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Tony Perkins / February 25, 2015

When Push Comes to Poll…

How much is your religious liberty worth? Try $2,001. That’s the going rate in Washington state, according to its attorney general. If Barronelle Stutzman wants to exercise the freedom already guaranteed to her by the First Amendment, she’ll have to fork over a couple thousand dollars (which she doesn’t plan on doing any time soon). The Christian owner of Arlene’s Flowers is standing by her beliefs, no matter what it costs her. “You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.” When she turned down a same-sex “wedding” job, Barronelle says she didn’t “relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important.”

How much is your religious liberty worth? Try $2,001. That’s the going rate in Washington state, according to its attorney general. If Barronelle Stutzman wants to exercise the freedom already guaranteed to her by the First Amendment, she’ll have to fork over a couple thousand dollars (which she doesn’t plan on doing any time soon).

The Christian owner of Arlene’s Flowers is standing by her beliefs, no matter what it costs her. “You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.” When she turned down a same-sex “wedding” job, Barronelle says she didn’t “relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important.”

And while the courts may not agree with Stutzman, 81% of the American people do. In new polling, released by FRC [Tuesday] at the National Religious Broadcasters convention, Americans – by overwhelming numbers – think the government should stop twisting people’s arms on marriage and leave businesses alone to operate by their values as they see fit. WPA Opinion Research, who conducted the survey, said it’s almost impossible to find a stronger consensus on any issue – let alone a political hot potato like this.

Speaking of consensus, the media would like for you to believe that society has come to one on marriage too. But our polling tells a different story. Asked if “states and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court shouldn’t force all 50 states to redefine marriage,” a whopping 61% don’t want the courts to decide the issue. Under the rule of law, changes like this should be made by broad social agreement – which, the political landscape proves, doesn’t exist. Only three states of the 37 with same-sex “marriage” policies had the direct approval of voters (unlike the 30 states who upheld natural marriage at the ballot box).

What this survey tells us is that the American people won’t accept the redefinition of marriage by judicial fiat. Like other liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg insists that it won’t take much for the country to accept same-sex “marriage” – a claim this poll clearly debunks. Americans haven’t reached a broad social consensus on marriage. Until and unless they do, unelected judges shouldn’t force it on them – and the deep division that will accompany it. The courts made that mistake when it imposed abortion on all 50 states and then declared the issue “resolved.”

The justices didn’t resolve the debate then – and it will fail again, if it dares to redefine an institution as old as civilization itself. Like life, the marriage debate will only intensify as the American people realize that they’ll be required to surrender their fundamental right to live and work according to their beliefs. Cultural elites may persuade judges to strip away the livelihoods of people like Aaron and Melissa Klein, Jack Phillips, Barronelle Stutzman, and others, but they face a losing battle in the court of public opinion.

Obama Skirts Real Issue with Transgenders

President Obama may not be able to say “Christian,” but he has no trouble with “transgender.” While almost 100 Assyrian Christians were kidnapped by Islamists in a dawn raid in their villages in Syria, the President’s mind is obviously elsewhere.

As he plots an assault on people’s values, the Middle East is in a full-blown meltdown. Terror is ripping through small towns, and in this case, hitting a crucial piece of land in the conflict on the Iraqi border where the Yazidis were also targeted. Although the Christians fled to Syria for refuge, that safety is made more fragile by the day thanks to their faith. Syrian militia tried to strike back, but the fate of the Christians is unknown.

Meanwhile, President Obama is focused on more important matters – like opening up the military to transgenders. At a press conference Monday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest dropped this bombshell: “I can tell you that the President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve and for that reason, we here at the White House welcome the comments of the Secretary of Defense.”

Those comments from Ash Carter came as a surprise to several people, who didn’t think the first item on the new DOD chief’s agenda was social engineering. “I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them,” Carter told reporters earlier in the day. “I’m very open-minded about (it)…what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us. That’s the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members?”

Unfortunately, the new Defense boss wasn’t asked about the issue in his Senate hearing – an oversight conservatives wish they could correct now. The world is facing some of the greatest evil ever unleashed on innocents and the President’s plan for combatting it is letting men transition to women (and vice-versa) in our fighting force? Is this his plan for striking fear in ISIS’s hearts?

The terrorists are mocking us as it is. Imagine the laughingstock America will be if it injects gender anarchy into the front lines. Are we to assume that taxpayers would be on the hook for their hormone therapy, sexual reassignments, psychological counseling, and whatever facilities changes would need to be made to accommodate transgenders on base?

Despite how casually the White House seems to treat the matter, these are serious and complex issues that directly affect the national security of the United States. Let’s not forget – transgenderism is at its root a serious mental disorder. If these men and women are confused about their gender, what’s to keep them from being confused about their mission?

Sexual assault, rape, and suicide are already sky-high in the military. Surely, the President’s answer isn’t introducing gender chaos to an already dissatisfied military. The military can’t afford to waste more time and energy on political distractions that aren’t just detrimental for people in that lifestyle – but for our nation’s security as well.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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