3 - Jacksonville city council rejects sexual orientation ordinance
By an overwhelming margin this past week, the Jacksonville (FL) City Council defeated an ordinance that would have created a new protected class and special rights based on "gender identity or expression". The measure would have created a way for gay-identified citizens and others who felt they were being treated unfairly to bring lawsuits against private citizens. This would have applied to places of employments, as well as housing or public accommodations. The final vote on the original bill was 17-2, after a substitute bill failed by a narrow 10-9 margin.
John Stemberger, President and General Counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council said, "This is an extraordinary victory for the people of Jacksonville who rose up and made it clear they were not going to allow some secret council of elite powerbrokers or activists from outside Jacksonville to force extreme policies upon them...I could not be more proud of the local residents who worked so hard to create a citywide movement to defeat this disaster of an ordinance.”
Anytime a major city or a state legislature takes up a piece of legislation dealing with gender identity or sexual orientation, you know that they are considering actions that would likely be offensive to people of faith who oppose same-sex marriage or special rights for homosexuals. This type of ordinance could have opened the door to all sorts of legal action and a furtherance of the gay agenda. And, as we are seeing, there are individuals and groups that are wanting to force acceptance of their lifestyle upon culture, overriding the moral objections of many people. Unfortunately, you have a small, outspoken percentage who would like to make their sexual preference more than a private matter, to influence public policy in a manner that conflicts with the deeply held traditional values of a significant portion of society.
2 - Dixie County, Florida 10 Commandments display upheld in court
A 6-ton granite monument of the 10 Commandments, which provides a basis for moral law in our nation, stands in Dixie County, Florida, which is located just south of the Big Bend area of the state. A few years ago, an ACLU member from North Carolina, who has never lived nor owned property in Dixie County, filed suit against the county, saying that the monument offended him. Last summer, a Federal judge ruled that the monument had to be removed from the front of the courthouse, in the county seat of Cross City. (wonder if anyone is offended by that town's name?)
This week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the ACLU, and ordered the case back to the district level. Apparently, the central issue here is not the constitutionality of the display, but the standing of the plaintiff, about which one of the appeals court judges, Judge Edmondson said: (the) “plaintiff’s theory of standing is makeshift in nature: some kind of cursory, drive-by theory of standing—insufficient to kick on our powers.” The issue of "standing" concerns a person or entity's legitimate connection to the case.
According to Liberty Counsel, the plaintiff, referred to as "Mr. Doe", first testified that several things about the county bothered him, including the monument, a cartoon taped near a county employee’s desk, and a reference to a website known as “Patriot Properties.” After the county moved for summary judgment on the basis of a lack of standing, Mr. Doe filed an affidavit in which he claimed that it was only the monument that offended him.
Liberty Counsel Attorney Horatio “Harry” Mihet said, “The citizens of Dixie County won today. To them and to people across America, the Ten Commandments has become a symbol of the rule of law, not an establishment of religion. The monument reflects the essence and foundation of American law.”
1 - Shooting at FRC ignites discussion on the atmosphere of debating policy
Referring to the events of Wednesday, August 15th, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said:
On Wednesday, FRC was the target of what the FBI is calling an act of domestic terrorism. A gunman, identified as Floyd Corkins, invaded our headquarters in Washington, D.C. armed with a 9mm pistol, approximately 50 rounds of ammunition, and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. The gunman was confronted by an unarmed member of the FRC staff, Leo Johnson. When the gunman pulled the gun from his backpack and aimed the weapon at Leo, Leo moved toward the gunman to disarm him. Despite being shot in the process, Leo was able to subdue the shooter and call for others on the staff, who helped admirably. One of the investigators, based on their preliminary findings, told me Leo's actions saved a lot of lives.New information seems to be coming out all the time regarding this case. Corkins apparently did say that he opposed the FRC's policies. He worked at a gay and lesbian center in the nation's capital. And, reports say that he had the name and address of another pro-family organization, the Traditional Values Coalition, in his possession.
It's one lone gunman here, who made some really errant choices. Tony used this series of events to call attention to an atmosphere that is generated by...name-calling. Because FRC, Chick-Fil-A, TVC, and countless other groups representing thousands and thousands of Americans dare to show support for traditional marriage, they have been mis-characterized...FRC as a "hate group" by other organizations, Chick-Fil-A's product as "hate chicken" by the mayor of Washington, DC or a product that "Tastes Like Hate" by vandal in California.
The shooting this week has ignited a discourse on labeling, or name-calling. Family Research Council has been bold to point out some of the fallacies that are being furthered by those who embrace the gay agenda. They, and so many other groups, present opinions based on research - on facts. There are other groups that disagree with their interpretation of the facts - that's fair. But, what is unfair, is that FRC and others become the victims of name-calling, i.e. "hate group", as a result of their presentation. Let me read from FRC's website:
Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.Strong language, for sure. Hate speech, hardly. Notice that the statement deals with "conduct". To me, the Bible is clear about the definition of marriage and the unnatural nature of homosexual activity - not my opinion, but God's. And, let's be honest, He is for all of us - he is not "anti-" any person. He does hate sin, and in that sense He is "anti-sin", but that does not make Him or His people hateful by nature. He loves us and wants the very best for each individual. Homosexuality is not part of His plan, but that does not exclude any of us from forming friendships with members of the gay community so that they can experience God's true love through us.