Embattled Florist Says Her Views On Marriage Do Not Make Her A Bigot

Speaking recently to The Daily Signal, a Christian business owner caught in the middle of a very public debate over gay marriage said her life has been turned upside down since she shared her view on the issue. Barronelle Stutzman was found guilty of discrimination after citing her faith as the reason that she would refuse to help decorate a gay wedding ceremony.

The ruling, which included a $1,000 fine, came as other business owners across the U.S. shared similar opinions. Though they were generally lambasted by ‘gay rights’ activists and others, a show of support by First Amendment advocates led to increased business and successful fundraising efforts in certain cases.

As for Stutzman, she thinks it is “sad that it has come to this,” noting that society benefits when citizens with different values are able to live in relative harmony.

“We all have differences,” she explained, “and every day we disagree with one another on some subject or another. But being able to still live peacefully with each other, despite those differences, is what true tolerance is all about.”

She tackled the often-misinterpreted religious freedom laws that have been passed or considered in a number of states – and which are largely a rephrasing of existing federal law.

“People have made this into something it’s not,” she said, “and have taken it way out of context. It is not a law that says you can decline goods and services to those who identify as gay. In my case, I have employed and served all kinds of people in my shop, whether they are gay, straight, lesbian or bisexual.”

Still, Stutzman said she must consider her religious convictions in all aspects of her life.

“Our First Amendment protects our freedom to live and work according to our faith,” she continued, “without the fear of punishment from the government for doing so. What’s happening now should terrify us all!”

Despite the name-calling she has endured as a result of her remarks, Stutzman maintained that neither she nor those who share her beliefs are the villains in this narrative.

“Even after the judge ruled against me in court,” she recalled, “we still got threatening phone calls. It became apparent to me that they want to destroy us and our religious beliefs – eliminate us, so that they can pretend these beliefs never existed, despite the fact that they have exited across centuries, races and cultures. Who are the real bigots here?”

Do you think business owners should have the right to freely exercise their faith? Let us know in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Controversial Air Force Vet Arrested For Trying To Protect The Flag

An Air Force veteran has found herself at the center of a controversy after taking action to defend the American flag Friday.

Michelle Manhart received a call from a student at Valdosta University in Georgia who told her that a group of protesters had put a flag on the ground and were walking on it. She called the university to complain and was told the matter would be investigated.

When she learned that the demonstrators — who have declined to identify themselves or say what they were protesting — were still desecrating the flag three days later, Manhart went over to where they were, “walked up, picked up the flag and walked away.”

“I saw what was happening and I couldn’t believe nothing was being done about it,” she recalled. “In my head I kept seeing all the caskets of our service members. It was like they were walking on their caskets. It hurt me so much. I couldn’t let it go on.”

Her act of patriotism, though, quickly turned into a heated confrontation as the protesters tried to get the flag back; and police got involved, as you can see in the video below.

Reactions to Manhart’s display have been mixed.

Todd Starnes of Fox News wrote that, “The way I see it – her only crime was behaving exactly the way we would expect a veteran of the Armed Forces to behave.”

However, a commenter on TheBlaze, under the name Ballot_Box_Revolution, wrote that, “Although i agree with her stance, admire her conviction, and totally disagree and find the other side disgusting…. she did deprive someone else of their liberties, and stole their property…If we were ever looking for the meaning of protecting our liberties, and the purpose of police this is a very good example….Im sure a lot of people will disagree with me out of pride, but it really is the truth…”

A 1989 Supreme Court Case, Texas v. Johnson, protects demonstrators’ First Amendment rights to do what they want with the flag.

Many have pointed out that the Air Force demoted Manhart (leading to her resignation) for posing nude for Playboy several years ago. Some of the pictures showed her posing with an American flag.

Manhart feels there is a big difference between her photo shoot and what the protesters were doing. “When we originally did that shoot, we did it for a specific cause,” she said in an interview with The Valdosta Daily Times. “We wanted to portray what we have as Americans when we get rid of all our material things. We wanted to strip the human of all material items and stand behind the flag because if we don’t have anything, we still have this. We still have our freedom.”

She said she knew the flag would touch the ground during the shoot and had arranged for it to be donated to the Boy Scouts so it could be disposed of properly. She insists she has no regrets about taking part in the photo shoot.

Both the protesters and police declined to press charges against Manhart; but she has been given a criminal trespass warning, which bans her from all university activities.

She still isn’t sure what the demonstrators were protesting, but conceded that she was not necessarily opposed to their protest — and might even support their cause — just the way they were going about it. “To walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom,” she commented. “You have the freedom to do what you are doing because of it. I’m not fighting against them. I’m fighting against the way they are going about it.”

“If I had to do it again I would,” Manhart insisted. She is hoping for a letter of apology from the demonstrators and possession of the flag so it can be properly disposed of. She also said she is planning an event to show support for the military and the flag on Wednesday.

Do you support Manhart’s defense of the flag? Let us know in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Pro-Life Group At Johns Hopkins University Will Be Permitted To Have Fetus Display After It Was Initially Banned

After initially being banned, a pro-life group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., will be allowed to set up a display giving center stage to several fetuses from the early stages of conception to shortly before birth.

The Hopkins Arts and Crafts Committee initially told the JHU Voice For Life group that the display would be prohibited from inclusion in the university’s Spring Fair because it “contains triggering and disturbing content,” FoxNews reported.

Here is the display in question:

Life Site News

Life Site News


“Out of respect for our relationship of the past 30 years, we would appreciate if you refrained from using the fetus models,” the committee said in an email to the pro-life group. “We hope you understand that our intention is not to restrict your freedom of speech or expression, but rather to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all.”

Voice For Life’s president, Andrew Guernsey, shot right back: “Abortion is disturbing, that’s the reason we have such a table,” Guernsey told Fox News.

I certainly find it ironic that a university that has dedicated itself to the advancement of medicine and biology would find displaying medically accurate fetal models disturbing and offensive…I mean, these are images shown in high school textbooks.

Not long after the outlet emailed the Arts and Crafts Committee inquiring as to why the display would not be permitted, the decision was reversed. They explained in a statement to Fox News:

We … were wrong in our initial decision and, upon further reflection, have decided we will not impose restrictions on the displays presented by any community groups at Spring Fair …. The committee values free speech.

Voice For Life was never prohibited from participating in the fair.

Share this if you support the right to life.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

No Matter Who Wins The White House, The New Boss Will Be The Same As The Old Boss

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“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms, and killing people. It’s not good at much else.”—Author Tom Clancy

The American people remain eager to be persuaded that a new president in the White House can solve the problems that plague us. Yet no matter who wins this next presidential election, you can rest assured that the new boss will be the same as the old boss; and we—the permanent underclass in America—will continue to be forced to march in lockstep with the police state in all matters, public and private.

Indeed, as I point out in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it really doesn’t matter what you call them—the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that no matter which party occupies the White House in 2017, the unelected bureaucracy that actually calls the shots will continue to do so.

Consider the following a much-needed reality check, an antidote if you will, against an overdose of overhyped campaign announcements, lofty electoral promises and meaningless patriotic sentiments that land us right back in the same prison cell.

FACT: For the first time in history, Congress is dominated by a majority of millionaires who are, on average, fourteen times wealthier than the average American. According to a scientific study by Princeton researchers, the United States of America is not the democracy that it purports to be, but rather an oligarchy, in which “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy.”

FACT: “Today, 17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles,” reports Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. “Some have tanks.”

FACT: Thanks to an overabundance of 4,500-plus federal crimes and 400,000-plus rules and regulations, it is estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it. In fact, according to law professor John Baker, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.”

FACT: The number of violent crimes in the country is down substantially, the lowest rate in forty years, while the number of Americans being jailed for nonviolent crimes such as driving with a suspended license is skyrocketing.

FACT: Despite the fact that women only make up 8 percent of the prison population, they are more likely to be strip searched, though not more likely to carry contraband.

FACT: Despite the fact that we have 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food, and at least 900,000 veterans relying on food stamps, enormous sums continue to be doled out for presidential vacations ($16 million for trips to Africa and Hawaii), overtime fraud at the Department of Homeland Security (nearly $9 million in improper overtime claims, and that’s just in six of the DHS’ many offices), and Hollywood movie productions ($10 million was spent by the Army National Guard on Superman movie tie-ins aimed at increasing awareness about the National Guard).

FACT: Since 2001, Americans have spent $10.5 million every hour for numerous foreign military occupations, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s also the $2.2 million spent every hour on maintaining the United States’ nuclear stockpile, and the $35,000 spent every hour to produce and maintain our collection of Tomahawk missiles. And then there’s the money the government exports to other countries to support their arsenals, at the cost of $1.61 million every hour for the American taxpayers.

FACT: It is estimated that 2.7 million children in the United States have at least one parent in prison, whether it be a local jail or a state or federal penitentiary, due to a wide range of factors ranging from overcriminalization and surprise raids at family homes to roadside traffic stops.

FACT: At least 400 to 500 innocent people are killed by police officers every year. Indeed, Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist. Americans are 110 times more likely to die of foodborne illness than in a terrorist attack.

FACT: Police officers are more likely to be struck by lightning than be made financially liable for their wrongdoing.

FACT: On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams.There has been a notable buildup in recent years of SWAT teams within non-security-related federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Education Department.

FACT: The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) facial recognition system, which is set to hold data on millions of Americans, will include a variety of biometric data, including palm prints, iris scans, and face recognition data. The FBI hopes to have 52 million images by 2015. NGI will be capable of uploading 55,000 images a day, and conducting tens of thousands of photo searches a day.

FACT: Comprising an $82 billion industry, at least 30,000 drones are expected to occupy U.S. airspace by 2020.

FACT: Devices are now being developed that would allow police to stop a car remotely, ostensibly to end police chases.

FACT: Everything we do will eventually be connected to the Internet. By 2030, it is estimated there will be 100 trillion sensor devices connecting human electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, etc.) to the Internet. Much, if not all, of our electronic devices will be connected to Google, which openly works with government intelligence agencies.

FACT: In 2015, mega-food corporations will begin rolling out high-tech shelving outfitted with cameras in order to track the shopping behavior of customers, as well as information like the age and sex of shoppers.

FACT: If knowledge is power, it’s no wonder Americans are in hot water. According to a study by the National Constitution Center, 41 percent of Americans “are not aware that there are three branches of government, and 62 percent couldn’t name them; 33 percent couldn’t even name one.”

FACT: The United States is one of the highest TV viewing nations. According to a Nielsen report, the average American over the age of two “spends more than thirty-four hours a week watching live television . . . plus another three to six hours watching taped programs.”

FACT: Only six out of every one hundred Americans know that they actually have a constitutional right to hold the government accountable for wrongdoing, as guaranteed by the right to petition clause of the First Amendment.

FACT: According to a Gallup poll, Americans place greater faith in the military and the police than in any of the three branches of government. However, when asked to name the greatest problem facing the nation, Americans of all political stripes ranked the government as the number one concern. In fact, almost eight out of ten Americans believe that government corruption is widespread.

Perhaps the most troubling fact of all is this: we have handed over control of our government and our lives to faceless bureaucrats who view us as little more than cattle to be bred, branded, butchered, and sold for profit.

If there is to be any hope of restoring our freedoms and reclaiming control over our government, it will rest not with the politicians but with the people themselves. When all is said and done, each American will have to decide for themselves whether they prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Message To Liberals: Bake Your Own Darn Cake!

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Liberals overplay their hand. It’s part of the deficiency. Whether real or perceived, if the pagan left can rationalize a sense of “progress” on some freedom-killing cause du jour, then it’ll push, push, push until it falls flat on its face.

Step aside, America. Give them room.

Religious liberty is non-negotiable. Freedom of conscience is the bedrock of American society. Today’s anti-Christian lynch mob, which angrily imagines that some newfangled “gay right” to not be offended trumps the First Amendment, is not only on the wrong side of the U.S. Constitution; it’s on the wrong side of history.

It’s also on the wrong side of public opinion.

Bloomberg reporter Dave Weigel gets it. That is, he gets it to the extent that any mainstream media-type can get anything. Weigel is a liberal. Despite this affliction, he recently admitted that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts like the one signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993 and those introduced in Indiana, Arkansas, and dozens of other states are, media propaganda notwithstanding, popular with the American people.

In his April 1 Bloomberg article, headlined “Democrats Turn Against Religious Freedom Laws. Voters Don’t Agree With Them,” Weigel laments that, “in panic about the backlash over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Democrats are settling in as the party that opposes religious liberty laws.”

“[I]t’s now expected for Democrats to denounce RFRAs, just as large corporations are denouncing them,” he continues. “In doing so, all of the critics are on the wrong side of public polling. According to a March edition of the Marist poll, 54 percent of Americans agreed with ‘allowing First Amendment religious liberty protection or exemptions for faith-based organizations and individuals even when it conflicts with government laws.’ By a 2-point margin, 47-45, even a plurality of Democratic voters agreed with that.

“The margins were even larger in opposition to laws that proposed ‘penalties or fines for individuals who refuse to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples even if their refusal is based on their religious beliefs,” adds Weigel. “[A]ccording to Marist, Americans oppose penalties on businesses … by a 65-31 margin. The margin among Democrats: 62-34 against.”

It remains unclear whether Weigel intended to draw a distinction between Americans and Democrats, but the anti-Christian penalties and fines to which he refers – the very ones Americans reject by a 2-to-1 margin – are even now being levied by left-wing “human rights” Star Chambers with increasing frequency and intensity against Christian bakers, florists, innkeepers, caterers, photographers, and a litany of other small-business owners from coast to coast. This, not because these Christian individuals won’t “serve gays” (they will and do without hesitation), but, rather, because they politely decline to spend their time and talent contributing to, and thereby endorsing the message behind, specific events that run counter to biblical principles and otherwise infringe their deeply-held religious convictions.

You know, the First Amendment.

It’s the Constitution, stupid.

Even so, I say keep it up. With each overt instance of anti-Christian bigotry, discrimination, and persecution, public sympathy and support for religious liberty mounts. It also undercuts the withering LGBT-whatchits’ “We’re-all-a-bunch-of-victims!” blather. In fact, there is evidence suggesting that this systematic anti-Christian hostility is souring the public on “gay marriage” altogether.

Still, if there’s one thing the non-fascist majority hates more than freedom trampling, it’s blatant hypocrisy. “The dispute is illustrated in Colorado, where a Christian baker, Jack Phillips, is defending himself in court for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex ceremony,” reports WND.

“And at the same time, Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission ruled that ‘cake artists’ at Azucar Bakery, Gateaux and Le Bakery Sensual were perfectly justified in refusing to bake cakes that ‘violated their conscience.’”

In an apparent (and successful) effort to prove a point, a clever Christian activist sued these pro-”gay” bakers for refusing to create, at his request, Bible-shaped cakes with scriptural references to homosexual sin. What’s good for the Christian goose is evidently not good for the “gay” gander. It’s the textbook double standard. It’s the near-exact scenario in reverse with a wholly opposite outcome. In one case, the government discriminates against the Christian by forcing him, under penalty of law, to violate his right of conscience–while, at the very same time, it allows the “gay” baker to freely exercise his own.

It’s called viewpoint discrimination.

And it’s illegal.

To be clear, I think the commission got it right the second time. Whether “gay” or straight, pagan or Christian, nobody should be forced, against his or her will, to create unique works of art that endorse a message or event that he or she finds repugnant. That sort of thing happens in Communist Russia, not in America.

Yet here we are.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco agrees: “We commend the commission for reaching the right conclusion that these cake artists should not be forced to violate their conscience, but clearly the commission should have done the same for Jack Phillips. The commission found that these three cake artists have the freedom to decline creating unique cake creations because the artists found the requests offensive, but all Americans should be alarmed that the same commission determined that Jack doesn’t have that same freedom. Like the other bakers, Jack happily serves all people but declines to use his artistic talents to create cakes that violate his conscience. The commission’s inconsistent rulings mean that the owners of these three cake shops may run them according to their beliefs, while Jack cannot. He risks losing his life-long business altogether if he continues to run it consistent with his faith. Such blatant religious discrimination has no place in our society.”

Furthermore, and lest we forget, it was the same Christianity secularists now seek to silence that largely led, some time ago, to the abolition of both slavery and indentured servitude.

Why the comeback?

Whereas no “gay” baker in America should be made to slave away for another human being in creation of a product or service that he finds repugnant, neither should a Christian baker be forced to labor in kind.

In short: Bake your own darn cake.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom