Freedom of speech

Ricky Gervais Blasts Cancel Culture — Getting People Fired Is ‘Not Cool’

Comedian and former Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais is speaking out about the dangers of cancel culture once again. The often controversial comedian and creator of the U.K. version of “The Office,” is often outspoken about cancel culture’s impact on the world of comedy and constantly lambastes fellow celebrities for engaging in it. Speaking in an interview with Metro, he explained that the meaning of cancel culture is different depending on who you ask, but he personally boils the definition down to simple dollars and cents. “Everyone’s got a different definition of cancel culture,” the 59-year-old explained. “If it is choosing not to watch a comedian because you don’t like them, that’s everyone’s right. But when people are trying to get someone fired because they don’t like their opinion about something that’s nothing to do with their job, that’s what I call cancel culture and that’s not cool.” He added: “You turning off your own TV isn’t censorship. You trying to get other people to turn off their TV because you don’t like something they’re watching, that’s different.” Gervais explained that everyone has a right to essentially vote with their dollar by not supporting people who publicly hold an opinion or stance that they personally disagree with. However, he believes the danger comes when people demand everyone else to fall in line behind how they feel about someone. He went on to share a story about a negative reaction he got to a recent tweet in which he quoted Winston Churchill that he says demonstrates exactly what he’s talking about. “I did a tweet a month ago about freedom of speech, quoting Winston Churchill. Someone came back with, ‘You know he was a white supremacist?’ And I wrote back, ‘Not in that tweet he isn’t.’ It’s like if someone did something once that’s wrong, everything they did was wrong,” he said. “You are allowed to have things in common with bad people as long it’s not the bad things. I’m a vegetarian and I love dogs, like Hitler. But the only thing I have in common with Hitler are the good bits!” This is far from the first time that Gervais has commented on the proliferation of cancel culture. He previously sat down for an interview on talkRadio in the U.K. and explained that he feels his beloved sitcom “The Office” could never be made today because it wouldn’t stand up to the “new weird sort of fascism” that all content is now subjected to.

Again, Ricky nails it.  We love how he takes on the self-righteous, entitlement-minded, extreme liberals in HollyWEIRD over their brazen hypocrisy. And, to be clear..  Ricky is a self-described “snowflake” liberal himself.  We appreciate and respect his integrity.  Thanks Ricky!!      🙂

Ricky Gervais Slams Cancel Culture as a ‘Weird Sort of Fascism’

British actor Ricky Gervais raged against the rising tide of political correctness and cancel culture in the wake of the Black Lives Matter uprising, describing it as a “weird sort of fascism” fueled by trendy myths. “There’s this new, weird sort of fascism of people thinking they know what you can say and what you can’t,” Gervais said in an interview with talkRADIO. “There’s this new trendy myth that people who want free speech want to say awful things all the time. This just isn’t true. It protects everyone.” Gervais also bemoaned the growing level of exaggeration across the political divide, a trend he says is worsened by social media.”If you’re mildly left-wing on Twitter, you’re suddenly Trotsky, right?” he said. “If you’re mildly conservative, you’re Hitler and if your centrist and you look at both arguments, you’re a coward.” The 59-year-old recently said in an interview with Times Radio that his breakthrough comedy show The Office would struggle to find success or even be allowed on television today. “I think now it would suffer because people take things literally,” he said of the British mockumentary series, in which he starred as David Brent, the hapless and cringeworthy manager of a paper company Wernham Hogg. The show was so successful it was adapted into a U.S. version featuring Steve Carell that ran for nine seasons and won multiple awards. Last week, Gervais admitted that cancel culture at places such as the BBC, which is funded by British taxpayers, had made people fearful of losing their jobs and livelihood. “People want to keep their jobs, so would worry about some of the subjects and jokes, even though they were clearly ironic and we were laughing at this buffoon being uncomfortable around difference,” he explained. “I think if this was put out now, some people have lost their sense of irony and context.”

No kidding…pun intended.   Ricky is back at it, and we love it!  Remember when he roasted everyone present at the Oscars?  It was awesome!  Google it, if ya missed it.   🙂

Opinion/Analysis: Donald Trump Is Defending the First Amendment; Joe Biden Is Attacking It

President Donald Trump’s executive order on Thursday cracking down on social media censorship stirred protests from the usual quarters. Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed that Trump’s order is “an extreme abuse of power” and “demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the role and function of the federal government.” The opposite is true. Trump’s executive order is well-founded in the principles of the First Amendment and stays well within existing law. The order tackles the thorny problem of selective censorship by platforms that, while privately owned, have become the public spaces of our digital era. At a moment when most of us are literally prohibited from gathering physically in large numbers, due to coronavirus restrictions, the only spaces in which we can exercise our First Amendment rights meaningfully are online. And the companies that own those spaces have monopoly power; there are few alternatives. There is nothing in the executive order that violates those companies’ right — under the First Amendment — to say, or exclude, what they want. But it enforces the terms of the special exemption that those companies have enjoyed from the libel laws that apply to everyone else. It also emphasizes the government’s own right not to advertise on platforms that practice censorship. And the order holds those companies to their own terms of service, reporting instances of bias. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” The moment social media companies begin policing ordinary opinions — or “fact-checking” matters very much in dispute — they cease to become mere platforms and become publishers, as vulnerable to libel laws as any ordinary person is. Twitter’s extraordinary intervention this week in slapping a fact-check warning on President Trump’s tweets about California’s plan for mail-in voting was not only factually incorrect itself, but also premature. Two separate lawsuits were filed in the past few days challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s authority to send mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters. Twitter’s “fact check” was just another statement of opinion. It has no special claim to immunity. Trump’s executive order on social media censorship follows the pattern of a similar order last year about free speech on college campuses. In that case, Trump insisted on “compliance with the First Amendment for public institutions and compliance with stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech for private institutions.” He directed federal agencies to make sure “institutions that receive Federal research or education grants” upheld free speech principles. That executive order was constitutional, and so is the new one. It does not dictate to private institutions what they can and cannot say, or exclude. But it removes the sense that they are entitled to federal money and regulatory shelter. It is Biden who seems not to understand free speech and the Constitution. In his statement Thursday evening, Biden complained that “President Trump believes that he should be permitted to say whatever he would like, regardless whether it is true or false.” Of course he can, within the boundaries of the law. So can anyone. That is precisely what the First Amendment is about. It protects Biden’s lies about the NAACP just as much as it protects Trump’s tweets. Biden does not understand that. And on the question of social media companies, he cannot help contradicting himself. On the one hand, he says that private companies should not be required to “provide a venue for, and amplification of, the President’s falsehoods.” In the same paragraph, Biden says that the same private companies “should be held accountable” for content they allow to be disseminated on their platforms that he deems “false.” So — which is it? Amazingly, Biden is running against the First Amendment. Like Hillary Clinton before him, he rejects the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United (2010), which protected the free speech of corporations. In his platform, Biden calls for a constitutional amendment to reverse that decision. He has a poor record on free speech generally: the Obama-Biden administration even backed a proposal at the United Nations by Muslim nations to restrict “blasphemy.” Trump’s rhetoric on this issue, as on others, is combative and over-the-top: he cannot “close … down” social media companies. Yet his actions, as usual, not only obey the Constitution, but also reinforce it. Biden would do the opposite.

Exactly!!  And well said, Joel.  Joel B. Pollak is the author of that spot-on op/ed.  For more, scroll down, and read the next article written by Jim Hanson, a former U.S. Army Special Forces operator.

Pro-life students praying at Planned Parenthood met with lewd acts, as woman is recorded saying ‘Hail Satan’

Anti-abortion college student activists in Washington state denounced opposition to their prayer demonstration outside a Planned Parenthood facility, calling it “violent,” “dark” and threatening. Autumn Lindsey, a student spokesperson for Students for Life of America (SFLA) and a leader in Whatcom Community College Students for Life, shared on Facebook Live the reaction in Bellingham, Wash., to the 40 Days for Life campaign. The goal of the prayerful protest is to end abortion and encourage pregnant women to carry their children to term. She detailed a man who exposed himself to the group when he stopped at a red light, women who yelled “My body, my choice” and “Hail Satan,” and someone else who threw a vial with liquid at them. “We are in week two of 40 Days for Life and we’ve already seen this much hate and friction, and, so, you could take it as discouraging,” Lindsey said. “I think their goal is to scare us away, but that’s not going to happen.” Kristan Hawkins, SFLA president, said certain types of protests must end. “The threats and vitriol must be stopped. Every day it seems like we hear of a new account of vandalism, threat of violence, or acts of intimidation towards peaceful pro-lifers,” Hawkins said. “What happened Saturday shows us the worst of the worst of the pro-choice movement; obscenity, Satan worship, and lewdness towards students. We firmly reject all acts of violence and intimidation towards our students.” The organizer of the local 40 Days for Life campaign said she expected opposition, but didn’t think it would be so violence-oriented. “They say to us, ‘We hope you get raped,’ ‘We hope you die,’ ‘Your mother should’ve aborted you,’ and every cuss word that you can imagine,” she said. “It’s just so, so violent, so dark.” One of the students described when a man exposed himself. “We were just silently praying here on the corner and this man — it’s a stoplight and it’s red — and he exposes himself to us,” she said. “One of us was a minor … It’s just insane.” Another member said a gang of teenage boys screamed profanities in their faces, and a bicyclist rode by and threw a vial with an unidentified liquid that shattered on the sidewalk. The police department and fire department responded to make sure it wasn’t hazardous. The group called police on four separate occasions. Lindsey explained that her group doesn’t yell or harass women entering the abortion clinic but tells them, “We love you and there are other options, and that we have resources and will support you.” Anti-abortion protesters and their events have been disrupted by violence before. Last year, an SLFA event in Minnesota was evacuated due to a bomb threat, and a student was arrested for punching an anti-abortion activist at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. An 85-year-old man was assaulted while he prayed outside a Planned Parenthood in San Francisco during last year’s 40 Days for Life campaign.

Just imagine for a moment had pro-choice protesters been treated like this..  There would be calls from Democrat politicians to investigate for “hate crimes” being committed by those thugs throwing liquids, and some guy flashing the protesters (and one apparently was a minor), AND the story would be EVERYWHERE for weeks on end…and we ALL know it.  But, since this is a bunch of peaceful pro-LIFE folks, this story is being buried by the dominantly liberal (and extremely hypocritical) mainstream media.  Go figure.   Hopefully the local police there in WA state will be able to track down those involved in assaulting these folks, and arrest/charge them as appropriate.  These protesters have every (First Amendment) right to protest, and should feel free to do so without being intimidated by a bunch of fascist speech nazis and thugs.

Opinion/Analysis: NBA grovels and makes spineless concession to China’s brutally repressive regime

The National Basketball Association found itself in the middle of a political firestorm of its own making when the Houston Rockets’ general manager tweeted something simple and admirable: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” The NBA’s first statement was cowardly. It began: “We recognize that the views expressed by… Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.” Morey buckled and deleted his tweet. The NBA then went overseas to grovel. A statement posted on the NBA’s Weibo social media network in China stated that it was “extremely disappointed in the inappropriate comment,” and as a result, Morey “has undoubtedly seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese basketball fans.” China is a huge and lucrative market for the NBA. If business means turning your back on freedom while defending one of the most brutally repressive regimes in human history – so be it. That abject surrender, that spineless concession to a government now shooting pro-democracy protesters in the streets drew near-universal condemnation in America, ranging in Washington from conservative Sen. Ted Cruz to socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, readjusted to insist the league would not discourage athletes or executives from speaking freely. “We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression” – which is disingenuous. That is exactly what all of the NBA’s “extremely disappointed” remarks implied. And the duplicity continued. In Philadelphia, a 76ers fan named Sam Wachs and his wife brought a pair of signs that read “Free Hong Kong” and “Free HK” as the Sixers took on the Guangzhou Loong Lions, a Chinese Basketball Association team. Wachs said he lived in Hong Kong for two years, so he sympathized with the protests. First, security confiscated the signs. When the couple yelled “Free Hong Kong” during the second quarter, Wachs said they were removed from the game. Then the same Chinese team played the Washington Wizards in D.C., and the routine repeated itself. Several fans standing with a sign reading “Free Hong Kong” and “Google: Uighurs” had them confiscated prior to the game. (The Uighurs are a Muslim minority in northwestern China, with an estimated 1 million people held in concentration camps.) The NBA now doesn’t want to be political. But it’s been very political on the home front, when it has suited its purposes, which is to say, when it placates the left. The league moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over a North Carolina law that in government offices, transgender people should use the bathroom of their gender “assigned at birth.” The NBA commissioner criticized President Trump’s travel ban on people from seven Muslim countries as going “against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA.” The NBA allowed players to wear “I can’t breathe” shirts to protest police after Eric Garner suffocated while laying down on the sidewalk in New York. National Review’s Jim Geraghty underlined the hypocrisy: “Apparently the NBA is fine with protesting American police brutality, but not Hong Kong police brutality.” Speaking of American police brutality, nobody’s found Colin Kaepernick saying anything about China’s grip on the NBA. The man with the Nike sneaker-selling slogan of “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” is silent while Nike orders the removal of all the Houston Rockets merchandise from its stores in China. Apparently, America is still the most horrible country in the world that was founded on racism, slavery and genocide.

Thanks to authors Tim Graham and Brent Bozell for that outstanding op/ed calling out the hypocrisy, and liberal pandering, by the NBA.  The way the NBA has handled this is nauseating.

Arizona Supreme Court rules Christian artists can’t be forced to make same-sex wedding invitations

A pair of Christian artists can’t be forced by the city government of Phoenix to make invitations for same-sex marriages, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, the owners of Brush & Nib Studio, were accused of violating a local anti-discrimination ordinance. Monday’s 4-3 decision reversed a lower-court ruling that favored the city. “An individual has autonomy over his or her speech and thus may not be forced to speak a message he or she does not wish to say,” the court’s majority decision read. Duka, a calligrapher, and Koski, a painter, were threatened with six months jail time and $2,500 in fines for every day they were in violation of the ordinance. They are now celebrating their judicial victory as “a huge win for religious freedom and freedom of speech.” Duka and Koski told “Fox News @ Night” last year they “serve all people” and decided to challenge the law to defend “the right of artists to create freely.” “Joanna and Breanna work with all people; they just don’t promote all messages,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who argued on the pair’s behalf, said in a statement. “They, like all creative professionals, should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment.” Writing for the majority, Justice Andrew Gould concluded that the city of Phoenix “cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance” to force Brush & Nib to “create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.” “Duka and Koski’s beliefs about same-sex marriage may seem old-fashioned, or even offensive to some,” Gould wrote. “But the guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion are not only for those who are deemed sufficiently enlightened, advanced, or progressive. They are for everyone.”

Exactly!!  And well said, your Honor.  We applaud this outstanding decision by the AZ Supreme Court.  Like the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of a Colorado baker for a similar situation, this is a BIG victory for freedom of speech and freedom of religion…some of our most basic values.  Excellent!!   🙂

Starnes: Texas cheerleaders win a victory for freedom of religious expression

There are two hard and fast rules in life: don’t mess with Texas and don’t mess with Texas cheerleaders. The Kountze Independent School District in southeast Texas has learned that lesson the hard way. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday refused to hear the school district’s appeal of a case involving Bible verses written by cheerleaders on run-through banners displayed at Kountze High School football games. The action by the state’s highest court all but ends a more than five-year legal battle that garnered support from Texas’ two Republican U.S. senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. “Our clients are relieved that the Texas Supreme Court has brought an end to the school district’s scorched earth litigation tactics,” First Liberty Institute’s Hiram Sasser told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show.” First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms, took on the case back in 2012 along with co-counsel David Starnes (no relation) and the law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. “As the football season kicks off across Texas, it’s good to be reminded that these cheerleaders have a right to religious speech on their run-through banners – banners on which the cheerleaders painted messages they chose, with paint they paid for, on paper they purchased,” Sasser told me. Sasser said school districts across the nation should pay close attention to the Texas Supreme Court’s decision. “Stop harassing cheerleaders and accept that they are free to have religious speech on their run-through banners,” Sasser warned. In 2012 seven cheerleaders sued the school district after they were banned from using Bible verses on banners that players would run through at high school football games. The verses, like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” were meant to be inspirational and encouraging. The state’s Ninth Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the cheerleaders in January – declaring the signs are “pure private speech.” “We find the cheerleaders’ speech on the pregame banners cannot be characterized as government speech,” the court wrote. However, the school district argued that a cheerleader who cheers at a game engages in government speech, and therefore cannot write religious messages on banners. The “banners were held by public school cheerleaders while they were cheering for the school’s football team, while they were in uniform at a school-sponsored event, and while they were on the school’s football field to which access was limited by the school,” school district attorney Thomas Brandt wrote in the Beaumont Enterprise. The school district had no immediate comment on the Supreme Court ruling. “This is a total victory that protects the religious liberty of students everywhere,” attorney Allyson Ho, the lead appellate counsel, said. “This decision by the Supreme Court of Texas should be the final word on this issue for students and schools across Texas.” One question remains unanswered. Why did the school district spend thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to try and stop the cheerleaders from exercising their constitutional rights? Perhaps the citizens of Kountze might get an answer when school board members face re-election. I reckon the Kountze cheerleaders have learned a very important lesson about perseverance over the past five years. You really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Indeed..  Thanks to veteran culture warrior Todd Starnes for bringing us this great story out of southeast Texas.     🙂

Opinion: ‘Hate speech’ is sneaky leftist censorship, not law

Leftists have been particularly crafty about clamping down and chilling conservative thought lately, boldly going where milder-mannered censors have previously feared to tread and managing to make several righteous-sounding cases, at least among their circles of progressive types, for the booting of deemed hate speakers from social media. But their censorship argument dangles precariously on the meaningless claim that in America there’s no room for hate speech. And I say meaningless because first off, nobody can define what constitutes hate speech and second off, even if they could, there are no criminal laws against speaking one’s mind in this country — except in cases of inciting riots or falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, the latter of which is not really speech at all. Yet the shrill accusations of hate speech continue. There are political strategies behind all this screeching. This whole anti-hate speech call has been a tremendous boon for the left’s successes in shuttering conservative rhetoric, whether online, on college campuses or in the media world. The best lies and deceptions, after all, are the ones that ring of truth. The truth: In America, morally speaking, philosophically speaking, sensibly speaking — of course there’s no room in America for hate speech. Only a radical nut would see or say otherwise. But speaking of morality is not the same as speaking of legality. Morally speaking, no citizen should spew vicious, racist, misogynistic, ugly, hateful words. Legally? For the most part, have at it. Also the truth: The First Amendment was penned in part to protect primarily political speech — to preserve as a God-given right the ability of citizens to say as they will, to petition as they want, to seek redress for grievances as they ought. Some of these pursuits can get pretty rancorous. Sometimes, people get offended. The Founders knew that. That’s the beauty of the First Amendment — to protect those who would offend. But the left, unable to withstand fact-based scrutiny of its ridiculously anti-American progressive policies, and unable to legislatively advance anti-American progressive policies without the wings of emotionally charged discourse, has been trying to circumvent the spirit of free speech for some time. Why? To shut down the fact-finders and truth-tellers. The left would like nothing more than to see hate speech etched into law as a punishable offense because that would make the job of censoring conservative thought and statements so much the easier. The First Amendment and America’s long and cherished history of allowing for the lively exchange of ideas gets in the way of this goal, however. So the desperate left has advanced a public relations campaign that sees hate speech being talked about with rising frequency — as if it’s a thing. As if it’s an American concept. As if it’s a real crime, like stealing somebody’s car or punching somebody in the face in a bar. The left’s hope is to talk it up enough so it doesn’t sound odd or out of place — so people stop wondering every time they hear it, “what? What is that?” Then come the actual hate speech laws. Then go the conservatives, too chilled to speak. It’s like this: The Ku Klux Klan, the Black Panther Party, Louis Farrakhan, David Duke and a long list of others may all speak in ways that strike a large portion of the public as offensive. But fact is, they pretty much have the legal and natural right to speak as they will. The discomfort of either the few or the many does not justify the stripping of their God-given rights — or of anyone’s God-given right to speak freely. It’s a pretty good system of governance that allows both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, haters and do-gooders alike, equality of expression. Here in America, let’s keep it that way. All discussions of hate speech should include mention of the fact no such laws in this country exist.

Agreed!  Thanks to Cheryl Chumley for that spot-on op/ed.     🙂

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder: Hate Speech ‘Is Not Protected Under the First Amendment’

On Monday’s broadcast of “MSNBCLive,” Black Lives Matter co-founder and Executive Director and Founder of Dignity Now Patrisse Cullors argued that hate speech isn’t protected by the First Amendment and white supremacists are “directly related” to President Trump’s policies. Cullors said, “David Duke and the white supremacists who showed up to Charlottesville, that is Trump’s base. And that base is not isolated. It’s not — it’s directly related to Trump’s policies and the policies that have continued to harm and kill black people and our allies. I think we’re seeing a movement of white nationalists rising up because they’ve been emboldened by trump and his government. And I really want to invite people to be on the right side of history right now.” She added, “I think what’s important in this moment is white nationalists are actually fighting to take away people’s rights. Black Lives Matter and groups like Black Lives Matter are fighting for equality. And hate speech, which is what we’re seeing coming out of white nationalist groups, is not protected under the First Amendment rights.”

Umm…WRONG!!  The First Amendment to our great Constitution absolutely covers speech that some might find objectionable.  That was the whole point of it!  And, in fact, that speech which is controversial has always been afforded a higher protection from the Courts for exactly that reason.  So, Ms. Cullors is 100% WRONG and someone oughtta school that self-righteous, sanctimonious, hypocritical, black racist, blowhard on some actual/real American civicis, and what our U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights actual say, and mean.  What a tool..  Of course MSNBC didn’t do their job and challenge her.  Typical..

French: Religious Liberty: The Necessary Fight

In more than two decades spent litigating to preserve religious liberty in this country, one thing has become abundantly clear to me — millions of Christians don’t want this fight. It’s not that they’re reluctant warriors; they’re not warriors at all, and they will look for almost any excuse to stay on the sidelines. There are no shortage of Christian pundits willing to soothe their consciences. Some tell them that defending America’s first freedom isn’t “loving” or “compassionate.” Some even adopt the Left’s language and argue that religious liberty is a mere pretext for bigotry. But perhaps the most destructive (and seductive) argument of all is that conservatives are overreacting, and the entire fight does more harm than good — i.e., that controversial religious-liberty bills are a solution in search of a problem. Writing in The Atlantic, Jonathan Merritt presents the textbook example of this argument, asserting that conservatives are “fighting ghosts” and that the “problems these [religious-liberty] bills claim to solve don’t actually exist.” As the piece goes on, and he lays out example after example in an attempt to prove his point, Merritt makes clear he just doesn’t know the facts. Let’s start with the counseling profession. Yesterday, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam signed into law a common-sense protection for mental-health counselors, immunizing them from liability when they refuse to treat clients whose “goals, outcomes, or behaviors” conflict with their own sincerely held beliefs. In other words, a Christian counselor doesn’t have to counsel someone in methods to make their adulterous or same-sex relationship more successful. Merritt says that he’s interviewed Christian counselors and can’t find anyone who believes their religious liberty is at stake. He could and should have cast a wider net: I’ve personally advised counselors in Tennessee who expressed deep concern that they will be drafted into the sexual revolution. In fact, some feared that even the act of advocating for the new law could expose them to punitive action. That fear is well-founded. In 2014, the American Counseling Association made a number of significant changes to its code of ethics. It not only declared “promoting social justice” to be one of the “core professional values” of counselors, it made intentional revisions designed to require counselors to counsel clients even when clients seek outcomes that are antithetical to the counselor’s values. Specifically, the ACA called out two cases, Ward v. Polite (I was counsel on that case) and Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley (I wasn’t a counsel of record but worked with the plaintiff’s lawyers) where Christian students were ousted from counseling programs because they were unwilling to promote and facilitate same-sex relationships. The ACA wanted to make it crystal clear that its code of ethics would give no aid and comfort to values-based referrals. An ethics-revision task force specifically said that they were trying to close “a little ‘out’ in the old code.” They chose to do so in a particularly Orwellian way. The new code requires re-education — telling counselors that they must “seek training” in those areas where “they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counselor’s values are inconsistent with the client’s goals or are discriminatory in nature.” You don’t like gay marriage? Get thee to diversity training! And that’s just one issue. Regarding gender-neutral bathrooms, Merritt ignites the same burnt-over straw man that the Left has been torching for months, claiming that conservative arguments against allowing men in women’s bathrooms and locker rooms are “based on stereotypes claiming transgender people are unstable and dangerous perverts.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. The argument is that unstable and dangerous perverts will exploit gender-neutral bathrooms to gain increased access to women and girls. I’m not worried about Caitlyn Jenner. I’m worried about actual sexual predators. Finally, Merritt repeats the common (and mistaken) claim that religious-liberty laws such as the one vetoed in Georgia and those signed in Mississippi and North Carolina are practically useless, because those states’ public-accommodation laws don’t prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the first place. In other words, there is no way that a Christian baker in Georgia or a Christian florist in Mississippi can be forced to participate in gay weddings to begin with, so why pass the law? This analysis ignores a number of crucial legal realities. State law may not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but that doesn’t mean state governments can’t creatively manufacture their own de facto nondiscrimination regimes. In Georgia alone there are now two cases pending — one against the city of Atlanta and the other against Georgia’s Department of Public Health — in which government officials allegedly fired Christian employees because of their private speech on matters of sexual morality. The absence of an explicit statewide nondiscrimination law doesn’t prevent local governments or public colleges from passing (and vigorously enforcing) their own regulations, either. I’ve been personally involved in dozens of cases and controversies where public universities restrict religious liberty based on their own rules and regulations — often in states where public-accommodation laws don’t include protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally — as the Obama administration and federal courts have proven — bureaucrats and judges can “find” additional nondiscrimination protections even in pre-existing statutes. It would come as some surprise to the drafters of Title VII and Title IX, for example, that these statutes are now being interpreted by the EEOC, the Department of Education, and some federal courts to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — even though those words appear nowhere in the laws themselves. When courts, bureaucrats, university administrators, and professional associations are stocked with sexual revolutionaries, corrective action is necessary. State law provides an imperfect remedy, but it can at least give people of faith one additional weapon in the battle against coercive secularism. It is undoubtedly true that religious-liberty battles tend to enrage the secular Left. Each public confrontation motivates social-justice warriors to destroy jobs in conservative communities and slander Christians in endless, bigoted online broadsides. But to argue that one shouldn’t fight censorship because it might make the censor angry is to simply surrender your liberty. The existence of vicious opposition isn’t evidence that your arguments are flawed; it means you’re on the right track. Men have died to preserve our fundamental freedoms. Woe to this generation if we back down in the face of boycotts and hashtags. I’ve discussed this before, and I’ll discuss it again. The church was built by apostles who withstood beatings; too many modern Christians can’t even endure Tweetings. Secular fury is a fact of faithful Christian life, and if placating PayPal takes precedence over defending liberty, then we deserve our cultural and political fate. — David French is an attorney, and Army Reserve officer (Major) who was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq

David nails it again!!  Outstanding!!    🙂