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Concerned Women Celebrate Major Win for Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court

By | LBB, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United State Supreme Court upheld (7-2) the constitutionality of a memorial cross on public land (The American Legion v. American Humanist Association). Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America (CWA) had this to say:

“Today’s decision is an affirmation of the principles and freedoms our veterans have fought and died to protect. CWA members around the nation are celebrating the Court’s acknowledgment of a most common-sense reality, that this cross honoring our veterans is in no way religiously coercive.

“We are encouraged to see some justices reject the notion that a person’s distaste for a faith symbol merits the tying of government, and the American people through their tax dollars, via years of litigation.  We are grateful the Court is sending a clear message that it will no longer tolerate the sort of hostility towards religion the American Humanist Association and its sympathizers try to promote.”

Thoughts on the Bizarre “Easter Worshippers” Episode

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka targeted Christians. Among the sites targeted were St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in the city of Batticaloa. More than 300 died and hundreds more were injured. Naturally, the entire world condemned the terrorists who engaged in these suicide bombings, and millions sent words of encouragement to those affected.

One rather bizarre group of iterations on Twitter cause many to wonder if a coordinated effort to minimize the victim’s religious affiliation was underway. A group of prominent Democrat leaders decided to use the Euphemism “Easter Worshipers” to refer to the Christian victims.

 

I confess it is hard to conclude there was no coordination, though the motives are not entirely clear.

Former President Barack Obama tweeted: “The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Why not say Christians? Why the hesitation? “Easter worshippers” is not a commonly used term so it seemed strange.

But then Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted using the term (spelled the same way) to send her condolences: “On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.” Others followed suit.

Many took offense. Christians worship Christ, not Easter, they were quick to point out. I am not unsympathetic. Words matter. Jesus was called “The Word” (John 1:1). Of course, the Bible is known as “The Word of God” (Hebrews 4:12). And the schemes of Satan have always involved semantic deception— “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).

At a time when Christians are being persecuted all around the world in historic numbers, we need leaders (especially Christian leaders!) to be clear in their support for their brothers and sisters around the world. They are being targeted because of their faith and so their faith should not be minimized in any way.

According to Open Doors, every month, on average: “345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons, 105 Churches and Christian buildings are burned or attacked, and 219 Christians are detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned.”

At one level, if this was an attempt to obfuscate the issue on the part of this group of Democrats, the attempt should be rightfully condemned.  But at another level, from the beginning in the first century A.D. those who followed Jesus have been described in many ways, almost always in an attempt to disparage our faith. In fact, the very term Christian was given to the disciples at Antioch (Acts 11:26) in a seemingly condescending way. Before that, they were known as people of ‘the way” (Acts 9:2; 11:26) or of “the book,” as identified in the Quran (5:77-80). These weird “Easter worshippers.”

I have a sense of pride then in standing with the brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever the world may want to call us. Even when done maliciously, to undermine us, “Blessed are [we] when people insult [us], persecute [us], and falsely say all kinds of evil against [us] because of [Jesus]” (Matthew 5:11).

So, I am a Christian. Count me in among those “of the book” or “of the way,” the “Easter worshippers,” speaking about the “unknown god” (Acts 17:23) and the crucified Christ, risen back to life (yes, in His physical body!) and sitting at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33). He is the hope of the world, and I will gladly suffer this and more to share that hope with you.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Senate Rule Change on Nominations Unfortunately Necessary

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

The U.S. Senate has now officially moved to limit the amount of post-cloture debate time for sub-Cabinet executive nominees and judicial nominees other than the circuit and Supreme Court level. Debate time will be limited to two hours as opposed to the usual thirty. The move was (unfortunately) desperately needed after the unprecedented and unnecessary obstruction campaign that Democrats have launched against President Trump’s nominees.

There are a total of 152 vacancies in the federal judiciary (88 considered a judicial emergency) and 68 nominees pending in the Senate. Forty-seven of those are simply awaiting floor votes. Forty-one of those have waited more than a year. Four of those have waited more than 500 days.

It is not that senators have raised specific, substantive objections to these nominees. The Democrats have simply taken the position of treating virtually every nominee as hostile merely to slow down the process as much as possible, even though they might even vote to confirm them in the end.

Under normal circumstances, unobjectionable nominees would be passed by a voice vote, requiring no time to end the debate.  But President Trump has faced 57 votes to end debate on judicial nominees during his first two years in office, far more than under previous presidents. President Barack Obama had only faced two at the same point in his presidency. President George W. Bush had seven at that point, President Clinton merely one.

It is not only judicial nominations, either.  John Ryder was confirmed earlier this year to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He lingered for more than a year, awaiting a floor vote for some nine months, only to be confirmed with a simple voice vote. There is nothing fair about such a process. One of the things liberals forget in their petty fights against President Trump is the fact that they are harming the lives of these nominees who have families and are being put through this unfair process for no reason of their own making. Emotional sentiments against the president should not be allowed to control the nominations process.

This rule change then essentially restores a fairer procedure where nominations who are not objectionable are able to be confirmed at a sensible pace. There is nothing radical or extreme about that. There is no court-packing scheme in play here, despite what you might hear in the mainstream media.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is actually following a precedent already established by former Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).  Following the Reid model, Leader McConnell made a point of order to establish the new rule, which was ultimately upheld by a simple majority vote (51-48). This procedure establishes a new precedent while avoiding a formal rule change which would require a supermajority to end a filibuster.

The rule change will speed up the confirmation of lower-court nominees considerably. To further illustrate the point, the Senate has just confirmed three district-court judges to this point in 2019. That is simply unacceptable. It was time for this change. It is time for the Senate to get to work.

Your Voice Made a Difference— Neomi Rao to the D.C. Circuit

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, often recognized as the second-highest court in the land, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week by a vote of 53-46. No Republican senator opposed Rao.

This is a major victory and a testament to your voice and influence on Capitol Hill. Rao came under attack in the waning days of her nomination. But thanks to your voice, we have a conservative woman with excellent credentials and a trustworthy judicial philosophy at the D.C. Circuit. CWA leaders from across the country, and especially in key states, were quickly mobilized to express our support for Rao and to help explain her record and address any concerns Senators might have. Because of your efforts, she is now a federal appellate court judge.

Rao will fill the seat left vacant by Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the D.C. Circuit where she will handle numerous cases involving federal agencies, which is her area of expertise— administrative law. She comes to the bench after serving in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where she worked on deregulation efforts that have untangled businesses to invest in our economy and give rise to the current favorable economic numbers we are witnessing. As an associate professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, Rao also founded the school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State.

These experiences, along with her solid judicial philosophy, will make her a major stabilizing influence at this important federal appellate court. During her hearing, Rao stated consistently that judges do not create law, but rather interpret and apply the Constitution, law, and precedents as they exist. She has publicly criticized activist judges who try to go “beyond the law to reach a particular result” they desire, rather than ruling as the law demands.

She is the type of judge we are in desperate need of, and we are glad to have played a role in her confirmation.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

 

For America (Day 102)

By | LBB, News and Events, Prayer | No Comments

O let us taste and see that You are good, Lord;
Help us to trust in You and the promises
You have given to us through Your Word.
Blessed is He who puts his hopes in them.

Help us to know You and understand You, increasingly so;
Help us to fear You in Your holy love.
Teach us to love as You do
Keep us from becoming “noisy gongs” or “clanging cymbals.”

May all our works be covered in love and humility;
Directed by discernment and a desire to serve those in need.
You have prospered us, and we are grateful
For all we have, big and small.

We confess our sins before You,
Our joyless bouts and unforgiving hearts.
We are in desperate need
Of Your mind and heart-altering touch.

Help us to wield the sword of truth in love.
Help us to expose the darkness and bring joy.
In You there is life and peace and hope.
Help us to live and move in You.

Merciful Father, be near us;
Bring us ever closer to Your holy presence
And remind us of who we are in You –
Who we are becoming through Your sanctification.

Give us food for the hungry,
A calming word for those in distress,
A loving hand for those who are hurt,
And hearts who empathize with all.

Give us boldness to speak against
Injustice and unrighteousness and evil.
Give us hearts inclined to prayer
That in our weakness, we may stand strong.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

 


Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Time for the FCC to Take Parent’s Concerns Seriously

By | LBB, News and Events, Sanctity of Life, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

In a recent Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Media Bureau sought comments on “the accuracy of the television content rating system, known as the TV Parental Guidelines, and the ability of the governing body for TV ratings, the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board, to oversee the rating system and address public concerns.”

We thank those of you who took the time to write comments in response to our post. It is important for the commission to hear from you personally.

Your voice will also be heard as a supporter of Concerned Women for America (CWA). We submitted an official comment on your behalf, asking the FCC to “put American families

first.” In it, we argue the current rating system benefits the big entertainment conglomerates to the detriment of families and, especially, children.

An effort that was presented as aiming to benefit the public has in fact developed, unsurprisingly, into a system benefiting those who control it, the entertainment industry. Television is more dangerous for families today than it was before this system was devised.

You ask, “Are programs with violent, sexual, or other content that may be inappropriate for children being rated accurately?” No, they are not. Graphic sexual scenes, adult topics, violence, and profanity are routinely rated as appropriate for children. TV-14 and TV-PG ratings are routinely abused to peddle violent, lewd, and salacious content, to the horror of parents who are helpless once their children are exposed to the material without proper warning. This is, of course, an ideal business model which gives advertisers a much larger audience, but it is most certainly not in the best interest of families.

A major breakdown in the implementation of the rating system is the unaccountability of the industry-proposed and self-governing Oversight Monitoring Board (OMB). Here, too, we raise serious concerns on your behalf.

This is a darkly covered body overwhelmingly composed of industry members who even get to choose the very few advocates for families that are part of it. Transparency, which should be at the core of such a body, is virtually non-existent. There is no record of their meetings, when and how often they meet, what is discussed — everything is secret. How can the public feel any assurance that their complaints are being handled appropriately when the people they are complaining about get to judge themselves in secret with virtually no accountability?

The entertainment industry has been masterful in keeping this body under a deep cloud. Most parents do not have any idea that OMB even exists, let alone who is a member of it. They are completely unaccountable. How can we allow this to continue? CWA supporters can’t believe it when we inform them that not even a representative of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is part of this mysterious group. And since no press is allowed in the meetings either, can there be any doubt that the public is systematically and intentionally being kept in the dark on this process?

We conclude by urging the FCC to intervene.

It is time the FCC takes the concerns of parents in this area seriously and exercises the considerable power Congress has granted it to act in the best interest of the public. The entertainment industry has been granted the chance it wanted to do the right thing by families and come up with a process that could empower citizens with the information they need to make the best decisions for their families. But it has taken advantage of the public, betraying our trust, and it is time for the FCC to intervene.

Conservatives Support Rao

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Neomi Rao, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to take over the seat left vacant by Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has come under unfair attack by the left for some conservative writings in her college days.  But as the Wall Street Journal noted:

The real motive for destroying Ms. Rao is maintaining progressive control of the D.C. Circuit to rubber stamp the left’s agenda on climate change, health care and more. Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid packed the court during the Obama years, but Ms. Rao replacing Justice Kavanaugh won’t alter the composition of the court.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) sent a letter of support to the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying:

As the largest public policy organization for women in the nation, CWALAC supporters around the country are excited to see a woman of such caliber excelling at the top levels of the legal field. We strongly ask you to rise above the hyper-partisanship of the day and give Prof. Rao the serious consideration she deserves. After examining her record, we are confident that any reasonable observer would conclude she is more than qualified to serve in this position. We ask you to vote for her confirmation.

CWALAC also joined a coalition letter with other conservative organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Americans who are tired of the Senate’s recent mistreatment of nominees. It reads in part:

Prof. Rao’s career should be celebrated and honored, not caricatured and maligned for political purposes. We owe a great debt of gratitude for her contribution to the legal and public policy fields. We hope this committee will treat her with the seriousness and respect she deserves.

Prof. Rao’s hearing was just today and she, once again, showed why she is considered one of the top legal minds in our country. She rose above partisan attacks and showed the judicial restraint that will make her a stellar member of the D.C. Court.

In a statement following the hearings, Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America, said:

Extreme liberals in the U.S. Senate once again tried to bully Professor Rao, despite her sterling credentials to sit on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, perhaps the most important court in the country besides the U.S. Supreme Court. Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee fully supports Neomi Rao’s nomination and calls on Senate liberals to stop the religious litmus tests, gridlock, and bullying tactics and confirm her; she will make an outstanding addition to the federal bench.

There is a Darkness Growing in New York

By | LBB, Legal, New York, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

By now you have probably seen the video (below) of the New York State Senate cheering the “Reproductive Health Act” which would effectively allow abortions up to just before birth. It is heartbreaking. This is not just the sentiment of a few legislators either. It is a direct reflection of the majority of the people of New York. Their elected officials consistently reflect the condition of their hearts. Recall that New York City discovered in 2012 that more African American babies were killed by abortion (31,328) than born (24,758). From that experience, they’ve emerged with a desire to expand abortions.

I first came across the video with a comment from Benjamin Watson, the NFL player who is a courageous voice for life in our day. He commented, “It is a sad and evil day when the murder of our most innocent and vulnerable is celebrated with such overwhelming exuberance. We SHOULD be supporting and encouraging the building of families which are fundamental to any society. By not doing so, we invite consequences untold.”

 

He captured well in just a tweet what I felt as my heart broke for the people of New York. I pray that God may have mercy on them, that they may feel the evil that has taken hold of their hearts and minds, so they might turn and repent from their ways.

The worst of consequences for New York would be to be left to their own devices and continue to think of themselves as the best of the best. To continue to be blinded by the big billboards and the lights, its celebrities, and big sporting events. Underneath the glamour, there is a deep sadness to this city. A spiritual sadness. People who can barely make it each day. They are crying out for help only to hear the reflection of their own voices on the busy bodies walking pass them.

I pray for the New York Church. I pray that they might shine brightly in the middle of increasing darkness. I pray this news presents a moment of self-reflection. I pray they cry out in unison for God’s discipline, for that would be a great mercy. Like a loving father, the Lord disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). There are those whom God gives up to follow their own appetites, “to do what ought not to be done,” says the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:28). This is the worst of scenarios.

Those of us outside the state must also be diligent to stand up and raise our voices for these children who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). To speak of the people of New York is in many ways to speak of us, wherever we are in America. Paul warned not only those who practice these evil deeds but of those who “give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Let us never be accused of approval because of our silence. May we never be seen as those who would sacrifice justice and mercy for the unborn on the altar of personal comfort.

Let us resolve to speak ever more boldly for the unborn in New York and wherever we are. Let us recommit our efforts to support women in crisis pregnancy and to love each person at every stage of life for their intrinsic value, as created in the image of God.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

CWALAC Submits Title IX Comments

By | Education, LBB, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee submitted these comments in support of new Title IX regulations that will promote justice in cases of sexual harassment in an educational setting.

Click here to submit your comments of support. The deadline is midnight on Monday, January 28, 2919.

Don’t Miss President Trump’s Proclamation on Religious Freedom Day, 2019

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

Each January 16, the president issues a proclamation on Religious Freedom Day.  This is the anniversary date of the passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786. I encourage you to take the time to read President Donald J. Trump’s 2019 proclamation in its entirety. But here are some important highlights:

On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate our Nation’s long‑standing commitment to freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith.  The right to religious freedom is innate to the dignity of every human person and is foundational to the pursuit of truth. …

Unfortunately, the fundamental human right to religious freedom is under attack.  Efforts to circumscribe religious freedom — or to separate it from adjoining civil liberties, like property rights or free speech — are on the rise.  Over time, legislative and political attacks on religious freedom have given way to actual violence.  Last October, we witnessed a horrific attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in our Nation’s history.  Tragically, attacks on people of faith and their houses of worship have increased in frequency in recent years. …

Our Nation was founded on the premise that a just government abides by the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  As the Founders recognized, the Constitution protects religious freedom to secure the rights endowed to man by his very nature.  On this day, we recognize this history and affirm our commitment to the preservation of religious freedom. …

Let us take the time today also to recognize, celebrate, and renew our commitment to the preservation of religious freedom. It is up to us to remain diligent to the numerous attacks we continue to see and experience here and abroad.  Just this week, a federal judge decided to rule against the Little Sisters of the Poor, even after their historic win at the Supreme Court, forcing them once again to choose between their faith and their ability to serve the poor.

The ruling will surely be appealed by the excellent attorneys at the Becket Fund, but the case should highlight for us that the fight for religious liberty is never over. We must fight for it at every turn and stand with those who serve humbly, like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Mainstreaming of Child Sexual Exploitation

By | Defense of Family, LBB, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The so-called transgender moment that followed the celebration of homosexual behavior is giving way to an even darker effort to normalize child sexual exploitation. The Daily Wire report of an 11-year-old dancing on stage at a gay bar, simulating stripping, while even getting money from adults in the audience, is nothing short of that, the sexual exploitation of children.  From the story:

On December 1, an 11-year-old boy dressed in drag danced on stage in a sexual manner at a gay bar in Brooklyn, NY, called 3 Dollar Bill. The child, Desmond Napoles, was dressed as a Gwen Stefani-lookalike — full drag makeup, a blonde wig, and crop top included — as he bounced around onstage to No Doubt’s “Like a Girl” and collected dollar bills from male adults viewing the number.

The written account was disturbing enough, but I was not prepared to see the actual footage of this perversion. Here it is as it was featured on the Ben Shapiro Show:

 

 

We should weep for a country and a people that find this acceptable. It is utterly frightening to know it is happening in our country — we are that people.

Friends, the Church cannot stay silent while the mainstreaming of sexual exploitation continues to spread around us.  Most people know deep inside this is a terrible development, yet they remain silent, perhaps fearing the cultural cost. Therefore, it is up to you and me, as believers in Truth, to speak out. We are those who have counted the cost and have chosen to still follow Christ. We must stand and speak light into this darkness.

Let us be despised, that God may be glorified.

Children should not be sexually exploited for any reason. This may be a radical statement in this day and age, but it is true. And we must shout it from the rooftops at every turn. It is not liberating or empowering to affirm gender confusion in children for the sake of affirming the rightness of the lifestyle and worldview of adults.

We must identify this as exploitation because the focus of these efforts is the adults who promote it. The pride and self-centeredness of man, this idolatry of the self, is at the center of this movement. It is not scientific or logical or compassionate.

What we are witnessing actually affirms the Scriptures, even while many proport to be breaking out from under its grip. There is a darkening of the mind that occurs when we turn to worship the creatures rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18-32). That is what our generation has chosen — to pursue personal appetites without regard to the common good. “If it feels good, it must be right” is a foolish philosophy. That its popularity continues to grow guarantees us a fool’s harvest. We reap what we sow. And we have sown unrighteousness for far too long for us to expect anything different than what we are seeing today.

Therefore, we must be prepared to be that voice crying out in the wilderness for repentance. We must fight the good fight of faith, that the next generation may turn from our wicked ways and desire to live by faith. But it all starts with our voice. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:27).

So, let us speak then, brothers and sisters. Boldly and faithfully. The time is near.

Scouting Dishonor Takes Its Course

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

When I was a boy scout, I looked up to men who represented for me the ideals of what it means to be a man. The words of the oath we took meant something. We said, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” That’s what I wanted to be. I thought we all wanted that. I knew everyone failed, I was not confused about that. But I thought we were committing to making this high standard our aim –it was a worthy one.

But the group formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America has dishonored that oath continually and progressively for decades.  They made sure every young member knew there was no meaning behind that oath. What the heck is “morally straight” anyway, right?

Their cowardice has taken its course. The Wallstreet Journal reports they are contemplating bankruptcy “as it faces dwindling membership and escalating legal costs related to lawsuits over how it handled allegations of sex abuse.” A few months ago, they were even sued by the Girl Scouts.

Their dwindling membership is a good thing. Now that my son is old enough for scouting, we joined Trail Life USA. Here is an organization that is again reclaiming that aim abandoned by the so-called “Scouts BSA.” Trail Life’s motto (“Walk worthy”) means something. Because of that commitment to truth, their oath is something onto which our children can hold. It reads: “On my honor, I will do my best to serve God and my country; to respect authority; to be a good steward of creation; and to treat others as I want to be treated.”

That is for what I want my son to strive. I want him to serve God, above all. And increasingly, in our day and age, this will mean that he will have to reject the culture’s demand of surrender of his sexuality in every sense of the word. The culture preaches autonomy, that you are in control of your life – mind, body, and spirit. This lie leads to ruin, as the “Scouts BSA” exemplifies.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that we are ultimately not in control. The number one quarterback prospect for the NFL knows that he is one play away from never taking another snap. You can go to sleep tonight and never wake up again. This is a fact of life. You are not in control.

That reality is borne out in Scripture, of course. We have a Maker (Gen.1:1). We were created (Gen. 1:26). Male and female He created us (Gen. 1:27). We were made for a purpose (Eph. 1:4). We are to love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves (Lk. 10:27). We are to respect authorities (Ro. 13:1). We are to be good stewards (Gen. 2:15).

All of it sounds a lot like that simple oath I learned as a child. It was and is a simple restatement of reality. A reality that will be borne out in our lives whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. As the man who jumps out of the window to prove the laws of gravity do not exist, so our lives will attest to these ancient truths when it is all said and done whether we acknowledge them or not.

CWA Files Brief on Important Religious Liberty Case

By | Hawaii, LBB, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

Aloha Bed & Breakfast v. Cervelli

Phyllis Young operates the “Aloha Bed & Breakfast” out of her home, renting about three rooms to guests in Hawaii. The house is a four-bedroom house that is not sectioned off. Guests are treated as part of the family during their stay.

For these reasons, as a Christian, Phyllis applies the same rules to guests that she would to family members. She does not facilitate sexual relationships outside of marriage as defined by her Christian beliefs. This means that she would not rent one room to unmarried couples or those in a same-sex relationship.

When two women in a same-sex relationship sought to rent a room with her, Phyllis declined, and they filed a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission for sexual orientation discrimination.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, representing Phyllis, argued that Hawaii’s public accommodation law, which makes sexual orientation discrimination unlawful, did not apply in this situation because of the nature of the business (renting only three rooms in her primary residence).

The Constitution also protects the free exercise of religion so that Phyllis should have the right not to promote behavior that her faith teaches is immoral. She should be able to conduct her small business in a way that can respect her deeply held religious beliefs.

As we have seen in other cases, the lower courts have ordered Phyllis to violate her Christian beliefs if she wants to make a living. This is a plain violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Americans should be able to operate a business according to their deeply held religious beliefs and without being compelled to endorse a government-approved view that contradicts those.

That is why Concerned Women for Americas has joined a brief asking the United States Supreme Court to take the case and reverse the lower court’s decision penalizing Mrs. Young for refusing to condone that which is contrary to her faith. In it, we argue:

Mrs. Young, the homeowner, acted out of her religious conviction that renting a single room to other than a married husband and wife would engage her in facilitating and endorsing immoral sexual conduct. She not only held a sincere belief to that effect, well buttressed by Biblical teaching, but her action in refusing quarter to the unmarried and same-sex cohabitants was conduct protected by the First Amendment’s prohibition of state interference with her free exercise of religion and with its similar prohibition of interference with her freedom of assembly, which incorporates the right not to associate with those engaging in behavior with which one disagrees.

The brief was filed alongside the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation, and the Pacific Justice Institute sending a strong message to the Court of the importance of the religious liberty interests and concerns at play.

Please continue to pray for this case and the justices as they consider this case in the coming weeks.

Election Night Recap: Judges, Judges, Judges

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

The one thing that doesn’t change one bit after the tonight’s election results is that the great work that President Donald J. Trump is doing to confirm constitutional judges at every level of the federal courts will continue for the next two years.

This is great news. The foundation that President Trump and the Republican leadership in the Senate, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), are building will pay dividends for our Republic for many years, even decades after the President is out of office.

President Trump broke the record for appellate judges confirmed in the first two years of the presidency with 29. He also confirmed 53 district level judges and, of course, two excellent Supreme Court Justices.

The new senate will elect new leadership, which might mean a new Chairman in the Senate Judiciary Committee. If Sen. Grassley decides to step down from that role (I certainly hope he doesn’t!), the post is expected to go to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) who was one of the big heroes in defense of Justice Kavanaugh, so we can expect the same type of commitment to the confirmation of judges going forward.

It is worth noticing that the Kavanaugh effect was also palpable tonight.  Some of the biggest surprises of the night were losses directly related to the injustice committed against now Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  Both Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) and Heidi Hietkamp (D-North Dakota) voted against Justice Kavanaugh, ignoring the majority of people in their state who wanted them to support due process, instead of succumbing to the radicals calling for a presumption of guilt. They paid a heavy price.

As of this writing, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), who also voted against Kavanaugh, is also in trouble, although the race is too close to call at the moment.

On the other hand, Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) who ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh, despite of the pressure radical liberals inflicted on him, won big.

The message is clear. The voters rejected the mob mentality that tried to destroy an honorable man in the name of political power.

This is very good news for our political discourse going forward.

On the other hand, the Democrats are expected to regain control of the House of Representatives, as of this writing (10:53pm). This was expected, given the historical precedent of mid-term elections.

They will be pushed, no doubt, by the radical left to spend considerable time on an agenda to investigate and derail President Trump. We must be prepared to stand up against such an approach. And insist that they attend instead to the people’s business.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Election Day

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What does this day mean
For those who trust in You anyway?
The year is twenty eighteen
Still, You are King as yesterday.

Tomorrow too shall fall in line;
The world’s ideas will, in the end, collapse.
But those who remain in You, the Vine
Know no, “what if,” “maybe” or “perhaps”.

We enter confidently the booth.
They never lose who trust in You–
The Door, the Way, the Light, the Truth.
Blessed is He who makes all things new.

For we were once lost, bitter and afraid;
Looked for our identity in politics.
Yet, none of it our hearts persuade
Until we faced that blessed crucifix.

A lovely passion then springs forth,
A love for God and neighbor.
We know ourselves, we know our North,
Chains broken, we freely labor.

To spread the Good News of the Savior,
His life, His death, His resurrection to promote
With every word blurt out and our behavior–
Whether we eat, write, work, and yes, vote.

That is what this day is all about.
Another opportunity to preserve
The wisdom some try to blot out,
But we are committed to conserve.

To the glory of the One true God
Who created all that’s seen and not
Who comforts us with staff and rod,
Our sinful lives with His Son’s bought.

Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.

Christian Bakers Still Fighting for Freedom at the Supreme Court

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The Masterpiece Cakeshop case was a great win for liberty. But Colorado’s blatant hostility towards people of faith was so egregious that it made the case somewhat easy and, therefore, narrow in scope.  The fundamental question of whether the Constitution protects the right to operate a business according to one’s faith is still somewhat unanswered by the Supreme Court.

That is why this week, Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon, have appealed the $135,000 penalty for “emotional damages” imposed on them for refusing to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. They have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, asking them to take the case and address head on the issue behind these cases: the government’s insistence that it can compel citizens, under threat of law, to create goods with a message contrary to their religious beliefs.

The state is forcing Christian businesses to choose between their faith and their livelihoods. But the Constitution stands squarely against that. It expressly protects expression, regardless of how popular the view is at any given moment. And that is all that has changed with regards to same-sex marriage. Christian beliefs have not changed. What has changed is cultural acceptance of it. And now they want to punish people of faith for believing what they have always believed.

Government is not remaining neutral, as it must, on questions of faith, but it is showing a dangerous hostility towards religion that goes to the heart of constitutional protections.

Jack Phillip of Masterpiece Cakeshop is the prime example of this. Even after his win at the Supreme Court, he has been forced now to sue the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for their continued crusade against him. After his win at the Supreme Court, the Commission ruled again that he was in violation of the states “non-discrimination law” for refusing to create a custom-made cake for a woman celebrating her gender transition.

Jack and other Christians like him are the targets of a well-funded, coordinated attack against religious freedom from pro-LGBT groups. The Catholic News Agency recently catalogued some of the money being spent to demonize people of faith who refuse to go along with the politically correct narrative of the day. It reported on the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, for example, a San Francisco-based foundation reporting half a billion dollars in its coffers, which targeted Masterpiece Cakeshop specifically.

The Haas, Jr. Fund gave $200,000 to the National Center for Lesbian Rights for a campaign to “educate the LGBT community” about the importance of the case, and $100,000 to the Equality Federation Institute for the same purpose. It gave $100,000 to the Movement Advancement Project, a key LGBT strategy and communications think tank funded by Colorado entrepreneur Tim Gill, “to develop and test ads and other tools to educate and engage the LGBT community” about the case.

Another $100,000 went to the ACLU Foundation for its LGBT & HIV Project “to coordinate a public education campaign around the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court case,” while $34,500 went to the Horizons Foundation to “help LGBT Leaders and organizations prepare for a unified response to the Masterpiece Supreme Court decision.”

As you can see, the battle to protect our religious liberties is very much alive, and we must stay diligent.  The other side is committed to curtailing our religious liberties no matter the cost. Please pray for these important cases and other similar ones around the country.  As you know, Concerned Women for America’s legal team will be engaged bringing the voice of conservative women before the courts, and we are already working to develop the briefs for these cases. But part of the hard work necessary to win must be done by you and me personally as we engage others to gain a proper understanding of religious freedom. A lot of money is being spent to demonize people of faith, so we cannot let up. We will not. We will remain faithful to God and His Word, until the day of His return.

Legal Case Against Kavanaugh Incredibly Weak

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Rachel Mitchell, Division Chief of the Special Victims Division for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona, sent a devastating memo to Republican senators delineating her independent assessment of Dr. Christine Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. She concludes:

In the legal context, here is my bottom line: A “he said, she said” case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that. Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them. For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.

Click here to see the report in its entirety.