Speaking of constitutional court cases, please log on to Family Foundation Blog tomorrow as we will be at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the Office of Attorney General will argue against the federal government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against the federal health care law. The AG also will hold a news conference afterward and numerous national media are expected to attend. We will have all the details.
Archive for June, 2010
In a bizarre ruling that lacks honesty, constitutional reason and plain old common sense, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday (see opinion) that a Christian organization (or any organization for that matter) on a public college campus cannot determine its own membership and leadership rules.
You may remember that in April, The Family Foundation hosted a luncheon with attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund who were involved in the case, Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez. This case arose when the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco denied recognition to CLS, including equal meeting space and most means of communicating on campus (the first time in the school’s history that they had denied such recognition to any organization). The reason? Although CLS welcomes everyone to all its activities and events, CLS would not agree to eliminate its Statement of Faith requirement for officers and those who select them, the voting members. Hastings deemed CLS’s Statement of Faith and its interpretation that Christians should not engage in extramarital sexual activity to violate the religion and sexual orientation portions of its nondiscrimination policy. Hastings has since interpreted its rule as prohibiting all groups from excluding anyone from voting membership or leadership on the basis of beliefs of any kind. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Hastings’ decision.
The Supreme Court Monday in a decision written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg stated that the “accept-all-comers” policy was constitutional. Essentially, Hastings Law School now requires that any club that receives university approval must allow anyone to join – including leaders – even if those individuals are antagonistic to the mission and purpose of the organization! In other words, the College Republicans would have to allow Democrats in their leadership, and visa versa.
In addition, if “all-comers” can join and become the majority, speech is limited to that which is accepted by the majority. The free exchange of ideas is limited only to those ideas that are “politically correct” and accepted by the majority. The consequences of such limits on speech and expression are enormous.
In coming to its conclusions, the Court completely ignored the true facts of the case and sidestepped ruling on the true underlying issues – a so-called “non-discrimination” policy that clearly and boldly discriminates against religious belief.
Incredibly, in a case of either profound naïveté or outright ignorance, Ginsberg argued that it is unlikely that college students would attempt to infiltrate an organization they don’t agree with. Seriously?
The case is not completed. While the Court upheld the Hasting “accept-all-comers” policy it sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit (perhaps the most liberal court this side of The Hague) to determine if Hastings had applied its policy to CLS fairly. The good news is that because the facts of the case are so narrow the decision is limited only to Hastings College of Law, the only place where an “all-comers” policy exists. The bad news is that the Court had an opportunity to strengthen the first amendment and chose not to do so.
In their dissent, Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas vehemently disagreed with the majority, calling the decision a “serious setback for freedom of expression in this country,” adding, there is “no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.” The dissent also calls into question the honesty of the majority, arguing that the majority ignored facts and simply accepted arguments from Hastings that were clearly dishonest.
As I have been saying for sometime, religious liberty in American is facing ever-increasing threat. While some may call it hyperbole, the list of cases where Christians have lost their freedom of expression or freedom of association continues to grow. While most Americans are focused on the depressed economy and the exponential growth of our federal government, we cannot ignore the fact that our freedom to express our faith publically is being undermined.
Sadly, it seems that the church in America will be the last to know that it is no longer free.
Sometimes we find things that our opposition says or does that are just too revealing not to expose to the public at large. For example, NARAL’s fascinating linguistic gymnastics. Now, an astounding admission from the NEA/VEA that confirms what we, and other education reformers, have said for years: That the VEA is about educators, not education.
Unlike how the VEA poses, it is not about anything resembling education, much less improving it. Quite simply, the VEA is a union. Not a think tank. Not a “for the children” organization. The VEA is a union and is about union membership. But don’t take our word for it. Here is an admission straight from the mouth of the NEA’s retiring chief counsel, in 2009:
And that brings me to my final, and most important point. Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.
Pretty blatantly stated. But there it is: The NEA/VEA has one goal — the financial and professional betterment of its members, which in turn increases its power. If achievement of its goals requires advocacy for higher education standards or better classroom environments to achieve its union goal, it will pursue what it must. But don’t be fooled. Such advocacy is an inconvenient diversion to its accumulation of power and political goals.
To successfully dismantle the VEA’s power in Virginia politics, we must defund it and alternative teacher organizations hold the key. One such alternative is Virginia Professional Educators, a professional organization that offers better insurance policies and other benefits without supporting liberal causes and candidates (click here for more information). As long as teachers continue to send dues to the VEA, it will continue to hire its 30-plus lobbyists in Richmond every year where they then proceed to undermine school choice efforts, push for higher taxes and, incredibly, involve itself in issues that have nothing to do with public education, such as promoting abortion and homosexual marriage. (Improving education? What’s that?)
Self-assessments from our opposition are fascinating. Sometimes the honesty in their words is revealing. Take note of the deflated words delivered in an April 2010 speech by VEA President Kitty Boitnott:
This year, our [General Assembly] ‘wins’ are better measured by what we prevented from happening. … the VEA has lost members in significant numbers this year due to a whole host of reasons . . . along with the external challenges of having few friends in high places, we have also been suffering from an internal malaise of sorts in many of our very own local affiliates. … I do not believe that I overstate the case when I say that public education is under siege. It is being attacked at every corner, and there are those who would not only under fund public education . . . but they would dismantle public education in favor of alternative avenues. …
By its own admission, teachers are wising up and leaving the VEA and, in turn, the VEA is feeling the heat. No longer is it advancing its leftist agenda at the expense of hard working, well meaning teachers. Instead, it’s on the defensive. As we’ve said before, the VEA’s worst nightmare — education freedom — is coming to Virginia. It’s a matter of when, not if. The Family Foundation and our educational freedom allies are continuing to build a convincing case for school choice in Virginia. We will not relent until Virginia families are given the opportunity to freely choose the best educational option for their children.
Whoa! Is that defeated Democrat governor wannabe Terry McAuliffe with Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger at the U.S. game at the World Cup? It is! Forget the game. There really must be a party going on in South Africa!
I’m as hardcore a soccer fan as you will find, yet even my mind was temporarily derailed from the intensity of the U.S. soccer team’s second round World Cup match against Ghana Saturday when I saw the obligatory shot of the VIP box. I knew Bill Clinton was there — he was there at the Algeria game a a few days before. Seeing Jagger next to him was only a mild surprise. (Hillary, do you know where your husband is — and who he is hangin’ with?) Bill is the honorary chairman of U.S. Soccer’s bid committee to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, so it was actually expected of him to attend.
But McAuliffe? Why is T-Mac there? Other than in his longtime role as Clinton consigliere, why is the wannabe governor in South Africa? Is he a big soccer fan? Just wanted to party with Bill and Mick? That’s not too gubernatorial looking. In fact, why be governor of Virginia when you can jet off with the international swank set at the drop of a taxpayer dollar (as being in the company of a former president entails security)?
T-Mac (on the left, of course) jinxes the U.S. soccer team (along with Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger). Have you ever seen three completely different facial expressions of people watching the same thing?
But that’s not the point. The point is T-Mac jinxed us! Four years of hard work, an exhilarating win over Algeria, winning our group and for what? So T-Mac, who wore Carolina blue to a U.Va. game during his 2009 Democrat primary campaign, could rub off his sports neophyte negative karma on us? (See the tweets about the T-Mac curse his sighting set off.) No doubt, this will be a big issue when he ramps up again in 2013. Not that Clinton and Jagger get off the hook either. Here is what former Germany superstar and national team coach (and possible future U.S. coach) Jurgen Klinsmann said on ESPN about Clinton and his coterie:
Clinton and company: A distraction for the U.S. team! Hey, if the libs can blame everything on George W, why not blame our loss on Clinton and McAuliffe?
So one of the game’s greats says the U.S. team was distracted by its sudden fame and bandwaggon climbing by Clinton and McAuliffe! We won’t forget Terry! We won’t forget! Here is the evidence of the Clinton corruption of the U.S. team:
Fans want to use “video evidence” in soccer. We got it right here — Clinton breaking training with team captain Carlos Bocanegra.
Thanks to Family Foundation friend Heather Cordasco for this picture from the Day of Prayer in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this month (read previous post). We wanted to give people an idea of the turnout and the how it went.
Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) was one of several people that led prayers during the Day of Prayer in front of historic Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg earlier this month during the Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, a nod to the original such day in Virginia in 1774. More than 100 people attended.
Don’t you just love liberal elitists, with their fancy educations, who have no hesitation in characterizing conservatism as some backwards, hateful philosophy only the brainless or mean, oppressive free-marketers can abide? If there’s anymore proof needed that conservatism is about intellect and not feelings, we don’t know where to find it. But the video below is a start.
First, there was the numerically challenged ”57 States Obama,” then the physics challenged “Guam May Capsize Hank Johnson,” now, the geographically challenged “Arizona Doesn’t Border Mexico Peggy West,” a big-time liberal Milwaukee supervisor, who wants her fair city to boycott the Grand Canyon State. Wait! Can’t forget “Navy Corpseman Obama” either! Oh, geez, I could list hundreds more, but the list is insufferable. Let’s just get on with it — and these are the people running our country?
The latest in the great line of great modern liberal thinkers.
We live in a time unlike any other in American history. People are as depressed as the economy. Optimism and employment are down, there is an environmental catastrophe, the country is near bankruptcy, basic issues of life and family are either being ignored or worse, attacked and redefined; and government is expanding at the expense of freedoms and fruits of labor. Americans are frustrated not because we face problems — we love to rise to the occasion — but that our own government is creating these problems.
It leaves hard working, law abiding, God worshiping Americans despondent. “What can I do?” is the despairing refrain.
One thing is vote. Elections do have consequences. Make an informed decision and work and vote for candidates who best reflect your views. Support organizations (such as The Family Foundation, shameless plug) that work for the principles in which you believe. Get others involved. Be a force multiplier. Then stay on those elected to live up to their promises.
Of course, we live in a we want it now society. Instant satisfaction, if not gratification. We want results and we want to see them — now!
Okay, already. Since we believe in the positive change and equalizing nature of the new media and Internet, here’s something you can do now and have an impact. Not just impact anywhere, either. Impact in Congress. The House of Representatives in particular.
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) started YouCut, an online program where five areas of wasteful federal spending are highlighted each week. Citizens can vote for the one they most want to see cut. The “winning” program then will be brought to the House floor for an up or down vote (see BigGovernment.com). The program was launched a few weeks ago, but already is attracting millions of online voters. It’s so simple it’s brilliant. Not only does it involve citizen input, which average people desire in an age when we are governed by elitists, it is, quite frankly, great politics. It also puts on record members of Congress so we can see who genuinely wants to reduce the scope of federal spending. The fear of embarrassment of supporting such waste may actually result in some good votes.
We encourage you to check it out. We now have a permanent link to YouCut on the bottom right corner of this blog. (Perhaps we can get the state government to do such a thing.) It is something you can do . . . and truly make a difference.
Citizen action in its purest form, with real results. YouCut is a program where you can decide what federal spending gets cut.
Today, as we watch an out of control federal government spend our children’s futures into fiscal oblivion, as we watch our own president ignore constitutional principles, and as we watch the greatest expansion of government in our lifetimes and the corresponding loss of freedom it brings — aren’t the issues you and I care about, as your teenagers might say, “so yesterday”?
I mean, we hear it all the time. From media pundits and politicians — even politicians who used to be one of us — we hear the new mantra that there are “more important issues that need to be dealt with,” such as the economy, jobs and our security. However, abortion and traditional marriage — “family values” — are divisive distractions from what really matters.
Just recently, yet another political leader, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels — a “pro-family” Republican mentioned as a presidential candidate — urged us to “call a truce” (see Hot Air) on family issues until the nation’s economic problems are solved. After all, aren’t we all worried about the economy? Isn’t making sure we have jobs so we can feed our families more important right now than so-called “social issues”? (See Weekly Standard.)
That is certainly what the political class in Richmond and Washington want us to think. And wouldn’t it be so much easier for them if they didn’t have to be “distracted” by issues that they deem less important than the economy? So, how do I, the president of The Family Foundation, respond to that? Why do I believe our mission is more important than ever and that you need to be a part of that mission?
While there is no doubt that reinvigorating our economy and getting Americans back to work is a high priority, the way to do that is not government programs and giveaways. It is strong families that provide the foundation for financial success (study after study proves it, read here). Let’s be frank — no matter how good the economy, our nation is in peril if we continue to ignore God’s principles of justice for innocent life and family.
I am increasingly discouraged by what I see around me in our culture and, in particular, the increasing hostility toward religious faith in the public square. Our religious freedom is facing a crucial challenge. I honestly believe that our right to practice our faith — to exercise our religion and voice our opinions in matters of public policy — is in danger. There are a lot of people and groups that want us to shut up and go away. But I can promise you, The Family Foundation is not going away.
We have been here for a quarter of a century and we will be here for another quarter century with your continued help and activism. We are going to continue to fight for values-centered public policy — laws based on our values — regardless of our opponents. We are going to continue to fight for lower taxes, less government, education freedom, strong marriages and, yes, for the unborn, even when it’s uncomfortable for the political class.
It isn’t our job to make politicians comfortable. It’s our job to hold them accountable.
I have been asked by several people — some liberal activist types, some of no political stripe whatsoever (okay, more like confronted by the liberal activist types) — why Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is investigating poor old U.Va. and a former professor there, Michael Mann, one of the world’s (literally) leading so-called global warming scientists. I’m told that “he’s imposing his agenda” and “wasting taxpayer money” and “infringing on academic freedom.” Mr. Cuccinelli is seeking records, such as e-mails, of Dr. Mann’s when he taught in Charlottesville. He now teaches at Penn State.
My answers are, respectively:
What politician doesn’t have an agenda? After all, he ran on a very certain platform and received more votes for attorney general than any candidate in Virginia history;
He’s doing his job as the chief legal officer for state agencies and, in fact, there is a statute he’s enforcing, and, by the way, it just may be U.Va. and Professor Mann who wasted tax dollars (the predicate for the investigation); and
Where were the protests of academic freedom when U.Va. gave out the contents of e-mails by another professor, Dr. Pat Michaels, the former state climatologist, who doesn’t believe in man caused global warming, to private organizations trying to discredit Dr. Michaels? Furthermore, why did U.Va. at first say it would comply with the AG’s request for the records under state law, but now truly is wasting taxpayer and student/parent/donor money on hiring very expensive Washington, D.C., outside legal counsel to contest the AG’s investigation?
Okay, those are some detailed answers to some pretty lame questions, but I like to set the record straight, get the truth out and expose liberal double standards. Now, the truth is coming out from our good friends at Tertium Quids, we learn that that there was certain information that U.Va. had but was never disclosed in a previous investigation of Dr. Mann (see exerpt from AG’s response and see response itself here).
Writes Norman Leahy:
So those other looks into Climategate and Mann’s research, including one conducted by Mann’s current employers at Penn State University that “cleared” Mann didn’t have access to all the information . . . because UVA said it didn’t exist.
Except that it did, and the fact of the data’s existence wouldn’t have been known by anyone without Cuccinelli’s investigation.
What’s at stake? About $500,000 in taxpayer money from grants Dr. Mann and U.Va. secured for fraudulent research. Not to mention the basis for an entire movement that seeks government rule over almost every aspect of our lives. Other than that, not much. Go ‘hoos!
It’s refreshing when our opponents are honest about what they’re actually trying to do. A pro-life legislator forwarded me a recent blog post by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia that proved to be especially revealing. Reporting on its recent “Legislative Debriefing 2010″ meeting in which it discussed its successes and failures of the 2010 General Assembly session, NARAL’s blogger writes:
In the last part of the evening, we had an enlightening impromptu discussion about ceding battles of language to anti-choicers. Although we know that they are not “pro-life” (as one attendee said, we are pro-life, we are the ones who care about saving lives), we often use other anti-choice word choices without realizing it or considering the consequences.
Here comes the interesting part. Read carefully. NARAL’s blogger continues:
There is no such thing as a “partial-birth” abortion. Humans are not “babies” until they are born alive. We are PRO-CHOICE, not “abortionists.” Pregnant women are women who happen to be pregnant, they are not “mothers” until they have children. When we allow the anti-choicers to shift the debate using words like “life” and “unborn,” we give them power. If you haven’t before, it’s time to become more cognizant of the words you use.
Did you get that? “Humans are not ‘babies’ until they are born alive.” Interesting that NARAL even used the word “human“! Then, this gem: ”Pregnant women are women who happen to be pregnant, they are not ‘mothers’ until they have children.” What an insult to expectant mothers!
Can you imagine a pregnant woman going in for an 8-month check up only to be told, “The human inside you is not yet a baby and you’re not yet a mother. But be sure to take your pre-natal vitamins and go to a Lamaze class just in case that human becomes a baby and just in case you become a mother.” Is a woman only a “mother” if she chooses to want her child?
This is the mindset our opposition operates under. Planned Parenthood is no different from NARAL. In an e-mail alert sent to their constituents, Planned Parenthood advertises a training they’re offering that teaches “how to talk the pro-choice talk.” No wonder it necessitates training — you have to learn to set aside logic and reality and take on a nonsensical language!
No matter how NARAL and Planned Parenthood redefine their terms and massage their language, the truth is still the truth. We still know what their intent is no matter how they adorn their words. But just as important, another thing that won’t change — The Family Foundation will remain committed to being your advocate in the General Assembly and in the public square to defeat NARAL and Planned Parenthood’s anti-life goals.