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[AUDIO] Use Your Voice – Episode 1, U.S. Supreme Court Nomination

By | Kennedy, LBB, News and Events, SCOTUS, Vacancy | No Comments



The first installment of our new podcast, Use Your Voice, aired on Monday, June 9, 2018. We discussed with Concerned Women for America’s General Counsel Mario Diaz, Esq., the upcoming battle over the replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy at the U.S. Supreme Court.  And we went to Iowa where Janae Stracke, CWA’s Field Director, is already mobilizing our members in support of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For more information on this topic, visit WomenforKavanaugh.com.

Barronelle Stutzman Should Win in Light of Masterpiece

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

Today, the United States Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari in Arlene’s Flower v. Washington. The Court then vacated the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case back to the Supreme Court of Washington for further consideration in light of Jack Phillips’ recent win in Masterpiece Cakeshop. Simply put, the state supreme court will have to reconsider its assessment of the case.

You will recall, this is the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist who served a homosexual customer and friend for almost 10 years before she declined to create custom floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding. Barronelle explained she couldn’t participate in the ceremony “because of her relationship with Jesus Christ,” but referred his friend to another florist she knew would do a good job.

Barronelle was then met with a hostility from the state, similar to the actions decried by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.  The state sued not just the business, they went after Barronelle personally. Unlike in Jack’s case, the same-sex customers had filed no complaint against Barronelle.  Still, she was harassed as a racist.  The trial court compared her to another case where the owner refused to serve blacks.

The state also has a markedly higher tolerance for businesses that discriminate against Christians.

The state court must determine whether there are “elements of clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs …” as it found in Masterpiece. The evidence here suggests that there are.  As Colorado did with Jack, Washington here treats Barronelle’s religious objections as “merely rhetorical” and not worthy of the same level of protection as other views of which the state approves.

Barronelle, as Jack, suffered discrimination because of her religious beliefs, so we hope the Supreme Court of Washington will rule for her, as it takes into account Masterpiece Cakeshop as binding precedent. Either way, the case is likely to come back before the U.S. Supreme Court, as the losing party is likely to appeal.

Remember too that the U.S. Supreme Court did not address the Freedom of Speech claim that is, perhaps, most compelling in these cases. That argument, too, is likely to come before the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration.

On Smartphones, It’s About You

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

Controversies are not uncommon to Facebook. This is why I usually don’t pay too much attention to them. But a friend made me notice the school teacher who posted what some of her students told her on a school assignment, and it is so sad it is worth noting. Did you see it?

The teacher posted that several students told her they wished the phone was never invented because their parents were always on them. The story was noted by USA Today, which quoted one response agreeing with it saying, “I don’t like the phone because my [parents] are on their phone every day … I hate my mom’s phone and I wish she never had one.”

The story noted how the topic of smartphone use has been mostly aimed at children and teens, and appropriately so, but this incident points to concerns with adult use. Several studies have shown that the more time children spend online, the less happy they are with their lives in several areas.  But the truth is that this is not only about what they see online, but about the interactions and experiences they are losing in the real world by spending so much time in the virtual world.

The more time a child spends online at home, the less time he spends interacting with siblings or his or her parents. This works both ways, though.  The more time a parent spends online, the less time he spends investing in the crucial personal relationships at home.

So, on the use of smartphones at home, it’s about you, whatever your age.  Parent, grandparent, child, brother, sister, whoever you are. Sure, parents should limit their children’s time online, but they must also limit their own.

The interesting thing is that, once we spend some time thinking about this issue, we realize that it is not such a new issue after all.  It is still about quality time with each other — the age-old problem that has plagued parents from time immemorial. The only thing that has changed is where we are spending the time. Parents use to take time away from their children by working too much or playing golf all the time. Now they spend it on social media. Still, it is about time, in many ways.

The new danger, I see, is that you are “there” in the case of the new smartphone problem.  But, of course, if you are “there” with someone on your phone, you are not really “there.” I think we all can understand that.  There is no question we must be proactive on this for our children and for ourselves. I think most people would agree. How to do that is a bit more complicated, but I tend to think that as long as you are aware of the potential risk and you are doing something, even if it is something that doesn’t work, you are working at it, and it will be a net positive for you. We will find the right approach for our family if we are intentional about it.

But why are we discussing this here at Concerned Women for America? Well, I hope you see that the answer to many of the public policy problems that ail us are rooted in the weakening of the family structure. I’ve written to you about it in many contexts.

The family unit was God’s invention (Genesis 2:24). One man, one woman having children for life. This beautiful cycle where a man “leave[s] his father and mother and hold[s] fast to his wife, and the two … become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31) is powerful and life-giving; it is the key to a free and fruitful society. It is no surprise to any of us that the enemy seeks to destroy it with everything it has.

So, let’s not let the smartphones outsmart us. Let us use it, and not the other way around. It is an incredible tool, when used in moderation, giving priority to those things that are truly valuable. God and family should always be at the top.

White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative

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

Penny Nance, CWA’s CEO & President, with United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback at the Rose Garden.

President Donald Trump has taken several steps to protect religious freedom within the Executive Branch during his time in office. On the National Day of Prayer, in his second year in office, he once again showed his commitment to people of faith by signing an executive order establishing the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

This is no small thing, though we have seen similar efforts in the past.  The attacks on religious freedom — and freedom of speech in general — are ongoing, and a proactive approach to protect these rights is desperately needed.

President Trump announced the initiative at a Rose Garden event attended by Concerned Women for America CEO and President Penny Nance, saying:

The faith initiative will help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.  This office will also help ensure that faith-based organizations have equal access to government funding and the equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs.

We take this step because we know that, in solving the many, many problems and our great challenges, faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God.

He is absolutely right. One of the sad things about modern government hostility towards religious groups is the fact that they are negatively affecting these groups’ great, charitable, loving work. Remember the attacks on the Little Sisters of the Poor? Why would the government want to hinder in any way the work of these poor, religious women who are caring for the elderly in our nation? Or how about the state governments that have forced out of their state Christian adoption agencies? These are services that are needed, yet as government intolerance of differing views, especially in the area of sexuality, continues to grow, we see many are willing to let the poor and needy suffer at the altar of liberalism.

It was fitting that in announcing this initiative and commemorating the National Day of Prayer, President Trump remembered the loss of “America’s Pastor,” Rev. Billy Graham.  He said:

As we gather this morning, our thoughts also turn to the memory of a man who awakened the light of God in the hearts of millions of America’s pastors.  And that’s the great, legendary, wonderful Billy Graham.  Great, great man …

Today, we remember the words of Reverend Graham, “Prayer is the key that opens [to] us the treasures of God’s mercies and blessings.”  Always beautiful.

As you know, prayer is foundational for Concerned Women for America. Everything we do is done not in our own power, but by the strength and opportunity given to us by God Almighty. It is a reality that we know to be true personally and can attest to throughout our great history. That is why we continually remind our culture of America’s rich history of faith and prayer. President Trump is fully aware of that history.  More importantly, he is very proud of it.  At the Rose Garden ceremony, he said:

The prayers of religious believers helped gain our independence, and the prayers of religious leaders like the Reverend Martin Luther King — great man — helped win the long struggle for civil rights.  Faith has shaped our families, and it’s shaped our communities.  It’s inspired our commitment to charity and our defense of liberty.  And faith has forged the identity and the destiny of this great nation that we all love.

Americans of faith have built the hospitals that care for our sick, the homes that tend to our elderly, and the charities that house the orphaned, and they minister — and they really do, they minister to the poor, and so beautifully and with such love.

We are proud of our religious heritage.  And as President, I will always protect religious liberty.

This is our identity as American, whether many or few recognize it. It is the genius of our nation and the key to liberty and freedom.

 


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

Big Win for the Rule of Law and Justice: Duncan Confirmed

By | LBB, News and Events | No Comments

It’s a win for you as a supporter of Concerned Women for America (CWA), too. I’ve asked you to pray and take action on the nomination of Kyle Duncan for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and you answered the call. Now, Duncan is The Honorable Judge Duncan after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a 50-47 vote.

This is good news for those of us who respect the Constitution and the rule of law. Duncan is someone who is committed to the original meaning of the Constitution and is keenly aware of his limited role as a judge.  We need more like him on the bench.

Duncan’s nomination became the number one target of the left because he had boldly stood for religious liberty.  His involvement in some marriage cases, and the well-known Hobby Lobby decision, made him “persona non grata” for the left, and they spent much time, energy, and resources to stop his nomination.

But they have utterly failed. Today, we celebrate Duncan’s nomination and President Trump’s excellent record on judicial nominations. We have said it time and again, but it bears repeating, President Trump has exceeded expectations when it comes to judicial nominations.

Still, we must not let this victory distract us from the work that must still be done in the U.S. Senate. Hundreds of President Trump’s nominations continue to linger in the Senate as Democrats continue to obstruct nominees for merely partisan reasons.

As I write, the nomination of Mike Pompeo to serve as the next Secretary of State has been unnecessarily delayed at the behest of radical, leftist groups that object to a nominee with the highest qualifications possible, merely because of his faith.

Please stay engaged on your knees — and with phone calls, letters, and emails — for these nominees. Personnel is policy, as they say, and if so, we can only be encouraged for what’s to come from these great, qualified, committed candidates.


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

The Anti-Christian Religious Test Continues

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

You can add another chapter to the left’s escalation of anti-Christian bigotry. Right on the heels of bigoted attacks against Russell Vought and Amy Barrett, the left is once again imposing its unconstitutional religious litmus test against judicial nominee Wendy Vitter, who has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Vitter is General Counsel of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and, as with Barrett, the fact that she would actually believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion is unacceptable to the left.

Such a religious test is explicitly prohibited in the U.S. Constitution by Article VI, Section 3. It reads, “[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”  But this is exactly what the left is imposing on any person who dares disagree with them on the issue of abortion.

They are absolutely hysterical about a statement Vitter made that, “Planned Parenthood says they promote women’s health. It is the saddest of ironies that they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.” The figure is a reasonable estimation, given the fact that Planned Parenthood’s latest report says it performed 321,384 abortions overall.

Vitter was questioned over and over about her religious beliefs, and she was clear. “I am pro-life. I will set aside my religious or my personal views. My personal views in this role, I need to make a conscious effort and will do so to set this aside,” she answered to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) as he pressed her on the issue.

But the left is ready to explode; they will never accept that. They simply cannot allow any person of faith (who actually believes the church’s teaching) to have any position in public life.

This bitter development recently prompted Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, to write a powerful Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “Democrats Have Abandoned Catholics.” The bishop lamented the Democrats’ refusal to support Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) because he is pro-life, among many other things.

You will hear of attacks against Vitter, because she refused to answer specific questions about cases, but this hollow argument is easily exposed as you recall that the left’s most revered judicial champion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also refused to answer specific questions in the same manner — to the praise of those on the left.

This video from when they tried the same tactic against the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch will suffice:

 

 

Every senator from both the left and the right should stand against the left’s cry for a religious litmus test on nominations. The swift confirmation of Vitter would be a good start to making that clear.