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Tony Perkins / March 9, 2015

Patriots Deflate Marriage

A month after winning their fourth Super Bowl title, the New England Patriots are stepping onto another turf: the marriage debate. [Last] week, the NFL powerhouse – along with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays and World Series-winning San Francisco Giants – went on the offensive in the heavy-weight battle for marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court. In a brief signed by 370 other businesses, the Patriots, Rays, and Giants went on the record with their radical views, insisting that “allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.” They argue that state laws “that prohibit or decline to recognize marriages between same-sex couples hamper employer efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in those states.”

A month after winning their fourth Super Bowl title, the New England Patriots are stepping onto another turf: the marriage debate. [Last] week, the NFL powerhouse – along with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays and World Series-winning San Francisco Giants – went on the offensive in the heavy-weight battle for marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a brief signed by 370 other businesses, the Patriots, Rays, and Giants went on the record with their radical views, insisting that “allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.” They argue that state laws “that prohibit or decline to recognize marriages between same-sex couples hamper employer efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in those states.”

(Apparently, “talent” is now defined by personal views – not professional expertise.) But if the latest polling is any indication, the American people aren’t exactly fans of the teams’ agenda. As the consequences of redefining marriage become more apparent, same-sex “marriage” is falling increasingly out of favor with the country, according to the latest poll by Rasmussen. Over the past year, their researchers found a significant spike in opposition – so much so that the percentage of people now opposing same-sex “marriage” (44%) is higher than those in support (42%). Like us, they probably think the Patriots, Rays, and Giants should stop trying to ref the culture war and get back to the business of major league sports.

Rays President Brian Auld disagrees, saying, “It’s important that we send this signal of inclusion to the entire region… Our players have traditionally been supportive of these kinds of things.”

That’s news to Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who is anything but supportive of his sport picking sides in an extremely divisive debate. When the League appointed his teammate (and open homosexual) Billy Bean as its “ambassador of inclusion,” Murphy wasn’t about to sit on the sidelines.

In an interview with NJ.com, he was polite but firm. “I disagree with (homosexuality). That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in (Billy) and get to know him… (You) can still accept them, but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.” When reporters pressed him, he said, “Maybe, as a Christian … we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree (with) the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me… Just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.” Daniel’s candor didn’t sit well with team officials, who issued a gag order on their player’s free speech.

“Murphy to talk baseball only,” Wednesday’s ESPN headline read. “New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy will no longer address his religious beliefs and will stick to baseball,” a team spokesman said. So the Rays and Giants can make same-sex “marriage” their official team policy, but a player like Daniel Murphy can’t express his deeply held moral views? A person’s religious convictions have to be hidden but not person’s sexual preference?

Unfortunately this is the kind of double standard we’ve come to expect from the purveyors of “tolerance.” Even in the majority, Christians are the underdog. The players like Daniel Murphy, Don Jones, Matt Birk, David Tyree, and FRC’s Craig James are going out on a limb to stand up for marriage – but soon there won’t be a limb if more Americans don’t stand with them.

For Whom the Bill Tolls

Thanks to the work of area pastors, the state of Georgia is one step closer to protecting religious liberty. [Thursday], the Georgia Senate advanced SB 129, the “Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” with a 31-15 vote. As it currently stands, Georgians have no recourse under the law when they suffer religious discrimination from state and local municipalities. This is an all-too-real scenario for people like Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran who was fired by the city after sharing a book he had written about biblical morality.

In a letter to the Mayor of Atlanta, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) and five other Congressman from Georgia called for his reinstatement saying, “As fellow Georgians, we are extremely troubled that a capable and long-standing public servant in our state can be targeted for retaliation and dismissal solely because of his religious views.” But this hasn’t stopped opponents of the bill from still claiming it’s unnecessary – or worse – that it’ll give people a “right to discriminate” against others.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The bill doesn’t grant any rights to a person at the expense of another’s. The bill simply requires the government to think hard on its reasons before it enacts a law that interferes with an individual’s right to religious freedom and expression. It does so by asking two questions: does this law serve a compelling state interest and is it serving that end in the least restrictive way possible. That’s not a license to discriminate – it’s a chance to demonstrate the state has burdened religious liberty.

In a letter supporting the House version of the bill, 14 legal experts on religious freedom protections point out, “Opponents of these bills often make absurd claims about the extreme results they would allegedly produce, but they have no examples of judicial decisions actually reaching such results. In the places where this standard applies, it has not been interpreted in crazy ways that have caused problems for those jurisdictions; if anything, these laws have been enforced too cautiously.”

Now the bill is now headed to the Georgia House where it awaits the approval of the lower chamber before going before the Governor. If you live in Georgia, the time is now to urge your state representative to Support HB 218, the House version of the bill titled “Preventing Government Overreach on Religious Expression Act.” Call or e-mail Speaker David Ralston and urge him to put his full support behind HB (404-656-5020 or [email protected]).

ISIS Has Violence down to a Fine Art

Sometimes called the cradle of civilization, Nimrud was one of the chief cities of the ancient kingdom of Assyria. It could well be the ancient city of Calah mentioned in Genesis 10, founded by the biblical character Nimrod. At Nimrud, archaeologists have found some of the most important links to our past, ranging from huge statues to gold jewelry. But now, in the space of a few hours, thousands of years of history have been obliterated.

“Islamic State members came to the Nimrud archaeological city and looted the valuables in it, and then they proceeded to level the site to the ground,” a Mosul resident reported. “There used to be statues and walls as well as a castle that Islamic State has destroyed completely.” This is part of a pattern of cultural violence ISIS has been inflicting. Among its other atrocities, ISIS released a video last week “showing Islamic State militants with sledgehammers destroying ancient artifacts at the museum in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city that also fell into (ISIS’s) hands last year. Yet ISIS’s mindless destruction seems matched only by its vicious hypocrisy: "Almost 100 Syrian artifacts looted by the Islamic State have been smuggled into Britain and sold to raise money for the extremist group’s activities, art crime experts and archaeologists have warned.”

ISIS has unapologetically murdered untold thousands of people, Christians, Yazidis, and other Muslims it deems “heretical.” It’s genocidal mission – obliterate everyone in its path who refuses to bend the knee to ISIS’s vision of Islam – is now being abetted by an agenda of cultural and historical destruction.

It is imperative for President Obama to work with leaders in the region and throughout the world to stop ISIS from advancing and crush it as a military force. And as Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said to Congress earlier this week, we are kidding ourselves if we think Iran – whose agenda is less overt but no less dangerous than that of ISIS – can be dealt with as anything other than a rogue state.

Christians need to pray for the members of this horrific Islamic movement, for all those in its path, for those actively fighting it, for our government leaders as they work to stop ISIS, and most especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ whose allegiance to their Savior makes them willing to lay down their lives for Him. Nimrud had already been designated as one of the World Monument Fund’s most endangered sites. That designation has now proven all too prophetic.


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

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