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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: 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.
Posted on: Thursday, September 14, 2017
I was shocked and deeply disappointed that Vanco chose to render a verdict on the integrity of the Ruth Institute and cut them off from Vanco without
Vanco even attempting to first familiarize itself with the actual mission and work of the Ruth Institute. The work of the Ruth Institute is dedicated
to strengthening marriage and family. Not only is this a work of caring and love but in turn it helps to support and stabilize society including
the economy. Vanco’s actions toward the Ruth Institute makes Vanco culpable of the very thing of which it accuses the Ruth Institute: being judgmental,
discriminatory, insensitive, prejudicial, mean-spirited and hateful.
Please know that as a priest who speaks to audiences every week in church, as well as on two international radio programs and at conferences nationally and internationally that I will be sure to tell the story over and over again of Vanco’s hateful, discriminatory, boorish and judgmental actions toward the Ruth Institute and how such actions in turn harm our society.
Fr. Thomas J. Loya, STB, MA.
Tabor Life Institute
Posted on: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Here's another letter of support for Ruth sent to Vanco:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Posted on: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Please consider writing one of your own using Vanco's contact page.
I was surprised to read today online that Vanco had canceled its arrangement with the Ruth Institute, calling it a group that promotes hate and violence.
I have heard many hours of podcasts with their founder, Jennifer Roback Morse, and read several of her books and have never heard anything that I thought would be considered hateful or violent.
In fact, I've never heard anything from her or her organization that our own or many other churches could agree with.
If Vanco is suspending its business relationship with "hateful" groups, what would keep them from suspending its arrangement with many of the churches I know that use their services?
What is the definition of "hate groups" that Vanco uses to deny its services?
Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The Southern Poverty Law Center keeps millions of dollars in offshore accounts and pays lavish salaries - in the name of defending the poor
The Washington Free Beacon exposed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a self-appointed hate group monitor infamous for lumping mainstream conservative nonprofits alongside legitimate hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, keeps millions of dollars in multiple offshore accounts.
SPLC tax forms from 2014 reveal that in one year, the 501(c)3 nonprofit transferred nearly $5.5 million to multiple bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. The bulk of these financial transfers occurred on March 1, 2015, in which two separate transfers were made to two accounts at the same address in Canana Bay, Cayman Islands.
Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California-based nonprofit consulting firm told the Free Beacon that she had never heard of a US-based nonprofit that deals with human rights or social services having foreign bank accounts. “It is unethical for any US-based charity to invest large sums of money overseas,” she said, adding “I know of no legitimate reason for any US-based nonprofit to put money in overseas, unregulated bank accounts.”
Charles Ortel, a former Wall Street analyst and financial adviser known for uncovering a 2009 financial scandal at General Electric also expressed surprise, noting: “It seems extremely unusual for a 501(c)(3) concentrating upon reducing poverty in the American South to have multiple bank accounts in tax haven nations.”
The SPLC pays its staff surprisingly well. In 2015, the organization spent $20 million on salaries, but only spent $61,000 on legal services. This, despite boasting of a staff of 75 lawyers for the purpose of litigating on behalf of “children’s rights, economic justice, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform.” The minimum it paid officers, directors, trustees, or key employees, in base salary in 2015 was $140,000—this in Alabama, a state where the mean salary for religious and education directors (which includes private school principals) was $40,820 in 2015. SPLC president and CEO Richard Cohen was paid $346,218 in base compensation, while SPLC founder and chief trial counsel Morris Dees earned $329,560 in compensation, and $42,000 in additional reportable non-taxable benefits.
While the SPLC began with a legitimate mission to tackle hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, it proved so successful that it effectively ran out of hate groups. Seeking a new mission (and source of funding), the group evolved into a far-left outfit intent on smearing any group which disagrees with them as a “hate group.” Because of its history, the SPLC enjoys a reputation with the mainstream media as self-styled hate group experts that it no longer deserves. After the riots in Charlottesville on August 12, CNN ran a wire story entitled: “Here are all the active hate groups where you live.” The story included a map with 917 organizations that the SPLC considers hate groups, including mainstream, conservative, pro-family organizations like Family Research Council (FRC) and the Ruth Institute.
On August 31, the Ruth Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on the impact of family breakdown on children, received an email from the payment processing company, Vanco, announcing that the institute would no longer be able to use the company’s services because it had been “flagged” for promoting “hate, violence, harassment, and or/or abuse.” Dr. Jennifer Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute immediately checked her organization’s website and found the donation feature already disabled. Morse said,
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.
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. 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.
Forty-seven individuals and groups, including CRC president Scott Walter, have recently signed an open letter to media outlets, asking them to stop using data from the “discredited Southern Poverty Law Center.”
The attempt by SPLC to silence conservative critics on issues such as gay marriage by lumping them in with legitimate hate groups can have potentially fatal consequences. Floyd Lee Corkins II, who shot an unarmed security guard at the FRC in 2012, claimed to be on a mission to kill “as many people as possible.” He claims to have identified the FRC as “anti-gay” based on information from the SPLC’s website.
Since the Charlottesville riots, millions of left-leaning American citizens and companies have sought to express their displeasure toward racial intolerance by donating to anti-racist organizations. Unfortunately, because the SPLC masquerades as a legitimate anti-hate group, the riots have proven to be a donation boon for the organization. For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that the company would be donating $1 million to the SPLC and would match employee contributions two to one. JP Morgan Chase promised to pay $500,000 to the SPLC’s “work in tracking, exposing, and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations.”
With millions in donations covering its generous pay scale and plush off-shore accounts, the SPLC is set to continue its war against charities that disagree with its radical ideology.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
This article was first published September 11, 2017, at Christian.org.uk.
A group helping children suffering from the effects of family breakdown has been axed by its online payments provider after political activists accused it of being a “hate group”.
The Ruth Institute is on a ‘hate map’ alongside 900 other US organisations such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis and holocaust denial groups.
Last week, online donation processing company Vanco cancelled its services to the group without notice, stating it believed the Ruth Institute was affiliated “with a product/service that promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse”.
The hate map, compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, also includes groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.
In response to Vanco’s move, the Ruth Institute said it “categorically condemns white supremacy, racism, Nazism, and all violent totalitarian political movements”.
“The Ruth Institute’s primary focus is family breakdown, and its impact on children… If this makes us a ‘hate group’, so be it”, it said.
“People who cannot defend their positions using reason and evidence resort to name-calling to change the subject away from their anemic arguments”, the pro-family organisation noted.
“The ‘hate group’ label is a club such people invented to bludgeon their political opponents.”
The Ruth Institute assured supporters that their financial details had not been compromised. It said the move was probably due to its traditional stance on LGBT issues.
While the family group noted that it respected the financial company’s right as a private business to make its own decision, it added: “We just wish wedding photographers, bakers, and florists received the same respect.”
The Ruth Institute has been on the hate map since 2013, but recently CNN published the nationwide list on its website, initially under the headline “Here are all the active hate groups where you live”.
“No one outside the SPLC knows how organizations come to be included on the list. No one knows how to get off the list. The SPLC sets itself up as judge, jury and enforcer of the charge of ‘hate’”, the Ruth Institute said.
Vanco declined to comment.
Last week, during a US Senate committee hearing considering a new judicial appointment, Senator Al Franken tore into the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), repeatedly noting its inclusion on the hate list.
ADF’s President responded: “There is a real danger of conflating genuine hate groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, with mainstream religious beliefs that are shared by millions of Americans and people from all walks of life across the world.”