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Texas Backs Chick-fil-A, Come What Mayo!

Tony Perkins · Apr. 17, 2019

Chick-fil-A may cater, but not to the demands San Antonio liberals care about. Now, three weeks into the city council’s decision to ban the restaurant from the local airport, Texas conservatives know: this case for their religious liberty bill was made to order.

“Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport,” City Councilman Roberto Treviño told the media after the council’s 6-4 vote to boot the chicken chain from opening a shop in the terminal. Why? Because the owners dare to donate to charities like the Salvation Army. “Ridiculous!” Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) responded on Twitter. “That’s not Texas,” he argued.

Unfortunately, the state’s conservatives worry, that will be Texas if something isn’t done to protect religious freedom. “With this decision,” Treviño insisted, the council “reaffirmed the work [San Antonio] has done to become a champion of inclusion.” Until, of course, that “inclusion” applies to people who support natural marriage and sexuality. Where’s the equality for them? That’s a question the Lone Star State is trying to answer with the introduction of SB 17, the Free to Believe Act and the First Amendment Defense Act.

Chick-fil-A may be a private company, but that doesn’t mean it has to surrender its beliefs at the dining room door. And the same goes for any American trying to live out their faith in the public square. The San Antonio City Council thinks it can’t, “in good conscience,” sign an airport agreement with a business owned by Christians. But isn’t that exactly what this debate is about — conscience? Just because the Cathy family owns a national restaurant chain doesn’t mean they’re excluded from the First Amendment. Regardless of what liberals say, religious freedom isn’t just for churches. It’s for every business, wedding vendor, adoption agency, charity, doctor — every citizen. And that’s what SB 17 is hoping to remind Texans.

“We’re waking up in an era where Christian faith, specifically, seems to be under attack,” said state Sen. Charles Perry (R). In the current political climate, he’s worried Christians can’t practice their faith openly without facing consequences — including the loss of their jobs and livelihood. Under the Free to Believe Act, government officials can’t punish Texans for thinking differently than the radical Left. That’s just “a license to discriminate,” LGBT activists argue.

Not true, Republicans like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (Texas) fired back. No one is trying to create a religious excuse for businesses to turn people away. No believer I know would want that — let alone lobby for it. As even Chick-fil-A has said, everyone should feel welcome at its restaurant. This debate has never been about Christians discriminating against anyone — it’s about stopping the government from discriminating against them!

Even in some of the more high-profile wedding vendor cases, where the Left is trying to paint Christians as intolerant monsters who want to slam the door shut on same-sex couples, you’ll find that — to a person — each shop owner was more than happy to sell the activists something off their shelves. In fact, Barronnelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, considered the man who sued her to be one of her best customers. “I knew he was in a relationship with a man and he knew I was a Christian. But that never clouded the friendship for either of us or threatened our shared creativity — until he asked me to design something special to celebrate his upcoming wedding. If all he’d asked for were prearranged flowers, I’d gladly have provided them. If the celebration were for his partner’s birthday, I’d have been delighted to pour my best into the challenge. But as a Christian, weddings have a particular significance.”

In Chick-fil-A’s case, the Left’s overreaction is almost comical. The Cathy family hasn’t done any overt lobbying on natural marriage for years. In fact, they’ve intentionally backed away from taking a stand on issues of biblical morality — yet still, they’re a target. That ought to show everyone that there’s just no appeasing the Left. Simply being a Christian in the workforce — even a polite and politically silent one — is enough to draw the liberals’ wrath.

But the Democrats’ new terrain, where your personal views disqualify you from participating in society, is a dangerous precedent. If liberals choose not to eat Chick-fil-A, that’s their right. Just like it’s our right not to shop at Target until they stop putting women and children in danger with their bathroom policies. What isn’t our decision — or theirs — is to exclude these businesses from the market altogether. If you agree, join our friends from Texas Values in Wednesday’s Save Chick-fil-A Day! Come to the state capitol for the House hearing on the Free to Believe Act, and then drive-through your local chain on the way home. Help Texas leaders show the country that there’s always an appetite for real religious freedom!

Originally published here.

At School, a Test of Wills over Privacy

Biological boys may be walking into the bathroom, but in some states — teenage girls are walking out. From Nebraska to Alaska, students are tired of fighting school leaders to feel safe. And if local districts won’t listen to their concerns, and parents won’t stand up to school officials, then maybe they’ll pay attention to the student protests.

The rebellion started in Omaha, when a girl was sick of administrators ignoring her about the discomfort a teenage boy was causing in the girls’ room. Calling it “humiliating,” the girls say it makes them feel vulnerable to undress and share personal space with a student of the opposite sex. Late last week, they decided to prove it. By 10:30 a.m., Abraham Lincoln students started streaming out of the building. “We want our privacy,” some chanted. “One over all is not fair.”

“I was very proud of how the students peacefully conducted themselves. It’s important to us to let students express their opinions as long as it’s done in a respectful way,” Council Bluffs Community School District Superintendent Vicki Murillo said. And yet, she still has no intentions of changing a policy that sacrifices the comfort of every student on the altar of one.

Out in North Pole, Alaska, things got a little more heated. While some boys went into the girls’ restroom to mock the idea that science doesn’t matter in biology, one girl felt so threatened by their presence that she forcefully kneed one in the groin to get them out of her space. “Good for her,” cheered local Republican Tammie Wilson. “I would have taught my daughter to do the same … She was where she belonged. They were not.‘”

There, too, district officials seemed more concerned with the “emotional security” of some students than the physical safety of all. “There was, and continues to be, conversation among students regarding transgender students at NPHS and the use of restrooms. Teachers, counselors, support staff and administrators are helping students navigate that dialogue. The district provides additional counselors to schools whenever it is determined assistance is needed… We recognize that parents, students and members of our community feel strongly about these issues,” Superintendent Karen Gaborik wrote in a statement, “but advocating for the use of violence does not contribute to a safe learning environment.”

Obviously, no one is encouraging the use of force — but what do these schools expect when they’re putting girls in a vulnerable position? If a boy abuses the policy to take advantage of a female student, how is she supposed to react? In a debate where the adults are leaving kids alone to fend for themselves, it’s no wonder these incidents are getting heated. If the schools aren’t going to take a stand for their students’ privacy, someone has to.

And it’s not as if there aren’t reasonable solutions. See, the problem isn’t that schools are trying to accommodate these confused kids. The problem is that their solution is taking everyone’s privacy away in the process. We’ve seen this same upside-down logic play out in locker rooms and restrooms around the country. Teenagers like Alexis Lightcap and so many others don’t understand why society has decided that the rights of the 99.9 percent are irrelevant. “Schools can and should be compassionate in supporting students who experience gender dysphoria. So should other students. But… an effective policy would be one that secures the privacy of every student — which is nothing more than what every parent and student has a right to expect.”

Unfortunately, House Democrats don’t see it that way. They want to open up everyone’s locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms to men under the so-called “Equality Act.” Even more amazingly, the bill has about 240 cosponsors — many of them moms and dads in their own right. No doubt their sunny attitudes about “tolerance” would vanish if their own daughters came home crying and traumatized. If the parents on Capitol Hill don’t get it, we can’t afford not to. Join the millions of Americans in local districts all around America demanding real protection for the country’s children. Then, contact your House member and tell them to vote no on the Inequality Act!

Originally published here.

Hope from Ashes

Not much of the roof survived the devastating fire that consumed the Notre Dame cathedral. But there is one thing emerging from the smoldering ashes — the spark of hope in renewal and unity.

One of the first pictures from the interior of the cathedral, after the fire was extinguished, was the cross still standing above the altar in the middle of a pile of charred debris that fell from the cathedral’s roof. Everyone from political leaders and journalists to businessmen and church officials found a glimmer of hope in the priceless relics that were spared from the flames, smoke, and water. Among the more significant was the Crown of Thorns, believed to have been placed on the head of Jesus at His crucifixion.

While the circumstances were much different, what immediately came to mind as I looked at the images of the cross in the cathedral was the cross made from the twisted metal that emerged from the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Similar to the pledge of then-President George W. Bush standing at Ground Zero in New York City, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the cathedral that he said was “part of us.” Already, corporate leaders and other philanthropists have pledged millions of dollars to rebuild the cathedral that survived over nine centuries of France’s often turbulent history. In a nation that’s been so divided in recent days, the national, as well as the international unity inspired by the tragedy, reflects the unity that comes from the very faith the structure represents.

It would be hard to miss the spiritual parallels. After all, this is Passion Week, the most significant week of the Christian faith. The devastation and destruction wrought by our sin would overwhelm us except for the hope found in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is that symbol — of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ — that is our hope of renewal, the ability to start over.

The Apostle Paul wrote about the hope we have when we accept Jesus Christ, the one who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, in a letter to the Corinthians. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” And it is in this newness of life, this fresh beginning, that we have the substance that can truly unite.

My prayer for the people of France is that they do succeed in rebuilding this remarkable edifice that is brimming with history and culture. But more than that, I hope this will draw France and their European neighbors, who were once the vibrant custodians of the Christian faith, beyond the symbolism to the substance of the cross. May we all look to the cross, not as an old relic of the faith from generations departed, but as a celebration of hope found through the Savior that hung on it.

Originally published here.

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

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