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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

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

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

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

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

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

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.

PRESS RELEASE – Kavanaugh Hearing Wraps Up Day One

By | Blog, LBB, News and Events, Press Releases | No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Today was the first day of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The morning had a contentious start with interruptions from Democrats and protestors in the audience. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) started by asking for the meeting to be cancelled entirely while Sen. Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) waited his turn to ask for an adjournment. Despite delay tactics, the hearing procreeded, although delayed. The day ended with an opportunity for Kavanaugh to address the committee and introduce his family.

After attending the hearing this afternoon, Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee made the following observation:

“What we witnessed today from the Kavanaugh opposition was more of the same. As they grow more and more frustrated and tired of losing, they continue to pout and scream louder and louder. Despite their cries, the arguments have not changed. The nominee has not changed.

“The Democrats in the committee who acted out because they didn’t get enough documents have already vowed to oppose him. Their minds are made up regardless of the proceedings. Let them vote, “no.” Even the liberal American Bar Association had enough information to give Judge Kavanaugh a unanimous “well qualified” rating which is its highest.

“The complaints of those opposing Kavanaugh are loud and incendiary, but they are simply not persuasive. They bear no resemblance to the nominee’s record.

“Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll get less antics and more substantive discussion about the actual record of the nominee. That is what the American people want and expect from their representatives in the committee.”

 

For an interview with Penny Nance contact Annabelle Rutledge at [email protected] or 916-792-3973.