“San Bernardino of Siena: Economics and the Entrepreneur”


By Murray N. Rothbard

The most notable development in the historiography of the Austrian School of economics (Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, Mises,Mises Institute Hayek) in the post-World War II era has been the drastic re-evaluation of what might be called its “prehistory,” and as a corollary a fundamental reconsideration of the history of economic thought itself. This reevaluation may be summarized by briefly outlining the “orthodox,” pre-war paradigm of the development of economic thought before the advent of the “Austrian School.” The scholastic philosophers were brusquely dismissed as “medieval” thinkers who totally failed to Scholasticismunderstand the market, and who believed on religious grounds that the “just price” was one that covered either the cost of production or the quantity of labor embodied in a product. After briefly outlining the bullionist and anti-bullionist discussion among the English mercantilists, and lightly touching on a few French and Italian economists of the eighteenth century, the historian of economic thought pointed with a flourish to Adam Smith and David Ricardo as “the founders” of economic science.standing strong

After some backing and filling in the mid-nineteenth century, marginalism, including the Austrian School, arrived in another great burst in the 1870s. Apart from the occasional mention of one or two English precursors of the Austrians, such as Samuel Bailey in the early nineteenth century, this largely completed the basic picture. Typical was the encyclopedic text of Lewis Haney: the scholastics were described as “medieval” and were dismissed as hostile to trade and believers in the labor or cost of production theory of the “just price.”1 It is no wonder that in his famous phrase, R. H. Tawney could call Karl Marx “the last of the Schoolmen.”2

MThe remarkably contrasting new view of the history of economic thought burst upon the scene in 1954 in the monumental, if unfinished, work of Joseph Schumpeter.3 Far from mystical dunderheads who must be skipped over quickly to proceed to the mercantilists, the scholastic philosophers are seen to be remarkable and prescient economists, developing a system very close to the Austrian (school) and subjective utility approach. This was particularly true of the previously neglected later Spanish and Italian scholastics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Virtually the only missing ingredient in their value theory was the marginal concept.

From them, filiations proceeded to the later French and Italian economists. In this new Schumpeterian view, the English mercantilists are seen as half-baked and polemical pamphleteers rather than essential milestones on the road to Adam Smith and the founding of economic science. In fact, in a profound sense, the new view saw Smith and Ricardo, not as founders of economics, but as shunting economics onto a tragically wrong road which it took the Austrians and the other marginalists to rediscover. Until then, only the neglected anti-Ricardian writers would keep the tradition alive. As we shall see, other historians have further demonstrated the profound Aristotelian (and hence scholastic) roots of the Austrians amidst the diverse variants of the marginalist school. The picture is almost the reverse of the earlier orthodoxy.

It is not the purpose of this paper to dwell on Schumpeter’s deservedly well-known work, but rather to assess the contributions of other writers who carried the Schumpeterian vision still further, and who remain neglected by most economists, possibly from a failure to match Schumpeter in constructing a general treatise to set forth their contributions. Instead, the best development of the new history must be sought in fugitive articles and brief pamphlets and monographs.

The other relatively neglected contributions began largely contemporaneously with Schumpeter. One of the most important, and probably the most neglected, was The School of Salamanca, by Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, who suffered in the economics profession from being a professor of Spanish literature. Moreover, the book bore the burden of a misleadingly narrow subtitle: “Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory.”4 In fact, the book was a brilliant discovery of the pre-Austrian subjective value and utility views of the late sixteenth-century Spanish scholastics.

But first, Grice-Hutchinson shows that even the earlier scholastics, and as far back as Aristotle, contained a subjective value analysis based on consumer wants, alongside the competing “objective” conception of the “just price” based on labor and costs. As far back as the early Middle Ages, St. Augustine developed the concept of the subjective value-scales of each individual. By the high Middle Ages, the scholastic philosophers had largely abandoned the cost-of-production theory to adopt the view that it is the market’s reflection of consumer demand that truly sets the “just price.” This was particularly true of John Buridan (1300–1358), Henry of Ghent (1217–1293), and Richard of Middleton (1307). As Grice-Hutchinson writes; Medieval writers viewed the poor man as consumer rather than producer. A cost-of-production theory would have given merchants an excuse for over-charging on the pretext of covering their expenses, and it was thought fairer to rely on the impersonal forces of the market which reflected the judgment of the whole community, or, to use the medieval phrase, the “common estimation.”

At any rate, it would seem that the phenomena of exchange came increasingly to be explained in psychological terms.5  Even Henry of Langenstein (1325–1383), who of all the scholastics was the most hostile to the free market and advocated government fixing of the just price on the basis of status and cost; also developed the subjective factor of utility as well as scarcity in his analysis of price. But it was the later, sixteenth-century Spanish scholastics who were to develop the purely subjective, and pro-free market, theory of value. Thus, Luis Saravía de la Calle (1544) denied any role to cost in the determination of price; instead, the market price, which is the just price, is determined by the forces of supply and demand, which in turn is the result of the common estimation of consumers on the market. Saravía wrote, “Excluding all deceit and malice, the just price of a thing is the price which it commonly fetches at the time and place of the deal….” He goes on to point out that the price of a thing will change in accordance with its abundance or scarcity. He proceeds to attack the “cost of production theory” of just price: Those who measure the just price by the labour, costs, and risk incurred by the person who deals in the merchandise or produces it, or by the cost of transport or the expense of travelling … or by what he has to pay the factors for their industry, risk, and labour, are greatly in error, and still more so are those who allow a certain profit of a fifth or a tenth. For the just price arises from the abundance or scarcity of goods, merchants, and money, … and not from costs, labour, and risk.

If we had to consider labour and risk in order to assess the just price, no merchant would ever suffer loss, nor would abundance or scarcity of goods and money enter into the question. Prices are not commonly fixed on the basis of costs. Why should a bale of linen brought overland from Brittany at great expense be worth more than one which is transported cheaply by sea? … Why should a book written out by hand be worth more than one which is printed, when the latter is better though it costs less to produce? … The just price is found not by counting the cost but by the common estimation…6

Similarly, the Spanish scholastic Diego de Covarrubias y Leiva (1554), a distinguished expert on Roman law and a theologian at the University of Salamanca, wrote that the “value of an article” depends “on the estimation of men, even if that estimation be foolish.” Wheat is more expensive in the Indies than in Spain “because men esteem it more highly, though the nature of the wheat is the same in both places.” The just price should be considered not at all with reference to its original or labor cost, but only the common market value where the good is sold; a value, Covarrubias points out, which will fall when buyers are few and goods are abundant, and will rise from the opposite conditions.7

The Spanish scholastic Francisco García (1583) engaged in a remarkably sophisticated analysis of the determinants of value and utility. The valuation of goods, García pointed out, depended on several factors. One was the abundance or scarcity of the supply of goods; the former causing a lower estimation and the latter an increase. A second was whether buyers or sellers are few or many. Another was whether “money is scarce or plentiful,” with the former causing lower estimation of goods and the latter a higher. Another is whether “vendors are eager to sell their goods.” The influence of the abundance or scarcity of a good brought García almost to the brink, but not over it, of a marginal utility analysis of valuation.

For example, we have said that bread is more valuable than meat because it is more necessary for the preservation of human life. But there may come a time when bread is so abundant and meat so scarce that bread is cheaper than meat.8  The Spanish scholastics also anticipated the Austrian School in applying value theory to money, thus beginning the integration of money into general value theory. It is generally believed, for example, that in 1568 Jean Bodin inaugurated what is unfortunately called “the quantity theory of money”—but which would more accurately be called the application of supply and demand analysis to money. Yet he was anticipated, twelve years earlier, by the Salamanca theologian, the Dominican, Martín de Azpilcueta Navarro, who was inspired to explain the inflation brought  about by the importation of gold and silver by the Spaniards from the New World. Citing previous scholastics, Azpilcueta declared that “money is worth more where it is scarce than where it is abundant.” Why? Because “all merchandise becomes dearer when it is in great demand and short supply, and that money, in so far as it may be sold, bartered, or exchanged by some other form of contract, is merchandise and therefore also becomes dearer when it is in great demand and short supply.” Azpilcueta noted that “we see by experience that in France, where money is scarcer than in Spain, bread, wine, cloth, and labour are worth much less. And even in Spain, in times when money was scarcer, saleable goods and labour were given for very much less than after the discovery of the Indies, which flooded the country with gold and silver. The reason for this is that money is worth more where and when it is scarce than where and when it is abundant.”9

Furthermore, the Spanish scholastics went on to anticipate the classical-Mises-Cassel purchasing-power parity theory of exchange rates, by proceeding logically to apply the supply-and-demand theory to foreign exchanges, an institution which was highly developed by the early modern period. The influx of specie into Spain had depreciated the Spanish escudo in foreign exchange, as well as raised prices within Spain, and the scholastics had to deal with this startling phenomenon. It was the eminent Salamanca theologian, the Dominican Domingo de Soto, who, in 1553, first fully applied the supply and demand analysis to foreign exchange rates. De Soto noted that “the more plentiful money is in Medina the more unfavorable are the terms of exchange, and the higher the price that must be paid by whoever wishes to send money from Spain to Flanders, since the demand for money is smaller in Spain than in Flanders. And the scarcer money is in Medina the less he need pay there, because more people want money in Medina than are sending it to Flanders.”10  What de Soto is saying is that as the stock of money increases, the utility of each unit of money to the population will decline, and vice versa; in short, only the great stumbling block of failing to specify the concept of the marginal unit prevents him from arriving at the doctrine of the diminishing marginal utility of money. Azpilcueta, in the passage noted above, is applying the de Soto analysis of the influence of the supply of money on exchange rates, at the same time as he is setting forth a theory of supply and demand in determining the purchasing power of money within a country.

The de Soto-Azpilcueta analysis was spread to the merchants of Spain by the Dominican friar Tomás de Mercado, who, in 1569, wrote a handbook of commercial morality in Spanish, in contrast to the scholastic theologians who invariably wrote in Latin. It was followed by Garcia, and endorsed at the end of the sixteenth century by the Sala-manca theologian, the Dominican Domingo de Bañez, and by the great Portuguese Jesuit, Luis de Molina. Writing in 1601, Molina set forth the theory in an elegant and comprehensive manner: …there is another way in which money may be worth more in one place than in another; namely, because it is scarcer there than elsewhere. Other things being equal, wherever money is most abundant, there will it be least valuable for the purpose of buying goods and comparing things other than money.

Just as an abundance of goods causes prices to fall (the quantity of money and number of merchants being equal) so does an abundance of money cause them to rise (the quantity of goods and number of merchants being equal). The reason is that the money itself becomes less valuable for the purpose of buying and comparing goods. Thus we see that in Spain the purchasing-power of money is far lower, on account of its abundance, than it was eighty years ago. A thing that could be bought for two ducats at that time is nowadays worth 5, 6, or even more. Wages have risen in the same proportion, and so have dowries, the price of estates, the income from benefices, and other things.

We likewise see that money is far less valuable in the New World (especially in Peru, where it is most plentiful), than it is in Spain. But in places where it is scarcer than in Spain, there will it be more valuable. Nor will the value of money be the same in all other places, but will vary: and this will be because of variations in its quantity, other things being equal…. Even in Spain itself, the value of money varies: it is usually lowest of all in Seville, where the ships come in from the New World and where for that reason money is most abundant. Wherever the demand for money is greatest, whether for buying or carrying goods, … or for any other reason, there its value will be highest. It is these things, too, which cause the the value of money to vary in course of time in one and the same place.11

The outstanding revisionist work on the economic thought of the medieval and later scholastics is that of the late Professor Raymond de Roover, in a series of articles and essays. Basing himself in part on the Grice-Hutchinson volume, de Roover published his first comprehensive discussion in 1955.12  For the medieval period, de Roover particularly points to the early fourteenth-century French Ockhamite scholastic, John Buridan, and to the famous early fifteenth-century Italian preacher, San Bernardino of Siena. He notes that Buridan insisted that value is measured by the human wants of the community of individuals; and that the market price is the just price. Furthermore, Buridan was perhaps the first to make it clear in a pre-Austrian manner that voluntary exchange demonstrates subjective preferences, “since he states that the person who exchanges a horse for money would not have done so, if he had not preferred money to a horse.”13  Buridan added that workers hire themselves out because they value the wages they receive higher than the labor they have to expend.14 De Roover then discussed the sixteenth-century Spanish scholastics, centered at the University of Salamanca, the queen of the Spanish universities of the period. From Salamanca, the influence of this school of scholastics spread to Portugal, Italy, and the Low Countries. In addition to summarizing Grice-Hutchinson’s contribution, and adding to her bibliography, de Roover notes that both de Soto and Molina denounced as “fallacious” the notion of the late thirteenth-century scholastic John Duns Scotus that the just price is the cost of production plus a reasonable profit; instead, that price is the common estimation, the interaction of supply and demand, on the market. Molina further introduced the concept of competition by stating that competition among buyers will drive prices up, while a scarcity of purchasers will pull them down.15

In a later article, de Roover elaborated on his researches into the scholastic theory of the just price. He found that the orthodox view of the just price as a station-in-life, cost-of-production price, was based almost solely on the views of the fourteenth-century Viennese scholastic, Henry of Langenstein. But Langenstein, de Roover points out, was a follower of the minority views of William of Ockham, and outside the dominant Thomist tradition; Langenstein was rarely cited by later scholastic writers. While some of their passages are open to a conflicting interpretation, de Roover demonstrates that Albertus Magnus and his great pupil Thomas Aquinas held the just price to be the market price. In fact, Aquinas considers the case of a merchant who brings wheat to a country where there is a great scarcity; the merchant happens to know that more wheat is on the way. May he sell his wheat at the existing price, or must he announce to everyone the imminent arrival of new supplies and suffer a fall in price? Aquinas unequivocally answers that he may justly sell the wheat at the current market price, even though he adds as an afterthought that it would be more virtuous of him to inform the buyers. Furthermore, he points to the summary of St. Thomas’s position by his most distinguished commentator, the late fifteenth-century scholastic, Thomas de Vio, Cardinal Cajetan. Cajetan concludes that for Aquinas the just price is “the one, which at a given time, can be gotten from the buyers, assuming common knowledge and in the absence of all fraud and coercion.”16

The cost-of-production theory of just price held by the Scotists was trenchantly attacked by the later scholastics. San Bernardino of Siena, de Roover points out, declared that the market price is fair regardless of whether the producer gains or loses, or whether it is above or below cost. The great early sixteenth-century jurist, Francisco de Vitoria, founder of the School of Salamanca, insisted that the just price is set by supply and demand regardless of labor costs or expenses; inefficient producers or inept speculators must bear the consequences of their incompetence and poor forecasting. His followers asserted the same position. Furthermore, de Roover makes it clear that the general scholastic emphasis on the justice of “common estimation” (communis aesti-matio) is identical to “market valuation” (aestimatio fori), since the scholastics used these two Latin expressions interchangeably.17  De Roover notes, however, that this acceptance of market price did not mean that the scholastics adopted a laissez-faire position. On the contrary, they were often willing to accept governmental price-fixing instead of market action. A few leading scholastics, however, led by Azpilcueta and including Molina, opposed all price-fixing; as Azpilcueta put it, price controls were unnecessary in times of plenty and ineffective or positively harmful in times of dearth.18

In a comment on de Roover’s paper, Professor David Herlihy pushed the argument back further, noting that in the northern Italian city-states of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the birthplace of modern commercial capitalism, the market price was generally considered just because “true” and “real,” if it was “established or utilized without deceit or fraud.” As Herlihy sums up, the just price of an object was its “true value as determined by one of two ways: for objects that were unique, by honest negotiation between seller and purchaser; for staple commodities by the consensus of the marketplace established in the absence of fraud or conspiracy.”19 Professor John W. Baldwin’s definitive account of the theories of just price during the high Middle Ages of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries amply confirmed de Roover’s revisionist insight.20 Baldwin pointed out that there were three important and influential groups of medieval writers: the theologians, whom we have been examining, the Roman lawyers, and the Canon lawyers. For their part, the Romanists, joined by the Canonists, held staunchly to the principle of Roman private law that the just price was whatever was arrived at by free bargaining between buyers and sellers. Baldwin demonstrates that even the theologians of the high Middle Ages before Aquinas accepted the current market price as the just price.21

Several years later, de Roover turned to the views of the scholastics on the broader issue of trade and exchange.22 De Roover conceded the partial validity of the older view that the medieval church frowned on trade as endangering personal salvation; or rather, that, while trade can be honest, it presents great temptation for sin. However, he pointed out that, as trade and commerce grew after the tenth century, the church began to adapt to the idea of the merits of trade and exchange. Thus, while it is true that the twelfth-century scholastic Peter Lombard denounced trade and soldiering as sinful occupations per se, a far more benevolent view of trade was set forth during the thirteenth century by Albertus Magnus and his student Thomas Aquinas, as well as by St. Bonaventure and Pope Innocent V. While trade presented occasions for sin, it was not sinful per se; on the contrary, exchange and the division of labor, for these scholastics, was beneficent in satisfying the wants of the citizens. Moreover, the late thirteenth-century scholastic Richard of Middleton developed the idea that both the buyer and the seller gain by exchange, since each demonstrates that he prefers what he receives in exchange to what he gives up. Middleton also applied this idea to international trade, pointing out that both countries benefit by exchanging their surplus products. Since the merchants and citizens of each country benefit, he pointed out, neither party is “exploiting” the other.

It is true that at the same time, Aquinas and other theologians denounced “covetousness” and love of profit, mercantile gain being only justifiable when directed toward the “good of others”; furthermore, Aquinas attacked “avarice” as attempting to improve one’s “station in life.” But, de Roover points out, the great early sixteenth-century Italian Thomist, Cardinal Cajetan, corrected this view, demonstrating that if this were true, every person would have to be frozen in his current occupation and income. On the contrary, asserted Cajetan, people with unusual ability should be able to rise in the world. De Roover notes that, in contrast to such northern Europeans as Aquinas, Cajetan was quite familiar with the commerce and upward social mobility in the Italian cities. Furthermore, even Aquinas explicitly rejected the idea that prices should be determined by one’s station in life, pointing out that the selling price of any good tends to be the same whether the entrepreneur is poor or wealthy. De Roover concluded the article by hailing the early fifteenth-century scholastic San Bernardino of Siena as being the only theologian who dealt in detail with the economic function of the entrepreneur.

San Bernardino wrote of the uncommon qualities and abilities of the successful entrepreneur, including effort, diligence, knowledge of the market, and calculation of risks, with profit on invested capital justifiable as compensation for the risk and effort of the entrepreneur. De Roover ended by noting the acceptance of religion and of profit in a motto written in a thirteenth-century account book: “In the name of God and of profit.”23

Professor de Roover’s final work in this area was a booklet on San Bernardino and his contemporary, Sant’ Antonio of Florence.24  Elaborating on San Bernardino’s views on trade and the entrepreneur, he shows that the saint pointed out sharply that while the occupation of trade may lead to sin, so may all other occupations, including that of bishops. As for the sins of traders, they consist of such illicit activity as fraud, misrepresentation of products, the sale of adulterated products, and the use of false weights and measures, as well as keeping creditors waiting for their money after a debt is due. As to trade, there are several kinds of useful merchants, according to San Bernardino: importers, exporters, warehousemen, retailers, and manufacturers.

On the rare qualities and virtues that go into the making of successful businessmen, the saint distinguished several qualities. One was efficiency (industria), in which he included knowledge of qualities, prices, and costs, and the ability to assess risks and estimate profit opportunities, which, declared San Bernardino, “indeed very few are capable of doing.” Entrepreneurial ability therefore included the willingness to assume risks (pericula). Thirdly, businessmen must be responsible and attentive to detail; and trouble and toil are also necessary. The rational and orderly conduct of business, also necessary to success, was another virtue lauded by San Bernardino, as was business integrity and the prompt settlement of accounts.

Turning again to the scholastic view of value and price de Roover points out that as early as Aquinas, prices were treated as determined, not by their philosophic rank in nature, but by the degree of the usefulness or utility of the respective products to man and to human wants. As de Roover says of Aquinas, “These passages are clear and unambiguous; value depends upon utility, usefulness, or human wants. There is nowhere any mention of labor as the creator or the measure of value.”25

De Roover then points out that a century before the Spanish scholastics and a century and a half before the sophisticated formulation of Francisco Garcia, San Bernardino had demonstrated that price is determined by scarcity (raritas) usefulness (virtuositas), and pleasurability or desirability (complacibilitas). Greater abundance of a good will cause a drop in its value, and greater scarcity a rise. To have value, furthermore, a good must have usefulness or what we may call “objective utility”; but within that framework, the value is determined by the complacibilitas or “subjective utility” that it has to individual consumers. Again, only the marginal element is lacking for a full-scale pre-Austrian theory of value. Coming to the brink of the later Austrian solution to the classical economists’ “paradox of value,” San Bernardino pointed out that a glass of water, to a man dying of thirst, would be so valuable as to be almost priceless; but fortunately water, though absolutely necessary to human life, is ordinarily so abundant that it commands either a low price or even no price at all. Correcting Schumpeter’s ascription of the founding of subjective utility to Sant’ Antonino, and pointing out that he had derived it from San Bernardino, de Roover shows further that recent scholarship demonstrates that Bernardino derived his own analysis almost word for word from a late thirteenth-century Provençal scholastic, Pierre de Jean Olivi. Apparently, Bernardino had not given credit to Olivi because the latter, coming from another branch of the Franciscan Order, was at that time suspected of heresy.26  Turning to the concept of the “just price,” de Roover makes it clear that San Bernardino, following Olivi, held that the price of a good or service should be “the estimation made in common by all the citizens of the community.” This the saint held explicitly to be the valuation of the market, since he defined the just price as “the one which happens to prevail at a given time according to the estimation of the market, that is, what the commodities for sale are then commonly worth in a certain place.”27

Wages were treated by the two Italian friars as equivalent to the prices of goods. As de Roover writes, for San Bernardino, “the same rules which apply to the prices of goods also apply to the price of services with the consequence that the just wage will also be determined by the forces operating in the market or, in other words, by the demand for labor and the available supply.” An architect is paid more than a ditch digger, asserted Bernardino, because “the former’s job requires more intelligence, greater ability, and longer training and that, consequently, fewer qualify…. Wage differentials are thus to be explained by scarcity because skilled workers are less numerous than unskilled and high positions require even a very unusual combination of skills and abilities.”28 And Sant’ Antonino concluded that the wage of a laborer is a price which, like any other, is properly determined by the common estimation of the market in the absence of fraud.

During and after the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church and scholastic philosophy came under increasingly virulent attack, first from Protestants and then from rationalists, but the result was not so much to eliminate any influence of scholastic philosophy and economics as to mask that influence, since their proclaimed enemies would often fail to cite their writings. Thus, the great early seventeenth-century Dutch Protestant jurist, Hugo Grotius, adopted much of scholastic doctrine, including the emphasis on want and utility as the major determinant of value, and the importance of the common estimation of the market in determining price. Grotius, in fact, explicitly cites the Spanish scholastics Azpilcueta Navarro and Covarrubias. Even more explicitly following the Spanish scholastics of the sixteenth-century were the Jesuit theologians of the following century, including the highly influential Flemish Jesuit Leonardus Lessius (1605), a friend of Luis de Molina, and the even more influential treatise by the Spanish Jesuit, Cardinal Juan de Lugo, which was originally published in 1642 and was reprinted many times in the next three centuries. Also explicitly following the scholastics and the Salamanca School in the seventeenth-century was the widely reprinted treatise of the Genoese philosopher and jurist Sigismundo Scaccia (1618), as well as the Jesuit moral manual by Antonio de Escobar (1652).

To return to what would be the dominant Protestant trend for later economic thought, Grotius’s legal and economic doctrines were followed closely in the later seventeenth century by the Swedish Lutheran jurist, Samuel Pufendorf. While Pufendorf (1672–1673) follows Grotius on utility and scarcity, and the common estimation of the market, in determining value and price, and while he certainly consulted the writings of the Spanish scholastics, it is the rationalistic Pufendorf who drops all citations to these hated scholastic influences upon his teacher. Hence, when Grotian doctrine was brought to Scotland by the early eighteenth-century professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow, Gershom Carmichael, who translated Pufendorf into English, knowledge of scholastic influences was lost. Hence, with Carmichael’s great student and successor Francis Hutcheson, utility begins to be weakened by labor and cost-of-production theories of value, until finally, by the time of Hutcheson’s student Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, pre-Austrian scholastic influence has unfortunately dropped out altogether. Hence the view of Schumpeter, de Roover, and others that Smith (and later Ricardo) shunted economics onto a wrong road which the later marginalists (including the Austrians) had to recapture.

In recent decades, the revisionist scholars have clearly altered our knowledge of the prehistory of the Austrian School of economics. We see emerging a long tradition of proto-Austrian scholastic economics, founded on Aristotle, and continuing through the Middle Ages and the later Italian and Spanish scholastics, and then influencing the French and Italian economists before and up till the day of Adam Smith. The achievement of Carl Menger and the Austrians (Austrian School) was not so much to found a totally new system on the framework of British classical political economy, but in reviving and elaborating upon the older tradition that had been shunted aside by the classical school.


Article from Chalcedon.edu

Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Symposium on Christian Economics; Vol. 2 Number 1, 1975.

  1. Lewis H. Haney, History of Economic Thought, 4th ed. (New York: Macmillan,1949).
  2. “The true descendant of the doctrines of Aquinas is the labor theory of value. The last of the Schoolmen was Karl Marx.” R. H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New York: New American Library, 1954), 38–39.
  3. Joseph A. Schumpeter, A History of Economic Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954).
  4. Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, The School of Salamanca: Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory, 1544–1605 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952).
  5. Ibid., 27.
  6. Luis Saravía de la Calle, Instruction de mercaderes (1544), in ibid., 79–82.
  7. Ibid., 48.
  8. Francisco Garcia, Tratado utilisimo y muy general de todos los contractos (1583), in ibid., 104-05.
  9. Martin de Azpilcueta Navarro, Comentario resolutorio de usuras (1556), in ibid., 94–95.
  10. Domingo de Soto, De Justitia et Jure (1553), in Grice-Hutchinson, op. cit., 55.
  11. Luis de Molina, Disputationes de Contractibus (1601), in ibid., 113–14. Tomás de Mercado’s work is Tratos y contratos de mercaderes (1569); de Bañez’s is De Justitia et Jure (1594). See ibid., 57–58, 96–103.
  12. Raymond de Roover, “Scholastic Economics: Survival and Lasting Influence from the Sixteenth Century to Adam Smith,” Quarterly Journal of Economics (May1955):161–190.
  13. Ibid., 164.
  14. Raymond de Roover, “Joseph A. Schumpeter and Scholastic Economics,” Kyklos (1957, 2):128. De Roover traces the concept of mutual benefit as exhibited in exchange back to Aquinas, who wrote that “buying and selling seem to have been instituted for the mutual advantage of both parties, since one needs something that belongs to the other, and conversely.”
  15. de Roover, “Scholastic Economics,” 168–69. Elsewhere, de Roover notes that the Scotists were a small minority among medieval and later scholastics, whereas the scholastics discussed here were in the mainstream Thomist tradition.
  16. Raymond de Roover, “The Concept of the Just Price: Theory and Economic Policy,” Journal of Economic History (December, 1958), 422–23.
  17. Ibid., 424.
  18. Ibid., 426.
  19. David Herlihy, “The Concept of the Just Price: Discussion,” Journal of Economic History (December 1958):437.
  20. John W. Baldwin, The Medieval Theories of the Just Price: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia: July 1959). See also the review of Baldwin by A. R. Bridbury, Economic History Review (April 1960):512–14.
  21. In particular, the theologians at the great center at the University of Paris in the early thirteenth century: Alexander of Hales, and Aquinas’s teacher, Albertus Magnus. Ibid., 71. Baldwin further points out that theological treatment of such practical questions as the just price in the Middle Ages only began with the development of university centers at the end of the twelfth century. Ibid., 9.
  22. Raymond de Roover, “The Scholastic Attitude toward Trade and Entrepreneurship,” Explorations in Entrepreneurial History (Fall 1963):76–87.
  23. De Roover, here and in his other writings, pointed to the great deficiency in scholastic analysis of the market: the belief that any interest on a pure loan (a mutuum) constituted the sin of usury. The reason is, that, while the scholastics understood the economic functions of risk and opportunity cost, they never arrived at the concept of time preference. On the scholastics and usury, see the magisterial work of John T. Noonan Jr., The Scholastic Analysis of Usury (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1957). See also Raymond de Roover, “The Scholastics, Usury, and Foreign Exchange,” Business History Review (Autumn 1967), 257–71.
  24. Raymond de Roover, San Bernardino of Siena and SantAntonino of Florence: The Two Great Economic Thinkers of the Middle Ages (Boston: Kress Library of Business and Economics, 1967).
  25. Ibid., 17.
  26. On the originality of Olivi, see ibid., 19.
  27. Ibid., 20.
  28. Ibid., 23–24.


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…From Reformation… to Deformation…to…?



 By Donnis Waltersabstract 2

Just before the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, social conditions similar to those of our own times prevailed. Political, educational, economic, and ecclesiastical institutions were in a state of confusion, tension, and decay. Various efforts were made by political rulers and church authorities to make the “medieval system” work. Such efforts were unsuccessful and often only contributed to the growing unrest, confusion, and corruption in society.

philosophesThe classical humanists sought the renovation of society in the realm of arts and letters. They rendered valuable service in that they made learning respectable in kings’ palaces. However, these men lacked the power and originality to meet the problems of the day. They were also past-oriented. They dreamed of the so-called “golden ages” of Greece and Rome. Quite often today’s textbooks present these Renaissanceplato scholars as the originators of modern science. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of them could tell you what Plato and Aristotle said about the anatomy of the calf. But it never seemed to occur to these boys to cut the calf open and see how the critter was actually made! They lacked the doctrine of creation and the impetus to science which the basic doctrine provides. It is not my intention to depreciate the ability of these men. All I am saying is that their systems of thought lacked the inner dynamic to solve the immense problems which arose in late-medieval society.

pagan powerAnother segment of late-medieval society we might call the Libertines or Revolutionaries. They saw nothing worth preserving in medieval society. They feared neither man nor God and saw themselves as the final point of reference. Tear down! “Destroy!” was their cry. They really had no clear idea of how to rebuild the ruins which resulted from their destructive policies. Indeed, when they did gain control of a situation, they only made matters worse by misrule and cruelty, a fact documented superbly by Norman Cohn’s Pursuit of the Millennium. leap of faith

In the early sixteenth century, simultaneous with the aforementioned movements, another movement was quietly gathering force. This movement was what we have come to call the Protestant Reformation. In our ignorant age, people commonly believe the Reformation to be a product of the powerful personalities of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. These men did not originate the Reformation! They only emerged as leaders as the Reformation progressed. To get an accurate picture of the origins of Reformation, let us imagine ourselves perched above Western Europe with X-ray vision into any place we desire. As we look into the monasteries, universities, and various schools, we see men sitting quietly reading the Bible. The medieval church had never in theory renounced the supreme authority of the Scripture, but in practice it had covered it over with all sorts of tradition. But now in troubled times, and with the tremendous tool of the printing press, men were rediscovering the powerful and all-embracing message of the Bible. The Reformers saw that the solution to man’s problems rests not in scholarship, or in rebellion, or in preserving the “medieval system” or any other status quo. They saw in the Bible man created in the image of God. Man, the image-bearer of God, was created good; but he rebelled against his Creator. The fall of man is radical. Man is not just crippled because of sin. He is totally depraved in intellect, emotions, and ability to do anything pleasing in God’s sight. All deformations and corruptions in society come as a result of man’s radical depravity.

Luther’s experience was similar to that of so many others. When he began to teach and write his doctrine he brought into focus basic issues which many of like heart and mind were struggling to understand and solve. As Luther examined himself in the light of the Bible’s teaching, he saw that nothing he could do would remove from him the wrath and punishment of God. He gradually came under the conviction that if there was to be any hope for men, it must come from without. He rediscovered that it was God who sovereignly gives salvation through the once-for-all sacrifice of His Son on the cross. This great salvation, which God alone can give, both justifies and sanctifies men. In justification the Christian’s legal status before God is changed. His guilt is removed by the substitutionary atonement of Christ the Mediator. In sanctification he is renewed inwardly and is enabled to seek after and do the will of God. How do these benefits come to be the possession of a man? They are not received through the sacramental systems of the medieval church but by personal trust (faith) in Christ the Mediator.

The Reformers saw that the medieval church had interposed the sacramental system between men and Christ the Redeemer. Men are liberated from sin and all the hideous consequences of sin not by obedience to the Roman hierarchy and diligent use of the sacraments but by faith (abiding trust) in Christ and His complete atoning work. Luther and the other Reformers were not content to rest in the peace they had found with God. Once they had answered the question of how one becomes right with God, they immediately pressed on to see what they could do in gratitude to God for their salvation.

The Heidelberg Catechism breathes the whole spirit of the Reformation in its tripartite division. The first part deals with man’s condition in his fallen state (guilt). The second part deals with how man is put right with God again (redemption). The last section is an exposition of the Ten Commandments and other parts of Scripture explaining how to live a holy life in thankfulness for God’s redeeming work. Under John Calvin, this complex of guilt-redemption-gratitude received the greatest elaboration. Wherever Calvin’s influence went in Europe and in the New World, we find men taking seriously their responsibility in society. It was the firm conviction of those early “Calvinists” that just as only in the Bible do we find how man is put right with God, similarly only in the Bible do we find how to live a life of gratitude to eradicate sin and the effects of sin in the social order. We find men eagerly studying the Bible to apply its principles to all of life.

We find men who at first did not seek to reform culture but sought a right relationship with God. But an amazing thing began to happen. As the great theological themes of the Reformation were preached and taught, we find in their wake a great flowering of the arts and sciences. The flowering of the arts and sciences in the path of the Reformation is a huge subject about which volumes have been written. Let me give a couple of examples here: Consider the great works of J. S. Bach and George R. Handel. These composers were self consciously influenced by Reformation doctrines. Their work would have been impossible without Luther and Calvin.

If we turn to examine the realm of natural science, we see especially the imprint of Calvin. Renewed interest in natural science is an integral part of the Calvinistic world and life view. This renewed interest in the natural sciences was to explode into the great discoveries of [people like] William Harvey and Sir Isaac Newton; [just] to name only two in the centuries following the Reformation.

Calvin and Luther broke with the classical humanists here. They ended slavish dependence on Aristotle and company. Instead, they took their starting point for science in the Bible, especially in the early chapters of Genesis. Man is created having dominion over the creation. He is to develop that creation, care for it, and search out its meaning as God’s representative on earth. This cultural mandate was to have far-reaching effects for the Reformers and their children. The cultural mandate opened up vast areas in every sphere of life for study, development, and consecration to the service of God. All such study and development requires labor.

Let us now zero in on some specific aspects of labor in the Protestant Reformers’ thought. How did they bring their understanding of the Bible to bear on the labor enterprise? I will take Calvin’s view as representative because he is better known than most others and he expressly states his views in his writings.

First of all, Calvin broke with the medieval secular-sacred distinction in vocation. Not only the churchmen, but everyone who labored in a legitimate vocation had a sacred calling before God. Each individual is seen as the recipient of gifts given him by God and is responsible for their development. Furthermore, work is seen as an act of worship towards God. In response to salvation the redeemed man seeks in gratitude to offer the work of his hands to God as an act of worship. Work, then, has eternal significance. What is done to God’s glory will endure in heaven. The new heavens and the new earth will be filled with the labors of men in this present age with all its strife and imperfections. Perhaps it is necessary to offset this Protestant doctrine of labor very sharply from any idealistic view of work. Men like Calvin knew that they were redeemed in Christ and that redemption extended also to their labor. But they also understood that, unto death, sin and its effects cling to the man who is renewed in Christ. (See Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 7.) For this very reason, we see them trying to apply the searchlight of the entire Scriptures to the science-labor enterprise. Tear out that which is false, replace it with that which is true and God honoring!

Calvin and his colleagues were especially careful to differentiate their stance from that of the Revolutionaries. They retained much in the medieval view of labor that was good. In particular, they sought to retain the personal bond between employer and employee. But they sought to enrich that bond and expand it in a distinctive Christian way. In such an attitude we see a very prominent expression of the doctrine of a continuing reformation. Calvin and Luther were very impatient not only with revolutionaries but also with those “conservatives” who thought they had “arrived” as far as Christian doctrine and life were concerned.

As we noted earlier, the results of these views, which we have so briefly outlined above, resulted in a real flowering of the arts and sciences. The French and Dutch Protestants, in spite of extreme circumstances and obstacles, were the dominant force on the Continent in the expansion of the frontiers of industry and science. The English Puritans and Presbyterians who founded America were easily the most industrious, learned, and energetic men of their age. The great scientists and inventors of the 1700s were almost all men of deepest Protestant conviction. This was no coincidence. Their scientific work was a direct outcome of their deepest religious convictions.1

Modern labor and science have become wrenched from their Christian foundations. The results have been a distortion and degradation of labor. I am not entering into any depth to show how this degradation has come about. However, a few comments of a general nature are in order. Much of the blame for the degradation of labor must be laid squarely at the feet of the Protestant churches. Doctrinal indifference and compromise over the last two hundred years has greatly weakened Christian influence in labor. The sad spectacle has been that not only those outside the church but also many professing Christians sought to live on the blessings of the Reformation without the foundation upon which those blessings rest. These nominal Protestants failed to see that meaningful work has its beginning, not in some abstract philosophy of work or even in work itself, but in a right relationship to God, who ordains and alone gives dignity to labor.

Another factor leading to the deformation of society since the Reformation has been in the combination of the older humanism with the revolutionary spirit. Perhaps the greatest catalyst of this humanistic revolutionary synthesis was the French Revolution. Since the time of the French Revolution we may easily discern the shape and content of modern humanism. This modern humanism, whether in the scientific, philosophical, or theological realm, sees man as the final point of reference. This man-centered world and life view flooded into the moral and intellectual vacuum left by the anemic Protestant churches. Thus we have a rather rapid development of modern humanism, which has come to dominate labor, art, and science. Modern humanists seek an interpretation of life entirely apart from the God of Scripture. Modern humanistic man is perfectly willing to accept all the fruits of the scientific-cultural enterprise so long as God is left out of the picture. Well, what has happened in the modern humanistic world, which allows God and His Word no place in the formation and development of art, science, and labor? You can read it in the papers and experience it yourself. It is a world of fear, hatred, greed, and distrust where everything noble, good, and beautiful is being systematically destroyed! Our world without God and redemption without Christ has turned into a [humanistic] nightmare.

Humanistic philosophers such as Marx, Darwin, Kant, and company, who have sought to put a theoretical foundation under their world without God, have not been able to set our hearts at ease. Indeed, their work has only added to the dissolution and cruelty in modern society. Oh yes, I know we still have some around who speak of the supremacy of reason and swear that man will solve it all. But those who have consistently, and inconsistently, too, followed Marx, Darwin, and company have ended in irrationalism, nihilism, and modern skeptical philosophy. Many modern existentialist thinkers are frankly admitting that modern humanism is bankrupt and has no exit from its bankruptcy and despair. “Fear, only fear alone, in the dark remains.”

We began this paper by saying that social conditions preceding the Protestant Reformation were similar to those confronting us today. Need I speak of revolutionaries or libertines? Many conservatives are also looking to a past golden age. Others are trying to patch up the humanistic system, trying to make it work. Neither approach can possibly succeed.

What is needed is Christian reconstruction. This involves the past, the present, and the future. The past provides the traditions and successes of those who have built in terms of God’s truth, either explicitly (e.g., the Reformers or early Church Fathers) or implicitly (modern scientists who have operated as if they believed in a doctrine of creation). There is historical unfolding, historical progress. The linear history position is exclusively a Christian and Western heritage, and we must not lose it. Our work in the present would suffer if we should turn our backs on the past. We are the heirs of those who have gone before. But our concern must be for the future. The future-oriented culture is the progressive culture. It is an upper-class culture. It and it alone offers men the promise that their present labors will have meaning for the future. They will leave something behind them. They will not be forgotten on earth. God is the Lord of creation and the Lord of time. His creative hand guarantees to each man meaning in history. It is this vision which made Western culture possible. Lose it, and we die culturally. The answer is not in some humanistic future, nor is it in some hypothetically autonomous past. The answer is the Word of God. It is on this foundation that we must build.


Article from Chalcedon.edu

The Journal of Christian Reconstruction: Symposium on Christian Economics; Vol. 2, Number 1, 1975.

  1. On this subject see R. Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, n.d.).



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The 21st Century’s Attack on Religious Freedom

A Few Examples of Hatred and Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United Statessunset church

Many of the first European settlers on American shores sought freedom from religious persecution. Decades later, the Founding Fathers considered religious liberty to be a paramount principle in the new United States. Religious liberty is our “first freedom,” not only because it is listed first in the Bill of Rights but because without it, all other freedoms are impossible: The Founders affirmed that allegiance to God precedes allegiance to the state, and that our rights come from our Creator, not the government. This is the essential assumption upon which our entire system of government has been built. Religious liberty was so important to the Framers of the new United States Constitution that they included it in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929Fast forward three hundred years, and hostility to religious expression in the public square is reaching levels unprecedented in the history of the United States. Militant atheists target long existing crosses and historical markers of America’s religious heritage in public places.Travel Trend Myanmar Tourism

Teachers tell young school-children they can’t read their Bible in school. Private citizens and the government alike are attacking religious expression by other citizens. Whether it’s a media backlash to merely expressing a faith position on sexuality, or the use of nondiscrimination laws to punish religious business owners for their decisions, threats to free speech and free exercise are heating-up, both in the courts and the public square.

This publication contains a list of documented accounts of hostility toward faith in the United States today, broken down in the following four definable types of incidents:

Section I: Suppression of Religious Expression in the Public Square;

Section II: Suppression of Religious Expression in Schools and Universities;

Section III: Censure of Religious Viewpoints Regarding Sexuality; and

Section IV: Suppression of Religious Expression on Sexuality Using Non-discrimination Laws.

Most of the documented accounts here have occurred within the past several years. This, in and of itself, is troubling. But in some areas, particularly with regard to statements and positions on sexuality (many of which are documented in Sections III and IV below), hostility toward religion has increased at an exponential rate. This trend should cause any freedom-loving individual to be truly alarmed.

Americans urgently need to be aware of the suppression of religion in this regard. Yet this should not just concern those whose rights are most immediately affected, for the principles underlying suppression of rights in this area will very quickly and easily lead to the restriction and suppression of free inquiry and critical thinking. All should be concerned that suppression of rights, particularly as outlined in Sections III and IV of this publication, is the product of more insidious forces which ultimately will erode liberties for all Americans, regardless of viewpoint or level of concern with these immediate issues.

As Americans’ awareness grows, we can focus our attention on the public debate and the state of the law. Liberty does not maintain itself, and in a democracy, many voices are constantly clamoring for desired protections and privileges to be enshrined in law. As we become more fully aware of and engaged on the issue of hostility toward religion, we can more effectively defend civil liberties and restore religious liberty to its proper place in American society.

Section I

Attacks on Religious Expression in the Public Square

 Attacks on the expression of religion in the “public square” of government and public property, land, and buildings are not recent. For many years, those opposed to crosses and monuments in public places have attempted to use the courts to have these displays declared unconstitutional, often under Establishment Clause grounds. However, zealous atheist groups increasingly have focused their hostility on private religious expression which is only very tenuously connected to government. They have continued to harass small towns and localities which merely maintain the traditions handed to them involving years of public prayer, displays of religious history on public buildings, or crosses on veterans’ memorials.

Often, not knowing any better and lacking proper counsel, localities capitulate to the demands of those hostile to any public expression of faith. However, capitulation is not necessary, as attorneys and advocates are ready to help. Following are documented incidents of hostility to religious expression in the public square.

Girl Barred from Singing “Kumbaya” Because It Was a “Religious” Song

August 11, 2000*

Samantha Schulz, an eight-year-old girl from Port Charlotte, Florida, was barred from singing “Kumbaya” at a Boys & Girls Club talent show because the song included the words “Oh, Lord.” Bill Sadlo, the club’s Director of Operations, “worried parents would complain if children went home and said they heard a religious song at the nonsectarian camp.” He said, “[w]e don’t want to take the chance of a child offending another child’s religion.” Randy Bouck, the club’s local director, chimed in: “We just can’t allow any religious songs. . . . You have to check your religion at the door.” Samantha’s parents were livid at not being given notice that their daughter’s song would be barred. Her mother said, “I learned that song in Girl Scouts, not in church. . . . It’s a campfire song, for goodness’ sake.” Mr. Sadlo agreed the club should have notified the girl’s parents earlier that the song would not be allowed, and apologized to the family.

Seniors Banned from Singing Christmas Carols in Their Homes  

December 2005

 Seniors living in facilities owned by the Housing Resource Development Corporation were told they could not sing Christmas carols. Following an attorney’s demand letter, the facility reversed its decision.

Voluntary After-Prison Rehab Center Closed Because of Its Faith-Based Technique

May 2007*

The Bristol County, Massachusetts, sheriff’s department funded a rehabilitation program to help recently released prisoners deal with drug addiction and reintegrate into society. Americans United for Separation of Church and State threatened legal action against the county for funding a faith-based organization. The sheriff gave in to the pressure and expelled the group from the facility.

ACLU Works to Stop Tourism Grant from Going to Christian Concert

November 20, 2008

Hernando County, Florida, makes grants available for events that will bring tourists into the county in order to spur economic development and promote the county as a tourist destination. The Tourist Development Council approved a grant for the Freedom Fest, a Christian music festival held on the Fourth of July weekend. Despite the secular purpose of the grant and the neutral manner in which it is granted, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) complained about the funds going to a religious festival. In response to the complaints, the festival was forced to change its name from the “God and Country” festival to the “Family, Freedom, and Country” festival, and the grant had to be given directly to vendors instead of the organization promoting the festival. The ACLU still warned that any “overt religious overtones” at the event would cause “trouble” for the county.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Threatens Technical Colleges in Wisconsin for Having

Good Friday Holiday — January 2009

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent letters to technical colleges in Wisconsin claiming that having Good Friday as a holiday was unconstitutional. Several of the technical colleges indicated that they would eliminate their celebration of the holiday.

All Christmas Displays Banned from Washington State Capitol Building  after Complaint from Freedom from Religion Foundation — October 30, 2009

After receiving a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the state of Washington banned all holiday displays other than the “holiday tree” inside its capitol building.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Attacks Mother Teresa Stamp  

January 2010

The United States Postal Service (USPS) honored Mother Teresa, a Noble Peace Prize recipient, with a memorial stamp for her humanitarian relief. The Freedom from Religion Foundation criticized the stamp as a violation of USPS regulations by honoring a religious figure and called on its members to boycott the stamp and begin a letter-campaign to expose the “darker side” of Mother Teresa.

Federal Reserve Board Demands Bank Remove Religious Christmas Decorations

December 2010

An Oklahoma bank was forced to remove Bible verses from its website, crosses from teller stations, and buttons that carried a Christian Christmas message for a day after a visit from Federal Reserve employees. The Federal Reserve Board ruled that banks may not make any religious statement as doing so might discourage people from applying for loans. The Federal Reserve employees checking the bank to make sure it complied with regulations cited the religious material and demanded its removal. After the president of the bank challenged the Federal Reserve, the religious items were restored while the Federal Reserve made a more thorough investigation of the issue.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Threatens Commissioner for Having a Cross And Nativity Scene in His Personal Office – December 2010

The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to Dennis Lennox, a county drain commissioner, threatening a lawsuit if he would not remove a cross and Nativity scene from his personal office. FFRF claimed the display is a violation of the Establishment Clause. Lennox commented, “This is my private office in my private area, I’m not trying to force my faith down anybody’s throat[;] I’m just saying I celebrate Christmas.”

Obama Administration Tries to Keep Prayer off World War II Memorial

November 2011

The Obama Administration opposed the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2011, which would have put a copy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer on the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Administration claims that, under the Commemorative Works Act, it is prohibited to put anything on a memorial that will hide part of it. Senator Rob Portman renewed efforts to have the prayer placed at the memorial in May of 2013.

City Threatened for Renting Amphitheater to Christian Musician  

April 5, 2012*

A resident of Draper, Utah, threatened to sue the city if it did not cancel a Michael W. Smith concert because the city rented the city’s amphitheater to the Christian musician and facilitated ticket sales through the city’s website. The city refused to cancel the concert and noted that it treated the Michael W. Smith concert in the same manner that it treats all groups that desire to perform at the amphitheater.

Atheist Group Bullies Santa Clara, California to Remove Historical Marker

April 5, 2012

The Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded that Santa Clara, California, remove a granite cross from Memorial Cross Park. The Santa Clara Lions Club had donated the cross for the park as a historical marker to mark the location of a mission built in 1779.

Steakhouse Threatened for “Church Member Appreciation Day”  

June 11, 2012

The Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse in Wiggins, Mississippi, developed promotional offers to attract customers. One such offer was the “church member appreciation day,” during which church members could get a discount at the steakhouse. The Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened the steakhouse for offering this discount, asserting that this promotion violated the Civil Rights Act. The restaurant responded by stating that it would “discontinue including churches in [its] discount promotions and programs moving forward and will only offer them to other local businesses and companies that are not religious in nature.”

Government Bans Prayer at Homeless Shelter 

July 2012

The United Caring Shelter (UCS) in Evansville, Illinois, allowed prayer before a free meal provided by the shelter. The prayers were open to all and were not mandatory. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, demanded that UCS stop the prayers or stop accepting federal assistance to feed the homeless. The UCS now permits only a moment of silence before meals.

Seniors Threatened with Removal of Christmas Tree  

December 6, 2012

Senior citizens in Los Angeles, California, were threatened with the removal of a Christmas tree from the communal area of their assisted living apartment complex. Initially, the company running the complex planned to remove all religious holiday items from the apartment complex’s communal areas. After residents strongly protested, the company reversed course and claimed it never intended to prohibit the celebration of the holidays, and that the planned removal of the Christmas tree was due to a misunderstanding.

Atheist Group Demands Vietnam Veterans Memorial Be Removed  

February 7, 2013

 The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to Coos Bay, Oregon, demanding that the city remove its Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial because the memorial includes a cross. Since the FFRF sent its letter, the cross has been vandalized and a bomb was placed on the cross near a playground. City officials, however, are not backing down and have refused to remove the cross.

Atheists Target Nativity Scene  

December 6, 2013

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote a letter to local officials in Chipley, Florida and demanded that the city remove a nativity scene from the grounds surrounding its City Hall, alleging that the crèche represented a violation of the separation of church and state. Yet many locals supported the crèche’s presence. Resident Anne Chenault said she enjoyed the nativity scene and that those who disliked it were not forced to embrace its sentiment. “We think it represents the majority of the beliefs of the people that live here,” she said. Many Chipley residents showed up to a city council meeting to show their support for the crèche and to fight back against attempts to have it removed from the Chipley City Hall grounds. A local reporter unwittingly put the Freedom from Religion Foundation on notice of the crèche when he contacted the organization to learn if the nativity’s presence is constitutional. He then published an apology, explaining that he had contacted the organization, among others, out of curiosity and did not intend to spark controversy over the nativity. The newspaper clarified that it did not desire the removal of the crèche. Council members have so far pledged to keep the nativity in place.

Section II

Attacks on Religious Expression in Schools and Universities

Religious expression in our public schools has been a source of conflict and controversy for some time. Yet student rights and the rights of school employees are often subjected to Establishment Clause concerns. Some of the same atheist groups opposed to religious expression in the public square have also targeted our schools, and by extension, our children in those schools. Local communities across the nation have, historically, successfully determined how their children are to be educated – as parents, their children, and local administrators and teachers come together and participate in a microcosm of democracy. Yet outside groups hostile to faith often interject themselves to these local communities, threatening legal action if the communities do not capitulate to their demands. As is often the case in other situations, local governments do not know better, lack proper counsel, and therefore give in to these groups’ wishes. Yet capitulation within the academic arena is not necessary. Attorneys and advocates are ready to help these communities protect religious expression in their schools and educate their children as they see fit. Following are documented incidents of hostility to religious expression in our schools.

Elementary Student Told She Cannot Read Religious Book as Her Favorite Book about Christmas Traditions – December 2001

A second-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School in Massachusetts, as part of a class project, asked students to bring books to class about their Christmas traditions. Laura Greska, a second-grader, brought a book called The First Christmas, but her teacher stopped her from reading it because it was religious. A lawsuit was filed against the school district for violating Laura’s First Amendment rights.

Teacher Prevents Kindergarten Student from Praying before Snacks  

April 2002

Kindergartner Kayla Broadus prayed, “God is good. God is great. Thank you, God, for my food,” with two classmates at her school in Saratoga Springs, New York, at the snack table before they ate their snack. Her teacher silenced the prayer, scolded Kayla, and informed the school’s lawyer. A lawsuit ensued over the child’s prayer.

Students Told They May Paint Panels at the School So Long As None Reference God or Jesus – May 2002

When students at the Boca Raton School District in Florida were permitted to paint panels around the high school, members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes were told that they could not paint messages with references to God or Jesus. The members and their parents filed a lawsuit against the school to stop the discrimination.

Muslim Student Suspended for Wearing Head Covering  

October 2003

Nashala Hearn, an eleven-year-old Muslim girl in the Muskogee Public School District, was suspended twice for wearing a head covering, since the school district’s dress code did not allow “hats, caps, bandannas, plastic caps, and hoods on jackets.” After a lawsuit was filed criticizing the dress code as unconstitutional, the school district changed the code to allow for religious exceptions.

Student Threatened with Suspension for Posting Flyers of the Ten Commandments

June 2004

High school junior Jason Farr wanted to see the Ten Commandments posted in his school and other schools in his district. So he posted flyers of the Ten Commandments, which resulted in a threat of a five-day suspension. Additionally, Farr was informed that the Bible was not suitable material for the silent reading period, despite the fact that it fulfilled the school’s page and genre requirements for reading material.

Middle School Students Stopped from Praying at the Flagpole

October 2005

Three students at a middle school in Barnegat, New Jersey, met at the flagpole and started to pray. A school administrator stopped the students, telling them that they could not participate in “See You at the Pole,” that their prayers were creating a “disturbance,” and they must stop mixing school and religion. Upon being threatened with a lawsuit, the school reversed its decision and allowed a “do-over” prayer meeting.

University Denies Funding to Student Group That is “Too Religious”  


The University of Wisconsin-Madison Roman Catholic Foundation was denied funds from the student activity fee funding on the grounds that the organization was “too religious.” The Foundation appealed to the Student Judiciary. The Freedom from Religion Foundation pressured the Student Judiciary to withhold funding, but the Student Judiciary reversed the university’s decision and granted the funding.

High School Cancels “Diversity Day” Instead of Including Christians

March 8, 2006

The Viroqua High School planned a “diversity day” in order to showcase the viewpoints of various religious groups, sexual orientations, and nationalities, but stated that Christian groups and former homosexuals would be excluded. After a legal organization intervened on behalf of the excluded groups, the school district cancelled the event entirely rather than include them.

College Student Penalized for Choosing to Write about Religious Poem  

July 24, 2008

Bethany Roden, a student at Tarrant County College in Texas, was assigned to write a response paper on two poems of her choice for an English composition class. Roden chose poems with religious themes and incorporated her religious beliefs into her essay. Her professors penalized her for including religious themes in her essay. Upon receiving a demand letter, the college changed Roden’s grade from a B to an A.

Student Penalized for Mentioning Jesus in a Christmas Poem  

December 3, 2008

An eleven-year-old student in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was penalized for mentioning Jesus in a Christmas poetry assignment. His teacher asked him to submit a rewrite of the poem. Upon being overruled by the principal, the teacher then refused to display the students’ poems as promised.

Principal and Athletic Director Criminally Charged for Praying over a Meal

January 28, 2009

Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman were charged with criminal contempt because they prayed over a meal. The ACLU had received an injunction prohibiting school employees from promoting religion at school events. Lay and Freeman were found not guilty of violating the injunction.

Oregon School Bans Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, and Dreidels  

December 8, 2009

An elementary school in Ashland, Oregon, banned Christmas trees, Santa Claus figures, and dreidels following a complaint from a parent. The school decided that the only acceptable decorations are wreaths, snowflakes, snowmen, candles, and candy canes. The school’s Christmas tree, which had no religious decorations, was replaced with a large snowman.

Virginia School Bans Students from Posting the Ten Commandments on Their Lockers

February 23, 2011

The Floyd County High School administration banned students from posting religious material in the school. This censorship resulted when students who are members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes placed copies of the Ten Commandments on the fronts of their lockers. The administration removed these copies of the Ten Commandments from each locker that displayed them.

High School Class President Threatened with Arrest for Praying at Graduation

May 24, 2011

The class president of Hampton High School Hampton, Tennessee wanted to pray at her graduation. The principal of the school, however, said that any students who attempt to pray would be stopped, escorted from the building by police, and arrested. After receiving a demand letter, the school reversed its policy.

Student Suspended for Identifying As a Christian and Stating Views on Homosexuality

September 2011

Dakota Ary, an honors student in Fort Worth, Texas, mentioned to a friend during German class that he is a Christian and that he believes homosexuality is wrong. The comment was a result of the German teacher’s discussion of homosexuality with the class and the teacher’s displaying of a picture showing two men kissing. The teacher overheard Ary’s comment and became irate. The teacher then sent Ary to the principal, who suspended Ary for three days. After the school was confronted with its discrimination against Ary’s Christian beliefs, it rescinded his punishment.

Residents and Teachers Prohibited from Praying at School Flagpole  

November 2011

Freedom from Religion Foundation complained to a Jacksonville, Florida, school about privately-organized, weekly prayers around its flagpole before school begins, which had occurred for the previous twelve years. In response, the county school board requested the prayers stop. When the prayers continued, the school district’s attorney said it would use whatever legal means necessary to remove Ron Baker, the minister leading the prayers, from the grounds. The school district only stopped its action against the prayers after Mr. Baker promised to only lead prayers off school grounds.

Group Demands School Band Stop Playing “God Bless America”  

August 2012

The Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded that the Wayland High School band in Wayland, Massachusetts, stop playing “God Bless America” on Pearl Harbor Day and Memorial Day. The FFRF’s letter to the school stated that playing “God Bless America” on a repetitive basis “sends a message to students that the school is endorsing and compelling belief in a god.” The school did not acquiesce to the group’s demands.

Atheist Group Threatens School for Teaching Two Songs that Mention God in Music Class

August 6, 2012

The Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened the Shenendehowa Central Schools of Clifton Park, New York, because the school district’s music class includes two songs that mention God in their lyrics. The school district refused to change its curriculum, noting that the songs “were used appropriately to teach specific musical concepts, and as the basis for secular classroom activities.” FFRF did not follow through on its threats against the school district.

Oklahoma School Bullied into Replacing Christmas Songs with “Secular Winter-Themed Songs” – December 2012

The Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened Sulphur Elementary School in Sulphur, Oklahoma, for including Christmas songs referencing the historical reason for Christmas in the school’s December play. FFRF claimed that references to “a baby boy” as the “reason for the season” are “divisive” and the Christmas songs should be replaced with generic “secular winter-themed songs.” The school submitted to the FFRF’s demand.

Atheist Opposition to “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown” Cancels School Field Trip

December 2012

Students in Little Rock, Arkansas, were planning to take a field trip to see Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, a stage adaptation of the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. The school explained to parents that the play “would enhance [their] child’s creative imagination in the area of dramatic arts.” The school also provided notice that the play contained religious themes. As a result of the opposition to the students’ being allowed to see the play, the play was canceled due to safety concerns.

EEOC Investigates Firing of Teacher for Giving a Bible to a Student

January 14, 2013

Walt Tutka, a substitute teacher in New Jersey, was fired by the Phillipsburg School District for handing a Bible to a student who asked for one. When the student was the last to enter through a door, Mr. Tutka said, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” The student repeatedly inquired about the origin of the phrase. Eventually, Mr. Tutka found the quote in a pocket New Testament and showed it to the student. The student then commented that he did not own a Bible, so Mr. Tutka offered the pocket Bible to the student. The school district then fired Mr. Tutka. With help from Liberty Institute, Mr. Tutka filed a charge of discrimination against the school district with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Without conducting the required review, the EEOC dismissed Mr. Tutka’s complaint. After Liberty Institute pressured the EEOC to perform the required investigation and discovered evidence that the school district fired Mr. Tutka because of his membership in The Gideons International, the EEOC reopened its investigation and requested that Mr. Tutka and the school district enter mediation.

School Bans Teachers from Mentioning Religion in Personal Biographies

January 22, 2013

The Jackson-Madison County School District in Jackson, Tennessee, asked its teachers for biographical information for the district’s website. As would be expected in a diverse selection of teachers, some of the teachers found religion important to their lives and incorporated this into their biographies. The Freedom from Religion Foundation accused these teachers of “push[ing] religion on a captive audience” and demanded that the “religious messages be scrubbed” from the biographies. The school district responded by requiring all teachers to remove any religious elements from their personal biographies.

Pennsylvania School District Denies Equal Access to Religious Club  

February 2013

When the Good News Club, a Christian student club, wanted to start an after-school program at Foose Elementary School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the school responded that the club would have to pay a $1,200 annual fee to use the school’s facilities because the club is religious. Other nonprofit organizations are granted free use of the school facilities after school. The Good News Club filed a lawsuit against the school district to be treated fairly.

Florida College Student Suspended for Refusing to “Stomp on Jesus”  

March 2013

A professor at Florida Atlantic University required the students in his class to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper and then stomp on the paper. Ryan Rotela, a Mormon student in the class, refused to stomp on the paper because of his religious beliefs. Rotela then reported the incident to university officials. Instead of protecting Mr. Rotela’s religious liberty rights, however, the university officials brought academic charges against Rotela and suspended him. Following a legal demand from Liberty Institute, the university reversed its decision, apologized to Rotela, expunged the academic charges, and agreed to allow Mr. Rotela to take the class from a different professor.

Valedictorian Silenced during Speech for Sharing His Faith 

June 2013

Remington Reimer, valedictorian of Joshua High School in Joshua, Texas, planned to give his valedictorian address and, upon graduation, attend the U.S. Naval Academy. When Reimer began to speak about his faith during his valedictorian address, however, that was all put at risk. Texas law prohibits schools from editing valedictorian addresses, but as soon as Reimer began to speak about liberty and his faith, school officials cut his microphone. Furthermore, the principal of Joshua High School threatened to send a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy to ruin Reimer’s reputation in retaliation for Reimer’s speaking about his faith. Following a demand letter from Liberty Institute, school officials apologized to Reimer and provided assurances that no further discrimination against student religious speech will occur in the future.

College Student Ordered to Hide Cross Necklace  

June 27, 2013

Audrey Jarvis, a student at Sonoma State University, was working at a student orientation fair when her supervisor told her to hide her cross necklace because it “might offend others” and “might make incoming students feel unwelcome.” Jarvis, a devout Catholic, was so upset by the incident that she left the student fair. Liberty Institute assisted Ms. Jarvis in seeking a religious accommodation from Sonoma State University, and the university is now investigating the religious discrimination.

School Bans Religious Christmas Carols, Even without the Words  

November 19, 2013

A band director at a South Carolina public charter school recently prohibited students from performing “Joy to the World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The carols were banned, even though the words to the songs were not going to be sung. The school claimed it received a communique from the ACLU or “another group” after the students began rehearsing, and the school responded by banning the songs. Yet the students had chosen these songs, and contrary to the school’s belief, it did not have to play songs from other religions in order to comply with the Constitution. Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the school informing the school that the songs were constitutional.44 After receiving the letter, the school removed its ban on the music.

Kindergartner Told by Teacher to Stop Praying during School Lunch Time  

March 2014

At Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida, when Marcos Perez’s daughter bowed her head to pray, a teacher interrupted her and said, “You’re not allowed to do that.” The five-year-old looked surprised and responded, “But it’s good to pray”—to which the teacher replied, “It’s not good.” The little girl tried to pray again but was stopped. When she got home and explained what happened, Marcos and his wife were furious. “My five-year old should not feel conflicted about prayer with respect to trying to follow rules or authority. We remain speechless that our daughter had to experience [that] from an individual with an agenda.” They contacted the school, demanding to know why their five-year-old would be prohibiting from exercising her religious rights. The principal promised to investigate, but when she quizzed school employees, no teacher remembered the incident. Either way, she assured the Perez parents that she took the matter seriously. “Please know that students are permitted to pray during school. I will remind all staff members of this.” A spokesman at Florida’s Seminole County Public Schools echoed the policy, which allows prayer as long as it isn’t disruptive.

Student Told to Stop Bringing Bible to School for Reading Time  

April 2014

In Cypress, Texas, parents were furious to hear that a teacher told their second-grader to stop bringing her Bible to school for the class’s silent reading time. The teacher apparently informed the young female student that the Bible is “inappropriate reading material” and that she should not bring it back to school again. The girl’s parents, who were afraid to go public with the story, turned to Liberty Institute for help. When its attorneys raised the concerns with school officials, a spokesman released a statement distancing itself from the teacher’s intolerance and explaining that as long as students can any book that they can read, understand, and is deemed appropriate by the school. “As such, religious material, including the Bible, that meets these guidelines would be permissible for a classroom assignment and/or independent reading.”

Wrestling Team Harassed for Wearing T-Shirts with Bible Verses  

April 2014

The Freedom from Religion Foundation is targeting a West Virginia wrestling team for posting a Bible verse on the school’s athletic page, and for wearing t-shirts (paid for by the students) with a Bible verse printed on them. The verse, “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me,” has been the team’s motto for months. Now, fearing an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit, the local superintendent is ordering the high school to delete Philippians 4:13 from the website. While the wrestlers complied with this request, they draw the line at the shirts they had made for the team. “It’s not part of the official uniform,” said an attorney representing one of the kids. “If a student athlete doesn’t want to wear that shirt, they don’t have to. It’s not a requirement.” And these students are willing to go to court to prove it. “It’s frustrating for the parents,” said lawyer Bill Merriman, “because they see a lot of other t-shirts being worn by students that are certainly not religious—but they are offensive. Nobody is saying they can’t wear those shirts.”

Teacher Confiscates Student’s Bible during Reading Time  

April 8, 2014

In Broward County, Florida, teacher Swornia Thomas ordered one of her fifth graders—Giovanni Rubeo—to hand over his Bible that he was reading during the class’s free reading time. Giovanni asked Swornia to call his parents, which she did. In a voicemail left for Giovanni’s father Rubeo, she said, “I noticed that he [Giovanni] has a book—a religious book—in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.” Rubeo subsequently contacted the school’s principal, Orinthia Dias, who brought in the school’s legal department. But none of them were willing to acknowledge that Giovanni has a constitutional right to read the Bible. Facing a hostile school administration, Rubeo retained Liberty Institute as his counsel. As Liberty Institute pointed out to the school, students are well within their rights to read Scripture. “Banning religious books like the Bible violates Giovanni’s civil rights to religious free speech and free exercise,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute Director of Litigation. “The school’s actions exemplify the hostility to religion that the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned.” Faced with a lawsuit from the child’s parents, Broward County reconsidered. In a victory for religious liberty and common sense, school district officials say they will “allow the Bible as part of the Accelerated Reader Program.”

Section III

Censure of Religious Viewpoints Regarding Sexuality

In one of the more alarming and fastest growing trends demonstrating an increase in hostility to religious expression, private citizens increasingly are finding themselves subject to censure and hostility when they simply make a statement or take a public stance on sexuality for no other reason than it is in accord with their religious convictions. Consistent with a variety of religious faiths as they concern marriage and sexuality, many Americans simply cannot approve of a willful embrace of sexual practices contrary to their religious teachings and conscience—whether homosexuality or another sexual practice. They do not want to be forced to do so by law, and have a right to not be forced to do so. This is a matter of serious conviction, conscience, and deeply held religious beliefs, and affects the ability to speak freely and the freedom to live and act according to one’s beliefs. Yet many are ridiculed and shamed in the court of public opinion for simply having a viewpoint based on religion. Indeed, individuals have not even had to make a statement to be subject to such hatred; a simple donation to a political group years previous is enough to draw hostility for this “unacceptable” viewpoint.

While much of this censure occurs outside the realm of government action (and the protection of the First Amendment), it is not wholly unrelated. For law follows culture and if civil discourse and public debate devolve to the point where opposing (and religious) views are no longer heard or even tolerated, court decisions and laws will not be long behind. Due to rapidly growing hostility to religious viewpoints regarding marriage and sexuality, many of these incidents have occurred quite recently. The following are documented incidents of hostility toward religious viewpoints and speech on the topic of sexuality.

Ohio Library Prohibits Christian Group from Meeting to Discuss Traditional Marriage Unless Advocates of Homosexual Marriage Also Present – May 2005

A Christian group requested access to a community room in the Newton Falls Library in Youngstown, Ohio, for a meeting about the biblical perspective of traditional marriage. The library director denied the request because the library’s policy required that any time a “controversial subject” was discussed, the opposing viewpoint must also be presented. The policy was revised only after a lawsuit was filed.

Employee Fired after Column on Homosexuality  

February 2006

In 2005, Matt Barber was fired by Allstate Insurance Company for allegedly using a company laptop to write a column against homosexuality (which violated Allstate’s “diversity” standards). Barber sued Allstate and ultimately settled the case. Barber is now a popular conservative writer and is associate dean of the Liberty University School of Law, as well as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action.

Employee Fired for Religious and Political Message Written on His Car

October 2006

Luis Padilla, a Cargill Foods employee, was fired over the display of a sign on his private vehicle. The sign said, “Please vote for marriage on Nov. 7.” The statement reflected theemployee’s religious conviction that marriage should remain a union of one man and one woman. The company requested that Mr. Padilla remove the sign, and he did. Mr. Padilla restored the message before returning to work the next day. In an attempt to avoid further conflict with his employers, he even parked on what he believed to be a public street, but it was in fact also company property. Cargill subsequently fired Mr. Padilla, and a statement from the company’s attorney said he was dismissed because of insubordination, for ignoring orders to remove a sign that could be “reasonably construed as a show of hostility and intolerance toward homosexuals.” After others spoke out on his behalf, and after he met with Cargill management, the company restored his employment with full back pay and benefits, and said the incident would be erased from Mr. Padilla’s employment record.

San Diego Fire-Fighters Forced to Participate in Gay Pride Parade  

July 2007

San Diego, California, hosted a “Gay Pride Parade” and demanded that its firefighters participate in their official capacities or face retaliation. Four of those firefighters were Christians who objected to attending the parade because of their religious beliefs. The city threatened the firefighters with disciplinary action if they refused to participate. During the parade, the firefighters were subject to verbal abuse and sexual gestures. The firefighters sued the city and were awarded approximately $30,000.

Counselor Fired for Refusing to Assist in Counseling Gay Relationships  

August 21, 2007

A Christian counselor for the Computer Sciences Corporation, Marcia Walden, was fired because she refused to lie about why she was referring clients with same-sex relationship problems to other counselors. Walden told a homosexual client from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that her personal values would interfere with the client/therapist relationship, never mentioning her religious objections. In response, the client complained to the CDC that Walden was homophobic. Walden reiterated to her supervisors that she had no problem counseling homosexual individuals, but her religious beliefs prevented her from conducting relationship counseling for those in homosexual relationships. Her supervisors suggested that she lie to homosexual clients and tell them she did not have much experience with relationship counseling. Walden refused to lie about why she was referring clients and was ultimately fired for not “altering her approach.” The Eleventh Circuit rejected claims that Walden’s free exercise rights were violated under the First Amendment, affirming the district court’s summary judgment ruling against her.

Employee Fired for Column on Homosexual Rights  

May 12, 2008

Crystal Dixon, a University of Toledo human resources employee, was fired in 2008 after writing a column critical of “homosexual rights.” A black Christian, she argued that those choosing to embrace a homosexual lifestyle are not “civil rights victims.” Ms. Dixon’s editorial letter in the Toledo Free Press objected to the idea that “those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are ‘civil rights victims’” because they “violate God’s divine order.” She identified herself in the letter as Associate Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Toledo. The university proceeded to terminate her employment on the grounds that her free expression violated her responsibility to uphold the university’s nondiscrimination statement, which includes sexual orientation. She sued, and in December 2012 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the university had legitimate grounds to fire her. She appealed further, but unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take the case.

Graduate Student Expelled from Program Based on Nondiscrimination Policy after She Refused to Compromise Her Religious Beliefs — January 2009

Julea Ward was enrolled as a student in a graduate counseling program at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). As part of a practicum course, Ward was assigned a potential client seeking assistance for a same-sex relationship. Ward knew that she could not affirm the client’s relationship without violating her religious beliefs about extramarital sexual relationships, so she asked her supervisor how to handle the matter. Consistent with ethical and professional standards regarding counselor referrals, Ward’s supervisor advised her to refer the potential client to a different counselor. Ward followed that advice. The client was not in the least negatively impacted and indeed never knew of the referral. Shortly thereafter, EMU informed Ward that her referral of the potential client violated the American Psychological Association’s (APA) nondiscrimination policy, which mirrors many nondiscrimination laws enacted across the country. EMU also told Ward that the only way she could stay in the counseling program would be if she agreed to undergo a “remediation” program, the purpose of which was to help her “see the error of her ways” and change her “belief system” as it related to providing counseling for same-sex relationships. Ward was unwilling to violate or change her religious beliefs as a condition of getting her degree, and therefore she refused “remediation.”

At a subsequent disciplinary hearing, EMU faculty denigrated Ward’s Christian views and asked several uncomfortably intrusive questions about her religious beliefs. Among other things, one EMU faculty member asked Ward whether she viewed her “brand” of Christianity as superior to that of other Christians, and another engaged Ward in a “theological bout” designed to show her the error of her religious thinking. Following this hearing, in March 2009, EMU formally expelled Ward from the program, basing its decision on the APA’s nondiscrimination policy. At that time, Ward had been enrolled in the counseling program for three years and was only 13 quarter hours away from graduation.

Ward filed suit against EMU officials. After the trial court dismissed her claims, Ward won a unanimous victory from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. When ruling in Ward’s favor, that court noted that “[t]olerance is a two-way street,” for if it were otherwise, nondiscrimination measures would “mandate[] orthodoxy, not anti-discrimination.” After being sent back down to the district court, the case settled. The abuse of religious liberty in the name of “tolerance” that the Sixth Circuit diagnosed is the same abuse that other American citizens regularly suffer, all over this country. It is visited upon them by the very nondiscrimination laws that, ironically enough, purport to protect the religious from discrimination.

Pageant Contestant Ridiculed for Views on Marriage

May 12, 2009

Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA, was ambushed by pageant judge Perez Hilton during the final round of the contest. Hilton asked Prejean for her opinion of same-sex marriage. Her respectful and historically “normal” response, in which she stated, “I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman,” was considered so outrageous that the evangelical Christian contestant was widely mocked and ridiculed.

 Minister’s Invitation to National Prayer Luncheon Revoked because of His Comments on Homosexuality in the Military – February 2010

An ordained minister and Marine Corps veteran was punished for speaking out on a topic unrelated to his planned comments at the National Prayer Luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, D.C. The minister criticized President Obama’s call to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, resulting in his invitation to speak at the National Prayer Luncheon being rescinded. The minister criticized the action as “black-listing” to suppress unwanted viewpoints.

Professor Fired for Teaching Catholic View of Homosexuality in “Introduction to Catholicism” Class – May 28, 2010

Dr. Kenneth J. Howell, an adjunct profess at the University of Illinois, was fired from his position after a lecture on the Catholic view of homosexuality set off a firestorm of “insensitivity” complaints on campus. Although Dr. Howell had given the same lecture for nearly ten years to his Introduction to Catholicism class this was the first time it had sparked such debate. After Dr. Howell’s attorneys sent a letter to the University threatening legal action if Dr. Howell’s First Amendment rights were not respected, the university agreed to reinstate him as a member of the faculty.

Counseling Student Forced to Approve of Homosexuality to Complete Degree

July 22, 2010

Jennifer Keeton, a former counseling student at Augusta State University (ASU), was ordered by her school to complete remedial training after expressing her views concerning homosexuality. Faculty members told Jennifer she couldn’t complete the degree program if she did not complete a remediation plan, which included attending diversity workshops, reading articles about counseling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, and submitting monthly writing assignments. Jennifer filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging constitutional violations, but her claims were dismissed.

Student and Mother Bullied by Professor for Her Views on Sexuality

October 2010

Ms. Gillian John-Charles was a single mom, mathematics teacher, and African American who had been enrolled in Roosevelt University’s Ed.D. program since 2009. In October 2010, in a class discussion led by a liberal professor, John-Charles said she does not believe homosexuals are born “gay.” As the professor’s mistreatment against her escalated, she describes in a legal complaint how he bullied her by falsely accusing her of having a “negative and disparaging” view of gay people—though she stated clearly in class that, as a teacher, she treats all her students with the same respect without regard to “sexual orientation.” Within a year of the initial classroom incident, John-Charles was expelled from the doctoral program, citing unsatisfactory academic performance (despite her 3.51 GPA). John-Charles may be contemplating legal action.

Company Subjected to Hostility for Religious Values

June 2011

When Access Printed Media received a request to print advertisements for the opening of a new gay bar in the Seattle area, it objected to the job out of moral convictions. Mike Reis and his partner, Mark Hurst, placed a 2,500-flier order with Kent-based company Access Printed Media, which advertises “business and promotional printing you can rely on.” The flyers advertised the grand opening of Diesel, a new gay bar. An employee responded to the print request with the following email: “Not that we’re against homosexuals at all, but because knowing that our printed products will be advertising and promoting the kind of lifestyle that goes against our morals [emphasis original] is something that [the owner] can’t bring himself to do…”

The employee reiterated that the decision was “nothing against homosexuals themselves. We’re just not morally able to promote that kind of a lifestyle.” While the company has no written document that outlines the business’s moral-related printing policy, it also refused to print an advertisement for a tarot reader. “We’re a small business owned by a small conservative Christian family. I’m sorry but we have values and we can print whatever we want.” The ACLU of Washington jumped in and indicated it “would be glad to hear from the bar owner and provide assistance if he wishes to pursue the matter.” Nevertheless, the bar was able to fulfill their flyer order elsewhere.

CEO Draws Fire for Views on Marriage

July 2012

The fact that Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy opposed same-sex marriage and donated to traditional values groups prompted “gay” activists to call for protests and a national boycott, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino attempting to ban Chick-fil-A from the city and several universities barring Chick-fil-A from their campuses. Although the boycott effort backfired in the short term, when “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and grassroots goodwill resulted in a dramatic increase in the chain’s income, over the longer term, the intimidation had its desired effect: Dan Cathy now says he made a “mistake” and has become “wiser.”

Attempted Murder of Family Research Council Employees because of Organization’s Stance on Homosexuality – August 15, 2012

A man planned to engage in mass-murder of the employees of four religious organizations and then smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches on the employees’ faces because of their opposition to homosexual marriage. After shooting a security guard at the Family Research Council, however, the man was subdued by Family Research Council (FRC) employee Leo Johnson, who prevented loss of life through his actions.

Chief Diversity Officer Suspended for Signing Petition on Marriage  

October 2012

In October 2012, Gallaudet University suspended its chief diversity officer Angela McCaskill for signing a petition calling for Maryland’s same-sex marriage law being put to a referendum vote instead of being implemented by lawmakers. When the names on the petition became public, a Gallaudet faculty member confronted McCaskill and then alerted university leaders in a formal letter. McCaskill and another faculty member who reportedly signed the letter were referred to during a press conference as “extremist faculty” and “a few rotten apples.” Despite the fact that she never publicly stated her position on gay marriage, and has said that she supports all students, regardless of their race or sexual orientation, McCaskill was still put on paid administrative leave after refusing to issue an apology for signing the petition. Yet opponents and proponents of same-sex marriage have both criticized the University for disciplining McCaskill for signing the petition. Since then, the Internet has erupted with support for McCaskill and calls for her to be reinstated by Gallaudet, which is a university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Subsequently, the president of Gallaudet University has said that McCaskill is welcome to return to the university. Yet an attorney representing McCaskill said that would likely only happen if the university compensates her for the emotional distress she endured, along with the damage to her reputation. There are also calls for university trustees to examine the situation. “I am dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance, a university that manages by intimidation, a university that allows bullying among faculty, staff and students,” McCaskill is reported as saying at a press conference regarding her situation, with the assistance of an interpreter. Unfortunately, the lawsuit McCaskill had filed in federal court was dismissed in April 2014 in part due to interpretations of what “political activity” is protected by DC law.

Consultant’s Contract Terminated because of Views on Marriage  

August 2013

Frank Turek had served as leadership consultant to the Cisco Corporation for a number of years, and ran training seminars for the company. A student in one of Turek’s classes, on which he had always received excellent feedback, went on the Internet and read about his views pertaining to natural marriage. The student then complained to an HR professional. Turek’s contract was summarily terminated for failure to abide by “inclusion and antidiscrimination policies.” Notably (and obviously), he was not “included” precisely because of his beliefs. This all occurred despite the fact that Turek had never expressed this view at work, but only through a book he authored. And Turek was fired without having been addressed about the issue or given opportunity to speak, and despite high regard from other employees and managers.

Broadcaster Fired when Past Statement on Marriage Was Unearthed  

September 2013

Football star Craig James (now an FRC employee) was fired by Fox Sports Southwest after a GOP debate tape showing him expressing Christian beliefs in opposition to homosexual “marriage” came to light. Previously, during a 2012 Republican primary debate for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, then-candidate James was asked about his views on marriage, to which he responded that he believed marriage exclusively to be one man with one woman. The existence of that debate video apparently was enough to get James fired within days of being hired by Fox Sports Southwest as a college football analyst. A Fox spokesman told the Dallas Morning News, “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. . . . He couldn’t say those things here.” James says he was fired over his religious beliefs, and filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission.

The Texas Workforce Commission subsequently launched an investigation into whether James suffered from religious discrimination when he was fired. The state agency, which has authority over such employment matters in Texas, issued a “charge” document against Fox Sports Southwest and began an investigation. Fox Sports President Eric Shanks has admitted in a deposition that a senior vice president at the network anonymously told the media that James was fired for his religious views. Shanks denied that this was actually the reason. Yet internal emails show that James’ remarks about traditional marriage were a topic of conversation immediately before he was fired. “The Texas Workforce Commission issuing a charge of discrimination against Fox Sports Southwest and conducting an investigation is a serious step toward holding Fox Sports accountable for violating the law and religious liberty on Craig James,” said Hiram Sasser, the Liberty Institute’s Managing Director for Strategic Litigation. At time of publication, the parties were engaged in mediation as requested by the Texas Workforce Commission and the matter remained ongoing.

Air Force Ethics Advisor Subjected to Smear Campaign for Views on Sexuality

November 2013

Mike Rosebush is a former Focus on the Family employee who subsequently was employed as a research analyst for the Air Force Academy’s Center of Character and Leadership Development. While employed for the Academy, Mr. Rosebush was a positive influence among the students, working in the ethics program that guides young cadets. Nevertheless, he became the object of a vicious attack and subject of a nationwide smear campaign to remove him from the Academy, all for his private views on faith, marriage, and homosexuality. Citing a paper he wrote in 2009, “Sanctification Coaching: Sexual Purity and Peace for Christian Men with Same-Sex Attractions,” those opposed to his views have irrationally fanned the flames of hatred against him. And while an academy spokesperson noted that Mr. Rosebush “does not and will not counsel cadets,” homosexual activists have held up his religious views as an example of “intolerance” that should no longer be condoned by the Academy.

Popular Media Figure Subjected to Hatred for Views on Sexuality

December 2013

In an interview with GQ Magazine, Duck Dynasty star and Robertson family patriarch Phil Robertson expressed the view that he believed the Bible and that it stated that homosexuality was sinful. Phil stated his support for natural marriage and used the book of Corinthians to explain it: “Don’t be deceived,” he said. “Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” The gay rights lobby reacted harshly, demanding the immediate censorship of or end to the Robertson’s show, and A&E reacted by dropping Phil from the show. “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.” Yet the outpouring of support for Phil was widespread, and A&E reversed course and reunited with the Robertsons shortly thereafter. Despite all the criticism, Phil has been unbending. “My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.”

Accomplished Tech Entrepreneur Hounded out of His Job Due to Views on Sexuality

April 2014

It was recently “uncovered” that Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich had donated money to the 2008 Prop 8 campaign run in California in support of natural marriage. One would think Mr. Eich had just been convicted of a felony when he was then subjected to protests on Twitter as employees demanded he step down for committing this “crime,” the “crime” of thinking differently. Those opposed to Mr. Eich’s views demanded that he be removed from his position. There was no evidence that Mr. Eich had ever acted in a discriminatory manner at Mozilla, and he even stated his support for company policies. Nevertheless, three Mozilla board members quit in protest. Even dating site OKCupid “opposed” Mr. Eich. Ultimately, Mr. Eich “chose” to resign.

However, even people who disagree with Mr. Eich’s position on this issue recognized the importance of protecting freedom of speech and expression for all, regardless of viewpoint. Andrew Sullivan, a gay writer and same-sex marriage supporter, wrote: “The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.”

Public Health Director Placed on Leave for Views on Sexuality  

May 1, 2014

Dr. Eric Walsh, the Public Health Director for Pasadena, California, was placed on administrative leave for expressing views consistent with his Christian faith in the private context of several sermons. Despite the fact that these views were expressed privately (Walsh has actually expressed support for “diversity” in the context of his employment), the mayor directed an “inquiry” into Walsh’s statements. Moreover, “AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein denounced Walsh’s comments Thursday, saying he did not think Walsh could realistically separate his religious views from his actions as a public official.”

Real Estate Media Personalities Had TV Show Cut off for Views on Sexuality

May 8, 2014

As sons of a preacher, David and Jason Benham have never shied away from their beliefs, which led them to back the North Carolina marriage amendment—a stance the brothers seem now to be paying for, thanks to radical activists in organizations like GLAAD. “If faith costs us a TV show, so be it,” they told reporters. “Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. Over the last decade, we’ve sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path—and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.”

Nevertheless, the outpouring of fury against the brothers for merely expressing a tenet of their faith was loud and widespread. In addition, SunTrust Bank, which partnered with the brothers, announced it would drop them as financial partners due to their position on marriage. But soon after, Beth McKenna, a SunTrust spokesperson, said only that the bank “clarified” its policies with a “vendor” and reinstated the brothers’ property partnership. “SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion.”

Two Men Threatened by Government Union for Supporting Duck Dynasty  

June 2014

The American Government Employees Union told two senior-management-level federal employees at Eglin Air Force base that they were being fired for putting Duck Dynasty stickers on their trucks. The union said that the men had great influence over a diverse workforce because of their high positions and should not be allowed to remain in them because they might be unfair in their dealings with or promotions of those they supervised, particularly homosexuals and African-Americans. The union official said that “it’s definitely 100 percent inappropriate for an organization that espouses a zero tolerance policy.” The whole debate stemmed from the controversial comments made by Phil Robertson to GQ magazine in 2013.

The men were condemned in an email that went out to several hundred employees. “I see the email that went out accusing me and my boss of being racist,” one of the accused men said. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’m pro-family. I’m pro-life. I don’t have a problem with anybody who doesn’t agree with me.” Thankfully, the Air Force correctly determined that the two men had the right to display the stickers on their trucks.

Section IV

Suppression of Religious Viewpoints on Sexuality Using Nondiscrimination Laws

In another alarming trend, people of faith are increasingly find themselves subject to legal action (along with censure and hostility) when their religious convictions prevent them from offering services that would legitimize or promote actions they believe to be against their religion. Though the exercise of faith can be minimized and curtailed by any number of alleged governmental justifications or rationales, many of the threats to free exercise, free speech, and free expression today come in the form of laws or policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Thus, the fourth and final broad category of this publication documenting hostility to religion lies at the intersection of religious expression and nondiscrimination laws.

Laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity are increasing in prevalence around the country, and generally compel equal treatment (and thus approval) of a variety of sexual practices. Given Christian orthodoxy as it concerns marriage and sexuality, Christians (and those of other faiths) do not want to be compelled to act in ways by which they must approve of sexual lifestyles their religion teaches to be wrong. Yet these laws have this exact effect, and force those objecting on the basis of religious belief to violate their consciences or face legal action. Because of the recent enactment of numerous such laws, many of the incidents documented below have occurred very recently. Such “nondiscrimination” is a matter of serious concern, as it forces those of faith to violate their consciences, their convictions, and their deeply held religious beliefs. It consequently affects their ability freely to exercise their religion. When Christian wedding photographers who believe same-sex marriage is wrong are forced to provide their services at a same-sex wedding, under threat of fines imposed by nondiscrimination laws, religious exercise is clearly and seriously imperiled. Elane Photography v. Willock is one of the more well known of such cases, but as we document here, many similar situations have arisen as a result of nondiscrimination laws and ordinances. These cases have resulted in adverse outcomes for people of faith whose consciences prevent them from participating in, or promoting, what they regard as wrong according to their religious teachings. As documented below, due to nondiscrimination laws, many of these men and women have been compelled by the government to violate their consciences and act against their religious beliefs.

Christian Photographer Forced to Photograph a Same-Sex Wedding

September 2006

Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin have operated New Mexico-based Elane Photography, which specialized in wedding photographs. Elaine Huguenin, an artist with a degree in photography, has been the lead photographer for the company and employed a photojournalistic style in her work, using her pictures to tell stories for her clients. In going about their work, both Elaine and Jonathan were ever-mindful about the messages communicated through the photographs Huguenin created. Company policy ensured that they would never tell a story or convey a message contrary to their belief system. As believing Christians, the Huguenins believed the Bible’s teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

In September 2006, Vanessa Willock asked Elaine Huguenin to create pictures of her same-sex commitment ceremony. Huguenin believed that the pictures she would create at the event would tell a story of marriage at odds with her religious convictions and what she believed to be God’s plan for marriage. As a result, she politely declined. Interestingly, Huguenin would have gladly provided other types of photography services to a customer who identified as homosexual. For instance, she would have happily taken a portrait of such a customer, or filmed a graduation ceremony. But what Willock and her partner wanted Huguenin to do was to participate in, and promote, their homosexual marriage. Huguenin was being asked to video-record the entire ceremony and edit and splice it together to tell the ‘love story’ of their wedding. She would have to pose the couple intimately, gazing romantically and lovingly into one another’s eyes, while holding hands and kissing.

Huguenin would have to create the memory of their wedding, portraying it as a joyous event, when Elaine believed it was sinful and saddened God. She was not being asked to merely take a photograph of a person who identifies as homosexual, something she gladly would have done. She was being asked to participate in, and use her talents to create speech that actually promoted an activity she believed was sinful. This was far different than, say, serving someone at a lunch counter. And so she declined to participate. After Huguenin said “no,” Willock readily found another photographer eager to help her celebrate her day, and that photographer charged less money than Huguenin had to tell the story of the ceremony. This was not enough for Willock. Unwilling to let the Huguenins conduct their lives consistent with their religious beliefs, Willock sued the company under the New Mexico Human Rights Act, alleging unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The New Mexico Human Rights Commission used the Act to punish the Huguenins for declining to photograph Willock’s ceremony, and ordered them to pay nearly $7,000 in attorneys’ fees to Willock’s attorney.

The New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the decision, ruling that the Huguenins’ rights to free exercise of religion, guaranteed by the Constitution, must yield to the state’s antidiscrimination law. One of the judges wrote that, while he understood that all the Huguenins wanted was to be let alone to live their lives according to their faith, they must surrender their right to freely exercise their religion as “the price of citizenship.” On April 7, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and the ruling of the New Mexico Supreme Court against Elane Photography stands.

The Huguenins spent almost a quarter of their young lives—all while trying to make a living and raise a family—trying to vindicate First Amendment rights that were given pride of place in our nation’s founding and still-governing documents. The courts ruled against them, determining that their rights to act according to their faith and be faithful to their understanding of what God wants them to do are not as important as the state antidiscrimination law.

B & B Owner Sued for Refusing to Rent Room to Same-Sex Couple, in Her Own Home


Phyllis Young, a practicing Christian, resides with her husband in their family home in Honolulu, HI. It has 1,926 square feet and 10 ½ rooms—4 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, a family room, dining room, living room, and kitchen. The Youngs have owned this house for 35 years, having raised their children and been visited by their grandchildren here.

The Youngs also rented out one or more rooms of this family home, where they also resided. Because of her sincerely held religious beliefs, she has not allowed unmarried opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples to rent a room with a single bed together. Young believes that sexual intercourse is only proper in opposite-sex marriage and so it is immoral for opposite-sex, unmarried couples or same-sex couples to engage in sexual behavior. She would not even allow her adult daughter to share a room with her live-in boyfriend when they visited. Young has based her beliefs about sexual morality upon the teachings of the Bible and the Catholic Church.

Young has called her rental business Aloha Bed & Breakfast, but Aloha has no checking account. All payments for rooms in Aloha are made payable to Phyllis. Unlike hotels, Aloha has no employees, no clerk, or office into which members of the public enter. In fact, people may not enter Young’s home without her permission. She generally has kept her door locked, like other homeowners. No one has ever knocked on her door and asked to stay in Aloha and “Aloha” is not even listed in the phone book. The residence’s listing is under the name of Don and Phyllis Young. When someone phones, Mrs. Young has answered with some variation of, “Hello, this is Phyllis.” The Youngs and their guests all share the living space of the house, including the family room, bathrooms and kitchen. Mrs. Young has stored some of her personal belongings in the closet of each room she rents to her guests and also allowed guests to use her personal computer, located in her own bedroom. Because of the intimate living arrangements Young shares with her guests, she is selective in determining who she will welcome into her home and will not allow couples to stay in Aloha if allowing them to do so would violate her religious convictions.

Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, a couple who identify as “lesbian,” asked to rent a room with a single bed in the Young’s home. She declined because allowing a same-sex couple to share a room with only one bed in her home violates her beliefs. Cervelli and Bufford complained to the Civil Rights Commission, which found probable cause that Young had violated the state nondiscrimination law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Young appealed that decision to the state trial court. On April 15, 2013, the trial court judge found that Young had engaged in unlawful discrimination when she declined to rent a room—in her own home—to a same-sex couple. The case has been appealed to the Hawaii intermediate Court of Appeals. The trial court’s ill-considered ruling, if permitted to stand, will prevent Young and others from choosing the people they rent rooms to in their own homes. If Young does not have this freedom, she will be forced to stop renting her property. This will likely prevent her and her husband from meeting their monthly mortgage obligations, thus forcing them to give up the home in which they raised their children.

Christian Group Forced to Host Same-Sex Wedding in Its Boardwalk Pavilion

June 2007

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was founded in 1869 by a small band of Methodist clergymen on the New Jersey shore. It is a religious association that provides a venue for religious services, including Sunday services, Bible studies, camp meetings, revival gatherings, gospel music programs, religious educational seminars, and other religious events. Upon its incorporation, the Association pledged that it would use its facilities for God’s glory and would abstain from using them in any way “inconsistent with the doctrines, discipline, or usages of the Methodist Episcopal Church.” As part of its outreach programs to the community, the Association has made regular use of its privately owned, open-air Boardwalk Pavilion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Each day throughout the summer, the Association has hosted overtly and exclusively religious events in the Boardwalk Pavilion, events ranging from Bible studies to worship services and revival meetings. Events held in the Boardwalk Pavilion have been consistent with the religious beliefs and doctrines of the Association.

In 1997, the Association began operating a wedding ministry in many of its private places of worship, including the Boardwalk Pavilion. Because this ministry was a means of Christian outreach to the community, the Association permitted members of the public to have their weddings in the Boardwalk Pavilion. In March 2007, Harriet Bernstein asked the Association if she could use the Pavilion for a civil-union ceremony with her same-sex partner, Luisa Paster. The Association believed, based on its interpretation of the Holy Bible and its reading of the Methodist Book of Discipline, that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman. The Association also believed that homosexual behavior is incompatible with Christian teaching, and thus it does not condone that practice.

Naturally, then, the Association denied the couple’s request because the proposed use of the facility violated the Association’s religious beliefs. In June 2007, the couple filed a discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, alleging that the Association’s denial of their request amounted to unlawful discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. The Division agreed, concluding in October 2012, that the Association had violated the State’s nondiscrimination law, despite the fact that the Pavilion was a place of religious worship used by a religious organization. As a result, the Association has stopped renting out the Boardwalk Pavilion for weddings.

The complaining couple neither suffered nor sought any monetary damages. Nor were they left without a suitable venue for their event, as evidenced by the fact that they held their civil-union ceremony on September 30, 2007, on a fishing pier in Ocean Grove. This case, like others discussed, was not about a lack of access to services or facilities. Instead, the couple filed their complaint to compel a religious organization to act in a manner that would violate core tenets of its religious faith. The government permitted the couple to use the nondiscrimination laws to prevent the Association from operating its programs and activities consonant with its religious faith.

Cookie Shop Settles Complaint of Discrimination for Refusing to Create Rainbow Cookies and Cake for “Coming Out” Celebration – October 2010

Just Cookies, a cookie shop owned by David and Lily Stockton and located at the Indianapolis City Market, ignited a firestorm in October 2010 after employees refused to fill a special order of rainbow cookies and multicolored cupcake for a “coming out” celebration hosted by an Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis group. The Stocktons were subsequently accused of discrimination for refusing to sanction the event because it was against their values. Shop owners David and Lily Stockton said they were within their rights to refuse the request and that the shop didn’t have the capacity to fulfill the order. The city investigated whether the shop had violated the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, but the Stocktons ultimately settled the complaint. Under the agreement, the Stocktons acknowledged they understand the city’s equal opportunity ordinance and agreed to update the Just Cookies website concerning special orders. The city will also post a public notice regarding the anti-discrimination ordinance.

Country B & B Sued for Refusing to Host Same-Sex Reception  

July 2011

In the bucolic Vermont countryside, Jim and Mary O’Reilly operate the Wildflower Inn, a family owned bed-and-breakfast. Because Vermont legally recognizes same-sex unions, the O’Reillys, a committed Catholic family, had a well-established business practice when approached by anyone asking the Inn to host an event celebrating a same-sex marriage or civil union: Jim O’Reilly would disclose his deeply held religious conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, while nevertheless maintaining that the Inn would host ceremonies or receptions for same-sex unions because that is what the State’s nondiscrimination law requires. O’Reilly would disclose this information about his religious convictions because he felt compelled to be honest with potential customers. This practice was approved by the Vermont Human Rights Commission in 2005, which concluded that there were “no reasonable grounds to believe that Wildflower illegally discriminated” merely by O’Reilly’s communicating his beliefs to a potential customer who inquired about celebrating a civil union on the property.

In 2011 the ACLU teamed up with the Vermont Human Rights Commission, the same entity that had blessed the O’Reillys’ conduct just six years before, in a lawsuit against Wildflower. The lawsuit began when a former Wildflower employee falsely claimed that the inn would not allow a same-sex wedding reception. But the ACLU and the government did not merely challenge Wildflower’s alleged unwillingness to host a same-sex reception; they directly attacked the O’Reillys’ approved practice of disclosing their religious beliefs about marriage to potential customers. The O’Reillys’ expression of their religious beliefs came at great cost. The real-world implications of a protracted legal battle with the government and the ACLU (and the prospect of paying the government’s and the ACLU’s attorneys’ fees) threatened to bankrupt the O’Reillys and shutter the business they had worked so hard to build. Although the Commission agreed that the O’Reillys acted in good-faith reliance on its 2005 ruling, the government and the ACLU demanded that the O’Reillys pay $10,000 to the Commission as a civil penalty and $20,000 to a charitable trust set up by the ACLU’s clients. Forced with the prospect of potentially losing their business, the O’Reillys relented and agreed to these terms in August.

This case was not about access to services—the ACLU’s clients were easily able to find a venue for their reception, and the Wildflower’s business practice did not deny services to anyone, but merely disclosed the O’Reillys’ relevant religious convictions. What the government and the ACLU really objected to was the O’Reillys’ mere mention of their views about marriage—views that conflict with the prevailing political orthodoxy in Vermont. For this, the government and ACLU insisted that the O’Reillys be punished. This case demonstrates the threat that nondiscrimination laws present to religious liberty—that those who disagree with the government’s views about issues implicating a statutorily protected classification may pay dearly for the exercise of their constitutional rights.

Bridal Store Owner Threatened for Declining to Provide a Dress for a Same-Sex Wedding

August 2011

Donna Saber, owner of Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, New Jersey, has had callers threatening to burn down her store and throw a brick through the window after she reportedly refused to provide a dress for a same-sex marriage with the understanding that it was “illegal.” For simply staking out her position, Saber’s store has been the target of protests and boycotts. Saber says she is simply trying to live peacefully and run her business.

Catholic Church Forced to Shut Down Adoption Agencies to Avoid Violating Beliefs

November 2011; March 10, 2006

The state of Illinois ended its historic relationship with Catholic Charities—which was the first organization to inspire child welfare services in that state—because the organization would not adopt children to homosexual couples. Adoptions by homosexual couples would violate well established Roman Catholic Church doctrine. Although Catholic Charities was willing to refer homosexual couples to other adoption agencies, the state refused to accommodate them.

Ironically, this religious-based discrimination is in response to the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act. The Act, when combined with state anti-discrimination laws, requires homosexual civil unions to be treated like marriages, but only provides protection for religious clergy who decline to officiate a civil union. It is estimated that two-thousand children will now have to transition to new agencies. In Massachusetts, the Catholic Church also shut down a successful adoption agency following the state supreme court’s imposition of same-sex marriage to avoid being forced to place children in same-sex households. 84 Catholic entities have similarly been discriminated against for their views in the District of Columbia and San Francisco, California, and have chosen to shut down adoption services rather than be force to violate their conscience by the government.

B & B Sued for Stating Intention to Not Host Same-Sex Wedding on Religious Grounds

November 1, 2011

Jim and Beth Walder owned the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton, Illinois. On February 15, 2011, homosexual activist Todd Wathen —anticipating enactment of Illinois’ “civil unions” law—sent them an email stating: “Do you plan on doing same-sex civil unions starting June 1st?” Jim Walder replied: “No. We only do Weddings.” In response, Wathen enlisted the help of the ACLU and filed a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission: “As a result of Respondent’s violation of the Act, Complainant has suffered substantial mental and emotional distress as well as the stigmatizing injury and deprivation of personal dignity that accompanies denials of equal access to places of public accommodation.” Walthen seeks monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and “an order directing [the Walders] to cease and desist from any violation” of the Human Rights Act.

The Walders fired back, however. “No business owner may be forced to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs merely because someone demands it,” said Steve Amjad, an attorney for Timber Creek. “Constitutional and state laws guarantee religious freedom for every American, including business owners. These complaints [by Wathen] ignore those fundamental freedoms and are further examples of the threat the homosexual legal agenda poses to every American’s basic rights.” “TimberCreek does not host civil union ceremonies for same-sex or opposite-sex couples, so the discrimination charge is baseless,” added attorney Bryan Beauman. “TimberCreek has done nothing wrong, and their right to freely exercise their faith should not be threatened.” The answers filed in response to the complaints filed by Mark and Todd Wathen assert that “TimberCreek did not engage in sexual-orientation discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act” and that applying specific portions of the act to this situation would actually violate the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, federal law, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Cake Cottage under Fire for Refusing to Provide Cake for Same-Sex Wedding

November 10, 2011

Victoria Childress, owner of Victoria’s Cake Cottage in Des Moines, Iowa, refused to provide a wedding cake for a homosexual couple, and came under fire for her decision. Childress told Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers that she could not make the cake they requested because of her “convictions for their lifestyle,” and made sure they understood she was not discriminating against them, but just honoring her “walk with God.” Nevertheless, Vodraska described the encounter as “degrading,” and said she felt like they were “chastised for wanting to do business with her.” According to Sievers, Childress introduced herself and asked if Vodraska was her sister. Seivers replied: “No, this is my partner.” Childress asked them to sit down and said, “We need to talk.” Childress then said, “I’ll tell you I’m a Christian, and I do have convictions. . . . I’m sorry to tell you, but I’m not going to be able to do your cake.” Vodraska then said “that was fine and I appreciated her being honest.”

Childress has maintained that it is her right to refuse to do the cake: “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.” Childress continued: “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.” At time of publication, no legal action appears to have been taken. However, under Iowa law, people like Ms. Childress could be forced to serve causes in violation of their conscience.

Print Artist Sued for Refusing to Promote Gay Lifestyle  

March 2012

Blaine Adamson was the managing owner of Hands On Originals, a printing company in Lexington, Kentucky, that specializes in producing promotional materials. Adamson, a practicing Christian who strives to live consistently with Biblical commands, has not distinguished between conduct in his personal life and his actions as a business owner. As a result, he has avoided using his company to design, print, or produce materials that convey messages or promote events or organizations that conflict with his sincerely held religious convictions.

Hands On Originals has served customers that Adamson knew self-identified as homosexual, and it has employed (and, at time of publication, continues to employee) persons who identify as homosexual. But Adamson has not wanted to produce printed materials that promote homosexual behavior. Doing so would conflict with his sincerely held religious beliefs about sex and sexuality. In March 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), an advocacy organization that promotes same-sex relationships and homosexual conduct, asked Adamson and his company to print promotional shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival, which (like GLSO) celebrates same-sex relationships and homosexual conduct. Adamson politely declined the request because he knew that the content of those shirts and the event that they would promote would communicate messages clearly at odds with his religious beliefs. Adamson nevertheless did offer to connect GLSO with another company that would print the shirts for the same price that Hands On Originals would have charged. Yet this courtesy was not enough for the GLSO and its members. They believed that Adamson and his business should be punished for his objection to their messages. As a result, the GLSO filed a discrimination complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, alleging that Hands On Originals unlawfully discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.

This discrimination complaint had nothing to do with ensuring access to services since soon after filing its nondiscrimination complaint, GLSO filled its shirt order with little trouble when another company offered to print the shirts for free. Nevertheless GLSO continues—to this day—to press its claim against Adamson and his company by not dismissing its complaint. To add injury to insult, upon filing its discrimination complaint, GLSO and its allies began a public campaign against Hands On Originals in the community, which included, among other things, a page on the group’s website and a “Boycott Hands On Originals” Facebook page. As a result of the public pressure created by GLSO, some of Hands On Originals’ large customers—such as the University of Kentucky, the Fayette County Public School System, and the Kentucky Blood Center—have publicly stated that they are placing a hold on further business with Adamson and his company, resulting in a significant loss of business for Hands On Originals. This development has jeopardized the livelihood of Adamson’s many employees and the future of his company.

In November 2012, the Commission found probable cause to believe that Hands On Originals violated the local nondiscrimination ordinance. By simply striving to conduct himself consistently with his faith, Adamson now faces a legal struggle that threatens to approximate in time and pain the one already endured by other citizens (e.g. the Huguenins in New Mexico).

Cake Designer Forced to Make Cake for Same-Sex Wedding against His Beliefs  

July 2012

Jack Phillips has used his artistic talents to design and create wedding cakes and baked goods for the last 40 years. Twenty years ago, he started Masterpiece Cakeshop, and since that time he has served thousands of customers in Colorado without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other status. In addition to being a baker, Phillips has been a committed Christian who believes that he should live consistently with what he believes to be true. As a consequence, Phillips has sought to operate his business in accordance with his faith, even when doing so might cost him.

While Phillips served all people, because of his faith he chose not serve all events. For instance, he has chosen not to bake any Halloween-themed goods, even though Halloween typically provides bakeries increased revenue-making opportunities, because he believes that Christians should not promote Halloween. He has chosen to close his store on Sunday, so his employees might be able to go to church if they so desire.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Phillips to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. After the Civil Rights Division found probable cause, the complaint was heard by an administrative law judge, who ruled in favor of Craig and Mullins and against Phillips. Phillips filed an appeal with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission but the Commission upheld the administrative law judge’s ruling. At time of publication, Phillips was considering an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Cake Artist Undergoes “Rehabilitation” for Refusing to Bake Cake for Same-Sex Wedding

January 17, 2013

Melissa and Aaron Klein owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery located in Gresham, Oregon. They declined, because of their religious beliefs, to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex “wedding.” The same-sex couple filed a complaint against the Kleins with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). The commissioner of BOLI, Brad Avakian, has been quoted as saying that, “The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate.”

Nevertheless, BOLI ruled against the Kleins, and issued an administrative decision saying that Sweet Cakes engaged in discrimination against the same-sex couple. Due to threats and fearing for their safety, the Kleins closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa in September 2013. At time of publication, the complaint against the bakery is moving into a period of reconciliation. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, BOLI could file formal civil charges against Sweet Cakes and the Kleins could be exposed to heavy fines.

Party Venue Draws Ire for Refusing to Host Same-Sex Wedding – February 2013

Ben Allen and Justin Hudgins contacted All Occasion Party Place near Fort Worth, Texas, and requested that the All Occasion host their same-sex wedding. All Occasion Party Place refused to do so out of religious objections to same-sex marriage. In a response to Mrs. Allen and Hudgins, an employee stated: “It is because of God that I will not be a part in your reception, and I know he loves you, but not what you are doing. . . . I simply said I cannot rent to you which is also my right.”

Allen said “it doesn’t really make sense to me” to be denied this opportunity “simply because you date someone of the same-sex” in “today’s day and age.” Allen’s beliefs obviously conflicted with those of the people who ran All Occasion Party Place, yet the business owners maintained that their consciences and beliefs drive their lives too. All Occasion Party Place is located outside the Fort Worth city limits, and therefore does not fall under the city’s anti-discrimination code. Still, the case has nonetheless sparked the ire of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates.

Florist Sued for Refusing to Create Arrangement for Same-Sex Wedding  

April 2013

Sixty-eight-year-old Barronelle Stutzman, the sole owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, WA, has for her entire career served and employed people who identify as homosexual. One of her longtime clients, whom she had served for nine years while knowing that he identified as homosexual, asked her to design the floral arrangements for his same-sex “wedding.” Ms. Stutzman had always considered him a friend. She responded by telling him that, while he knew she loved him, her religious convictions would not allow her to design floral arrangements that would support same-sex “marriage.” He responded by bringing suit against her, as did the State of Washington. Both suits alleged violations of Washington’s state nondiscrimination law.

Ms. Stutzman filed a countersuit against the State of Washington, arguing that the nondiscrimination law, as applied to Ms. Stutzman, was unconstitutional because it forced her to act contrary to her religious convictions and also forced her to promote a message that she did not wish to convey. At time of publication, this matter is currently before the Benton County, WA, Superior Court. No matter which side wins in the state superior court, the matter likely will be appealed and the litigation is projected to drag on for years.

Cake Shop Taking Heat for Refusing to Provide Cake for Commitment Ceremony

May 2013

Pam Regentin, owner of Fleur Cakes, objected to providing a wedding cake for a same-sex couples’ commitment ceremony. Ms. Regentin objected to providing the cake due to her Christian beliefs, and is now receiving criticism for doing so. Regentin has said she believes she has “the liberty to live by my principles.”

Family Farm Sued for Refusing to Host Same-Sex Wedding  

November 2013

Liberty Ridge Farm, in Schaghticoke, NY, is the home of the Gifford family. It is a working farm that has been in the family for many years, and the main structure on the property is where the Giffords reside, raise their children, and engage in the private affairs of family life. The Gifford family has chosen to allow people on their property for certain select events on given days at given times. Their home is not opened indiscriminately like a hotel, and although visitors pay for certain events held on the property, the Giffords have determined the types of activities they will or will not allow.

The family holds deeply-held religious beliefs, and one of these is that God created the design for marriage as the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong and exclusive relationship. The Giffords have not denied access to the Farm to any visitor on the basis of race, religion, sex, and other factors including sexual orientation. Everyone has been welcome to attend any scheduled events on their property; the Giffords would even permit a same-sex couple to hold a reception on their property. But they would not allow same-sex a marriage ceremony, because it violated their religious beliefs.

Melissa Erwin and Jennifer McCarthy wanted to hold their wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm. The Giffords declined to allow them to do so because of their religious beliefs and Erwin and McCarthy then filed a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights. There was an evidentiary hearing in November 2013 before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ asked both sides for briefs after that hearing; these briefs were submitted on January 7, 2014. Jim Trainor, representing the Giffords, argued in his brief that Liberty Ridge Farm did not fit within the definition of public accommodation, and also that the Farm did not decline provide services because of the sexual orientation of the complainants but rather because of the Giffords’ beliefs about marriage. The case is ongoing.

Catholic School Sued over Refusal to Hire Individual in Same-Sex Marriage

January 30, 2014

It looked like Matthew Barrett was going to be hired at the Catholic Fontbonne Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, but then administrators noticed his emergency contact form. On it, Barrett had identified his homosexual “spouse” as the person to call. The Academy called him into the office and rescinded the job offer. The headmaster was polite but resolved. “Fontbonne Academy does not discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation,” said Assistant Head of School Gregg Chambers. But it is “guided by the religious doctrines and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church [which] has a very specific belief that marriage between two persons of the same-sex is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church and that belief informs policies of how Fontbonne Academy and all Catholic schools are to operate on this issue.” That didn’t sit well with Barrett, who contacted the local Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and filed a complaint with the state. “Religiously-affiliated entities do not have a free pass to do as they please in how they treat employees,” GLAD insisted. Other liberals piled on, arguing that Barrett wouldn’t have been working in the classroom, imposing his agenda on the students. GLAD subsequently filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) against Fontbonne Academy. Fontbonne Academy will now have its religiously motivated views subjected to the scrutinizing eye of the state and the MCAD.

Universities Target Christian Groups Using “Anti-Discrimination” Rules

June 2014

Bowdoin College, along with the California State University public system and several other colleges, is seeking to exclude evangelical groups from official university recognition starting in the Fall 2014 semester. These universities are employing nondiscrimination rules to say that any student must be allowed to be a leader of any student group, no matter his or her religious beliefs. The Bowdoin Christian Fellowship does not agree. “It would compromise our ability to be who we are as Christians if we can’t hold our leaders to some sort of doctrinal standard,” Bowdoin graduate and former leader of BCF Zackary Suhr told The New York Times. Groups like BCF view such liberal university policies as encroachments on their religious liberty and are refusing to agree to such policies. If these groups lose official university recognition, that could mean they are denied access to the university’s name, facilities, money, and other important benefits.


These stories feature real Americans who are trying to live peaceful, faithful lives, but find their conscience and liberty under attack. They are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. Many of them look like us and our neighbors. With little warning, they are attacked and marginalized by those who are seeking to redefine the rights given by God and expressed by our Founders and earlier Americans. The victims in these stories are caught in the center of a larger struggle—as their fellow citizens seek to redefine rights through policy, law, and culture. This narrative pits our historical understanding of the notion of religious liberty—an expansive vision that includes the ability to apply one’s faith to all the details of one’s life—against a more recent understanding of freedoms in which “rights” to a “religion-free” environment or to unfettered sexual expression are crafted into new law and elevated to the level of and even above our foundational constitutional rights of freedom of speech and religion.

While the incidents listed above are troubling, there is still time to address and counter the many current threats to religious liberty. Although most of these accounts have occurred within the past several years, it is important to react—not simply with urgent concern for those whose rights are most immediately affected—but also with prudent, informed advocacy for the principles underlying our religious liberty. The suppression of religious liberty is not entirely disconnected from the restriction and suppression of free inquiry and critical thinking we are observing today. We should be concerned that the suppression of rights, particularly as outlined in Sections III and IV of this publication, is the product of more insidious forces which ultimately will erode civil liberties for all Americans, even if they hold a different viewpoint than our own. Thus all these threats are properly countered by addressing not only the primary religious liberty issues but also the underlying philosophical thinking that leads to such attacks in the first place.

We must first become aware of religious liberty violations. Then we can focus on legal, policy, and cultural responses to these violations. Liberty does not maintain itself. Only as we become more fully aware of and engaged on the issue of hostility toward religion, can we effectively defend civil liberties and restore religious liberty to its proper place in American society.


Article from http://www.frc.org

* This story has been published in The Liberty Institute and Family Research Council’s joint publication Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America and has been reprinted with permission.

** This story has been published by Alliance Defending Freedom and has been reprinted withpermission.

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85 “Discrimination against Catholic adoption agencies,” USCCB Fact Sheet, accessed July 2, 2014, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/upload/Catholic-Adoption-Services.pdf.38

86 “Illinois bed and breakfast responds to baseless charges of civil rights violations,” Alliance Defending Freedom, accessed June 4, 2014, http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/5228.

87 “Wedding Cake Battle Brews Between Couple, Baker,” KCCI News, accessed June 4, 2014, http://www.kcci.com/Wedding-Cake-Battle-Brews-Between-Couple-Baker/7310176.

88 “ADF: Ky. T-shirt company not required to promote message it disagrees with,” Alliance Defending Freedom, accessed June 4, 2014, http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/5454.

89 “Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop,” Alliance Defending Freedom, accessed June 4, 2014, http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/8700.

90 Lesbian couple refused wedding cake files state discrimination complaint,” Oregon Live, accessed June 5, 2014,

http://www.oregonlive.com/gresham/index.ssf/2013/08/lesbian_couple_refused_wedding.html; “‘We Still Stand by What We Believe’: Bakers Who Refused to Make a Gay Wedding Cake Double Down Despite Ruling They Violated Couple’s Civil Rights.” The Blaze, accessed June 5, 2014,


91 “Ben Allen And Justin Hudgins, Texas Gay Couple, Says Wedding Venue Turned Them Down,” The Huffington Post, accessed June 4, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/ben-allen-justin-hudgins-texas-gayreception-hall_n_2741503.html.

92 “Ingersoll v. Arlene’s Flowers, State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers, and Arlene’s Flowers v. Ferguson,” Alliance

Defending Freedom, accessed June 4, 2014, http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/News/PRDetail/8608.

93 “Fleur Cakes, Oregon Bakery, Turns Away Lesbian Couple Seeking Wedding Cake,” The Huffington Post, accessed

June 4, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/fleur-cakes-gay-wedding-oregon_n_3279833.html.

94 “Gay couple and Liberty Ridge Farm face off in court,” WNYT.com, accessed June 4, 2014,


95 “Gay Man Accuses Fontbonne Academy of Bias,” Patriot Ledger, accessed June 25, 2014,


96 “Fontbonne Academy in Milton Sued for Anti-Gay Hiring Practices,” Boston.com, accessed June 4, 2014,

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/blogs/bostonspirit/2014/01/fontbonne_academy_sued_in_milt.html; “Gay married man says Catholic school rescinded job offer,” The Boston Globe, accessed June 4, 2014,

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/01/29/dorchester-man-files-discrimination-against-catholic-schoolsays-lost-job-because-was gaymarried/0KswVITMsOrruEbhsOsOeN/story.html.

97 Colleges Use ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Rules Against Christians,” National Review Online, accessed June 25, 2014,




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Humpty Dumpty Justice – Law Without God

“Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent”

by Harvey A. Silverglate

Review by Jerri Lynn Ward

 “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”1

In February 2002, federal agents, helmeted, shielded, and washington dcwearing bullet-proof vests, burst into a work place and put a gun to the head of an employee, demanding that he “get off the phone! Now!” Did this happen at a meth lab or opium den? No, it happened in the offices of a medical doctor specializing in pain management, in full view of his patients. After being handcuffed and shackled with leg irons, the doctor was presented with a 313-count indictment. Many of the charges were dropped over time. At trial, the jury acquitted him of 30 of the remaining 69 charges and hung (due to one juror) on the other charge. Despite the acquittal, the government refiled the charges and the doctor plea-bargained to voluntarily surrender his license to practice medicine. He was sentenced to five years of probation.

supreme courtIn 1993, two businessmen were indicted for shipping technology to India without a license, although a reasonable reading of the governing regulations indicated that no license was needed. The jury convicted the businessmen and they retained a new defense team prior to sentencing. The new team, which included the author of Three Felonies, discovered that the Commerce Department had presented educational training seminars to industry personnel in which the Commerce Department taught the same position on the regulations that the defense had argued for at trial. The U. S. Delegation to an international organization had taken the same position as the Commerce Department. These positions were the direct opposite of the argument presented by the prosecution at trial. Upon discovery of these facts, the federal trial Judge vacated the convictions and acquitted the men and made a point of writing into his opinion the quote from Through the Looking Glass that begins this review.american flag

Harvey Silverglate is a criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer who has been in practice since 1967. He is well known for his work on behalf of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has defended many conservative university students and professors from unjust actions taken by university professors and administrators in the name of political correctness. In his book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, Silverglate argues that federal law has become so massive, pervasive, and vague, that professionals and businessmen unknowingly commit at least three felonies a day, all of which can be detected by a prosecutor who picks a target and then marshals a case.

Everyone’s Guilty

Silverglate notes that things began to change significantly around the 1980s as prosecutors began to use law and regulations like “Silly Putty” to criminalize normal business conduct. He says the federal judiciary ceased to be an effective check on prosecutorial abuse because federal judges are more often plucked from the ranks of the prosecution and are not only buying “into the amorphous definitions of federal crimes favored by prosecutors, but …” are knowingly enabling questionable tactics.2 The result is that innocent people are being caught up in federal prosecutions and having their lives ruined, families destroyed, and wealth dissipated — although they have broken no law and harmed no one. Even if they are ultimately acquitted, the damage to their lives, reputations, and finances remains. The government offers no restitution to those they have falsely accused. The targets of this abuse are doctors, lawyers, businessmen, politicians, journalists and, in one case, an artist.

Silverglate says the problem goes back to the 1950s when prosecutors attempted to undermine the traditional Common Law requirement of criminal intent. This means that “scienter” or guilty knowledge (or mens rea “guilty mind”) was a necessary element to prove a crime. In other words, the person had to know that what he was doing was illegal to be criminally punished. Given the massive number of vaguely written criminal statutes, it is virtually impossible for anyone to avoid committing a technical violation of the law. Thus, with enough investigation and creativity, an ambitious prosecutor can gather enough “evidence” to indict almost anyone. Supreme Court Justice and U. S. Attorney Robert H. Jackson, who also served as U. S. Attorney General, warned about this very possibility as far back as 1952, foreseeing that prosecutors would be tempted to target individuals utilizing the “great assortment of crimes” that Justice Jackson noted had been passed by Congress, even at that time.

Jackson’s fears have materialized, as evidenced by the cases described in Three Felonies. Silverglate describes the targeting of politicians and business men by ambitious prosecutors. Rather than seeing evidence of criminal activity and acting upon it, federal prosecutors pick targets and build a case not upon the complaint of a victim but through “laddering.” They indict lower-level employees or officials and, through threats and intimidation, attempt to build a body of testimony by the indicted that will result in an indictment of the actual target. Prosecutors intimidate the indicted into plea bargains in return for favorable testimony against the target-that testimony being obtained through coercion. As Alan Dershowitz, who wrote the foreword to Three Felonies, says, such witnesses, faced with massive counts in indictments, ruinous legal fees, and confiscation of assets through asset forfeiture laws prior to trial, are taught not only to “sing” but to “compose.”3

In some of the cases chronicled, plea bargains are coerced by threats to family members, as was the case with Michael Milken. Federal agents visited Milken’s 92-year-old grandfather in a not-so-subtle attempt to imply that other family members were at risk of indictment. That, coupled with an indictment against his brother, resulted in Milken taking a plea to protect his family. After the conviction, noted legal scholars who analyzed the case concluded that the conduct for which Milken was indicted was not criminal.

According to Silverglate, prosecutors exert their power in order to impose their own ethics and standards on society and also to fulfill personal ambition. Their tools are vague laws originally passed to combat organized crime; and newer federal laws which are poorly crafted and vague; as well as the massive body of federal civil regulations which prosecutors bootstrap into federal crimes. As a result, federal drug agents have supplanted the medical profession’s standards of care with their own, companies’ normal business practices are spun as crimes, and innocent people are crushed.

Can We Fix It?

Silverglate includes a “call to action,” outlining what he believes must happen to change the situation. He rejects the possibility of internal reform of the Department of Justice (DOJ) because it is entrenched in a culture of “win at all costs” prosecutions regardless of which political party is in power. Moreover, he sees no effective check on the DOJ by the judicial branch because nine times out of ten the “Judges are former DOJ honchos.” He believes that a solution is only possible powered by coalitions of groups who put aside political differences and cooperate by filing friend-of-the-court briefs, lobby for legislative or regulatory change, and engage in other kinds of advocacy. In other words, salvation by politics while ignoring the flawed presuppositions of the flawed system which has supplanted Biblically-inspired Common Law. Silverglate’s proposal ignores the root cause of the failure of the justice system: the loss of faith in the triune God. As Rushdoony wrote, “Law perishes when the faith which undergirds the law dies.”4 Silverglate, instead, throws the problem back into the lap of the humanist establishment that caused it.

As a result of our loss of faith, we have abandoned Biblical law as it was expressed in Common Law. We have supplanted Common Law with prescriptive law in the form of statutes and regulations. In doing so, we have shifted ultimate authority from God to man. Thus, any attempts to solve the problems laid out in Three Felonies by a political solution are futile. The fruits of humanist, prescriptive (statutory) law are apparent.

In Law and Liberty, Rushdoony wrote that Common Law was Biblically based, with justice being the primary goal. It was administered by juries of one’s peers rather than by a specialized, elite class (judges, lawyers, bureaucrats) because Common Law was easily understood and known. Moreover, it was personal because its main function was restitution to the injured party by penalizing the guilty.5 Rushdoony said this about Common Law: “In short, the law operated for the welfare of the citizen rather than for the impersonal state and its concept of society.”6

The shift from Biblical/Common Law has been accompanied by a move away from justice to an emphasis on statist power over men. Rushdoony took note of the “constant reference” to “compelling state interest” in the pages of modern case law.7 Whereas, he wrote, the “most compelling state interest should be freedom with justice,” it has now deteriorated into control by the state.8

Humpty Dumpty Justice

Compelling state interest as control of men manifests itself in many of the cases discussed in Three Felonies. One case in particular examines not only the raw grasp for power by the DOJ, but the complicity of the federal judiciary in undermining justice. Bradford C. Councilman was vice-president of Interloc, Inc., which provided online listing services for rare and out-of-print books and acted as an Internet service provider (ISP) for its customers. To protect customers’ emails from being lost during a system failure, Interloc made copies of the emails before forwarding them to the intended recipient.

[But] Councilman was indicted under federal wire-tapping laws passed in the era before the Internet! The compelling issue before the court was whether or not copying of those messages was a violation of federal wiretapping statues in light of the fact the messages were not in transit in a “wire” when “intercepted” (copied). Instead they were stored on the server prior to being directed to the recipient. The defense argued that because the messages were not in transit, but residing on a server to which they were purposely directed before being copied, the conduct was not a violation of the Wiretap Act. The DOJ argued a broad application of the law, thereby criminalizing the conduct.

Prior to the trial, the federal judge hearing the Councilman case, Judge Michael Posner, discovered that the Ninth Circuit (this case resided in the First Circuit) had already decided a case involving the interpretation of the same Act, Konop v. Hawaiian Airlines.9 The Ninth Circuit interpreted the Act to mean the same thing that Councilman was arguing before Judge Posner, that it is not wiretapping under the Act to access online communications when they were no longer in transit and were stored on a server. Furthermore, the attorneys for Councilman discovered that the DOJ had argued, in the Konop case, that it was NOT wiretapping to access email when they were not in transit, but instead stored on a server, the opposite tack it took in its prosecution of Councilman. Silverglate noted, “There was some speculation, particularly among privacy advocates and civil libertarians that in Konop the government may have narrowly read the statute in order to protect government agents from being sued for post-9/11 intrusions into stored messages, while on the East Coast it was trying to convict a private citizen under a broad reading.”10

As a result, Judge Posner dismissed the indictment against Councilman and the DOJ appealed. From there, the story gets much worse in terms of judicial tyranny and activism. In true pharisaical form, the First Circuit reinstated the indictment though the court acknowledged that it was not clear that the plain text of the Wiretap Act covered Councilman’s actions. The Court claimed to resolve “this continuing ambiguity” by looking at the legislative history and deciding that Congress had intended to give “broad” protection to electronic communications, and that Councilman was put on sufficient notice that he was committing a crime by accessing the stored emails. The dissenting justice wrote a scathing opinion asserting the rule of lenity (a rule requiring that ambiguities in the law be resolved in favor of the defendant) and wrote: “Councilman is being held to a level of knowledge which would not be expected of any of the judges who have to deal with this problem.”11 Fortunately, the jury acquitted Mr. Councilman at trial.

The Councilman case is a cogent example of justice trumped by state power. It exemplifies Humpty Dumpty’s assertion that definitions are whatever the master wants at the time. The jury saved justice in the end, but the continual erosion of the lawful authority of juries continues and will not always be an effective shield if we continue down this path.

The Councilman case is also illustrative of the extent to which Western law (based in Biblically-inspired Common Law) has been subverted into Soviet-style administrative law where there is no higher appeal than to the bureaucracy which purports to have authority over the issue at hand. The First Circuit certainly bowed to the “authority” of the DOJ, despite its conflicting positions. But, as Three Felonies discusses, the bureaucratic, administrative state contributes by prosecuting ordinary business conduct through the massive Code of Federal Regulations, which presumes control over almost every sphere of life and work and is a formidable tool in the hands of ambitious prosecutors.

Harold J. Berman, in his awesome work, “Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition,” notes this about the unfortunate transformation of Western law: “[W]hat was previously conceived to be private law has also been transformed in the twentieth century by the radical centralization and bureaucratization of economic life…”12 He laments that this has turned law into collectivism with an “emphasis” on “state and social property, regulation of contractual freedom in the interest of society…” as opposed to “individualism of the traditional law” with its emphasis on private property, freedom of contract and “other basic postulates.”13

Law without God

The mess chronicled in Three Felonies is far more than the work of individual clueless legislators or crooked prosecutors and judges. It is the logical result of man’s denial of the sovereignty of God and His law over all of His creation, and man’s wish to be as God and to rule over himself and his fellow man. Though we owe Silverglate gratitude for his illumination of the problems, he falls into the fiction that man alone can reform the federal judicial system and restore justice through politics. Rushdoony says about such beliefs, “Cartesian man lives with a will to fiction and a readiness to believe that, with a capture of the state apparatus by his kind of radical, liberal, or conservative, grace will flow into every area of life, and heaven on earth will be realized.”14

Such thoughts put into action are what have brought about hell on earth. King David preferred to fall into the hands of the Living God than into the hands of men. That is because man has exhibited the desire to institute a “totalitarian set of laws to control everything,”15 whereas God’s law has limits, “gives plain commandments” which our “humanistic inferences” cannot supplement (unlike statutes and regulations manipulated like “Silly Putty” by bureaucracies and federal judges) and are few in number.16 Moreover, God reserves punishment for many violations of His law to Himself, unlike humanist law.17

The lesson to be gleaned from Silverglate’s book is that we must reject a humanistic law structure and go back to Biblical law as the foundation of our justice system. When you realize that you commit three felonies a day, as defined by humanist law, you live under continual fear of arrest. Our laws create the illusion of rule-by-law, but this masks the reality of rule-by-arbitrary-will-of-man. It functions like the most dictatorial tyranny under the pretence of a just society. All citizens are taught to despise lawbreakers, but this is the hidden engine behind the system as the law veers off all ties to a Biblical law system. The pretense of justice survives even in its absence due to unearned, unjustified respect for the institution. The very political system which created the problem cannot solve it. Only a restoration of faith in the atoning power of God and His law can.

The atonement, however much despised and rejected of men together with the Atoner, is the only force in all of history that can truly redirect history morally.18

We must reject humanistic political solutions and look to God and His law to restore justice. He is the source of all knowledge and justice and it is only through Him that we will have victory: “He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge, shall not he know?”19 Without His law-word we foster a dead system: “To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no light in them.”20


(“Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent” by Harvey A. Silverglate; New York: Encounter Books, 2011) Reviewed by Jerri Lynn Ward, J. D.

  1. Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Harvey Silverglate, “Kevin White, the Feds, and the press,” The Phlog; The Boston Phoenix; February 7, 2012, http://blog.thephoenix.com/BLOGS/phlog/archive/2012/02/07/kevin-white-the-feds-and-the-press.aspx
  4. R. J. Rushdoony, Law and Liberty (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1984), 89.
  5. Ibid., 86-89.
  6. Ibid., 89.
  7. Ibid., 177.
  8. Ibid., 177.
  9. Konop v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., 302 F2nd 319 (D. Mass. 2003).
  10. Harvey Silverglate, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, (New York: Encounter Books, 2011), 260.
  11. Ibid., 263.
  12. Harold J. Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (U. S. A.: Harvard University Press, 1983), 34.
  13. Ibid., 36.
  14. R. J. Rushdoony, Sovereignty (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2007), 386.
  15. R. J. Rushdoony, The Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 452.
  16. Ibid., 452-453.
  17. Ibid., 452.
  18. R. J. Rushdoony, “The Centrality of the Atonement.” Faith for All of Life, Mar/Apr. 2012, 3. Taken from Rushdoony’s commentary on First and Second Corinthians to be published by Chalcedon in the near future.
  19. Psalms 94:10. We see the opposite of this vision of victory in the 20th verse of this same Psalm, which sounds God’s condemnation of humanistic law in no uncertain terms.
  20. Isaiah 8:20.

Co-founder of Garlo Ward, P.C., Jerri Lynn Ward provides legal representation in the areas of business and commercial litigation, including complex healthcare and regulatory litigation, and health facility operational matters. Her background and prior experience also includes litigation work in the areas of insurance defense, employment, toxic tort, products liability, medical malpractice, business and commercial, as well as criminal matters.


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Vicious Slandering Liberals and Their Dopey-Ass Friends Too…

Another Typical Example of Liberal Propaganda…expressionism

By Dr. Joel McDurmon

One of my seminary professors jokingly used to tell us in class, “I don’t make up anything you can check.”

This would be good advice for liberals today, especially in the internet and information age. When trying to smear a conservative Christian opponent, it is best not to make up lies that are easily exposed with the click of a mouse.

social idiotThe latest episode of “What lies have liberals spun today” features University of North Florida (UNF) Associate Professor of Religion Julie Ingersoll. Armed with the typical leftist “sound-bite” strategy, she is out to prove me a liar and a hypocrite on dominion theology. She tries to demonstrate that I really believe in top-down control of society, and not in the decentralized freedom I claim.

She begins by highlighting NPR’s interview of C. Peter Wagner — a leader among part of the so-called “New Apostolic Reformation” — whom I criticized in an earlier article.woman of death

Ingersoll quotes me from that previous article: “[O]ur blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it… We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches.”

She says that this statement of mine “can’t be taken at face value.”

She then tries to align me with Wagner, saying, “Wagner took the very same position on Fresh Air saying, ‘Dominion is not theocracy it’s “kingdom minded people” in government’ making the world a better place for everyone” (my emphasis).

How in the world this demonstrates “the very same position” as mine is beyond all rational analysis. But then again, we’re dealing with liberals here. “Rational” hardly enters the discussion. “Analysis” is a foreign concept to them. So is honesty.

Perhaps Wagner does somewhere express a belief in smaller, decentralized government, but the comment Ingersoll presents hardly proves that point.

The original NPR webpage provides much more of Wagner’s view which Ingersoll leaves out. On the issue of acquiring positions of government, he says,

We believe in working with any — with whatever political system there is. In America, it’s democracy and working with the administrative, judicial and legislative branches of the government, the way they are, but to have as many kingdom-minded people in influence in each one of these branches of government as possible so that the blessings of the kingdom will come.

Wagner, based on these comments, does not want to decrease or change at all the size, structure, or power of the government. I do. I want it smaller, more local, less wasteful, more reflective of local values, more private, etc. Ingersoll knows this, so in order to make her case, she leaves out key facts. Thus her comparison is inaccurate.

But it’s clear to any unbiased reader that Wagner’s vision is not the same as mine — not even Ingersoll’s edited, pruned, sound-byted, “for liberal media consumption” version of things.

This is actually clear to the highly biased readers as well — they just choose not to tell the whole story.

Based on her own manufactured half-truths (lies), she concludes, “But the argument made by both McDurmon and Wagner that their ‘Kingdom’ wouldn’t be imposed on the rest of us can’t be taken at face value.”

First of all, it’s not our Kingdom we seek, it’s God’s. Second, we don’t both make the same argument, as I just showed.

Third, let’s look at some facts:

I live in north Georgia; Ingersoll lives in Florida. Under my proposed system of government, nothing I say or do would be imposed on her part of the world (unless, of course, the vast majority of her local fellow-citizens agreed with it and wanted it — but then it wouldn’t be mine, it would be theirs). In my plan, it’s their local call. Under, however, either her view of leftist Democrat controlled government, or Wagner’s view of leaving things as they are only with Christians in seats of influence, everyone dances to the ideological, political, and tax tune played by Washington. Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, California, Hawaii — it doesn’t matter where you flee.

Which one of these things is not like the other?

Who, exactly, wishes to impose their system on the rest of us?

Even a liberal academic should be able to answer these questions.

Ingersoll then switches the subject from the size and power of government to the actual function of government: “coercion.” She brings this is in as an abstract notion by which she can lump Wagner and me together. (Apparently, she herself believes in no coercion. If you believe that, I’ve got a University in North Florida to sell you). The “guilt by association” doesn’t work. Here’s why:

I had argued that some people who think like Wagner seek top-down control of society through a large central government. This differs from my view and the view of most others in the “dominion theology” camp traditionally, as you can well see by now. But, of course, since we all believe in some government, we believe by definition in some coercion—that’s what government is. In my case, it’s limited strictly to the punishment of crime.

I wrote that Wagner’s view was evident in the literature of his movement. Ingersoll thinks she is making some great revelation to the world by announcing, “the coercive quality of the Reconstructionist vision is also evident in their literature.” This, as if we ever pretended not to believe in the basic nature of government.

(What she probably would not like to emphasize, by the way, is just how much coercion her liberal progressive view of government involves compared to my greatly limited and decentralized view. Another time, perhaps.)

The funny thing is that she can’t even come up with a good example to make her case. She writes,

For example, in the Biblical Blueprint Series George Grant argues that no charity should be available to anyone not under the protection of the Biblical Covenant; charity is the responsibility of families and churches so any other version of it is tyrannical.

This is pure hogwash, and as you can see, undocumented, unfootnoted, unquoted hogwash. What Grant actual teaches in that book is that no individual or church should be forced to provide “charity” through government welfare schemes — thus they should not be taxed to support causes or people whose values or ethics they don’t necessarily agree with. What could be more acceptable than that? But this hardly means he (or we) wish to forbid charities from helping those not under a biblical covenant — or that we think “no charity should be available” to them. We would openly support free and privately-funded institutions providing charity to whomever they desired — or not. We want the same freedom for all of us, which includes the right to refuse service or charity. But the freedom to refuse is not the same as a government mandated refusal. To make this equation is nonsensical.

(This is a great demonstration, by the way, of how liberals cannot even imagine private charities operating without government strings attached; only government welfare equals charity in their minds.)

So Christian Reconstructionists simply desire a return to free, private charity. Ingersoll believes in socialistic central-government run welfare “charity” in which everyone is forced to pay and liberals decide who gets the money. You tell me which one of us believes in greater “coercion.”

She continues with education: “In another example, Ray Sutton writes about ending public education (also considered tyranny) in his book in the same Biblical Blueprint Series:”

[I]f you run for the public school board, do it with one intention only: to create an orderly transition to exclusively private education. If you can’t be elected on this platform (as seems likely), then become the candidate who wants to reduce waste. (The Biblical definition of wasteful public schools: “public schools.”)

Again, where is the coercion here? Sutton, like me, speaks of freeing people from being taxed for the support of a cause we don’t believe in, which contradicts our social values, through a system we believe is unbiblical to begin with. We want at least the option to be free, and we counsel people who want “to get involved with public schools” against doing so unless they’re doing so to help make us free in this regard.

Ingersoll calls this “coercion” and even “deception” on our part. But how is it coercion when we want greater options for freedom? When we want people out from under an unjust tax burden? And how is it deception when Sutton says people should put their intentions in the platform on which they run for the office?

Even if any of our writers ever did advocate running for public office with a stealth agenda, I would personally denounce it (as would North or DeMar). That’s something only unscrupulous liberals would do. Either be honest or stay out.

But compare, again, the Reconstructionist view of education with, for example, Ingersoll’s liberal views: Reconstructionists want people to be free from top-down centralized taxation for a system with which we don’t agree, free to choose their own method of education, keeping their money to use as they determine. She wants everyone taxed and forced to pay for the central system whether they use it, or share its values or not. Again, you tell me who believes in coercion in this area?

And again, since Wagner wants to leave things as they are (he can write and say otherwise in this area of education if he disagrees), then the leftist Ingersoll fits in his political camp better than me.

The great joke here is that Ingersoll has been studying the Christian Reconstruction movement for decades now, and she knows there are hundreds of books, journals, and articles expressing our views openly. Yet, the best she can come with are these two measly and obviously ill-chosen examples. Neither comes from either of the main writers in the movement, and she does not even quote George Grant to back her portrayal of him (Of course, liberals always prefer to let themselves speak for you!). And in the end, her examples prove nothing close to what she intends.

Finally, she takes aim at my statement that in a Christian Reconstructionist society, “we would properly re-criminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.” Not that you need to, but read that again: it says very simply, very clearly, “sodomy, adultery, and abortion,” and “you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.” Here’s how Ingersoll interprets what I wrote:

Rebranding as criminals people who have sex outside the parameters of “biblical law” (this includes divorced people who remarry or have sex outside of marriage) to make them leave their homes is hardly voluntary.

Ingersoll should walk out of her little university office, down the hall, and to the Psych department. She should find a colleague there who can prescribe something for these dissociated thought patterns, if they have medication for such a thing.

Did you read me anywhere in that quotation write that all sex outside the parameters of biblical law is criminal? That all remarriage and fornication is in fact criminal? Of course, not. Neither did Ingersoll. She made it up. It is a lie. (Why? Because Liberals cling to a philosophy rooted in non-reality)

The truth is that biblical law describes only a few cases of sex-outside of marriage as criminal, mainly when one party is a victim — i.e. rape. Bestiality would be included as criminal as well. I’m not sure whether Ingersoll endorses legally-protected sex with animals or not. In other cases, sex outside of marriage is definitely sin, but not a crime calling for civil punishment. The same is true in cases of legitimate divorce and remarriage. Ingersoll seems to know the Biblical Blueprints Series so well, yet neglects to inform her readers that the same Ray Sutton from above also wrote Second Chance: Biblical Principles for Divorce and Remarriage in that same series. He answers her misperceptions and misrepresentations thoroughly for anyone interested in the facts. Ingersoll apparently is not.

My point about “leaving” is illustrative as well. Ingersoll construes this to mean that I would forcibly remove people from their homes. A pitiful lie. My very easily understood point is that in a decentralized world, if you don’t like the laws, and your best efforts fail at changing them (should you care to try), and you can’t stand living in such a society, then you are absolutely free to move. But you certainly don’t have to.

In Ingersoll’s centralized world (and, I assume, Wagner’s), everyone is forced to live largely under the same top-down system of values imposed on us by Washington, the Supreme Court, etc. You don’t like your tax dollars funding pro-homosexual, sex-ed in kindergartens? Don’t like your welfare taxes supporting a hundred types of profligate lifestyles, deadbeats, and bureaucrats’ pensions? Too bad. Ingersoll says you will pay, and you will pay. And guess what? You don’t have the option of moving away from it, not in this country. It’s one-size-fits all.

You tell me who believes in coercion, who believes in control.

When she’s done with her pitiful attempt to paint Christian Reconstructionism as a centralized tyranny, she sums up her point:

There are differences between these two movements that embrace dominion theology . . . but those differences is [sic] not over whether their view of dominion amounts to a decentralized, voluntary vision for governing a society of free people.

As you have seen, the differences do indeed center on this issue, and nothing Ingersoll has presented has altered that fact — not even in her tailored version of the facts.

So on these issues, it is Ingersoll who has more in common with C. Peter Wagner’s view of government than do I. I would encourage them both to move more in the direction of freedom and liberty under God’s law.

In fact, I’ll make Ingersoll a deal: I’ll agree with her that we should end undue coercion. So let’s pull the plug on the coercive schemes of welfare and tax-funded schools completely. Government shall not be allowed to use its coercive strength to redistribute wealth and tax the unwilling for its indoctrinations. If she is truly opposed to coercion, as she seems to imply, she should agree with me on all these topics. The truth is, however, she is like all liberals and statists: she wants control. She wants to be God and determine who gets what, how much, where, and when. She wants to determine the law by which everyone, everywhere should be forced to live.

And I say, America has had about enough of that scheme of government. There is a path to freedom, it is through godliness and godly law; and they don’t teach it in the religion department at UNF.


Article from Americanvision.org


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Government and Politics won’t solve Our Racial Problem

Government and Politics won’t solve Our Racial Problem

by Star Parker 2015Star Parker 3

 When horrible things happen, such as the tragic mass murder that occurred at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, we try to understand because it is through understanding that we solve problems.

Speaking about the incident, Hillary Clinton said: “It is tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident — to believe that in today’s America, bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists. But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”

Some of the Republican candidates for president are taking heat because they have not come out so boldly and clearly as Clinton regarding the racial dimension of this crime.

Star Parker 2Here’s the problem. No one, particularly with all the information we now have about the deranged young man who admitted to committing this crime, can question his racial motivations. He was a sick, pathological racist.

But Clinton, in her zeal to make political capital from this tragedy, conflated and confused very different things — racial bigotry and institutionalized racism – and as result, at a difficult and sensitive moment, threw out heat when we needed light.

Institutionalized racism is racism that a society officially endorses. It is present when there is a legal framework that supports it.

Institutionalized racism existed in the United States prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Social realities and laws that permitted racial discrimination of various kinds were made illegal by those acts.

So Clinton misrepresents reality to suggest that “institutionalized racism” exists today in America. It does not.

Racial bigotry, on the other hand, is personal behavior. Does it exist? It certainly does. But personal affairs of the heart and affairs of state are different issues.

As Martin Luther King Jr. observed, “morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.

Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.” The civil rights-era laws purged America of legal, institutionalized racism in the spirit of Dr. King, restraining “the heartless.”

But why, a half-century later, does so much sick personal racial bigotry remain? Why does there remain such a sharp racial consciousness? Why does it remain so prevalent that individuals are judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character?

A good deal of this is driven by the refusal of so many — mostly liberals such as Clinton — to accept King’s simple but profound point that racial bigotry is a moral problem and that “morality cannot be legislated.”

The plethora of government programs driven by the pretense that government can go beyond just protecting citizens to become an active tool for creating a more just society have worsened the very problem they pretend to address. Making segregation illegal — making discrimination illegal — is far different from forced integration and mandated quotas.

Liberal policies have forced ongoing and increased racial consciousness and division in the country. In doing so, by taking government where it does not belong, trying to solve a moral problem it cannot solve, they have made the problem worse and sharpened, rather than eased, racial tensions.

Worse, taking government where it does not belong has diminished the most important factor needed to solve this problem, which is more, not less, personal moral responsibility by both the victims and the victimizers.

Appreciation for the awesome humility, forgiveness and love demonstrated by the families of the victims of this horrible crime and the other members of this church is the greatest homage we can pay to those who were murdered.

As a nation, we should be turning to the God to whom they were praying, whose teachings they were studying when they were murdered. The answers are there. Not in politics and not in Washington.

On the Confederate Flag…

Mad MagSo now the Confederate flag has been removed from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia.

Governor Nikki Haley got the ball rolling and the job was finished by Republican State Rep. Jenny Horne, who stood before the South Carolina House of Representatives identifying herself as a descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and made an impassioned plea to move the bill to remove the flag with haste and not allow it to get hung up with amendments.

But this is not and will not be good enough for liberals.

In 1963, newly elected Alabama (Democrat) governor George Wallace took the oath of office in Montgomery, former capital of the Confederacy, and issued forth his famous phrase, “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Might we think that, along with the flag, removed was the last remnant of a culture that rejected the idea that all people in our land are equal both under our constitution and in the eyes of God?

Unfortunately, if you think that, you are very wrong. Because liberals won’t let it happen.

Racism is a mindset that strips individuals of their humanity; that casts them as objects; that denies that each is a unique divine creation.

The moral power of the civil rights movement was to wake America up to this truth and it succeeded because it appealed to the moral conscience of the nation. It prevailed because it was a religious movement led by a Christian pastor and not a political movement led by a community organizer.

But what came next was a far different story, and it is why pulling down the Confederate flag, although a laudable and positive step to move the country in the right direction, will not make much of a difference.

When civil rights turned into laws, when it moved out of the church and into the hands of politicians and the politically ambitious, it took on the same characteristics of the disease it was meant to eradicate.

When civil rights law became not about obliterating unequal treatment under the law but about using political power to socially engineer outcomes, the same individuals whose humanity we wanted to save were turned into new kinds of political objects for liberals to manipulate.

As a result, we engraved race awareness and differences deep into our national political culture, almost guaranteeing that an era where people are judged by the “content of their character” would be impossible.

It is why after almost two terms of a black man occupying the White House racial tensions continue to rage.

The latest example of this can be found in the recent Supreme Court decision legitimizing “disparate impact” in federal housing policy. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination in housing policy. But, again, not enough for liberals.

Now, per the court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, any business decision, even though demonstrably not motivated by discrimination, can be deemed discrimination if it is shown to have “disparate impact” on different communities.

This makes it virtually impossible to make business decisions without thinking about race.

And the Department of Housing and Urban Development has just issued a new 377 page rule, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. Cities nationwide must meet vast new reporting requirements to the federal government on housing patterns. The Feds will then decide if they are discriminatory, and use the power of federal funds to impose from Washington politically determined local outcomes.

Racial manipulation, Confederate-style, has just been replaced by racial manipulation, liberal-style. The victim is American freedom and the very minorities that these policies, which have failed time and again, are supposed to help.

A nation under liberals, rather than a nation under God, is a nation in which racial strife will never leave us, no matter how many symbols of a painful past are removed and buried.


See more from Star Parker at http://www.urbancure.org

CURE is a non-profit organization founded and led by Star Parker in Washington, DC providing news, analysis and free-market solutions to poverty.



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Orwell, the Fabians and Dr. Mengele

RePost — The Fabian Entrepreneurial State as a Moderncone of silence7 Dr. Mengele

By Bojidar Marinov

Like I said before, you know when the Left is in trouble: They start praying to (or invoking) Jesus. And you know when the Fabian socialists are in trouble: They admit that, no matter what Fabians themselves have said in the past, entrepreneurial spirit and markets are good and necessary. We’ve always been at war with Eurasia, we’ve always been at war with East-Asia, markets and entrepreneurship are bad, markets and entrepreneurship are good. Doublethink, you know, and black-white. Orwell knew very well the true mentality of his own fellow socialists.

cone of silence6Well, all doublethink always has an agenda, and the Fabian agenda in admitting markets and entrepreneurship back on the positive side of the political values scale can be seen in a past article by Mariana Mazzucato in The New Statesman; the same New Statesman that is the flagship of modern Fabian socialism in Britain. In the article titled “The state doesn’t need the private sector to be entrepreneurial,” she tries to defend the position that the private sector’s monopoly on dome of silence2entrepreneurship is a myth, that in fact the state, “especially in the most uncertain phases of technological development and/or in the most risky sectors,” is much more risk-taking and innovative than the “inertial private sector which only enters and invests once the state has absorbed most of the uncertainty, before walking off with all the gains.” She claims there are “countless” such examples in history, and she mentions just a few of them: Internet, of course, the favorite example for all socialists, and some more obscure like funding drugs research or the algorithm that led to the initial success of Google.

FDR ObamaIn other words, if there was no private sector in the economy to “walk off with the gains,” and the state was the only economic agent, innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship would flourish and the economy would prosper. Just like it was in the Soviet Union, one might add.

Mazzucato’s factual arguments, of course, are easy to refute. Come on, seriously, does she expect us to believe that the few “countless” examples – if they are real – of successful government investment can be compared to the vast ocean of the private sector’s innovations, discoveries, and entrepreneurial endeavors? To make another comparison, of all the countless trillions of dollars wasted on useless and even harmful government projects, should we look to the couple of billions of dollars that somehow contributed to some positive development, and decide that the “state is entrepreneurial”? Every once in a while a blind squirrel will find a good nut; should we expect then Mariana Mazzucato to write an article or even a book on Blind Squirrels: The Cutting Edge of Discovery? Let alone the fact that some of her own examples are not very convincing: “the algorithm that led to Google’s success was funded by a public sector National Science Foundation grant.” Such an example doesn’t reveal the state’s “entrepreneurial spirit,” it only tells us that private entrepreneurs occasionally can be persuasive enough to successfully lobby government bureaucrats. Nothing more than that.

But I am not going to talk about Mazzucato’s factual and logical fallacies; I want to look at the moral side of the issue of the “entrepreneurial state.” Even if for the sake of the argument we ignore all the evidence and accept that somehow the state is entrepreneurial where the private sector is inertial and fearful, can we still accept the moral validity of a state that invests in innovations, research and development? Is it morally acceptable to let the state take risks, to be an investor and entrepreneur? Is the economy really developing in result of these government-sponsored innovations?

To answer these questions, we need first to understand the nature of entrepreneurship and of the entrepreneur himself as a market agent. True enough, the entrepreneur is someone who sees opportunities to satisfy new needs and demands – like developing computers and cell phones in our days. Or satisfy old needs and demands in a new way that is more efficient than the old – Ford’s conveyor belt, for example, which decreased the cost for the production of automobiles. Or an entrepreneur is one who finds a niche on the market where no one else has tried to enter before – for example start a good old-fashioned grocery store in a remote rural area. An entrepreneur is indeed an innovator – sometimes in technology and science, sometimes in the organization of labor, sometimes in just seeing new opportunities in an area no one has seen them before.

But the innovation is not the only characteristic of an entrepreneur. He must be driven by a motive in order to abandon the comfort zone of the secure old world and venture into the world of the new and the unknown. There has to be personal gain for the entrepreneur that beats the alternatives of being paid for doing the old things the old way. While a few innovators will innovate for the sheer psychological satisfaction of making something new, most entrepreneurs will do it for financial gain – which in our modern economic language is called profit. That profit must be much higher than the regular pay for the regular daily working routine of a paid worker – otherwise an entrepreneur won’t spend the effort to build a new business and innovation. An entrepreneur, if he is to be successful, is expected to do more than just the regular daily working routine – and therefore he expects to be rewarded better than the regular worker.

But this is not all. Not every entrepreneur is successful. There is risk involved; if there wasn’t, everyone would want to be an entrepreneur because the costs involved would be low, and the possible benefits high. That risk is called loss, and it is the first level that sifts out those that won’t be good entrepreneurs and would only waste resources in futile undertakings. And then, of those that still decide to start something new, not all really have good ideas; some ideas might turn out to be unprofitable and very often outright useless. The mechanism of loss and profit sifts out those that would only waste resources, and keeps on the market only those that are successful in utilizing resources to meet the needs and the demands of the consumers.

Now, a very important part of the market system of entrepreneurship is that the same person who will possibly reap the benefits of the new enterprise also bears the risk of its possible failure. More than obvious, if an entrepreneur doesn’t bear the possible risks of his own venture, he is only spending someone else’s money on his own whims; such activity is not entrepreneurship in the real sense of this word. Common sense wisdom tells us that if a person is spending his own money for his own goals, he’ll be very careful in both how much money he spends and what he purchases with them; he will try to be efficient to the maximum with the resources he has. And that’s part of the very definition of entrepreneur: One who is more efficient with the same resources than anyone else in the same field and therefore can make a profit. If a person is not bearing the risks, he won’t care how much money is spent; and therefore the innovation won’t be an innovation, just the same old way of spending resources.

Of course, very often an innovation requires more initial capital than the entrepreneur personally has. Then he will try to involve other people with money who would be willing to trust his skills in forecasting the market. The investors, though, will be under the same profit-loss limitation – they will bear the risk proportionally to the expectations of profit they have from the venture. Both the entrepreneur and the investors must self-consciously and willingly accept the risk of losing their resources for the opportunity of gaining profit from the possible success.

In short, entrepreneurship requires a person who has a vision for the future but also requires the profit-loss mechanism to tell him whether his vision is successful or not, and whether it really serves the consumers or only serves his own narrow desires and goals. The cost for the new enterprise compared to the revenues from it show him what resources he has used up, and how much value for the society he has produced to match that lost value in resources. Therefore, for the equation to be complete, the profit-loss mechanism is there to prevent the waste of resources and to encourage the responsible use of it.

Well, what about the “entrepreneurial state” of Ms. Mazzucato? Who is making the decisions there, and how does the profit-loss mechanism apply? Let’s see.

First, the decisions are made by government bureaucrats. They are paid salaries, just like any other wage worker. The life of a bureaucrat doesn’t change whether he has made a decision for innovation or not; the pay remains the same. A bureaucrat may get a different, non-economic and political reward if he makes a popular decision; and usually the “popularity” is determined by the standards of the main stream media who seldom have an objective way of making economic evaluations. There is no mechanism to reward a successful economic decision by a bureaucrat; in fact, there is no way for the government to decide if a decision leads to successful result or not, only if the decision is popular among the politically active and powerful groups in the society. Without the profit statement, who knows if the consumers want the innovation or not, and whether it makes anyone’s life better or not?

Second, as a matter of fact, we know that bureaucratic entrepreneurship makes the life of most people worse. Why? Because of who bears the risks: The taxpayers. The few examples of successful state entrepreneurship Mazzucato came up with – like pharmaceuticals and nano-technologies – may have produced small markets for highly specialized professionals and companies. But the trillions of dollars wasted on useless and risky government projects came out of the pockets of the taxpayers. It is the taxpayers, not the state, who are the investors in all the experiments of government “entrepreneurship”; and unlike investing in the private sector, the taxpayers are forced to invest and risk their money on the decisions of government bureaucrats. While in private investments the investors must balance the risk of losses with the promise of gains, the unwilling investors in state projects have no gains to hope for, only losses. They are forced by the power of the state to “invest” in ventures they wouldn’t have invested if they were free to decide. At the end of the day, the taxpayers are worse off, the bureaucrats make the same salaries, and a small group of lobbyists who have invested in a field undesirable for most investors, have used the state to force entire nations to create a profitable market for their enterprises.

The moral basis for the entrepreneurial state thus is no different from the moral basis for the scientific research of Dr. Josef Mengele, the cruel Nazi doctor who performed genetic and medical experiments on concentration camp inmates in the 1940s. Following Mariana Mazzucato’s own logic, we can show that Dr. Mengele was far ahead in terms of his research compared to his colleagues in America who were “inertial” and averse to risk, being bound by their old-fashioned superstitions that experiments could not be conducted on people without their consent. Dr. Mengele, being an agent of the state, showed that the state can lead the innovations in medical research by taking risks no private doctor or researcher would take. Of course, the risks taken were on the bodies of his inmates, against their will, but who cares, if the final result was scientific research? Mariana Mazzucato certainly wouldn’t care – if she praises government confiscation of private funds for the goals of state “entrepreneurship” and “innovation,” then there shouldn’t be any problem for her with the government confiscation of private bodies and body parts and human lives for the purposes of state-sponsored genetic and medical research. In both cases the benefits flow to the state or to its agents and lobbyists, and the tab is picked up by the politically weak.

Morally, Mariana Mazzucato’s “entrepreneurial state” is no different from the Nazi concentration camps. After all, the concentration camps were set up as government enterprises.

The question remains, even if the state “entrepreneurship” is morally wrong because it imposes losses on the reluctant public, isn’t it better to develop those areas where the private sector is “inertial”?

What must be understood is that the private sector is never “inertial”; it is reluctant to buy into specific projects at a specific time. When a person is shopping at the grocery store, and when they have doubts about the quality of the tomatoes because they look rotten, that doesn’t make them “inertial,” but reluctant to buy those specific tomatoes at that specific time. The shopper assesses the true value of the tomatoes to be lower than the price on the tag, and therefore refuses to buy. Different tomatoes at a different time may look better and have better consumer value, and therefore a shopper will buy them. In the very same way, if the private sector refuses to invest into nanotechnologies and drugs, it is not because it is “inertial” but because for the specific time and the specific markets these field of possible innovation and entrepreneurship are “rotten,” i.e. their real value is much lower than the value of the resources required to invest in them. Using the analogy with Dr. Mengele, the American physicians and medical scientists of the 1940s were not “inertial” compared to the “entrepreneurial” Dr. Mengele, they just judged his methods to be “rotten,” believing that no medical advancement can be worth the brutal torture and horrible death of thousands unwilling victims.

So when Mazzucato praises her “entrepreneur state,” she in fact asks the state to force the taxpayers to buy the rotten tomatoes of our modern science that no one really wants; and she declares that the dubious advances of some technological fields justify any government compulsion and theft, in the name of some “advancement” that no one is willing to voluntarily pay for.

Being a Fabian socialist, Mazzucato can’t help but have a very simplistic, primitive view of our social reality. She believes that if there is a scientific possibility for a certain technological advancement, it must be invested in right away. And if the private sector is reluctant to do it, the government must push it down everyone’s throat, no matter what the economic or the social reality is. But in the real world, you can’t change one thing only; the change in one thing will require changes in the whole fabric of society. The ancient Greeks had some knowledge of electricity and its properties; should they have forced its technological development right away? If they had, it would have created economic chaos. Electricity, in order to be efficient and working in the economy, requires the gradual development of many more other things: steam, combustion engines, magnets, plastics, and many more. Not to mention that agriculture must be developed well beyond the subsistence level for the society to feed enough workers and engineers and scientists who will build the infrastructure. An undue forced focus on electricity would have created dis-balance in the ancient economy and would have destroyed it. You can’t change one thing only; it is only socialists who believe that individual fields can be changed without other fields being affected. Similarly, the modern reluctance of investors to invest in nanotechnologies stems from their understanding that it is a little too early to develop these technologies, and investments in that field will only draw resources from other, more important areas of our economy, thus distorting our economic reality and in fact impeding its development.

So when the state intervenes and forces the whole society to invest in a field that can not produce benefits for everyone at the present state of our social organization and technology, it only makes things worse, not better.

Ms. Mazzucato and her Fabian friends understand very well that the decades of Fabian policies in Britain and Europe have exposed the poverty of their socialist philosophy. The European populations are beginning to return back to the good old conservative Christian values of work ethics, entrepreneurship, free markets, thrift, and family-based economy. The Fabians are in panic, searching for ways to keep their statist religion afloat in a world that is gradually waking up to their agenda. They are now trying to adopt the old conservative values and make them serve the religion of the totalitarian state. But it is not going to work. Socialism is on its death bed, and no effort by bureaucrats like Mazzucato and her Fabian friends can save it.


Article from Americanvision.org


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