Right Opinion

Dems Try to Script Hollywood's Next Move

Tony Perkins · May 23, 2019

Turns out, California does believe in tax breaks — as long as they punish pro-lifers. One Democrat is so desperate to stop this new wave of abortion bans that she’s trying to offer incentives to any studios willing to move their productions out of places like Georgia and Alabama. Under her bill, California would sweeten the pot for any entertainers who boycott states with pro-life laws. There’s just one problem. With so many legislators lining up to protect the unborn, there aren’t a lot of places to go!

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Calif.) hatched the idea to hurt the South’s booming film business. “A lot of the entertainment industry has relocated to Georgia because that state was very competitive in their own state film tax credit,” said Rivas. Last year alone, the Peach State’s tax incentives reeled in 455 Hollywood projects, including blockbusters like Marvel’s Black Panther. Alabama also hit a personal record for productions with 150 — thanks to refundable tax credits up to 35 percent.

Rivas thinks more filmmakers would walk out on conservative states if California could find a way to lower its suffocating tax rates. “We’re trying to further incentivize the entertainment industry that currently is filming in states with these strict abortion bans to come and do business in California and share our values.” She’s convinced that dangling a few extra carrots in front of ultra-liberal Hollywood would “really [put] pressure on the industry to reconsider whether they want to do business in those states.”

Even in California, where the abortion dogma is thicker than smog, it will take a lot more to lure producers away from their sweet deals in the South. Big names like Ron Howard and Jason Bateman may be willing to call Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act a “disgrace,” but that doesn’t mean they’re going to pull up stakes and move out of deep red states. “More than 50 films and TV shows shooting in [Georgia] have remained quiet on the legislation” just signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp (R). “In fact,” the Hollywood Reporter points out, “some filmmakers [like Howard] have announced publicly that they intend to move forward with their shoots in the state — but at the same time have pledged to donate money to organizations fighting the legislation.” (In the end, they know that’ll cost them less than moving to an over-regulated liberal state with sky-high taxes.)

But radicals like Rivas have a lot bigger problem on their hands than Hollywood. There’s also the fact that her own party is crossing over to make these pro-life laws possible. Apart from the out-of-touch bubble of Washington, D.C., even Democrats in deep blue states are distancing themselves from the uncivilized agenda of leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Like most Americans, they don’t think “abortion” should include the killing of newborn children.

In fact, the national party’s extremism may actually be having the opposite effect on local Democrats. In the other LA — Louisiana — Sen. Katrina Jackson (D) is actually leading the effort to add a pro-life amendment to the state’s constitution. And that effort is paying off. On Tuesday, Louisiana senators followed Jackson’s lead and sent the language to voters for the 2019 ballot — including seven Democrats.

And Louisiana isn’t the only place where legislators are bucking their party. Already this year, the FRC team has counted more than 120 state Democrats in 15 states, who’ve either voted to advance the sanctity of life (through bans on dismemberment abortion, heartbeat, pain, and born-alive bans) or voted against an abortion expansion. As Americans have been trying to tell the Democratic Party for years, there’s plenty of room for common ground on abortion — especially when it comes to restricting it. The media isn’t racing to highlight it, but according to polling, 80 percent of Americans want to limit abortion to the first trimester — including 65 percent of “pro-choicers.” That’s a far cry from the infanticide Hill Democrats are pushing.

Of course, the one place where liberals do have it good is the courts. Just this week, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves (who seems to be getting a suspicious number of social issues cases) came down hard on Mississippi’s heartbeat law. Reeves, who struck down the state’s religious freedom measure and an earlier 15-week abortion ban, went for the trifecta Tuesday in arguments over the new heartbeat law. A true activist, Carlton couldn’t believe that the state would dare to challenge the almighty judiciary. Although Reeves hasn’t made a final decision, he didn’t exactly make it a secret which way he was leaning. “It sure smacks of defiance to this court,” he bristled.

I suppose he, like a lot of liberals, is under the assumption that the courts are the last word on life and every other matter. Of course, that’s not the system the Framers designed. “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny,” James Madison warned. Americans have fought the tyranny unleashed on them in Roe for 46 years. We celebrate the people from both parties who believe that someday, love and dignity — not the courts — will have the final word.

Originally published here.

Campus Censorship Leaves Students Speechless

When President Trump tried to crack down on college censorship in March, liberals argued that his order was unnecessary. But a new poll on free speech shows just how wrong they are. Most students would be perfectly happy making every campus a “First Amendment-free zone.” And they’re well on their way to that if something doesn’t change — and fast.

“A Campus Is Not the Place for Free Speech,” one New York college president wrote this spring. It would’ve been a radical statement a generation ago, but David Harris is actually just reflecting the scary new reality for conservatives, who’ve been threatened, punched, downgraded, and pushed out of student government. Liberals used to care about the free exchange of ideas — until theirs became impossible to defend. Now, they’ve decided they don’t want to try to win the debate. They want to stop the debate from taking place.

And after years of policing speech and punishing speakers, the Left’s brainwashing is paying off. A survey from the Knight Foundation shows just how misled the next generation is. Forty-six percent of students now think “inclusivity” is more important than free speech. On Tuesday’s “Washington Watch,” Nico Perrino from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) joined me to talk about these and other trends. How can anyone, I asked him, say that they’re in favor of inclusivity while they’re excluding the speech of people they disagree with?

“You hit the nail right on top of the head,” Nico said. “Free speech is what allows us to have a tolerant society — allows us to be who we are and to speak our minds. And it allows for the sort of diversity that many within our society praise. If you allow for censorship, you’re censoring a lot of the diversity and a lot of the different opinions that make our society so rich…You’re just setting students up to choose between a false dichotomy.” If it’s a rich and vibrant culture academia wants, then that’s exactly what their ideology is squelching.

Nico says that when he first started working for FIRE, students were the ones championing free speech on college campuses. “Often the sort of censorship you saw happening were low-level administrators trying to exert power over their many fiefdoms — free speech zones, excessive security fees, things of that nature.” Now, he points out, the steady drip of this extreme indoctrination is starting to pay off for the Left. “…[R]ecently, [we’ve] started to see the students become the sensors — engaging in mob censorship, and heckler’s vetoes, [or] even violence. So this is a worrying trend to me.” But, he assures listeners, “There is still a constituency on campus for free speech. We hear from them every day at FIRE… And I just hope that the vocal or maybe silent majority becomes the vocal majority and pushing back against some of these liberal trends.”

One of the more interesting aspects of the Knight Foundation’s survey is how these numbers break down by faith. Seventy-one percent of white evangelicals and 62 percent of Catholics want free speech. That’s the irony of this new censorship wave. It proves that Christianity is actually the most liberal worldview in the classical sense. Men and women of faith believe in liberty for all people. We’re not afraid to be challenged. But if you compare this to the students who identify as LGBT, it’s almost the polar opposite. A vast majority wants to shut down free speech. They can’t defend their beliefs — and so they want to silence people.

That’s very dangerous — but it’s not new. Go back to the Old Testament in Isaiah, and this happened quite a bit. Jeremiah talked about it. Isaiah talked about it. Even Micah. The people told the prophets: don’t prophesy to us right things. Speak to us smooth things. Prophesy deceit. If there was a speech code in the Old Testament, they would have been applying it to the prophets. And that’s really what the role of the church is today. A prophet also spoke truth and challenged the people to live according to that truth. In this world, the role that the church should play is a prophetic voice to the culture proclaiming truth. Increasingly, people don’t want to hear it. They want to silence the voices that would claim that there is objective transcendent truth. That’s why these forces have to be resisted — because what’s next? A threat to our ability to proclaim the gospel.

Originally published here.

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

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