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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Thursday, September 21, 2017
By Megan McArdle
In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Family Research Council a “hate group” because of its orthodox position on homosexuality, and its occasionally incendiary defenses of that position.
In 2012, Floyd Corkins showed up at the Family Research Council headquarters with a gun.
I don’t mean to imply that these two things were connected. I’m telling you that they were connected. We know because the shooter told the FBI where he got the idea.
Conservatives have used this to try to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. But the sad truth is that if you criticize someone, there’s always some small chance that an unstable person will read your criticism and decide its subject needs killing. The shooting is still not the fault of the writer, but the fault of the shooter.
Also, you don’t need to manufacture ersatz accountability to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group tally. You just need to tell people what’s on the list.
Some of the groups named are what anyone would think of as a hate group, like the Ku Klux Klan. But other entries are a festival of guilt-by-association innuendo about people with at best a tangential relationship to the target institution, and whose statements fall well short of blanket group-calumny or calls for violence. Or the center offers bizarrely shifting rationales that suggest that the staff started with the target they wanted to deem hateful and worked backward to the analysis.
I spent a day diving down the rabbit hole of one listing for the Ruth Institute, a small nonprofit that thinks the sexual revolution was a giant mistake. The Ruth Institute does seem to have a couple of marginally attached figures who have at some point theorized an unsupported connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. But however wrongheaded and insulting this may be, by itself, it hardly merits branding the whole organization a “hate group.” And a lot of the other “evidence” for this designation is fully deserving of those contemptuous quotation marks.
Let’s look at how the center justified dubbing the Ruth Institute a hate group:
- One link presents its president, Jennifer Roback Morse, as having offered the “race-baiting” comment that President Barack Obama was “more gay than he is black” — an assertion that turns out to be an out-of-context quotation of an obvious verbal slip during a radio interview. That link also asserts that the Ruth Institute “reprinted a column blasting the LGBT movement’s ‘mythology of grievance and sexual oppression’”; in fact, the column is on the broader topic of the sexual revolution, not just LGBT activism, and the “mythology” refers to the (true) fact that many of the landmark legal cases that paved the revolution’s legal path, including Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas, were not entirely what they seemed.
- That same source claims that “the Ruth Institute even reprinted a column which attempted to link the Lawrence decision to the Penn State child sex abuse scandal” — referring to a column about legal trends in which Lawrence is mentioned only in passing, as an example of the weakening of community moral standards as a basis for law. (Whether or not you think it was a good idea, this weakening has indisputably occurred, and the Lawrence case was a landmark exhibit.)
- The SPLC also criticizes Morse, a Catholic, for calling homosexuality “intrinsically disordered,” which does sound gratuitously insulting to non-Catholics. But this is in fact a technical term in Catholic theology that also covers things heterosexuals frequently get up to. Disagree with it as you will, it is not by itself evidence of a special animus toward homosexuals.
If misspeaking in a radio interview, quoting the Vatican and promoting articles like these on your nonprofit’s blog are what now earn a spot alongside the Klan on a list of hate groups, then it may be time for the Southern Poverty Law Center to close up shop, because its work is largely done.
Unfortunately the center’s hate group designation remains extremely influential. Recently, a payment servicer cut off the Ruth Institute because of that “hate group” label. This piqued my interest, because I knew Morse’s work on liberty and the family from long before the gay marriage debate dawned on the political horizon. I’d always found it interesting and thought-provoking, and I was surprised to see her lumped in with Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. My astonishment seems to have been well-founded.
“Hate group” is, of course, not a scientific term with a precise definition. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s entries do highlight a lot of language about various groups that may not strike me as the equivalent of Klan rhetoric, but does make me uncomfortable. And who am I to say that “discomfort” is a better characterization than “hate speech”? In criticizing them, am I not committing the same sin of which I accuse the SPLC, trying to leverage my platform to curtail speech I don’t like through unofficial censure?
Well, yes, the SPLC has a perfect right to decide what they mean by “hate group.”
Unfortunately, it also has an incentive to apply this term broadly. When people see that the SPLC lists over 900 hate groups — 900! — this seems like good reason to panic. And maybe write a check to the SPLC.
Even fairly large institutions that theoretically have ample resources to investigate the SPLC’s list often rely on it, to their detriment. CNN published the list under the headline “Here Are All the Hate Groups Active in Your Area,” then had to alter the story upon realizing that this was effectively joining the SPLC in branding local churches and conservative nonprofits as “hate groups.” Guidestar, which rates nonprofits, added the SPLC designations to its listings, then had to make an embarrassing volte-face when conservatives called them out. Given the increasing tendency of powerful tech companies to flex their muscle against hate groups, we may see more and more institutions unwittingly turned into critics or censors, not just of Nazi propaganda, but also of fairly mainstream ideas.
That’s not just a problem for the groups that will be burdened when the “hate group” label is slapped on them; it’s also a problem for the rest of us. The broader the definition, the more Americans will be swept up under that label and the less sustainable it will be. If media and other institutions use the label, they will discredit themselves with conservative readers and donors. Worse, those readers and donors will be unable to reliably discern the actual hate groups that still exist.
For exist they do. They are tiny relative to the population, they are marginal, and they have little power. As political scientist Justin Murphy
says, overt racism “likely appears larger than it is, especially to progressives, precisely because it has never been less common in American
history,” making the few die-hards stand out in sharp relief. The same is probably true of other hateful “isms.” But even a handful of hate
group members is too many, and it would be useful to have data on their numbers. Instead, we’re getting data that tells us little about the
problem of hate groups, and a whole lot about the SPLC’s agenda and fundraising.
Posted on: Thursday, September 21, 2017
This article was first published September 10, 2017, at National Catholic Register.
Conservative groups, including those who support a traditional view of marriage and family life, have been increasingly complaining about attempts by major corporations to silence their viewpoints in the public square. Another such recent report comes from The Ruth Institute (www.ruthinstitute.org), “dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown.” The organization was founded by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, a Catholic author, speaker and academic. She regularly speaks at religious and pro-life conferences on the Christian view of marriage and sexuality and the ill effects of the Sexual Revolution.
Her institute, she said, “has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.” In an August 31 statement, The Ruth Institute reported that Vanco, their online donation processor, has ended their service to the Institute for promoting “hate, violence, harassment or abuse.”
In a letter to the Institute, Vanco explained: “Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”
Dr. Morse offered the following comments in response:
Posted on: Thursday, September 21, 2017
By Post Editorial Board
This brief was first posted September 10, 2017, at NYPost.com.
The “hate-list-generating Southern Poverty Law Center already has the media firmly in its pocket,” notes Charlotte Allen at The Weekly Standard,
“and now corporate America seems to be jumping” on the bandwagon. Increasingly, companies are “trying to cut off the financial livelihoods of organizations
that the SPLC has branded as haters because their policy positions don’t accord with whatever the SPLC deems politically correct.” Vanco Payment Solutions,
a credit-card processor, “abruptly canceled its services to the nonprofit Ruth Institute”: The SPLC claims the group’s “focus on heterosexual marriage”
is a cover for a campaign “against LGBT people in general.” Meanwhile, Apple, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Pfizer, Lyft and Newman’s Own have all become
SPLC donors – even as the group has parked $69 million “in offshore hedge funds, a common tax dodge.”
Posted on: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Morse: It's convenient for the SPLC to 'stand me up next to a guy with a swastika and a white hood'
by Joe Schoffstall
This article was first published
Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center / Getty Images
An institute that works to "end family breakdown" lost its payment processing company after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an Alabama-based liberal 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, had labeled the organization as a "hate group."
The SPLC fought the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s but is now best known for its "hate map," which features mainstream conservative groups alongside hate groups like the KKK. The group has turned into a fundraising powerhouse in recent years, hoarding more than $300 million in assets, with millions of that being pushed to offshore entities.
The Ruth Institute, which describes itself as an organization dedicated to "creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown," recently lost its payment processing company for donations after being labeled as a "hate group" by the SPLC.
The institute received a message from Vanco, the group's payment processing provider, in late August saying they were "flagged" as promoting "hate, violence, harassment, and or/or abuse."
"Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute," the message from Vanco to the institute reads. "The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies."
Dr. Jennifer Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon in a phone interview that after she had received the message from Vanco, she immediately checked her website and found that the donations feature was already disabled.
"We received an email from them at two-o-clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 31st of August. We went and checked our website and it was already shut down—our donation feature was already shut down. So they obviously shut it down then sent us a notice," said Morse. "It's just rude, you don't treat people like that."
"It's interesting that Vanco will not come out and say Wells Fargo kicked us in the shins and told us to do this, they won't say that, but that's kind of the inference you're led to draw based on our the first communication we got with them and the complete shut down after that," Morse continued.
Morse says the corporate left will continue its practices, but one positive that came from the ordeal is she can talk about the mission of her institute.
"The corporate left is out there doing what they do and I can't stop them—they're going to do what they do with their power," she said. "I'm grateful that this incident has given me an opportunity to talk about the mission of the Ruth Institute because nobody else is doing what we're doing. We believe that family breakdown is harmful to children. We believe it's unjust to children, and that children have a right to have a relationship with both of their parents and to know their identity."
Morse added that it's "convenient" for the SPLC to add conservative groups alongside the KKK because it allows people to dismiss her and others.
"I think it's convenient strategically and rhetorically for groups like the SPLC to stand me up next to a guy with a swastika and white hood, because then nobody has to listen to what I have to say," she said. "Rather than argue with me—or, you know, try to say ‘gee you're wrong'—rather than have that conversation about why kids need their parents, they just dismiss the whole thing by putting me and Tony Perkins (president of the Family Research Council) in a lineup with guys in white hoods and then they don't have to deal with it."
A gunman walked into the Washington, D.C., office of the conservative Family Research Council and opened fire in 2012 after seeing the group listed as a "hate group" on the SPLC's website.
"Honest journalism needs to stop taking these people seriously," said Morse.
The SPLC, which is often cited by mainstream media outlets, raised millions from the likes of Apple, J.P Morgan Chase, and George Clooney following the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va.
The Washington Free Beacon discovered the SPLC's foreign tax forms from 2014 last week showing the group transfers millions in cash to offshore entities in the Cayman Islands and also has "financial interests" in Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. The Weekly Standard's Jeryl Bier found this week that the SPLC has $69 million of "non-U.S. equity funds" from the group's 2016 annual report.
The group additionally released a map of every confederate monument in the U.S. that contains middle schools, PJ Media reported.
Vanco did not return a request for comment on its decision to drop the Ruth Institute by press time.
Posted on: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By Christine Flowers
That organization no longer exists. Today, the SPLC has become a weaponized arm of the progressive movement, seeking out groups and individuals who violate their standards of tolerance, virtue, justice and enlightenment. They need to be called out for what they truly are: Charlatans.
The SPLC was formed four years after my father went to Mississippi to register black voters during a long, hot summer. Daddy had his own run-in with the KKK, as I’ve mentioned many times in these pages because I cannot hide my pride in sharing his blood and his name, and he was a strong supporter of any organization that could bring the Klan to heel. But if he were alive today, and in this one narrow sense I’m glad he’s not, he would be repelled by the mutation of that avenging angel into a demon that preys upon the apostates to progressive ideals.
For example, if you are not on board with same-sex marriage, gender-neutral bathrooms, the Stalinist straight jacket of gender-sensitive pronouns and allowing toddlers to choose their sexual identities, you are a member of a hate group. If you are not aware that you belong to such a group, the SPLC will help you. They will put you on its “Hate Watch.”
If that sounds a bit Big Brotherish, it is. The SPLC publishes a list of organizations that deviate from its unique and unsurprisingly narrow view of what is virtuous in this evolved society. It is called the Hate Map, and it includes such organizations and individuals as the Family Research Council (because, among other things, it supported Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the military); the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group that has represented students, free of charge, who have argued that their right to free exercise has been threatened by government encroachment; Charles Murray, who believes that the welfare state is harmful and the Ruth Institute, a religious-based, ecumenical organization that actively combats the victimization of children and opposes the more strident advocacy of some LGBT groups. Last week, the Ruth Institutes online donation system was shut down by Vanco, the organization which handled that service because it learned of Ruth’s inclusion on the SPLC hate map.
I interviewed Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the institute, and she told me that she was given absolutely no warning before the service was discontinued. A review of Ruth’s website reveals numerous articles and podcasts discussing the importance of keeping the family intact, avoiding the problems created by divorce, nurturing children and promoting an environment of safety for them. Only the most radical pro-LGBT activist could find anything vaguely “hateful” about their philosophy. But the SPLC has decided that Christian organizations are, by definition, hateful, and there is in fact a whole separate section on their website devoted to groups that advance a “Christian Identity.” Other threatening groups are “Racist Skinheads,” “Neo Nazis,” “White Nationalist,” “Black Separatist” (well at least there’s that …) “Ku Klux Klan,” “Anti Muslim,” “Anti Immigrant” and when all else fails, “General Hate.”
It’s hard to quibble with most of the groups listed. But the idea that people who have a Christian identity that might lead them to oppose homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gender-reassignment surgery, same-sex adoptions or even baking cakes for people who commit sodomy (which is now legal, in case you were wondering) is more than a bit troubling. Sure, you can disagree with certain Christian principles that do not align well with those espoused by the LGBT advocates, and you have every right to lobby your legislators to make sure those Christian principles are not codified in the civil law, but to defame people of faith as members of a “hate group” simply because you find their beliefs abhorrent is, well, abhorrent.
And when that “hate” label causes a commercial enterprise to sever its ties with you, we have entered a whole new dimension of groupthink, Big Brother and the reordering of society a la Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
It is particularly troubling that the organization that is raising its ideological torches against those with whom it disagrees is the same group that stared down the Klan, and brought them to heel with the power of their moral coherence. Now, the SPLC has become a pale shadow of its former self, and has sold whatever is left of its soul to the nihilists of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (ironically not listed as a “hate group” by our Klan-hating friends) and Planned Parenthood and all the other progressive darlings who pull its strings.
The “Poverty” in the “Southern Poverty Law Center” must now refer to the content of its character.
Posted on: Monday, September 18, 2017
by David Nussman
This article was first published at Church Militant on September 7, 2017.
LAKE CHARLES, La. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic organization lost its online donations processing on Thursday, thanks to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeling it a hate group.
The Ruth Institute is a Catholic non-profit that seeks to help individuals and families wounded by the Sexual Revolution and its resulting chaos.
The "hate group" label is a result of the Ruth Institute's faithfully Catholic stance on homosexuality and transgenderism. The SPLC labeled it "anti-LGBT."
In a statement to the press about the loss of internet donations, Morse said, "The Ruth Institute's primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a 'hate group,' so be it."
The Institute received a message Thursday afternoon from its donation processing company, Vanco. The letter reads, "Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute." It explains, "The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse."
On August 23, the Ruth Institute recognized that it was still on the SPLC's hate list, as it has been since 2013. This earlier statement lets loose a scathing indictment. It complains that the SPLC's methodology is secretive, such that "No one knows how to get off the list." It then fiercely argues, "The SPLC sets itself up as judge, jury and enforcer of the charge of 'hate.'"
As Church Militant reported, a Protestant non-profit filed a lawsuit last week against the SPLC for labeling it a hate group. D. James Kennedy Ministries was barred from participating in AmazonSmile fundraising because of the SPLC's hate label. Various big media outfits, including CNN and MSNBC, have posted SPLC's "hate" map on their websites, thus legitimizing the group's arbitrary, leftist labels.
Posted on: Monday, September 18, 2017
Megan McArdle presents a commentary arguing that you don’t need to manufacture ersatz accountability in order to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group tally. You just need to tell people what’s on the list.
(Megan McArdle is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)
The Ruth Institute is mentioned. Listen here.
Posted on: Monday, September 18, 2017
by Doug Mainwaring
This article was first published September 1, 2017, at Life Site News.
The Ruth Institute was notified Thursday that an online donation processor discontinued providing services to the pro-family, pro-children’s rights organization for promoting “hate, violence, harassment or abuse.”
According to a statement released today, “The Ruth Institute learned at 2 PM Thursday that Vanco, our online donation processing service, was cancelling our service immediately. The letter stated:
"'Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.’”
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization that seeks to create “a mass social movement to end family breakdown by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution,” paying special attention to the needs and rights of children.
Jennifer Roback Morse, the Institute’s founder and president, said, “[Our] primary focus is family breakdown and its impact on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it. If this makes us a ‘hate group,’ so be it.”
“The Ruth Institute is listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Hate Map,’ which was recently in the news,” continued Morse. “We have been on this ‘Hate Map’ since 2013. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever been inspired to riot or shoot anyone by our activities.” Moreover, “No one from Vanco, Card Brands or Wells Fargo ever contacted the Ruth Institute to inquire about how we ‘promote hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse.’”
Morse noted that “the Vanco company markets itself to religious organizations. Many churches use their services for processing donations. We surmise that Vanco dropped us because we hold views about marriage, family, and human sexuality that are considered ‘Anti-LGBT.’ Our beliefs are the common heritage of all Christian groups. Christian organizations that utilize Vanco’s services may wish to reconsider.”
The Ruth Institute is one of a growing number of Christian pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-family organizations whose online operations and presence are being undermined by tech firms who rely on information provided the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to identify supposed “hate groups.”
Morse said, “Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.”
“We have compiled the items which some groups have found objectionable on a page called Where’s the Hate? Anyone interested can review that material and judge for themselves whether the Ruth Institute belongs on a list with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.”
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2017
By Tyler O'Neil
This article was first posted September 10, 2017, at pjmedia.
In a shocking attack on religious freedom and even property rights, the speaker of Britain's House of Commons argued that the country won't have "proper equal marriage" until churches are unable to turn away requests to host a same-sex marriage.
"I still feel we'll only have proper equal marriage when you can bloody well get married in a church if you want to do so, without having to fight the church for the equality that should be your right," John Bercow, the Commons speaker, declared at a Pink News reception in July.
Britain legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, but Bercow suggested that the LGBT issue will not be settled until churches are unable to refuse to host such weddings. "We don't want to behave like it's all over, everything's been done and nothing remains, because that isn't true," he added.
This statement proved particularly revealing, in light of religious freedom struggles in the United States and the forthcoming vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia. Other events in Britain at the time also revealed the inherent struggle between the LGBT movement and the freedom of churches to host the weddings they choose to bless.
Bercow's statement came one month after Tim Farron resigned from leading the Liberal Democratic Party because the British press had launched a kind of inquisition into his Christian faith. Farron, who supported legalizing same-sex marriage, was nevertheless accorded suspicion, and reporters badgered him on whether he thought homosexual activity is a sin.
"The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader," Farron wrote at the time. "To be a political leader — especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 — and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me."
Chillingly, he concluded: "I joined our party when I was 16, it is in my blood, I love our history, our people, I thoroughly love my part. Imagine how proud I am to lead this party. And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honor. In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something 'so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all'" (emphasis added).
For a politician who supported same-sex marriage to write those words is nothing less than astounding. Did he know that the very right to hold a belief against homosexual activity — in the church itself — was under assault in Britain?
Yet another British politician, Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening, said that Christian churches need to "keep up with modern attitudes" on same-sex marriage.
"I think it's quite important that we recognise that for many churches, including the Church of England, [same-sex marriage] was something they were not yet willing to have in their own churches," Greening, who announced her own homosexual orientation last year, told Sky News.
While Greening insisted, "I wouldn't prescribe to them how they should deal with that," she nevertheless declared, "I think it is important that the church in a way keeps up and is part of a modern country."
"For me, I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes in our country," she concluded.
This statement should chill anyone who believes in religious freedom and the ability to hold counter-cultural beliefs. Greening wasn't just saying churches should accept same-sex marriage, she was suggesting that religious organizations should be discouraged from having a counter-cultural witness. This from a secretary for education!
In Britain, the LGBT movement is vastly becoming an established religion. When churches are expected to follow cultural trends, rather than declaring their own truth from God, they are relegated to effective state censure. If religion is to have any freedom to actually mean something in people's lives, churches must be free to act according to their teachings, but the LGBT movement seems unwilling to brook any opposition.
Even in the United States, the movement has started pushing against the right to opt out of serving same-sex weddings.
Many wedding-related service providers — who gladly serve LGBT people in other contexts — have refused to serve same-sex weddings, fearing that doing such business would be seen as an endorsement of something that violates their religious beliefs about marriage.
Notable example include Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman, Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, Michigan farmers Steve and Bridget Tennes, and Colorado baker Jack Philips (whose case will come before the Supreme Court).
In fact, at least one LGBT group in Ohio announced its plans to target churches to force religious organizations to host same-sex weddings, regardless of their faith positions on marriage being between a man and a woman.
Furthermore, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has listed mainstream Christian organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC), the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and the Ruth Institute (RI) as "hate groups" — to be lumped in with the Ku Klux Klan — because of their religious beliefs on marriage. A sitting U.S. Senator actually compared ADF to the genocidal Cambodian dictator Pol Pot last week.
This "hate list" actually inspired a terrorist attack in 2012, and might have inspired another this year.
The LGBT movement is relentless, however. In discussing cases where bakers, florists, and farmers refuse to serve same-sex weddings, openly gay megadonor Tim Gill declared, "We're going to punish the wicked."
Polling suggests that those who identify as LGBTI in Australia are utterly opposed to allowing anyone to "opt out" of serving a same-sex wedding. In a survey early this year, a full 59 percent of LGBTI people said they would oppose a legal exemption allowing religious celebrants (priests, pastors, or other ministers) to refuse to marry two men or two women.
Nearly 60 percent of LGBTI Australians said it should be illegal for a pastor to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. But it got worse.
A full 94.3 percent said a church or a religious organization should not be allowed to deny the use of its property for a same-sex wedding. Australia has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. When LGBTI people were asked if they would allow churches to refuse to host same-sex weddings in exchange for making same-sex marriage legal in Australia, a full 90.6 percent still opposed it.
This is the kind of vitriol unleashed against Christians who are faithful to the Bible's teaching on homosexuality. Such people are forced out of politics, even if they supported same-sex marriage. They are "the wicked" to be punished. They are "hate groups" on the level of the KKK. They are compared to a dictator who mercilessly slaughtered a quarter of his own people.
On Tuesday, Australians will begin the process of voting whether or not to make same-sex marriage legal. Conservative groups have warned that doing so will unleash an LGBT movement which will destroy religious freedom and teach boys and girls in kindergarten that they can become the opposite sex if they want (sound familiar? at this school, parents won't even be notified).
Before the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, conservatives were mocked for using the "slippery slope" argument that if same-sex marriage passed, religious freedom would be threatened. Two years later, the cat is out of the bag.
So many issues intersect when it comes to churches being able to "opt out" of hosting a same-sex wedding. In such cases, churches should have the religious freedom to operate according to their consciences. They should have the free speech to express their views to a hostile culture. They should have the freedom to do whatever they want on their own property.
Finally, this issue is not just about same-sex marriage. Churches should be able to refuse any couple for any reason — if the couple wishes to have an "open marriage," or if they do not have the right understanding of marriage, for example.
A state senator in Alabama has sponsored a bill to formally separate legal marriage from religious marriage. This bill would outlaw marriage licenses, which give an officiant the sense of blessing a marriage. Instead, a notary would merely record a marriage, and no minister or officiant would be required to sign the document.
"It is my belief that the state cannot make any kind of contract sacred," the bill's sponsor Greg Albritton (R., Baldwin County) told PJ Media. "That's not its place, that's not its purpose. It doesn't have that religious authority to make something sacred, but it can make it binding for the purpose of the parties."
Christians like Albritton are not trying to make same-sex marriage illegal — they are merely trying to separate the issues at hand.
Churches are independent organizations, and they should not be forced to celebrate or host ceremonies with which they disagree. Many churches
are happy to marry same-sex couples, and everyone will suffer if independent organizations lose the right to operate according to the dictates
of their own conscience.
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2017
Corporate America flexes its muscle to enforce conformity
Interview of Jennifer Roback Morse by Mercatornet.com on September 4, 2017.
A few days ago, Dr Jennifer Roback Morse, a frequent contributor to MercatorNet, learned that credit card donations to her organisation, the Ruth Institute, had been cut off. Vanco Payment Solutions – “unlock the power of generosity” -- sent her a curt note saying that it was a hate group.
The “hate group” label had been pasted on the Ruth Institute by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), probably because it has opposed same-sex marriage. But the job of the Ruth Institute is healing the effects of family breakdown, not denigrating homosexuals. This appears to be another sign of LGBT corporate tyranny: if you don’t agree with us, get lost...
Dr Roback Morse is philosophical about this insult to the integrity of her work. She says on her website, “Vanco, Card Brands, and Wells Fargo are private businesses. The Ruth Institute respects their right to conduct their businesses as they see fit. We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.”
Below she answers a few questions about this incident.
* * * * * * * * * *
MercatorNet: Ruth Institute has been dumped by its online donations processing service. What reason did Vanco give?
Jennifer Roback Morse: We quoted them verbatim in our public statement:
Vanco has elected to discontinue our processing relationship with The Ruth Institute. The organization has been flagged by Card Brands as being affiliated with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse. Merchants that display such attributes are against Vanco and Wells Fargo processing policies.”
This is the sum total of their communication to us.
Did they talk to you first?
Did they say they had reviewed the content of your website?
So what sources were they relying on to reach their decision?
JRM: Dunno. I have no idea. I would only be guessing, if I said otherwise.
How long has the Ruth Institute been going? What is your mission and focus?
JRM: We have been in existence since 2008. We have been independent of the National Organization for Marriage since November 2013.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre put you on the “hate map” in 2013 – was this date significant?
JRM: I do not really know.
What reasons did they give?
They never contacted us prior to putting us on their map, not have they contacted us since. You would have to look at the reasons they cite on their map.
What positions or language do your critics find objectionable? Do you think you have expressed yourselves unfairly or too strongly at all?
JRM: They have classified us as "Anti-LGBT." Their basic objection is that we uphold traditional Christian morality. They have gathered together a handful of statements, usually ripped out of context, to claim that we are defaming gay people. We have created a page called "Where's the Hate?" where we list, to the best of our ability, the articles and podcasts that people have found objectionable. We invite anyone to study those materials and form their own opinion about whether we belong on the same list as the Ku Klux Klan.
What is the mission of the Ruth Institute?
JRM: We are creating a mass social movement to end family breakdown, by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution. We especially focus on the impact of family breakdown on children: understanding it, healing it, ending it.
That doesn't seem to have anything to do with racism or hate.
JRM: Why do you think the Southern Poverty Law Center has created a whole category called "Anti-LGBT?" Sexual revolutionaries gain a strategic advantage by labelling people like me. Guilt by association is irrational, but powerful. The fear of being labelled a racist provides a potent disincentive for people to voice the view that children need their own parents. Silencing people relieves the identity politicians and sexual revolutionaries from the effort of having to defend their ideas.
This is convenient for these Identity politicians and sexual revolutionaries, because their ideas are indefensible. Children actually do need their own parents. Sexual orientation is not the equivalent of race. Two mothers do not equal two fathers and two fathers do not equal a mother and a father, and certainly not one’s own mother and father. Placing us next to the guys with white hoods and swastikas avoids engaging any arguments.
There are multiple ironies here. Many, many people in the African American community are devout Christians who deeply resent what they consider the hijacking of the civil rights movement and rhetoric by LGBT activists. Since we oppose aspects of the LGBT movement, we are considered the equivalent of the KKK or Nazis.
Vanco markets itself to religious organisations, which makes their attitude to you puzzling.
JRM: Many groups and individuals are concerned about this sort of targeting. Yes: the fact that Vanco markets itself to churches and religious organizations does make this puzzling. I would suggest that churches consider switching providers.
Will you try to talk to Vanco or Card Brands?
JRM: Probably not. We are looking for another service provider.