism holds that appeals to religious ideas have absolutely no place in the public square, and its adherents will ridicule as out of bounds any appeal to the divine. This position goes well beyond a separation of church and state, which is about distinguishing the institutions of religion from those of governance, and instead suggests that the religious and the political should be entirely separate spheres. Unlike a more moderate and open-minded secularism, sectarian secularism seeks to police the bounds of public debate by rendering religious approaches to politics illegitimate.
“This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: ‘Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country’.”
This sectarian-secularist approach seems to inform Chris Cuomo’s much-mocked declaration in February on CNN about the source of our rights: “Our rights do not come from God. That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but not our country.” Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not “our country.” In a later Facebook post, Cuomo continued to insist that the language of the Declaration was not really part of American life: “Because the US does not draw on divine authority for recognition of rights.
“Particularly telling, and demonstrative of a sectarian-secularist viewpoint, is Cuomo’s insistence that it is somehow un-American to believe that our rights do come from God — that’s not ‘our country’.”
Founding documents were the beginning of course but the first amendment in that seminal constitution, which has infinitely more authority than the dec of indep obviously keeps faith out of government.” Cuomo is far from an outlier here. The past few weeks alone have offered numerous examples of attempts to stigmatize religious references in public debates. The sectarian secularists have defined once and for all what the U.S. is: a society where religion should be kept in the closet and not influence politics or policy-making.
“Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike.”
Pluralism offers a radically different account of the Republic. A pluralist welcomes all to the public square: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists alike. Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it. Indeed, pluralists believe that such a sealing off is practically and philosophically impossible.
“Pluralism does not seek to make the public square a hermetically sealed chamber, nor do pluralists ask believers to take off their faiths the instant they enter it.”
From a pluralist perspective, religion can perhaps never be fully separated from politics. Politics is shaped by broader philosophical principles about the ends of human existence, and one’s religious beliefs will undoubtedly influence one’s understanding of these principles. If one believes that all men and women are made in the image of a divine Creator, that will likely lead to a different set of principles from those that one would espouse if one believes that some people are innately better than others. Read the rest of this entry »
Burn Her! She Would Act Like a Witch in a Situation That Will Never Come Up!
Matt Welch writes: Someone please tell me if my progression here is inaccurate in any way:
1) Family owners of small-town Indiana pizzeria spend zero time or energy commenting on gay issues.
2) TV reporter from South Bend walks inside the pizzeria to ask the owners what they think of the controversial Religious Restoration Freedom Act. Owner Crystal O’Connor responds, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no….We are a Christian establishment.” O’Connor also says—actually promises is the characterization here—that the establishment will continue to serve any gay or non-Christian person that walks through their door.
3) The Internet explodes with insults directed at the O’Connor family and its business, including a high school girls golf coach in Indiana who tweets “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Many of the enraged critics assert, inaccurately, that Memories Pizza discriminates against gay customers.
4) In the face of the backlash, the O’Connors close the pizzeria temporarily, and say they may never reopen, and in fact might leave the state. “I don’t know if we will reopen, or if we can, if it’s safe to reopen,” Crystal O’Connor tells The Blaze. “I’m just a little guy who had a little business that I probably don’t have anymore,” Kevin O’Connor tells the L.A. Times.
Rod Dreher titles his useful post on this grotesque affair “Into the Christian Closet,” and it’s apt considering the progression above. If only these non-activist restaurateurs had simply kept their views to themselves when asked by a reporter, April Fool’s would have been like any other day for them.
But as it stands, they’re now being trashed not just by social-justice mobs from afar, but by powerful politicians where they live and work. Democratic State Sen. Jim Arnold represents the O’Connors’s district. This is what he said about his constituents:
“The vast majority of people in this country are not going to stand by and watch that kind of activity unfold,” he said. “If that’s their stand I hope they enjoy eating their pizza because I don’t think anyone else is going to.”
Sen. Arnold says he’s upset by the news because of the negative attention it’s bringing to a town he says is a great community.
He said this kind of thinking has no place in this town. And the Religious Freedom Restoration Law is not an excuse for them to discriminate.
“This is America and if people say they’re not going to serve them and they feel this is some kind of defense, which by the way doesn’t take effect until July 1, but if they feel it’s some kind of defense, I think they’re sadly mistaken[.]“
Almost every word out of Sen. Arnold’s mouth was wrong, horrifying, or both.
1) The O’Connors did not say “they’re not going to serve them,” they in fact stressed the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »
“Apple’s Gay CEO Tim Cook Wants to Boycott Indiana for Its Allegedly Anti-Gay RFRA, But Will Gladly Sell You an iPhone At Its Boutique in Riyadh, Where They’ll Stone You to Death For Being Gay.”
Ramesh Ponnuru writes: Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple, is spreading misinformation about a new religious-freedom law in Indiana. That law and similar ones, he writes in the Washington Post, “say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.” He goes on to claim that they “rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”
“What these religious-freedom laws say is that government can require people to violate their religious beliefs only when it is pursuing a compelling interest, and must do so in the least intrusive manner possible. Thus the Supreme Court recently ruled under a federal religious-freedom law that a Muslim prisoner doesn’t have to shave his beard.”
Discrimination against gay customers or employees is what opponents of the law are especially concerned about. But that’s a strange argument to make in the context of Indiana, which lacks any state nondiscrimination law on sexual orientation for people to resist. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal almost everywhere in the state, and was before this religious-freedom law passed.
“Cook may not be aware of this point or others that cut against his argument because reporting on this controversy has been abysmal. Cook may also be unaware that the ‘wave of legislation’ that he fears has largely already happened. A very similar religious-freedom law has been on the federal books for 22 years…”
Cook may not be aware of this point or others that cut against his argument because reporting on this controversy has been abysmal. Cook may also be unaware that the “wave of legislation” that he fears has largely already happened. A very similar religious-freedom law has been on the federal books for 22 years, and that law itself codified a Supreme Court doctrine that had been in place for most of the previous few decades. Nineteen states besides Indiana have similar laws. Read the rest of this entry »
Long Lines Outside of California DMV in Exposition Park as Hundreds of Non-Citizens Apply for Driver’s LicensePosted: January 2, 2015
— Robert Holguin (@ABC7Robert) January 2, 2015
David Harsanyi writes: After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.
If they can kill you over a cigarette tax, why would you trust them to run the internet, regulate your speech and choose your health care?
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) December 4, 2014
Since then, I’ve seen numerous tweets discounting this argument as preposterous. It’s something akin to blaming jaywalking for the death of Michael Brown, we’re told. Rand Paul touched on the issue in an interview on msnbc yesterday and was, predictably, ridiculed for it by liberals – because mentioning the circumstances of a violent act is preposterous, apparently.
Though it certainly isn’t close to being the most important lesson of this inexplicable case, it’s not something that should be dismissed so flippantly.
Garner wasn’t targeted for death because he was avoiding taxes, but nonetheless, prohibitive cigarette taxes unnecessarily create situations that make events like this possible.
We frame violent acts and unintended consequences in this way all the time. When we discuss how illegal immigrant women can be the helpless victims of domestic violence, we also blame unreasonable laws for creating the situation. Read the rest of this entry »
Gun Range Poison Scare Story Conveniently Appears 2 Weeks Before Election Featuring Billionaire-Funded Gun Control Initiative I-594Posted: October 20, 2014
“Drafted under the guise of preventing crime and funded almost solely by elitist billionaires with a proud background of stifling the Second Amendment, I-594 is an 18-page document that does nothing but impose heavy legal burdens on law-abiding gun owners and serious penalties for violations. These anti-gun billionaires believe that they can buy your rights out from under you, and I-594 is their attempt at doing so. I-594 will do nothing to make the people of Washington any safer, but will instead create bureaucratic hurdles that could turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals simply for exercising their constitutional rights….” (read more)
THE WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF POLICE & SHERIFFS OPPOSES INITIATIVE 594
The Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs, the state’s oldest and largest law enforcement organization opposes Initiative 594. WACOPS represents more than 4500 active duty police and sheriffs deputies. Click here to read WACOPS position paper on Initiative 594 (read more)
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has released a one-minute digital video as part of it’s online campaign to defeat Washington State Ballot Initiative 594. The video, titled I-594 Will Not Make Washington Safer, features Seattle resident Anette Wachter, “The 30 Cal Gal” blogger and U.S. Long Range Rifle Team member.
In the video, Wachter explains, “I-594 wastes scarce law enforcement resources on something that will not make Washington safer. And it will turn many law-abiding citizens into criminals for simply exercising their constitutional rights.”
HOW MICHAEL BLOOMBERG IS TWISTING THE GUN CONTROL DEBATE IN THE EVERGREEN STATE WASHING-CON
BY DAVE KOPEL
One way scam artists make money is by peddling mislabeled goods. The label on the can says “Wild Alaskan Salmon,” but what’s really inside is codfish from a filthy breeding pen in China, plus some food coloring.
Selling mislabeled goods is illegal, but there’s nothing illegal about mislabeled laws. Michael Bloomberg knows that difference, and he is exploiting it.
[Also see I-594 UNENFORCEABLE by Scott Brennan]
Right now in the state of Washington, Bloomberg is pushing a November ballot measure that is promoted as being about background checks for private sales. But it is really a law to criminalize most gun owners, including those who never sell guns. If passed, the deceptive Bloomberg ban for Washington state is then going to become the national model, to gradually be imposed on gun owners nationwide.
Bloomberg plans to run a similar ballot measure in Oregon in 2015 and in a dozen or more states in 2016. One of them is Nevada, where the 2016 campaign is already in progress. Bloomberg’s Nevada operation calls itself “Nevadans for Background Checks” and is operated by Melissa Warren, the managing partner at the Faiss Foley Warren Public Relations & Government Affairs lobbying firm.
Bloomberg and his minions claim they are just promoting background checks on private sales. But as usual, they are lying.
One way to tell that Bloomberg is selling a mislabeled law is to read the actual proposal. In this case, it is 18 pages long. It would only take a couple of pages to require background checks on private sales of firearms, if that were all the law did.
Instead, the law is a comprehensive scheme to criminalize the normal use of firearms, thus turning most gun owners into criminals, from whom firearms can be confiscated. Read the rest of this entry »
Naked man breaks into home, sermonizes & leads police on foot chase early this morning. LSD may have been a factor. http://t.co/aa2nMfZiDH
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) July 8, 2014
“…the president is taking power for himself that the law didn’t give him — he’s explicitly contradicting it.”
— CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
For NRO, Andrew Johnson: The Obama administration’s failure to notify Congress of the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees ahead of his exchanging them for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl is a direct violation of the law, according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
“It matters whether people follow the law or not…I think he clearly broke the law.”
“I think he clearly broke the law,” Toobin said on Monday, adding that the president’s signing statement in which he called the law unconstitutional does not automatically make it so…(read more)
[VIDEO] Suspending the Law: Constitutional Scholar Jonathan Turley on Obama Administration’s Selective EnforcementPosted: June 2, 2014
The president has a constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Previous administrations have been criticized for overreaching — that is, going beyond what the law expressly authorizes. But the Obama administration has pioneered a new way to shirk this duty: suspension of the law. In numerous areas — including Obamacare implementation, immigration law, education funding, and environmental regulation — the administration has carried out its policy objectives not by exceeding the law’s limits but by picking and choosing which provisions to enforce.
Featuring Andrew M. Grossman, Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute; Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center; and Jonathan Turley, Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School; moderated by Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute.
In some cases it has relaxed legal requirements as an inducement for states to carry out its preferred policies, without any legal basis. In other cases, like immigration, it has established entirely new programs never authorized by Congress. And in every instance this approach has allowed the administration to avoid legal challenge by ensuring that no party suffers an injury sufficient to confer the legal “standing” necessary to bring suit. At least that’s been the working assumption — but it may not hold true in every instance.
Authorities were sent to the 12400 block of Weddington St. (map) after the call came in reporting a shooting at about 10:30 a.m., according to Officer Rosario Herrera of the Los Angeles Police Department.
There was at least one victim in the incident, according to Herrera.
Three officers could be seen carrying what appeared to be a woman’s body out of the complex and into a carport area just after 11 a.m. The woman was placed on a gurney and into an ambulance.
Today, Governor Nathan Deal (R) signed into law House Bill 60 , the most comprehensive pro-gun legislation in state history. HB 60 passed in the Georgia Senate by a 37-18 vote on March 18 and in the state House of Representatives by a 112-58 vote on March 20. HB 60 will take effect on July 1, 2014.
HB 60 enacts the following pro-gun reforms for all law-abiding gun owners in Georgia:
- Removes fingerprinting for renewal of Weapons Carry Licenses (WCL).
- Prohibits the state from creating and maintaining a database of WCL holders.
- Creates an absolute defense for the legal use of deadly force in the face of a violent attack.
- Lowers the age to obtain a concealed WCL for self-defense from 21 to 18 for active duty military, with specific training.
- Allows for the use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting.
- Repeals the unnecessary and duplicative state-required license for a firearms dealer, instead requiring only a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
- Prohibits a ban on firearms in public housing, ensuring that the right to self-defense should not be infringed based on where one calls home.
- Codifies the ability to legally carry, with a WCL, in sterile/non-secure areas of airports.
For Breitbart-Texas, Bob Price reports: After Breitbart Texas reported on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) intent to seize 90,000 acres belonging to Texas landholders along the Texas/Oklahoma line, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott questioned the BLM’s authority to take such action.
“I am about ready,” General Abbott told Breitbart Texas, “to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas.”
Gen. Abbott sent a strongly-worded letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, asking for answers to a series of questions related to the potential land grab.
“This is Texas land. It belongs to Texas and the private property owners here. If we have to, we will assert quick and effective legal action to put a stop to it.”
— Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
“I am deeply concerned about the notion that the Bureau of Land Management believes the federal government has the authority to swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations,” General Abbott wrote. “The BLM’s newly asserted claims to land along the Red River threaten to upset long-settled private property rights and undermine fundamental principles—including the rule of law—that form the foundation of our democracy. Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, General Abbott said, “This is the latest line of attack by the Obama Administration where it seems like they have a complete disregard for the rule of law in this country …And now they’ve crossed the line quite literally by coming into the State of Texas and trying to claim Texas land as federal land. And, as the Attorney General of Texas I am not going to allow this.” Read the rest of this entry »
Prosecutors too often abuse unrestrained powers
For USA Today, Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Upon evidence that a crime has been committed — Professor Plum, found dead in the conservatory with a lead pipe on the floor next to him, say — the police commence an investigation. When they have probable cause to believe that someone is guilty, the case is taken to a prosecutor, who (in the federal system, and many states) puts it before a grand jury. If the grand jury agrees that there’s probable cause, it indicts. The case goes to trial, where a jury of 12 ordinary citizens hears the evidence. If they judge the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they convict. If they think the accused not guilty — or even simply believe that a conviction would be unjust — they acquit.
[Glenn Harlan Reynolds is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, available at Amazon]
Here’s how things all-too-often work today: Law enforcement decides that a person is suspicious (or, possibly, just a political enemy). Upon investigation into every aspect of his/her life, they find possible violations of the law, often involving obscure, technical statutes that no one really knows. They then file a “kitchen-sink” indictment involving dozens, or even hundreds of charges, which the grand jury rubber stamps. The accused then must choose between a plea bargain, or the risk of a trial in which a jury might convict on one or two felony counts simply on a “where there’s smoke there must be fire” theory even if the evidence seems less than compelling.
This is why, in our current system, the vast majority of cases never go to trial, but end in plea bargains. And if being charged with a crime ultimately leads to a plea bargain, then it follows that the real action in the criminal justice system doesn’t happen at trial, as it does in most legal TV shows, but way before, at the time when prosecutors decide to bring charges. Because usually, once charges are brought, the defendant will wind up doing time for something.
Awr Hawkins reports: On March 15th Idaho state senator Russ Fulcher (R-22nd Dist.) wrote an op-ed on trusting gun owners more than government in the process of restoring and defending 2nd Amendment rights.
“For me, this is not an issue about “special privileges;” it is about reclaiming those Second Amendment rights law-abiding citizens have already lost.”
— Senator Russ Fulcher
In the Idaho Statesman, Fulcher wrote, “I not only believe in the right of all people to defend themselves, but I believe people are inherently responsible in the way they do so.”
For Washington Examiner, the Michael Barone writes: Over the last 25 years, we have had related national debates over proposed federal gun-control laws designed to restrict access to certain firearms. But only one piece of major legislation has passed Congress, in the 1994 crime bill, and the electoral backlash against many of its supporters in the 1994 midterm elections convinced many Democrats inclined to support such restrictions to try to sidestep the issue.
But Congress and the laws it passes are not the only determinants of facts on the ground. Starting with a Florida law in 1987, most states have passed concealed weapons laws, allowing law-abiding citizens who have had relevant training to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons. Such laws have been supplemented by court decisions covering a few states since the U.S. Supreme Court decision inHeller v. District of Columbia in 2008, which recognized that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.
The chart below shows how Shall Issue laws for the licensed carrying of firearms for self-defense have become the American norm.
By 2014, the percentage of people living in the Red states, with no possibility of even applying for a permit, has declined to zero. Illinois’ 2013 reforms ended the problem of states not even having a process theoretically available. (The problem persists in DC, but this chart is only for states.)
As of January 2014, about 2/3 of the population lived in a Green state, with a Shall Issue licensing statute.
A team of researchers at the Medical Research Institute of Nevada are presenting the results of a new study at a conference later this year in Washington D.C. that reveals a link between waiting for results of a Bar Exam, and a dramatic increase in inoperable brain tumors.
“It primarily afflicts males between 49 and 58″ said Dr. Walter J. McGuffin, the team’s lead researcher. “Other risk factors include smoking, and prolonged exposure to certain species of birds, and primates, such as lemurs.”
“Much remains unknown, but the more law firms are informed about the risks, the better prepared they’ll be to tell their applicants to get their affairs in order.”
Since Dr. MacGuffin‘s research grant included allowances for luxury travel packages, the staff was able to interrupt their research frequently for rest, adventure, and recreation. “As a result, unfortunately, much of the actual research was left undone by the time the Medical Review Board required us to submit our finished work.”
“…even in healthy, well-adjusted males, the tumor can develop quickly, go undetected, become malignant, and in a matter of weeks, grow to the size of a jumbo can of tuna.”
Speaking by phone from the lobby of the Fasano Hotel e Restaurante Rio, Dr. MacGuffin expressed confidence that their research would eventually lead to improved diagnostics, and eventually, save lives. He emphasized the importance of early detection.
“Much remains unknown, but the more law firms are informed about the risks, the better prepared they’ll be to tell applicants to get their affairs in order.”
Observing that “none of our current diagnostic methods have been able to detect the tumor in time to save the lives of any of the patients we studied,” Dr. MacGuffin added, “the length of time the individual applicant is required to wait for results of the exam, and the amount of stress involved, are also factors. But it appears that even in healthy, well-adjusted males, the tumor can develop quickly, go undetected, become malignant, and in a matter of weeks, grow to the size of a jumbo can of tuna.’
The study, funded by the American Association of Abnormally Tall Trial Lawyers, is the first of its kind. The results are expected to be published in the June edition of the Hong King Kong Medical Review.