Supremes Take a Bite Out of Big Apple Restrictions
After just four weeks on the job, Barrett has made it crystal clear that the balance of power has officially shifted.
While most Americans were at home prepping for the big day, nine Supreme Court justices were still at the office Wednesday night, cooking up something else: a rebuke of New York City’s COVID restrictions. In her coming out party, new Justice Amy Coney Barrett made her presence felt — casting the tie-breaking vote that only solidified the working mom’s standing as a rock-solid defender of religious freedom.
The rookie justice, in her first major case, didn’t wait long to prove her supporters right. After just four weeks on the job, Barrett has made it crystal clear that the balance of power has officially shifted. For the first time in years, someone other than Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote on a fundamental constitutional question. And to the delight of conservatives, it was a vote that reminded Americans that religious liberty doesn’t take a back seat to the whims of liberal leaders as they navigate the challenges of a virus. Joining forces with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, President Trump’s trio of Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh sent a blunt warning to states that the pandemic is no excuse to tamper with the First Amendment.
“[E]ven if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic,” Gorsuch insisted, “it cannot become a sabbatical.” His pointed message was meant for Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), who’s made it his mission to keep churches and synagogues closed for months under the guise of “public safety.” Sick and tired of the unfair treatment, Brooklyn’s Catholic Diocese and two Jewish congregations took the governor to court, insisting that religious communities had been “singled out” for “blame and retribution” during the spiking virus cases. In what New York City calls “red zones,” only 10 people can worship together. One level lower, in the “orange zones,” that number is capped at 25 — even if the churches have capacity for 1,000 people.
The hypocrisy, Gorsuch wrote, is astounding. In Cuomo’s New York, “People may gather inside for extended periods in bus stations and airports, in laundromats and banks, in hardware stores and liquor shops. No apparent reason exists why people may not gather, subject to identical restrictions, in churches or synagogues — especially when religious institutions have made plain that they stand ready, able, and willing to follow all the safety precautions required of ‘essential’ businesses and perhaps more besides. The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as ‘essential’ as what happens in secular spaces.”
Governor Cuomo, he pointed out, “is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment, laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all ‘essential’ while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.” It’s past time, he argued, “to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques.”
Not surprisingly, the radical governor didn’t take kindly to the ruling — complaining openly about the president’s justices. “We know who he appointed to the court. We know their ideology.” Asked to compare this decision to the Nevada and California cases that went the Left’s way, Cuomo shrugged. “You have a different court [now]…” And on that, he’s exactly right. Wednesday’s win wouldn’t have been possible without Justice Barrett — and she wouldn’t have been possible without the president’s gutsy judicial agenda.
“Liberals have often marveled at how religious conservatives could so fervently back a decidedly imperfect man in President Trump,” one Washington Post columnist wrote. “This case, in which all three of Trump’s appointees formed the majority’s backbone, shows why they did.” At the end of the day, whether he has four years in the White House or eight, one thing’s for certain: the impact of Trump’s judges will keep conservatives celebrating for years.
Originally published here.
Obama Bitterly Clings to Anti-Faith Views
Barack Obama may have written a book called The Promised Land, but if his latest comments are any indication, he won’t be leading the Democratic Party there any time soon. In trying to explain how Donald Trump could have captured such a big slice of the Hispanic vote, the former president managed to reaffirm to everyone why they’re leaving the party in the first place.
As most white evangelicals know, Barack Obama has never been able to control his disdain for Bible-believing Americans. And, some people would argue, he’s never tried. That came back to haunt the 44th president last week, when, in a radio interview, he took a huge swipe at Hispanic Christians, saying they didn’t care as much about Donald Trump’s prejudice as they did his social positions. “People were surprised about a lot of Hispanic folks who voted for Trump, but there are a lot of evangelical Hispanics who, the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans, or puts detainees — undocumented workers in cages, they think that’s less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion.”
The remarks went over like a lead balloon — even in his own party, where the staunchest of liberals seemed shocked that Obama would take cheap shots at a voting bloc they want to win back. That job just got a lot tougher, some columnists argued. All Barack has done, Eugene Scott fumed, is “fuel the growing criticism of the Democratic Party,” which is that they don’t understand the Latino vote. Scott talked about the interviews that the Post had done with Latino believers in Florida, who affirmed that Donald Trump’s policy values were what mattered. “When I think about politics overall, I’m always looking at things through my religious upbringing,” Tito Vazquez had said. “And when I compare Trump to Biden, Trump is just closer to what I believe.”
Obama’s insult only solidifies those misgivings about Democrats — at a time when they can least afford them. And the reaction proves it. Samuel Rodriguez, who heads up the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has always been a fan of Trump’s predecessor. But this, he agrees, is a step too far. In a statement that represented a lot of voters’ feelings, he fired back:
“I’ll tell you what I’m not thankful for this Thanksgiving: the ever-escalating close-mindedness of the Democratic Party. President Obama, whom I admire, is apparently angry because Hispanic Americans have minds of their own. As I have said at every opportunity, we are not — and will not be — beholden to the elephant or the donkey. A much more useful exercise for President Obama would have been to lead the Democratic Party to some humble self-reflection rather than further down the fundamentalist path of the leftist politics of exclusion. Bigotry is still bigotry even if it comes from President Obama.”
On the Republican side, leaders like Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) pointed out that this isn’t such a departure for Obama, who made attacking Christians a cottage industry during his two White House terms. “Ah yes, those Hispanic evangelicals. So backwards. Clinging to their guns and religion, you might say,” he tweeted. “Barack Obama is still the most condescending corporate liberal in America.” Others, like Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas), also took the opportunity to point out whose administrations is responsible for those cages. “Hey, Barack Obama — take a pause from the race-baiting and pandering that built your career and divided a nation to reflect on this: you built the chain link facilities you call cages. #YouBuiltThat.”
In that same interview, Obama didn’t just trash Hispanic voters but, more subtly, African Americans too. And while it isn’t getting nearly the media traction that the other comment is, it’s worth pointing out that Donald Trump also managed to connect with a good number of Black Christians over social issues. With the same elitist condescension, Obama says (at the 37-minute mark), “Sometimes we do not have a good enough sense of how big this country is, and how a lot of folks do not accept at all things that we who are living in urban, metropolitan areas just take for granted…. There are big chunks of the country, even in our own communities, right? So I deeply believe that people should be treated equally under the law regardless of sexual orientation…”
Remember, African Americans turned out in huge numbers in 2004 to support the state marriage amendments. So not only are these biblical values an avenue to reaching Hispanic voters, but as Obama inadvertently explained, other demographics too.
If this election has proven anything, it’s that conservatives should never surrender these communities to the Democratic Party. They should fight for them by emphasizing the stark contrast in the two sides’ worldviews. For years, we’ve argued that pro-life, pro-family policies are the best bridges Republicans can build to Hispanics and African Americans. Now, thanks to Donald Trump, we’ve seen just how true that is. Even though the media spent four years calling him anti-Hispanic, this president cut through that noise. His solid economic policies, combined with his unapologetic social stances, attracted them. And unless Democrats can find a way to turn their religious hostility down a notch, these Republican converts could be here to stay.
Originally published here.
Mobs Feast on Chaos over Thanksgiving
Antifa isn’t feeling thankful, in case you were wondering. While the rest of the country ate turkey and watched football, the Left’s army of fascists celebrated the day the only way they know how: looting and rioting. In Oregon, where Governor Kate Smith (D) threatened to jail Thanksgiving revelers, the irony is: there wasn’t room. Police stations were too busy booking the mob.
Black Friday took on a whole new meaning in cities like Portland, where thugs went on an “anti-colonial crime spree, smashing and defacing storefronts and toppling a war memorial” while sane Americans were at home packing up the leftovers. More than 10 businesses in the city — including a Chase Bank — were covered in graffiti like “F— Thanksgiving” and other charming slogans that will cost “several thousand dollars” to clean up. The holiday attacks were coordinated by Antifa cells who ranted that they were “tired of seeing white people celebrate the genocide of our ancestors” and urged their “comrades” to “attack symbols of colonialism, capitalism, and gentrification.”
In places like Chicago, Spokane, and Minneapolis, statues of the founding fathers, pioneers, and presidents were hit especially hard. During one attempt, police actually stopped a group from toppling President William McKinley’s monument by tying a rope to their car.
Apparently, Antifa is listening to the Southern Poverty Law Center, PJ Media’s Tyler O'Neal points out. Just before last week’s holiday, the bogus civil rights group published an article called, “Indigenous Slavery and the Thanksgiving Difference,” where they argue that the tradition is a cause for mourning. “Rather than railing against the supposed oppressors who established and celebrated Thanksgiving, these vandals should consider just how indebted they are to the system that provides peace and prosperity to the United States.”
Meanwhile, in Oregon, locals cleaning up the latest mess can only shake their heads. Governor Smith wanted people to “uninvite” family for Thanksgiving. Too bad she didn’t uninvite the mob too.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.