Republican Defects, Then Deflects, on Equality Act
The outcome of the Equality Act may not have been a surprise, but some of the people who voted for it sure were. In the House, where Democrats were confident they could peel off Republicans in the double digits, only eight crossed over to support a bill that would be the end of freedom as we know of it. Over the weekend, at least one of them — Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) — is having second thoughts. But for voters who stand to lose privacy, conscience rights, parental rights, and women’s rights, it’s too little too late.
He called it “Democratic posturing,” so no one is quite sure why he went along. It’s a flawed bill, he implied to the Naples Daily News, that has no chance of passing the Senate. But if that was supposed to make constituents feel better, it didn’t. “This piece of legislation is flawed and amounts to just another messaging bill pushed by Democratic leadership that has no chance of… becoming law in its current form,” Diaz-Balart tried to explain in a statement.
In a desperate attempt to straddle the fence on a bill that’s an insult to the First Amendment, Diaz-Balart went on to say, “If House Democrats wanted to pass real legislation, they would have included bipartisan language providing legitimate protection for families, individuals, medical professionals, and religious organizations who object based on their deeply held religious beliefs.” Then, in a classic example of words-not-deeds, he tries to persuade people that “Protecting religious freedom has always been a priority” — which is hard to believe, considering this is the most profoundly hostile bill to faith in the last 200 years.
“I have voted for and cosponsored numerous bills that protect and promote religious freedom. I have also dedicated my career to fighting against discrimination in all its forms. However, I cannot oppose a bill that seeks to prevent discrimination.”
And that’s where he and Reps. Susan Brooks (Ind.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), and Greg Walden (Ore.) fundamentally misunderstand the bill. It was never about preventing discrimination. If it were, parents, Christians, businesses, doctors, pro-lifers, counselors, and women wouldn’t become targets of it.
Going to confession after voting for a bill that directly attacks religious freedom is a good start, but it’s going to take a lot more for lawmakers to convince their constituents that they’re not hostile to people of faith when they’ve signed on to a Left’s anti-faith agenda.
For more on the Equality Act and its potential to destroy America as we know it, check out this new publication by FRC’s Mary Beth Waddell.
Originally published here.
Dunkin’ Do Nots: Don’t Mix Coffee with Politics
When shoppers are barraged with Converse’s 11-year-old drag kid and Target is busy funneling money to an LGBT indoctrination factory, it’s a relief to see that some companies refused to get caught up in radical politics. Over at Dunkin’ Donuts, executives have decided to distinguish themselves another way: by staying neutral.
“We are not Starbucks,” Dunkin’ Brands Vice President Drayton Martin told a group over lunch at the International Trademark Association. “We aren’t political.” That’ll come as a breath of fresh air to fans of the chain, who are sick and tired of being told that their conservative politics aren’t welcome at a certain Seattle franchise. Of course, conservatives have known about Starbucks’ ultra-liberal ties dating back to 2012, when then-CEO Howard Schultz told shareholders that redefining marriage really is “core to the Starbucks brand.” The company went on to sign a string of legal briefs for LGBT causes, arguing at one point that customers who didn’t like it could take their business elsewhere. Some did.
Others broke their Starbucks habit a few years ago when 2nd Vote released a list of more than three dozen companies who’ve been contributing to Planned Parenthood — either directly or through an employee matching gift program. After intense public pressure, some of the brands dropped their partnership: AT&T, Coca-Cola, Ford, Macy’s, and Xerox. Starbucks, one of the most politically liberal companies on the market, refused.
“Great American brands distinguish themselves by creating exceptional products and putting customers first. Everything else is a distraction,” expert Adam Johnson points out. Like us, he’s watched the fall of household names like Kellogg’s, Nike, Target, GrubHub, Penzey’s Spices, Levi’s, and others because they decided to focus on politics, not products. At a time when some CEOs seem more preoccupied with pushing their brand of morals than merchandise, we applaud companies like Dunkin’ for making the choice to do business — not politics.
Originally published here.
The Commencement of Controversy at Taylor
There are plenty of places where people of faith don’t feel welcome these days. But a Christian college in rural Indiana shouldn’t be one of them. When Taylor University confirmed Vice President Mike Pence to speak at last weekend’s graduation, it should have been a proud moment for the 173-year-old campus. Instead, the media turned a handful of unhappy grads into a national story that made a lot of parents wonder: Is there any college left where biblical values are safe?
There are certain things visitors notice about Taylor. The cornfields, for one. The bell tower. But mostly, the intense feeling of Christ-centered community. So imagine students’ surprise when one of the most defining characteristics of the school suddenly vanished in a flood of political headlines. Suddenly, the tight-knit campus was caught up in a national firestorm over something that shouldn’t have been controversial in the first place: an evangelical Hoosier speaking at an evangelical Hoosier college. But then, as one soon-to-be-sophomore told me, it only takes a handful of students to ruin it for everyone else.
David Muselman wasn’t a graduating senior last Saturday, but he was one of the thousands of students frustrated by all of the criticism leveled Mike Pence’s way. He decided to show the media just how many fans the vice president had on campus by starting an “I like Mike” campaign. Together with some friends, he designed t-shirts with Pence’s face and started wearing them all over Upland. The idea caught fire, and soon, he couldn’t produce shirts fast enough. When I caught up with David on Monday’s “Washington Watch,” I asked him how much of the outrage over the vice president’s speech was real. Not much, he said.
“After Vice President Pence got invited to campus, there was tremendous excitement, but all it took was a couple of students. One student said she was shaking — and one student said she was fearful for some reason. And the press really blew it out of proportion. I was there Saturday. It was an unbelievable speech, and really there wasn’t a large crowd that walked out. But the media just blew it out of proportion like they always do. And [they] forgot about the four or five standing ovations Vice President Pence received.”
Of course, the only thing you read from most outlets was that “dozens of students walked out” of the ceremony. Some did leave, David confirmed. Others refused to shake Pence’s hand, leading a lot of people to wonder exactly what they’d learned after four years in a Christian college. “You know, the Left in our culture, they preach tolerance,” David said. “They preach inclusivity. ‘Let’s include everybody. Let’s be nice to everybody.’ But then they come back and they, they’re not tolerant to the right. They’re not tolerant to the Christian conservatives.”
Like a lot of students, he was frustrated that the only thing Americans were reading was how angry Taylor students were that Pence was speaking. “That’s simply not true. I’ve been on the campus — I know a lot of people at our university — and there was really just a small, small, small minority who disagreed with the decision… I just appreciate the fact that he’s willing to stand firm and true to his biblical principles and beliefs despite what anybody says or anybody throws at him.”
That’s something the two of them have in common. One of the things Vice President Pence told the Class of 2019, ironically, is that they had to be “prepared to stand up… And as you stand up, be prepared to face opposition.” Young people like David are proof that there’s a faithful and courageous remnant in this next generation who will go out and do exactly what Mike Pence said.
Encourage me, I told David at the end of the segment, by telling me there are a lot more young people like you out there. “There’s a lot more young people like me,” he promised, “and hopefully this message and this movement will be motivating to others around the country.”
If you want to feel better about the future of America, listen to the enthusiasm of this Taylor freshman. It’ll give you hope that there’s a great light in this darkness — even when we can’t always see it.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.