Further Proof That the New York Times Peddles in Fear-Mongering Propaganda

There is nothing hateful in Mississippi's law. But you wouldn't know that from reading the Times.

By Michael Brown Published on June 28, 2017

Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling that protected religious liberty and the rights of conscience. As the Daily Signal reported, “Circuit Court Win for Religious Freedom on Gay Marriage.” In stark contrast, the New York Times proclaimed, “Federal Court Lifts Injunction on Mississippi Anti-Gay Law.” And it gets worse from there — much worse.

Mississippi’s Law, Summarized

The court’s ruling allowed a Mississippi law to be enacted. The law is designed to protect religious groups and individuals from being coerced by the government to act against their faith. The following protections are included in this law, as outlined by the Signal:

As Ryan Anderson pointed out in his Signal article:

When the government takes Americans to war, exceptions cover pacifists. When the government guarantees abortion, exceptions cover pro-lifers. These exemptions don’t amount to establishments of any religion, and neither do laws protecting dissenters after Obergefell.

Nothing Discriminatory 

There is nothing exceptional here. Nothing “anti-gay” or hateful. Nothing that should really be controversial.

For example, federal law prevents discrimination based on religion. But that doesn’t mean that a mosque can be forced to host a Christian wedding, or a synagogue forced to host a Muslim wedding. Nor does it mean that gay t-shirt store owners can be forced to make shirts for a Christian pastor that say, “Marriage = One Man and One Woman.” Again, nothing exceptional here at all.

When the Times and its readers speak of equality, what they really mean is: All the rights for me, but none of them for thee.

When it comes to medical care, no one is being denied vital care under this law. Rather, a Christian doctor (or Muslim or Jewish doctor) cannot be forced by the government to perform sex-change surgery if that violates his or her religious beliefs. Once more, nothing controversial or hateful here. Just the protection of our freedoms of conscience and faith. And there is compassion and common sense in the law too. If a gay man wants his partner to have visiting rights, the law does not prevent that. The issue is one of coercion. And all of us, on all sides of the debate, recognize that the government cannot coerce individuals or groups to violate their conscience or their faith.

The New York Times’ Fear Mongering

But that’s not how the Times reported things. This is the opening paragraph of the article, with my emphasis added:

A federal appeals court on Thursday lifted an injunction on a Mississippi law that grants private individuals and government workers far-reaching abilities to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on religious grounds, though lawyers said the law was likely to remain blocked for the time being during the appeals process.

And this is how the Times summarized the bill, with the clear intent of instilling fear and anger:

It would allow religious organizations to engage in job and housing discrimination against L.G.B.T. people; allow public school counselors to refuse to work with L.G.B.T. students; and potentially force child-welfare agencies to place L.G.B.T. children with anti-gay foster or adoptive parents.

And the Times quotes Beth Orlansky. Orlansky is the advocacy director for the liberal Mississippi Center for Justice. “This law is discriminatory,” she said, “and we will do everything we can to prevent it from causing any more harm.”

So, to articulate the viewpoint of the Times, when a school is given the right to determine its own bathroom and locker room policies, that is discrimination. When a photographer cannot be forced to shoot a same-sex “wedding,” that is discrimination. When a counselor declines to counsel an 8-year-old boy to wear a dress and change his name, that is discrimination. When a church building can determine what events it wants to host, that is discrimination.

‘Equality’

What’s scary is that the Times reporters and editors probably believe this is true, as do a majority of its readers. But do these reporters, editors, and readers believe that a gay church should be forced to host a pro marriage rally (meaning male-female, as God intended)? Or do they believe that a gay caterer should be forced to cater the rally? Do they believe that a liberal, Presbyterian church should be forced to host a pro-life event replete with pictures of aborted babies? Do they believe that a gay photographer should be forced to shoot the event? Do they believe that a gay counselor should be forced to encourage a Christian child to read the Bible?

Obviously not, and rightly so.

It would appear, then, that when the Times and its readers speak of equality, what they really mean is: All the rights for me, but none of them for thee.

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  • Michael Brown is a hoot. He’s great at turning things around, so that now the reason why HB 1523 is so great is it protects Gay-owned t-shirt shops from having to print “Marriage = Man + Woman” t-shirts, and it protects Gay churches from hosting anti-marriage equality rallies … AS IF this was even an issue.

    in reality, HB 1523 says people can deny services or goods for the “celebration or recognition of any marriage, based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction,” which would include pre-ceremony celebrations, post-wedding celebrations, anniversary celebrations and other related celebrations. It isn’t about just weddings, it is about ANYTHING that acknowledges the legal right of Gay couples to marry in Mississippi.

    So not only can the owner of a bakery can turn away a couple that wants a wedding cake, but also a restaurant can turn away the same couple, 20 years from now, who wish to have an anniversary dinner party.

    It will be interesting to see how judges and courts determine which cases of discrimination are motivated by “religious freedom,” and which are motivated by simple animus. Do we simply take the business owner’s word for it? And if the baker is an Atheist who doesn’t like Gay marriage, is he out of luck?

    Can this bill also be used to turn away Muslim or Atheist couples? It goes without saying that there is a great deal of animosity toward Muslims among evangelical Christians these days. If a Christian florist, for example, refused to provide flowers for a Muslim couple’s wedding, saying that to do so would be an “endorsement” of Islam, will the law in Mississippi allow her to refuse service?

    The bill ALSO permits any taxpayer-funded government official to turn away Gay couples who are seeking a marriage license, as long as the official uses his “religious freedom” as an excuse. Imagine your tax dollars paying the salary of someone who discriminates against YOU.

    • Paul

      “Imagine your tax dollars paying the salary of someone who discriminates against YOU.”

      Have you ever heard of affirmative action?

      • stan schmunk

        What about it?

        • Paul

          Affirmative action involves tax dollars paying the salary of someone who discriminates against YOU.”

        • Jim Walker

          Tax is a double edge sword. Live with it.

      • Hannah

        What many don’t seem to realize is that the government’s primary job is to protect its people from harm, both foreign and domestic. What I fail to see is how the government disagreeing – yes, disagreeing, not witch-hunting you into extinction – with you on the grounds of marriage is worthy of this outcry. Yes, I realize it’s because humanity is fallen and we naturally think ourselves better than our fellow man (goes to explain why Jesus’ command to “consider others better than yourself” is still so jarring two thousands years later), but it still befuddles me to see people be so persistently blind. They’re not being very loyal worshippers if they refuse to abide in their god, Logic.

        • Dean Bruckner

          Gay activists cannot abide anyone, government and everyone else, disagreeing with them on marriage, because their violated consciences torment them. They will try to wrench the moral axis of the universe to align with the crazy tilt of their lifestyle and moral choices in hopes to quiet their consciences.

          That is why they will never stop until every last reminder of the God of the Bible and his moral law is obliterated from the universe. They do not want tolerance; they want absolute supremacy and the extinction of everyone and everything that reminds them that they have believed a lie. That is the power behind their unhinged and rabid activism.

          Individual gays may build up society and contribute to community and prosperity. Many do, and I am glad for it, and for them. But where that is so, it is when they have laid down the utterly uncompromising demands of gay advocacy.

          Richard John Neuhaus coined Neuhaus’ Law: Where orthodoxy is optional, it will sooner or later be proscribed. The raw power of the violated conscience is the reason why.

        • Paul

          You consider being fined $135,000 for not baking a cake as a mere disagreement? Or forcing artists to create homosexual art is just a disagreement? When your livelyhood is threatened simply due to a religious conviction to not do something then yes it is a witch hunt.

          • Hannah

            You misunderstand, my friend. I am speaking on the behalf of Christians, not against them. I’m saying that I don’t understand one wit why the LGBT community refuses to work with anyone but instead demand obedience and subservience to their call. It’s disgusting and though I still love them as Jesus does, I take a stand against evil.

          • Paul

            Yes apparently I did misunderstand.

            Darkness hates light. That community doesn’t want to hear their choices are bad or corrupt, they want our culture to affirm their choices are good. Decades ago I used to hear the homosexual lie that they just want to be left alone, but it was painfully obvious then that would never be enough. Opposition to their agenda must be silenced and punished, it will only get worse.

        • Dean Bruckner

          Actually it is to visit wrath on murderers in the form of capital punishment. That naturally protects its citizens, but it is a byproduct.

    • Dean Bruckner

      “Do we simply take the business owner’s word for it?”

      Yes. That’s why it’s called a conscience exception. It seems that your conscience is in need of deep repentance, and that you are doing everything you can to force others to praise your lifestyle choices and participate with you, so as to quiet your conscience’s testimony against you. But we will encourage you to reconcile with your own conscience on your own, instead of compel you to violate it. That’s because we are tolerant and you are not.

      “And if the baker is an Atheist who doesn’t like Gay marriage, is he out of luck?”

      Perhaps he is. There is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION. Perhaps you have heard of it. I don’t recall an amendment to the Constitution granting the free exercise of irreligion; do you know of one? But because we treat others as we ourselves want to be treated, we will not compel you to act against your irreligious conscience, if there is such a thing, unless it means forbidding murder and the like, unfortunately an act often associated in large numbers with atheist systems of government. That’s because we are tolerant and law abiding, and you are not.

      Any other questions?

      • Andrew Mason

        Actually so long as the Atheist could point to his or her beliefs – some sort of document or group, and establish that SSM was contrary to this then he or she would be able to claim a religious exemption. The problem is much of Atheism is individual relative choice so whether murder, homosexuality or charity are good or bad, moral or immoral, is up to the individual and thus not protected.

        • Dean Bruckner

          Yes, atheists are sometimes treated as if they had a religion, in order to access the freedoms established by the world view of the Christian religion. Ironic, isn’t it?

    • Tamás Selmeczy

      You look so sensitive about gay wedding ceremonies refused by Christian florists. But why are you not so sensitive about the florists whose business and in consequence whose life were ruined by malicious gay provocations? That is not equality when gay life is protected with full strength of the law, while Christian life is depressed by the law.

    • bowie1

      The question is would YOU want to be forced to go against your conscience?

  • BroFrank

    In reference to earlier comments. Unless there is another Great Awakening, “America” won’t be here in twenty years. . . .

  • Patmos

    Recognizing sexual perversion and sexual confusion as a protected class was never a good idea. It has no real rational basis, and neglectfully ignores a host of abuses that contribute to the warping of minds.

  • Gary

    The law must either support freedom of religion, or it must support homosexuals. It can’t do both.

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