Cake-Baker Victoria Childress
The flipside of the Paypal problem: lesbian couple may sue Christian baker who refused to make their wedding cake
(Posted by Bryana Joy on November 17th, 2011)
A few months ago, Paypal caved to pressure from the homosexual activist group, All Out, and shut down the accounts of several prominent bloggers who speak out against the homosexual lifestyle. I was offended and seriously upset by their decision, but I wrote a piece explaining why I believe that the internet giant was well within its rights to take this action, even though I didn’t think that the termination of the account was handled in an ethical or an honest manner. I wrote the piece because I believe that the right of businesses to refuse service to absolutely anyone is a fundamental of free trade.
There is a popular myth circulating about this concept of allowing businesses to choose whether or not to serve customers based on personal convictions. The myth is that such an allowance will foster attitudes of intolerance and promote so-called “haters.” But this is a laughable fallacy, because, as a general rule, legislation is not what shapes a culture. It is popular opinion that shapes both culture and legislation, and popular opinion in the United States is shaped by our education system and the media.
Think about it. The bills that are passed – even the bills that are considered and rejected – by the U.S. Congress are bills that some elected official feels are necessary. The official is influenced by his own culture, and by his knowledge of his constituents’ culture. He will probably hesitate to propose a bill that he knows will be unpopular with the overwhelming majority of his electorate.
Thus, the most effective way to combat a society’s mode of thinking with regards to discrimination is not to make laws that prohibit them from doing what they want, but to convince them to want something else. Passing laws that force businesses to perform actions that are against their convictions doesn’t serve to change the minds of business owners. It only serves to promote division and to stifle individuals’ freedom of expression. Unless businesses are engaging in activities that harm others, such methods to control them are totalitarian and should not be endured by a free and thinking public.
So yes, I stood up for Paypal’s rights. But that doesn’t mean that I support their actions. Quite the contrary. And just as the business has the right to refuse service, so I, as an individual and a potential customer, have the right to refuse to patronize the company; to boycott, protest, and vehemently complain about their decision. It’s called free trade, and it’s how civilized adults handle their differences.
Sadly, some homosexual activist groups don’t seem to understand how to play fair. In a recent case that is just one of several others like it, a Christian business owner is being threatened with legal action for refusing service to a homosexual couple. In an interview Tuesday with KCCI 8 Des Moines, Victoria Childress, who runs a cake-baking business out of her home, described what happened when a lesbian couple came to make arrangements for a wedding cake,
"They came in and she introduced herself, and I said, 'Is this your sister?' She said, 'No, this is my partner.' I said, 'OK,' and I asked them to sit down and I said, 'We need to talk.’ I said, 'I'll tell you I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm not going to be able to do your cake.’ "
Childress explained further,
"I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle. It is my right as a business owner. It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer (to) him for. They thanked me for being honest with them, and they were very pleasant. I did not belittle them, speak rudely to them. There were no condescending remarks made, nothing. "
The lesbian couple, Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers, also implied by their remarks during the interview that the conversation was cordial. Now, however, they say they are contemplating filing a civil rights complaint.
“It was degrading, you know, it was like she chastised us for wanting to do business with her,” said Vodraska.
Do Vodraska and Sievers support Paypal’s recent decision to cut off the accounts of bloggers who verbally oppose the homosexual lifestyle? Of course, we have no way of knowing the answer to this question; but if they were watching from the sidelines and enthusiastically cheering Paypal in September, they should pause right now and ask themselves if their system of values is really consistent. Or are they insisting on having their cake and eating it too (no pun intended)?
Frankly, I find this attack on conscience rights highly alarming. Surely, if Paypal has the right to refuse service to individuals who fundamentally disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, Christian business owners should have the right to refuse service to homosexual couples – especially in situations as ceremonial and spiritually significant as weddings.
He’s eloquent, knowledgeable, and smooth as a buttered casserole dish, but - in case you’ve forgotten -here's why we must under no circumstances nominate Newt Gingrich for the GOP Presidential Candidacy
(Posted by Bryana Joy on November 9th, 2011)
One of my favorite things about twitter is the community atmosphere that exists in my news feed during debates, events or addresses that other political junkies are watching. The hashtag culture allows us to discuss our thoughts on the event and get feedback from others who are also watching it live. We are offered a unique way to gauge the political climate.
As I watched the Cain/Gingrich “Lincoln-Douglas” debate (discussion) on November 5, I did just that. And I was a bit disappointed by what I saw – countless conservatives who admitted to having been Newt-shy before the discussion praised him highly and, in their 144-character tweets, explored the possibility of switching over……
I want to remind everyone of just a few straightforward reasons why we still don’t want Newt and never will. These are by no means all of the reasons – they are, in fact, just a smattering of incidents that illustrate the troubled history haunting the Gingrich campaign – but they are some of the ones that bother me the most.
The first is definitely his extra-marital infidelities, and I am not ashamed of holding this “old-fashioned” position. I spoke recently with a young mother whose husband had left her and moved in with a new girlfriend. While she tried to refrain from coming across as emotional about his abandonment of her and her children, her inconsolable grief seeped out of everything she said. It is plausible that her life will never be whole again.
Adultery is destructive on more levels than one. It ruins marriages (obviously), but also ruins children’s lives, and entire families. Gingrich’s decisions to engage at least twice in adulterous relationships destructively affected not one family, but many families: the two families he created and left, the three families of the women who were involved with him, possibly the families of his children - who’s to say how far the circle of hurt and devastation goes?
The premise that a man can be one thing in his private life and another in his public life is a far-fetched, mythical invention of the establishment. There is only one man, and if he is unable to remain faithful in his private life, how can he be faithful to the people of the country he claims to want to serve? It is absurd to suppose that a man who is not self-disciplined and self-governing can discipline and govern our entire country.
The second reason not to elect Newt is his despicable hypocrisy. At the same time that Gingrich was a leader of the Republican investigation of President Clinton for obstruction of justice in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair, he was having his own extra-marital affair with Callista Bisek. When Gingrich was calling for the expulsion of representatives Dan Crane and Gerry Studds upon the eruption of the 1983 Congressional Page sex scandal, he had recently divorced his first wife to marry Marianne Ginther with whom he’d been having an affair. While Gingrich recently called Mitt Romney “a Nelson Rockefeller Republican,” it was not Romney but Gingrich who was Southern regional director for Nelson Rockefeller in 1968. A man who is this unconcerned with walking his talk isn’t getting my vote.
The third reason? In 2008, Gingrich appeared with Nancy Pelosi in this sickly little climate change ad. The ad was part of the "We Can Solve It" global warming ad campaign sponsored by former Vice President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.
In case you don’t know, Al Gore, who is a noted climate change alarmist and politician, was responsible for the production of the environmental documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was ruled by a UK high court judge to contain nine scientific errors. Unfortunately, Gore still received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Christopher Monckton has more on Gore and his clashes with science here and here.
Evidently, Gingrich has bought into the pseudo-scientific claims of the global warming activists. This shows a lack of comprehensive research on his part, and also illustrates his willingness to cooperate with political figures who seek to take away our liberty.
If the GOP nominates Gingrich, my vote is one that they can count on not getting.
Image courtesy of FlyWithDignity.org
The TSA response to We Won’t Fly is: no, you sure won’t - you’ll be dragged out in handcuffs.(Posted by Bryana Joy on November 5th, 2011)
Physician and novelist T.P. Alexanders wrote two weeks ago about her attempt to recite the Constitution during a TSA inspection at the International Airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. In fact, even Mrs. Alexanders, who was apparently expecting some kind of kerfuffle, was stunned by the resulting conflict.
Alexanders had planned ahead of time to fire off the Fourth Amendment when asked to undergo the TSA x-ray scanning process before being allowed to board the plane. It would seem that she felt the Constitution wasn’t being properly respected and hoped to draw attention to some key clauses in the Bill of Rights. Over at her website, she tells her story enthusiastically and eloquently:
When it is my turn, I decline to go through the monitor that scans under your clothes, as I always do. The TSA agent starts his spiel about how safe it is. I've done my research. His statements are questionable, but that is not why I am doing this. I start my own spiel.
"The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution reads: 'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, an particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.' "
I'm speaking loud and clear so those around me can hear. Before I get to "unreasonable search" a man in an ill-fitting suit and a tie marches up to me. He tells me I was disrupting his operation. I have no idea what his position is. He stands in front of the metal detector--the first place they usually screen me. He tells me I am holding up the line. I drop my voice and tell him to go ahead and screen me. I'll take the pat down. But that's not what he wants. He wants me to shut up. I continue reading the Fourth Amendment.
After being harassed multiple times by the official in question, Alexanders begins to recite the First Amendment:
I say as loudly and clearly as I can, "I am being told I cannot fly for reading you the Fourth Amendment."
He says, "If you keep this up I'll call the police."
I say as loud as I can, "You are going to arrest me for reading the Constitution?"
"You are disrupting the screening process, and yes we will arrest you."
Again, I say I will be screened but not by the machine. They make no effort to walk me through the metal detector or find a female officer to frisk me. He tries again to walk me out of the area. I stand my ground and read the First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances."
She is interrupted by the arrival of the police, and led away in handcuffs, while being repeatedly told that she is “not under arrest.” Later she learns that she has been “arrested for disorderly conduct,” although she maintains that she was never informed of this.
I hear [the policeman] in the adjoining room tell someone, "We arrested her for disorderly conduct."
I yell, "That is the first time I've heard a charge." I do not add that there have been no Miranda rights or "You're under arrest." statement. In fact, they kept insisting while I was being marched through ticketing I was not under arrest--just cuffed and brutalized.
I highly recommend that you go ahead and read the full story. It’s lengthy, but it’s worth it.
At one point in her account of the conflict, Alexanders writes,
If I can't turn to a fellow citizen and say, “Hey, the TSA isn't obeying the Constitution. They're acting like this is a totalitarian state. What do you think?,” then it's because I live in a totalitarian state. I have acted on the side of democracy, so I can look the next generation in the face and say, “At least I tried.”
And this, I think, is the most crucial issue raised by the shocking confrontation that she writes of: if we are not free to suggest that we are not free, then we are not free. A state which truly respects liberty is willing to allow its citizens to claim that it does not respect liberty. That’s freedom of speech.
From what we are able to know, none of the other potential passengers who witnessed the arrest took action to support or encourage this woman. And folks, let’s be real – we shouldn’t expect them to have done so. Most people who are in line to board a plane just want to get on with their lives and their chaotic schedules, and in the event that they happen to witness someone else getting in trouble with law enforcement officials, few strangers are going to venture to oppose the uniforms.
Is this ethical? Probably not. But what I personally find most disturbing is that other passengers told Alexanders to “shut up” and that one internet personality, “Wendy,” who claims to have been present on the scene, left an embittered and profanity-laced comment on Alexanders’ personal website concerning the incident. The commenter wrote, among other things:
I am in awe after reading this. I am curious as to what inspired such a half-a**ed ignorant display of complete f********** as this. You seem to have a vague idea of what the constitution is and what it means. However, the next time before you waste a lot of other people’s time and harass good people who are just trying to do their jobs, I strongly suggest you take a good long look at the situation you intend on “protesting” in such a melodramatic way.
I would politely disagree with this critic, although she has refused to be polite, and posit that while she may not wish to be directly involved in such a clash with authorities, surely she need not respond so venomously to others who have displayed more guts. Even the most cowardly can offer silent respect for courageous people who show themselves willing to stand for justice and the rule of law.
If you’re not reading this in complete agreement, or if you harbor any doubts about the legitimacy of Alexanders’ claims, I request that you do a quick internet search for “TSA” and click on the “images” tab at the top of the page. You’ll be directed to pages of nude TSA scan images. Hopefully you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to respond to “Wendy” with the suggestion that she take a “good, long look at the situation.”
However, if, after thoroughly digging through these images, you remain unconvinced, I would further request that you do some comprehensive research regarding the “TSA pat-downs.” And no, I don’t mean reading the official TSA statement at tsa.gov. I mean really educating yourself by taking the time to listen to and read the accounts of the outraged victims of this invasive procedure.
The High Tide Journal can dig up stories, share insights, and ask questions, but, in the end, it is as the philosopher Blaise Pascal said:
People are usually more convinced by reasons they discover themselves than by those found by others.
This is why we want you to research, you to explore, you to educate yourself.
Alexanders closes with a compelling statement, and a dangling question that should live on in our minds:
I wonder, briefly, what Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson would say, if they knew it was a sign of terrorism to recite the Bill of Rights.
Think about it.
And do the truth a favor by tweeting/sharing/reposting. Also, hop on over to Alexanders’ website and leave her an encouraging and supportive comment, letting her know that you understand her outrage – or at least respect her stand.