Newsletter - July 2016

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states the following;

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment of our Constitution is unique when compared to the freedoms in many other countries and is also the foundation of so many of our freedoms.  However, given the current leftist and politically correct atmosphere in the United States, these freedoms are under attack.

Here is the first example:  Climate Change also known as Global Warming.

Matt Nisbet, a professor of communications studies at Northeastern University states: “On the fundamentals of climate science, there is absolutely no debate.  The overwhelming majority of scientists ....strongly agree that climate change is happening, that it’s human-caused and that it’s an urgent problem.” Professor Nisbet does not cite any science.  He just mentions that there are a lot of people who agree with him.

Now, given freedom of speech, Professor Nisbet can say what he would like to say.  However, that is apparently not the case for anyone or any company that does not agree with the Professor’s view of Climate Change. 

In March, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch answered Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island when he urged her to prosecute those who “pretend that the science of carbon emissions dangers is unsettled” particularly those in the “fossil fuel industry” who supposedly have constructed a “climate denial apparatus.”  She told the Senate Judiciary Committee that not only had she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against so-called “climate change deniers,” but she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”

This plan is in line with California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann who have both opened investigations of ExxonMobil for allegedly lying to the public and their shareholders about climate change.

In spite of numerous claims to the contrary, climate change is still an unproven scientific theory for which there is no consensus.  This is not stopping liberals who want to shut down the rights of citizens to express their opinions. Goodbye First Amendment.

Another attack on the First Amendment is coming from the California legislature.  Senate Bill 1146 has been approved by the state Senate and is awaiting final approval in the Assembly.

The proposed legislation would allow lawsuits from gay and transgender students who feel discriminated against because their sexual orientation conflicts with church tenets.  The bill could open the door to student lawsuits that allege discrimination because they are in same-sex relationships or because they are required to use restrooms, locker rooms and student housing that does not correspond to the gender with which they identify.

John Jackson, president of William Jessup University which is an evangelical Christian College in Rocklin, California states that this bill “would impinge upon our ability to exercise our religious freedom.  The reason it impinges on those freedoms is it opens up the ability for a student to file a lawsuit if they feel like, in any way, shape or form, they experience something at a school like ours that is offensive to them.” 

This legislation has support because of anti-discrimination laws that apply to schools that receive federal or state aid.  However, federal and state laws do not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization. 

This bill would require an institution that claims an exemption from either the Equity in Higher Education Act or Title IX to make specified disclosures to the institution’s current and prospective students, faculty members and employees concerning the institution’s claim for the exemption.

Kristen F. Soares, President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities represents many campuses.  The universities she represents support a provision in the bill that requires advanced disclosure to students applying to the school that the campus has an exemption from anti-discrimination laws.  Her group represents American Jewish University in Los Angeles and she reports that the bill could result in students filing legal challenges to the school’s requirement that there be a kosher-only menu in the dining hall.

An obvious comment on this legislation and its real motive is “Why would I go to a school whose tenets I do not believe in or agree with?”  Pick another school.  That is too simple.  We must all move in lock step on these issues.

The last point to consider is whether Christians in private or in business should be required to accept public policies that conflict with their religious views.  In the United States there is a long history of allowing religious exemptions for individuals and groups that disagree with certain policies.  The onus has been on the government to demonstrate that the issue is of paramount importance and that the violation of an individual’s religious freedom is the “least restrictive” way to achieve public policy goals. 

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by Congress in 1993 unanimously in the House and three votes short of unanimity in the Senate.  The purpose of the bill was to ensure that interests in religious freedom are protected.  The bill has been attacked by homosexual pressure groups at which point Democrats backed away from supporting the Act. 

Taso Luis Ramos founded Political Research Associates (PRA) to fight against what he calls “colorblind ideology” and in support of “color-led” organization.  He states that he founded PRA  to expose groups he believes are working against human rights.  Ramos believes gay marriage supplants First Amendment protections.  It is a safe bet that he is not alone in this opinion.

The First Amendment is under assault.  Many of those attacks come from a government quick to pass legislation to control anyone who disagrees with the current politically correct thinking on various issues.    

We must remember:  Vigilance is the price of freedom.  Slowly but consistently our freedoms are being eroded.


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