Misinformed and Misled: How a Distorted Perspective of Rights Is Leading America into Tyranny, Part 7

Eight Reasons Obergefell Has Derailed America
The Importance of Rediscovering the Authentic American Way

[F]or avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy…the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people. I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments.
Gouverneur Morris, signer of the US Constitution, author of large sections of the Constitution—

Gouverneur_Morris

Founding Father Gouverneur Morris

Part 6 is available here.

As I write these words on Friday, June 24, 2016, this coming weekend is sandwiched between two all-American holidays—Father’s Day and Independence Day. Let’s consider each one briefly.

Father’s Day

In the United States, the genesis of Father’s Day as a national holiday can be traced to several events taking place in the early 20th century. One of these was a heartbreaking tragedy. On Friday, December 6, 1907, an accident occurred Monongah, West Virginia that has been called “the worst mining disaster in American history.” At 10:28 a.m. an explosion tore through two mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Company. Inside were 367 men, most of whom perished instantly. Unfortunately, those who survived the initial blast had little chance of being rescued because the support timbers and ventilation systems in the mines also were severely damaged or destroyed. Moreover, in those days, rescuers did not have life-preserving oxygen masks, so they were exposed to toxic fumes as they labored to free trapped workers. Each rescue trip had a time limit of 15 minutes. Lacking the means to sufficiently clear the mines of toxic gasses, the town lost 362 men. Only one miner was rescued while four managed to escape.

Mine_No_6_Va_explosion

Of those who died in the Monongah Mining disaster, 250 were fathers. Their children numbered at around 1,000. Mrs Grace Golden Clayton, daughter of a Methodist pastor, had lost her own father in 1896. Mrs. Clayton was deeply touched by these losses and the struggles their families were having in the weeks and months that followed. She suggested to her pastor, Dr. Robert T. Webb, that their church, located in nearby Fairmont, hold a service to honor fathers. Later recalling the request, Mrs. Clayton said, “It was partly the explosion that set me to think how important and loved most fathers are. All those lonely children and those heart-broken wives and mothers, made orphans and widows in a matter of a few minutes. Oh, how sad and frightening to have no father, no husband, to turn to at such an awful time.”

The service was held on July 5, 1908, just three days before Rev. Golden’s July 8th birthday. Many years later, in 1962, an effort was gathering steam to place a day honoring fathers on the national calendar. West Virginia Congressman Arch Moore received a letter from a gentleman named Ward Downs. Mr. Downs wrote,

It has recently come to my attention of a movement establishing a Father’s Day by an act of Congress to be observed the same as Mother’s Day. It was my privilege to have attended the first Father’s Day Service July 5, 1908 at the Williams Memorial M.E. Church, South, now the Central United Methodist Church, Fairmont, WV. The sermon was preached by Dr. R. T. Webb at the request of Mrs. Charles Clayton, a member of that congregation, and daughter of a Methodist minister. I recall the occasion very distinctly as the pulpit was decorated by having ripened sheaves of wheat placed about it. Many favorable comments by the individuals and the press were made concerning the service at that time. Any assistance you can give this movement will be very much appreciated by me and all the Methodists in this part of the country.

Despite Mr. Downs’s fond memory of the service, other events in the area, including a 4th of July celebration and the death of a young woman, overshadowed it. City and state proclamations establishing a day to honor fathers, therefore, weren’t a top priority at the time.

Another effort to honor fathers was spearheaded by Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington. Dodd’s father, William Jackson Smart, was a Civil War veteran. As a single dad he had raised six children. Having heard in 1909 about Anna Jarvis’s efforts to establish a special day honoring mothers, Dodd told her pastor she believed fathers should be similarly recognized. Because her father’s birthday was June 5, Dodd suggested that date. More time was needed for preparation of sermons, however, so the recognition was held on June 19, 1910. The Spokane YMCA hosted the event. Making it official, the mayor of Spokane and the Governor of Washington State issued proclamations.

Additional efforts were made at various times and places to set aside a day to honor fathers, but it wasn’t until 1966 that a presidential proclamation was issued establishing a national holiday called Father’s Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued that proclamation.

Lyndon_B._Johnson,_photo_portrait,_leaning_on_chair,_color_cropped

Six years later, on May 1 of 1972, President Nixon issued a proclamation echoing an April, 1972 joint resolution of Congress that from that point forward, Father’s Day would be commemorated nationwide every year on the third Sunday in June.

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Consider these statements in Nixon’s proclamation.

To have a father—to be a father—is to come very near the heart of life itself.

In fatherhood we know the elemental magic and joy of humanity. In fatherhood we even sense the divine, as the Scriptural writers did who told of all good gifts coming “down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”—symbolism so challenging to each man who would give his own son or daughter a life of light without shadow.

Our identity in name and nature, our roots in home and family, our very standard of manhood—all this and more is the heritage our fathers share with us. It is a rich patrimony, one for which adequate thanks can hardly be offered in a lifetime, let alone a single day. Still it has long been our national custom to observe each year one special Sunday in honor of America’s fathers; and from this year forward, by a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, that custom carries the weight of law.

So, in the histories of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we see that honoring one’s parents and celebrating one’s family are authentic American traditions. Yet today, these holidays threaten the politically correct message that the Left wishes to promote. The conservative information site conservapedia.com states of Father’s Day,

There has been liberal opposition to Father’s Day, wanting to replace it with “Family Day”. This concept was created in Canada due to the legislation of same-sex “marriage” as it was felt to be unfair to adopted children of same-sex couples. Such a move has been opposed by many normal parents who do not want to see this tradition being overtaken by political correctness. The Liberal opposition do not seem to care about honoring the role of the father, which is highly important for the support and the guidance for children.

Nor do the liberal opposition seem to care that same-sex marriage deprives children adopted by same-sex parents of either a mother or a father—by design! President Herbert Hoover was absolutely right when he observed, “Children are our greatest natural resource.” Walt Disney said something very similar: “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”

Because they are unnatural, the unions forged by same-sex marriage cannot bring children into the world. Moreover, depriving children of either a mother or a father by design will have severe repercussions for a nation’s future. I am not saying here that parents in same-sex unions cannot love their children; of course they can—and they do! What I am saying is that men and women are different. No man ever can be a mother, nor can any woman truly be a father.

What about single parents? They obviously meet their children’s needs as best they can, and many of them are fabulous parents. We who are not in their shoes may well wonder how they do all they do as well as they do in less-than-ideal situations. Even so, a single-parent home doesn’t eliminate the concept of a mom and dad! Same-sex marriage destroys that concept, to the detriment a nation’s children and that nation’s future. Together, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day affirm the absolute best design for the family. We have departed from it at great cost, and it is imperative that we return.

In the United States, Father’s Day can come as early as June 15 (19 days before Independence Day) or as late as June 21 (13 days prior).

Independence Day

Independence Day, of course, commemorates the ratification of the declaration of the American Colonies’ independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence showcases the date of July 4, 1776, although July 4 actually wasn’t the date signatures were affixed.

In the early days of the republic, Independence Day was not merely a national birthday celebration. It was a sacred day. Hear these words from an oration delivered in Newburyport, Massachusetts on July 4, 1837 by former President John Quincy Adams. At the time, Mr. Adams had already been president (1825-1829) and was representing Massachusetts’s 12th district in the US House of Representatives.

George_P.A._Healy_-_John_Quincy_Adams_-_Google_Art_Project

Why is it, Friends and Fellow Citizens, that you are here assembled? Why is it, that, entering upon the sixty-second year of our national existence, you have honored with an invitation to address you from this place, a fellow citizen of a former age, bearing in the records of his memory, the warm and vivid affections which attached him, at the distance of a full half century, to your town, and to your forefathers, then the cherished associates of his youthful days? Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day?…

Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?

Cast your eyes backwards upon the progress of time, sixty-one years from this day; and in the midst of the horrors and desolations of civil war, you behold an assembly of Planters, Shopkeepers and Lawyers, the Representatives of the People of thirteen English Colonies in North America, sitting in the City of Philadelphia. These fifty-five men, on that day, unanimously adopt and publish to the world, a state paper under the simple title of ‘A DECLARATION.’

The object of this Declaration was two-fold.

First, to proclaim the People of the thirteen United Colonies, one People, and in their name, and by their authority, to dissolve the political bands which had connected them with another People, that is, the People of Great Britain.

Secondly, to assume, in the name of this one People, of the thirteen United Colonies, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station, to which the Laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God, entitled them.

You can read former President Adams’s complete speech here. We’ve quoted enough of it, however, to be reminded of the importance of this phrase in the Declaration of Independence: the laws of nature and of nature’s God. This phrase takes on even greater significance today, in 2016, as politically correct voices repudiate these two forces in both words and actions.

The One-Year Anniversary of an Ominous Event

It’s ironic that sandwiched in between Father’s Day and Independence Day—this year almost precisely in the middle—is June 26, the one-year anniversary of perhaps the most egregious overreach of the United States Supreme Court. As you are no doubt aware, on June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges, striking down laws nationwide that limited the definition of marriage to one man and one woman. Perhaps not coincidentally, the ruling came just two days shy of the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1969, an event that militant homosexual rights advocates point to as a turning point and an historical coalescing of their movement.

President Obama has designated June as LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] Pride Month in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016—each year he has been in office. As one would expect, his most recent proclamation (2016) speaks of Obergefell in glowing terms.

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.

During the past several weeks, we have demonstrated that the “right” to same-sex marriage is based on a philosophy of rights that stands in direct opposition to the philosophy of rights embraced by America’s Founders. In summary, we can confidently say that man-woman marriage deprives no one of his or her civil rights, and to suggest that it does is to totally misrepresent the truth about marriage, the family unit, American history, liberty, authentic freedom, cohesiveness in society, and all the rights afforded to individuals by nature and nature’s God.

Man-woman marriage deprives no one of his or her civil rights, and to suggest that it does is to totally misrepresent the truth about marriage, the family unit, American history, liberty, authentic freedom, cohesiveness in society, and all the rights afforded to individuals by nature and nature’s God.

As you may recall, on the evening of June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court announced its decision in Obergefell, the Obama administration went out of its way to express support for the decision by lighting the White House in rainbow colors.

As we observed in a post from April of last year,

We can be assured that God is keenly aware of divine signs and images that are being misrepresented today. Thousands of years ago, God placed the first rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His faithfulness after the flood of Noah (see Gen. 9:8-17), but in 2015 many people see rainbow colors and celebrate evil in the name of the politically correct principles of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusiveness.’ Then there’s marriage—a sacred institution ordained and instituted by God (see Gen. 2:18-25) as well as a picture of Christ’s relationship with His church (see Eph. 5:22-32). Needless to say, that picture is being muddied and distorted everywhere people look. If marriage is redefined in America, how can it possibly continue to represent in society anything close to the relationship God ordained it to represent? If we lose marriage, we lose an image that helps people understand why Christ died. While we cannot expect non-Christians to act as Christians, neither can we ignore the fact that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and for many years upheld these ideals. Yet in recent decades in this country, we have, as a nation, kicked God out of public life. Given all the opportunities we as Americans have had to hear and respond to God’s truth, we must understand that God will hold us accountable.

“Gay Pride” celebrations occur frequently in June, and many will be held this coming weekend, including those in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, St. Petersburg, and Nashville. Please pray about these events and for those who participate in them, that they will come to see the truth and that they’ll recognize the perilous risk thrust upon America and America’s children by same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

Pray for another event as well. Thankfully, homosexual rights advocates aren’t the only ones expressing their point of view—but you’d never know this by listening to the mainstream press. On Saturday, June 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the annual March for Marriage will take place at the National Mall in Washington, DC. No amount of maneuvering on the part of government can change the reality that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, but pretending marriage is anything else will cause great harm, and we need to be unafraid to articulate this truth.


Un-American

On this weekend marking the one year anniversary of Obergefell—a foreboding anniversary situated between the authentic American holidays of Father’s Day and Independence Day—I’d like to demonstrate that same-sex marriage and the positive rights flowing from it are wholly un-American. They’re even anti-American. Consider these eight realities. 

First, the real American way embraces free speech and open debate in the marketplace of ideas. In fact, at the founding of the country, free speech and personal integrity were so cherished that no one thought of trying to adjust his or her position so as to attract a greater number.

Modern Americans are assaulted by misguided calls for “bipartisanship,” a code word for one side ceding its ideas to the party favored by the media. In fact, however, [Founding Father James] Madison detested compromise that involved abandoning principles, and, in any event, thought the Republic was best served when factions [groups with opposing viewpoints, especially political parties] presented extreme differences to the voters, rather than shading their positions toward the middle. The modern moderate voters—so highly praised in the media—would have been anathema to Madison, who wanted people to take sides as a means of creating checks and balances. 1

Thus, while at the time of the founding rigorous debate was considered healthy, with Obergefell, the Supreme Court effectively choked it off! As Justice Clarence Thomas said in his dissent (citations have been omitted to enhance readability),

The majority [of this court making this decision] apparently disregards the political process as a protection for liberty. Although men, in forming a civil society, “give up all the power necessary to the ends for which they unite into society, to the majority of the community,” they reserve the authority to exercise natural liberty within the bounds of laws established by that society. To protect that liberty from arbitrary interference, they establish a process by which that society can adopt and enforce its laws. In our country, that process is primarily representative government at the state level, with the Federal Constitution serving as a backstop for that process. As a general matter, when the States act through their representative governments or by popular vote, the liberty of their residents is fully vindicated. This is no less true when some residents disagree with the result; indeed, it seems difficult to imagine any law on which all residents of a State would agree. What matters is that the process established by those who created the society has been honored.

That process has been honored here. The definition of marriage has been the subject of heated debate in the States. Legislatures have repeatedly taken up the matter on behalf of the People, and 35 States have put the question to the People themselves. In 32 of those 35 States, the People have opted to retain the traditional definition of marriage. That petitioners disagree with the result of that process does not make it any less legitimate. Their civil liberty has been vindicated.

Second, the debate over conscience rights isn’t a debate over whether or not same-sex couples will be allowed to “marry.” No same-sex couple wanting a ceremony has been or will be unable to arrange it; every gay and lesbian couple has complete freedom to orchestrate the outcome they want. Yet if they honor the conscience rights of religious vendors, they may not be able to have a particular vendor for one job or another. Is it truly the American way to single people out and force them to act against their most deeply held convictions? Of course not! As we noted last week, and as Founding Father James Madison declared, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort…. Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” 

Third, generally speaking, those who have objected to hosting or otherwise participating in same-sex weddings or civil unions have not hesitated to do business with homosexuals in a wide variety of other contexts. Nevertheless, they believe it wrong to lend their talent and other resources for a “marriage” ceremony—or any ceremony, for that matter—solemnizing a same-sex union. Therefore, the debate isn’t about discrimination against a group of individuals, but about whether or not what one believes about marriage will prevent him or her from acting peacefully on that belief.

Fourth, conscience rights aren’t new, but a part of America’s heritage. Conscience rights are negative rights consistent with the Founders’ view of liberty and limited government. As Justice Thomas indicated in his dissent, the “right” of members of the same sex to “marry” involves government intervention inconsistent with Founding principles and with the Constitution. You may recall that Thomas wrote,

Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty. Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a “liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect. 

Fifth, “Anti-discrimination” laws that essentially say any and all vendors must participate in a same-sex ceremony aren’t really anti-discrimination laws at all. As we have noted, in other contexts, those who object to participating in a same-sex ceremony will gladly and cheerfully do business with gays and lesbians. Thus, rather than leveling the playing field, such laws give homosexual activists carte blanche to target specific vendors and to force them to participate in ceremonies they find objectionable. This makes an absolute mockery of the Fourteenth Amendment’s provision that “No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The positive “rights” flowing from Obergefell make a mockery of the Fourteenth Amendment’s provision that “No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws.”

During the years that led up to the Supreme Court’s decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, proponents of same-sex marriage would repeatedly ask this rhetorical question: “Just how is my same-sex marriage going to affect you?” They were making the case that same-sex marriage is a private affair between two consenting adults. The denial of either a father or mother to every child adopted by a same-sex couple is a whole other issue, but activists were appealing to heterosexual adults and making the case that even if they didn’t agree with same-sex marriage, they personally would not be affected by it in any way.

Now we know that a growing number of people are being directly affected. Many are being threatened; some may even lose their livelihoods. Do not be fooled. Forced compliance to the militant gay agenda will not be limited to photographers, bakers, florists, artists, wedding planners, and venue operators. We ought to see this clearly now, especially in light of the push to give biological men who identify as women access to women’s restrooms. Where will it stop? We need to understand that unless we as a nation regain a solid moral footing, it won’t stop! This is blatantly un-American. In fact, it is tyranny.

Sixth, moral objections to homosexuality aren’t new, so homosexual activists can’t claim someone has recently invented a new rationale to discriminate against the gay community. As Eric Metaxas writes,

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American freedom is, of course, nothing like pure and unmitigated freedom—which would indeed be anarchy and no freedom at all. True freedom just be an “ordered freedom,” at the center of which is what we call “self-government.” So to be clear: People would not have freedom from government, but would have freedom from tyrannous government, or from government that might easily become tyrannous.”2

Yet today, as we have seen, government has thrown off many of the constitutional restraints that otherwise would prevent it from acting in a tyrannical manner.

Seventh, evidence from the health sciences raises red flags about homosexual activity and, therefore, about legitimizing homosexuality through same-sex marriage. The American way of free and open debate in the marketplace of ideas is not prevailing on this issue today. In our politically correct climate, even professionals with proven track records have hit a brick wall in their efforts to uphold safety and good health by presenting the truth.

Eighth, the belief that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman has been upheld in the civilized world for thousands of years and never was considered a bigoted position until very recently. Furthermore, those who contend this is an unfairly discriminatory point of view can offer no real evidence that gays and lesbians have been harmed by this perspective. Advocates of same-sex marriage make emotional appeals when they claim “discrimination” and call those who disagree with them names. But the evidence is on the side of those who believe marriage to be a lifelong heterosexual union. Also, it is undeniable children do best when they are brought up in homes by their married moms and dads. Listen to this one-minute clip.

The burden of proof for the notion that man-woman marriage is a bigoted position should rest on advocates of same-sex marriage. Simply calling those who disagree with them bigots is no proof. The Supreme Court’s ruling shuts off spirited, healthy, substantive debate and effectively acts to shut up proponents on one side of this issue. Again, this is un-American.


Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recognize our country as the “land of the free and the home of the brave” (a quotation from the “Star-Spangled Banner”)—and to believe that she even remotely has the capacity to “confirm thy soul in self-control; thy liberty in law” (a quotation from “America the Beautiful”). It is imperative that we rediscover the authentic American way. We must never give up hope that we can return to the ideals embraced by America’s Founders. After all, our God is God of miracles.

Still, we must pray for America, because if God doesn’t act, things are looking pretty desperate.

Next week, in our eighth and final article in this series, we’ll consider ways that, with God’s help, we can lead our country back to the principles on which it was built.

Part 8 is available here.

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Updates:

Websites in this article have been cited for information purposes only. No citation should be construed as an endorsement.

Notes:

1Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror, (New York: Sentinel, 2004), 122.

2Eric Metaxas, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty, (New York, Viking, 2016), 29.

 

 

 

 

Congress Should Express Outrage Over the Obama Administration’s Bullying to Promote a Radical Agenda

As North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory recently has stated, the fight over privacy rights no longer is confined to North Carolina.

Recent developments in the Tar Heel State and elsewhere show that the Obama administration will do anything to force its radical agenda nationwide. This administration must be stopped.

Members of Congress must speak up loudly and often!

Won’t you contact your members of Congress on this issue?

Read more…

Read an expanded version of this report…

 

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Eight Reasons to Pass HB2414

To the Representatives and Senators of the Tennessee Legislature and to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

Eight Reasons to Pass and Sign HB2414/SB2387 into Law

  1. HB2414 will protect the privacy rights of students in Tennessee’s public schools. Boys and girls should not have to worry about invasion of privacy when they use the restroom, and the presence of a biological male in a girls’ bathroom or a biological female in a boys’ bathroom is an invasion of privacy.
  2. HB2414 would set a statewide policy that would enhance the safety of students in Tennessee’s public schools.
  3. If bathroom policies in Tennessee’s public schools are left up to individual school districts, those who desire to limit restroom access to students based on biology will be left twisting in the wind against an almost omnipotent ACLU. In abandoning these school districts, the state also will be abandoning the students in them, as well as their parents.
  4. Contrary to the report on HB2414 released by Attorney General Slatery, advocates of HB2414 are standing on solid legal ground. The AG’s report claimed that HB2414 runs contrary to Title IX policies “because the U.S. Department of Education…interprets Title IX to require that transgender students be given access to restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their ‘gender identity’ instead of their anatomical gender.” Title IX doesn’t actually require this. According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, “DOE’s interpretation is completely off-base. What the law says is what matters, and the law explicitly allows separate restrooms and locker rooms. The DOE oversees but cannot change Title IX, which only Congress can modify, so the agency has no legal basis for forcing schools to open restrooms to students of both sexes.” Matt Sharp, Legal Counsel for ADF, puts it this way: “[U]nder current law, states and school districts that enact laws and policies requiring students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their biological sex do not violate Title IX. The threats about losing funding are simply empty threats.”
  5. Large corporations that have adopted a politically correct line (not at all a courageous stance, given the number of corporations that have done so) must not be allowed to dictate a state’s policy through economic blackmail. Actually, these companies are putting themselves in a very untenable position when they threaten legislators and governors with economic ruin—and then look to these same leaders to establish and maintain policies that foster business-friendly environments.
  6. Expounding on point #5, we note that, generally speaking, states with family-friendly policies and laws have the most robust economies and the brightest economic futures. The 2016 annual report by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) confirms this. Rich States, Poor States is ALEC’s “Economic Competiveness Index” that includes state rankings. North Carolina ranks #2; Mississippi #17, and Tennessee #7. The Wall Street Journal recently sounded this word of caution to big business: “The private economy would be foolish to reject America’s heritage of liberty, which has powered the greatest engine of economic success in history. And if corporations want the benefits of a business-friendly environment, with lower taxes and less regulation, they would do well to recognize who enacts such policies: people with center-right social values, not the hard Left.” Consider the glaring difference in these two events that took place in North Carolina.nc_tworallies_rd
  7. Policy makers cannot assume that giving in to activists’ radical demands will lead to a truce. Recent events in North Carolina, as well as events occurring a year ago in Indiana, are instructive for us at this point. As we have seen, radical activists in the LGBT lobby never will stop making demands and never will be satisfied. How much will we surrender before we are willing to fight? And if we we won’t fight to keep male students out of girls’ bathrooms in our schools, is there a place where we will be willing to draw the line at all?
  8. A biology-based bathroom policy in Tennessee’s public schools fosters order and is based on reality and common sense.

Passing HB2414 is the right thing to do. It may not be the easy thing to do, but that which is truly worthwhile seldom is easy. Surely the courage we’ve seen in North Carolina’s leaders isn’t unique to North Carolina. Tennessee also has courageous leaders who are willing to do what’s right for our state and its people, especially its children.

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

The above images originally appeared on the April 15, 2016 edition of Family Research Council’s Washington Update.

The Folly of Surrendering Without a Fight for Tennessee’s Proposed Bathroom Bill

Tennessee Attorney General Slatery’s Assessment of HB2414 Is Flawed

 The people of Tennessee are tired of having their public policies being dictated to them by the various branches of the federal government, and they sure don’t want the state surrendering without a fight to the Obama administration on whether boys can choose to use a girl’s bathroom or locker room.
David Fowler, President, Family Action Council of Tennessee

North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children. They are precious and priceless.
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest

HB2414 is a common-sense bathroom bill currently before the Tennessee House of Representatives stating that in Tennessee’s public schools, the sex indicated on a student’s birth certificate designates the restroom the student will use. The companion bill in the Tennessee Senate is SB2387. A recently-passed law in North Carolina carries a similar provision for NC public schools and other public buildings but gives private businesses latitude to set their own policies.

The Tennessee proposal has generated a great deal of opposition from those who say it discriminates against transgendered students. An individual is transgendered when he/she identifies as a member of the sex opposite the one his/her body indicates. Transgendered individuals in the United States number around 700,000—0.3 percent of the adult population. Even though HB2114 relates directly to students, the number of transgendered students still would be extremely, extremely small when contrasted to the overall student population. Accommodations certainly can be made for these students that (1) address their needs while (2) protecting the privacy rights of the majority. These arrangements may not represent the first choice of those who are transgendered, but why should members of the tiniest of minorities be allowed have bathroom access that violates the privacy rights of everyone else, especially when their access also opens the doors of women’s and girls’ restrooms to predators?

One of the questions raised about HB2414 is this: Would it violate Title IX rules and result in a revocation of federal funding? In other words, would it cost the state federal education money because it has been deemed discriminatory on the basis of sex? While the Obama administration has sought to make this case, their arguments, to date, have not prevailed in court. Two court cases are instructive for is at this point.

Although Gavin Grimm was born a female, she identifies as a male. She calls herself “Grimm.” In the fall of 2014, she was a student at Virginia’s Gloucester High School. With the permission of school officials, Grimm used the boys’ restroom at her school for seven weeks. The Gloucester County School Board intervened in December, however, and, with a 6 to 1 vote, determined that use of school restrooms would be limited to members of “the corresponding biological genders.” The adopted policy also stated that “students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative appropriate private facility.”

The ACLU sued in federal court on behalf of Grimm. In the case, the US Justice Department filed a “statement of interest,” and in it argued that Title IX guidelines dictate that schools must allow transgender students to use the restroom corresponding to the sex with which he or she identifies. Even so,

on July 27, 2015, U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar ruled that the School Board’s policy does not violate Title IX because Title IX permits schools to maintain separate restrooms for different sexes. As a result, Judge Doumar dismissed this portion of Grimm’s lawsuit. “Prosecutors cannot use Title IX, a policy that bars a school from receiving federal funding if it discriminates based on sex, in their arguments” stated Judge Doumar.

A thorough summary of the case and its ruling can be found here.

A similar ruling in another transgender case also came down in 2015. Seamus Johnston, an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a woman identifying as a man. For a while she used the men’s restroom and no one formally objected, but when she enrolled in a weight training class and began to use the men’s locker room, the university discouraged her from doing so. Johnston was told she could use the unisex facility that referees often used, but she ignored the offer and continued her practice of using the men’s locker room. She sued after she was charged with “exhibiting disorderly, lewd or indecent behavior” and disobeying the school’s instructions to avoid using the men’s bathroom and locker room facilities.

In his ruling, “Federal Judge Kim R. Gibson dismissed Johnston’s suit, saying that his transgender status was not covered by either the Constitution’s equal-protection clause or Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars sex discrimination by institutions receiving federal funds.”

In the aftermath of the establishment of North Carolina’s new law, the governor’s office released a question and answer guide titled “Myths vs Facts: What New York Times, Huffington Post and other media outlets aren’t saying about common-sense privacy law.” Here is question 11 from that guide, along with the answer.

11. Will this bill threaten federal funding for public schools under Title IX?

Answer: No, according to a federal court which has looked at a similar issue.

These court rulings and North Carolina’s reliance on at least one of them to describe the validity of its new law provide important background information that enlightens us about the debate surrounding Tennessee HB2414. Tennessee’s Attorney General, Herbert H. Slatery, III, was asked to evaluate the bill’s legality. He make his findings public on Monday, April 11, 2016. His report says, in part, that the Department of Education [DOE] “interprets Title IX to require that transgender students be given access to restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their ‘gender identity’ instead of their anatomical gender.…There may be valid legal arguments against DOE’s interpretation, but there is no settled precedent to provide guidance as to how a court may ultimately rule…” (emphasis added). 

What?!

With all due respect to Attorney General Slatery, this is, at very best, extremely misleading. At worst it is an outright lie (my words alone). I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t have to be one, and neither do you, to see how misleading this is. Keep in mind that we know Attorney General Slatery’s statement is deceptive because we reviewed two court cases and their rulings, all of which are pertinent. Slatery didn’t mention either case in his report.

There’s more. Making the points we’ve already made and then expounding on them, Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler—who, by the way, is a lawyer—enlightens us further. Here is Fowler’s response to the report, in its entirety.

Attorney General Slatery’s opinion regarding the risk to the state of losing Title IX funding if House Bill 2414 passes puts forth a carefully worded legal position that only the trained lawyer can decode to deconstruct the fear of the federal government it engenders.

It essentially regurgitates legal arguments made by the Obama administration that were flatly and unequivocally rejected by the only two courts to actually rule on them. For some inexplicable reason, the attorney general does not even discuss these two cases! A first-year law student would get in trouble for writing a brief that ignored relevant persuasive authority as if it did not exist.

In the face of these two decisions, it is, therefore, more than a bit disingenuous for the attorney general to say, “There is no settled precedent to provide guidance as to how a court may ultimately rule.”

People need to know that these words are legal “code language” for “the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled,” but that does not mean that there is no legal precedent in support of House Bill 2414. The two cases the attorney general failed even to discuss are persuasive precedent[s] the state can use to support House Bill 2414, made more persuasive by the strong language the courts used to condemn the Obama administration’s arguments.

People need to know that the words “no settled precedent” are legal “code language” for “the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled,” but that does not mean that there is no legal precedent in support of House Bill 2414. 

Moreover, the attorney generals for South Carolina, West Virginia, Arizona, and Mississippi have submitted friend of the court briefs in support of the decision from Virginia upholding a law like House Bill 2414.

That Tennessee’s attorney general didn’t even mention these favorable legal decisions and the opinion of his colleagues from other states that support the position in House Bill 2414 is a great disservice to the members of the Legislature and the public.

The misleading nature of these omissions is compounded by the fact that the attorney general instead cites settlement agreements, not court decisions, entered into with the U.S. Department of Education. A settlement agreement only means that the school districts decided not to litigate the clear meaning of the word “sex” in Title IX and just go along with what the Obama administration wanted. Settlement agreements have no persuasive value as a matter of law, unlike the court decisions that have actually ruled in favor of sex-designated bathrooms.

Settlement agreements have no persuasive value as a matter of law, unlike the court decisions that have actually ruled in favor of sex-designated bathrooms.

Thankfully, the attorney general did mention that, by law, no money can be withheld from a state until the state loses its legal arguments, and then only if it doesn’t come into compliance with that ruling within 30 days. By law, no money can be withheld during this process, and no money can be withheld retroactively.

In other words, contrary to the general impression the opinion tends to create, legislators need to understand that there is little risk that the state will lose any Title IX money so long as it complies with whatever the U.S. Supreme Court might someday say the word “sex” means. No one needs to run around like their pants are on fire as if there is some immediate, real threat to Tennessee losing Title IX funds.

No one needs to run around like their pants are on fire as if there is some immediate, real threat to Tennessee losing Title IX funds.

But the bottom line is that Tennessee cannot be held hostage by what the Supreme Court might possibly say at some point about the meaning of the word “sex” when the law, as it exists right now, is clearly in support of House Bill 2414.

The law, as it exists right now, is clearly in support of House Bill 2414.

The people of Tennessee are tired of having their public policies being dictated to them by the various branches of the federal government, and they sure don’t want the state surrendering without a fight to the Obama administration on whether boys can choose to use a girl’s bathroom or locker room.

Please share this information with your friends so that they are not mislead by how the press may characterize the attorney general’s opinion.

Read the press release version that’s on our website here.

Sincerely, David Fowler, President, Family Action Council of Tennessee

As of this writing, HB2414 and SB2387 are making their way through various committees at the Tennessee Legislature. If this proposed legislation fails, it will likely fail primarily because of the misleading, disingenuous opinion of Attorney General Slatery regarding the House version of the bill, HB2414. Governor Haslam would certainly bear responsibility as well, because he “has raised concerns [the bill] could endanger federal education funding and says that he wants to leave the issue to local school districts to decide.” Make no mistake: if the state leaves the issue to local school districts, those who desire to limit restroom access to students based on biology will be left twisting in the wind against an almost omnipotent ACLU. In abandoning these school districts, the state also will be abandoning the students in them, as well as their parents. This ought not to be occurring in Tennessee!

For the record, I want to say I stand with David Fowler and others who are fighting valiantly to pass and see Governor Haslam sign HB2414/SB2387 into law. I will do everything I can to hold responsible those leaders in Tennessee who are all too willing to turn a deaf ear to parents with moral concerns about students’ privacy rights and a deaf ear to the needs of those students themselves.

B. Nathaniel Sullivan

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

 

Update on the Virginia case: The Daily Signal: What the Supreme Court’s Ruling Means for Transgender Bathrooms in Schools, 8/4/16

Homosexual Activist Bullying Is Rife with Hypocrisy

The sex bullies have taken over the social sphere. Now you’re considered intolerant if you simply want to protect the innocence of a child in the classroom, or think that you ought to be able to teach your kids about the advantages of traditional marriage, or believe that men and women are different from each other. You must be cured of your thought crimes. And the sex bullies are there, bullhorns in hand, ready to apply that cure at a moment’s notice.
—Ben Shapiro1

In March of 2015, barely one year ago, the Indiana Legislature passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA], a law that informs and guides state courts in religious liberty cases. The law was extremely controversial, in part because it was woefully misunderstood. In the end, a balanced, reasonable provision was watered down to such an extent that those most likely to be coerced into violating their consciences lost important religious liberty protections. Indiana’s Republican legislature and Republican Governor Mike Pence caved to homosexual activist pressure. A summary of what happened can be found here.

Both bullying and blatant hypocrisy abounded, but in this post I’d like to focus primarily on the hypocrisy that pervades this kind of battle, one that is becoming all too commonplace. We see hypocrisy not just from Big Business and militant gay activists, but also from politicians when they cave in to the pressure.

Fast forward one year, to March, 2016. During this momentous month, we have witnessed similar bullying in both Georgia and North Carolina. In Georgia, a weak and narrow religious liberty bill passed the state legislature and was sent to Governor Nathan Deal’s desk for his signature. The Republican governor vetoed the measure. Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association explains.

Gov. Deal, as Indiana governor Mike Pence did before him, has abandoned any pretext of protecting Christians from discrimination in his state. As one lawmaker bluntly put it, “It’s open season on people of faith” in Georgia.

The bill had been virtually eviscerated before it even got to the governor’s desk. Even if the governor had signed it, it would have provided no protection at all for Christian vendors who exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to the free exercise of religion in the way they run their businesses. Christian bakers, florists, photographers, T-shirt makers, etc., etc., etc., are now officially left high and dry in Georgia, abandoned by the very official who has taken an oath before God to protect them.

About all that was left in the bill was protection for what pastors and churches and faith-based organizations do inside the four walls of their own buildings. Now even that protection has vanished like a whiff of smoke and the governor has left them without a shred of legal protection.

The governor piously claimed “I do not respond well to insults or threats,” and then vetoed the bill after Coca-Cola, Netflix, Apple, Time Warner, Marriott, Walt Disney and the NFL rattled their sabers.

The governor is right. He does not respond well to insults and threats. He folded like a cheap accordion at a Lawrence Welk concert.

Roberto Rivera of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview warns that this has dark and ominous implications for the future of religious liberty in America. Under the cloak of protecting liberty for all, Governor Deal, just one day after Easter, vetoed “a modest bill that would provide protections for churches threatened by government discrimination in the wake of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.” Unfortunately, this kind of accommodation has become the norm for many, though not all, Republicans. They promise resistance to the Left’s agenda, then after they’re elected, they cave. It’s hypocrisy, and it’s left conservatives feeling both angry and betrayed.

No wonder Franklin Graham recently declared he has no hope in either the Democrat or Republican party. But wait! While his hope is in God and God alone, Graham also believes that Christians must participate in the political process by running for office themselves if they can and certainly by voting for those who will uphold biblical principles once they’re elected. Among other things, Graham was emphasizing that hypocrisy on the part of politicians who promise to oppose evil must end.

Thankfully, turning to North Carolina, we see a refreshing example of leadership in Governor Pat McCrory, who expressed concern about a new bathroom bill in Charlotte that would have given males access to women’s restrooms and vice versa. To McCrory, such a law defied common sense. Although the governor did not call for a special session of the legislature, he did support it, and after the legislature passed a statewide measure stipulating that men’s restrooms were for biological males and women’s restrooms for biological females, McCrory signed the measure into law. Here is a statement from the governor’s office clarifying what the bill does and does not do.

The wrath of the Left descended upon the state—and with it, the Left’s hypocrisy. Here are some clear examples of leftist duplicity.

  • Opponents of North Carolina’s new law claim it will hurt business. While it’s true that Big Business has expressed strong opposition to the state law [part of a pattern we’ve seen before], it’s also true that hundreds of businesses strongly objected Charlotte’s bathroom bill. Frank Turek reports that on Monday, March 28,

Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who helped call the special session to pass HB2, called the executive in charge at one large protesting company and simply asked if him if he or anyone there had actually read the bill. He admitted they had not. They just labeled it “discriminatory” without even reading it.

Who needs the truth when you make so much “progress” by ignoring the truth and engaging in the very bigotry and name-calling you claim to oppose?

The truth is they, like other companies who haven’t bothered to read the bill, are simply taking their marching orders from the misnamed “Human Rights Campaign,” who have the audacity to claim that men have a human right to have access to women and girls in public bathrooms, and that any acknowledgement of the biological differences between men and women is somehow discrimination against people who prefer same-sex relationships.

Amac, the Association of Mature American Citizens (a conservative alternative to the AARP), wonders if businesses that have opposed the North Carolina law now are allowing men into women’s restrooms in their local retail locations in the state. It’s a great question, given the fact that the law allows them to set their own policies.

  • In protest of North Carolina’s new law, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned “non-essential” state travel to the Tar Heel state. Yet he’s been to Cuba in an official capacity as governor, and he’s partnering with JetBlue airlines to encourage people to travel there. All of this has taken place despite the fact that transgendered people have not been treated humanely by the Cuban government. The North Carolina Governor’s Office issued this statement about Cuomo’s words and actions:

“Syracuse is playing in the Final Four in Houston where voters overwhelmingly rejected a nearly identical bathroom ordinance that was also rejected by the state of North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory Communications Director Josh Ellis. “Is Governor Cuomo going to ask the Syracuse team to boycott the game in Houston? It’s total hypocrisy and demagoguery if the governor does not, considering he also visited Cuba, a communist country with a deplorable record of human rights violations.”

  • Connecticut Governor Daniel Mallory also has banned state-funded travel to North Carolina. Ed Lee, the Mayor of San Francisco, is preventing city employees from such travel as well. Elected to address problems and issues directly affecting their constituents, these leaders should not be honing in on the affairs of the Tar Heel state. Of Ed Lee, Franklin Graham wrote,

Can you believe it? I think Mayor Lee needs to focus on the problems of San Francisco—which are many—and leave NC to our governor to manage. He and others who are threatening NC with all kinds of boycotts really need to get their facts straight rather than believing the misinformation promoted by the Progressive Left.

  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on March 24 that

they may reconsider hosting 2017 All-Star Weekend activities in Charlotte, because of their commitment to “equality and mutual respect.” They apparently missed the irony in taking this moral stand, given that the NBA and WNBA are separate leagues, but Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation didn’t, observing on Twitter: “Hey @NBA, you’re against bathrooms based on biology, but think basketball should be?”

Watch Governor McCrory share his perspective on the new North Carolina law.

Before concluding, let’s recall that the NBA opposed the new law on the basis of “equality and mutual respect.” We are compelled to state that while some opponents of North Carolina’s new law may sincerely believe they are promoting these virtues, the policy the Charlotte City Council voted to implement on February 22 would have caused great harm. Whom would it harm?

  • Women. The doors of women’s bathrooms would be thrown open to predatory men. The number of such men will only increase under these kinds of ordinances.
  • Those dealing with gender identity issues—despite the fact that these are the very people the policy was designed to help. Walt Heyer knows. He’s had two sex change operations. Born male, he became Laura, then years later, Walt again. He now has a website called Sex Change Regret. If sex change surgery is harmful, then so is encouraging people to follow their inclinations to act as members of the opposite sex.
  • Finally, the teaching that gender is fluid and a matter of choice is harmful to children—so policies that promote this idea are harmful as well. This information comes from the American College of Pediatricians—professionals who are in a position to know.

I realize that some may oppose the new NC law sincerely and with good intentions, and they can’t rightly be called hypocrites. They are misguided and misinformed nonetheless. Other opponents, however, aren’t so innocent, as we’ve indicated above. Yet, even those who are innocent have a responsibility to be sensitive to the way the law would make women vulnerable.

The truth is that the biggest proponents of anti-bullying measures have become bullies themselves. As Dr. Michael Brown says in this important article, “Christians Must Unite Against Gay Bullies.” Among other things, Dr. Brown states,

As I have warned for years (and repeated almost ad infinitum), the activists who came out of the closet want to put you and me in the closet, and they will not rest until that door is safely shut. It is time for us to say: That will never happen, and we will go to jail rather than compromise our convictions. Your bullying will backfire in the end.…

In the days to come, I plan to lay out some specific calls to action, including a strategy for Christian athletes in the NFL and NBA. But for now, it’s time for us to get on our knees before God so we can stand tall before man, resolving in our hearts that, whatever it takes (in godly, not fleshly terms), we will do what is right.

Whatever strategies Dr. Brown offers, I’m sure he would agree that legislation like North Carolina’s new law should be supported. In Tennessee, Representative Susan Lynn and Senator Mike Bell are two very courageous lawmakers. They are sponsoring legislation that would require students in Tennessee’s public schools to use the restrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their birth sex. As you can imagine, especially in light of recent recent events in Georgia and ongoing events in North Carolina, legislators are tempted to run for the tall grass and hide rather than support this common-sense legislation. If you live in Tennessee, please stay informed on this legislation and let your senator and representative know of your support. Wherever you live, stand for the truth in loving ways, yet in ways that refuse to compromise what you know to be right. Moreover, support those who are telling the truth about this important issue. They’re being vilified and need you to stand with them.

Dr. Brown concludes his article with this word of encouragement.

Billy Graham once said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
—Billy Graham—

Let courage spread from you to others—in your home, your school, your place of business, your congregation—beginning today.

We will not bow down to the bullies!

If you’re willing to make this commitment, you’re well on the way to winning battle after battle. Why? For this simple reason: “Bullies can’t deal with those who stand up to them.”2

For further reading:

Updates, added April 7, 2016:

Update, added April 15, 2016

Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch, April 15, 2016: Big Biz: Do You Want Appease of Me?

Notes:

1Ben Shapiro, Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America, (New York: Threshold Editions, 2013), 198.

2Shapiro, 7.

Headline graphic courtesy of the Family Research Council.

Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.