The Supreme Court Quietly Gives Religious Liberty a Big Win

It’s a victory in a battle that never should have happened in the first place.

By Published on January 17, 2018

Religious liberty and freedom of conscience won big at the Supreme Court last week, just in time for Religious Freedom Day on Jan. 16.

The justices declined last week to hear a legal challenge against a Mississippi law that protects citizens, small businesses, government employees, and charities from official discrimination by government if they believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

The Mississippi law benefits people on both sides of the marriage debate because when a government can punish one group of citizens for dissenting from cultural orthodoxy, it can punish any group for any belief.

In declining to hear a case against Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523), the Supreme Court let stand the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the face of challenges by the ACLU and Lambda Legal.

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Now a year after HB 1523 was passed, Mississippians know they are free to live according to their religious beliefs about marriage without fear of losing their livelihoods.

It’s a victory in a battle that never should have happened in the first place. HB 1523 was a direct response to the threat of anti-religious discrimination after the Supreme Court redefined marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

During oral arguments for Obergefell, Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked whether religious institutions could lose their tax-exempt status owing to their beliefs about marriage.

“[I]t’s certainly going to be an issue,” he told the court. “I don’t deny that.”

Although Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion in Obergefell that those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman do so based on “decent and honorable premises” and that “neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here,” Verrilli’s comments told a different story.

Verrilli’s remarks signaled that the government could use its powers to tax and spend to force its views of marriage upon citizens.

In the two and a half years since Obergefell, activists, local and state governments, and federal authorities have treated the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman with contempt.

Billionaire LGBT activist Tim Gill pledged to “punish the wicked.” Delivering upon his threat, government authorities have denied citizens across the country the right to live in accordance with their beliefs about marriage.

Members of numerous professions, including entertainment, counseling, emergency services, technology, farming, and the military, have been demoted or terminated from their jobs because of their beliefs about marriage.

The government also has targeted religious nonprofit organizations. Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia stopped contracting with faith-based adoption agencies because they would place children only with married moms and dads.

When the president of Gordon College privately wrote President Barack Obama to request a religious exemption from an effort to force government contractors to accept new views about marriage and sexuality, the school nearly lost its accreditation. Meanwhile, a local school district refused to employ students of Gordon College, and the city of Salem suspended its long-term contract that allowed the college to use the Town Hall.

Legislators in Mississippi responded to this wave of anti-religious discrimination by passing HB 1523. The bill protects individual citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions from being penalized by the government for belief in traditional marriage.

But the ACLU and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of clients who claimed to be harmed by the law. Last June, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs had no standing because they failed to demonstrate that the law would violate their rights in any way.

The Supreme Court was right to leave the lower court’s decision intact.

These protections should not be controversial. Kennedy recently reiterated his call for tolerance of disagreement on marriage during oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of a Colorado cake artist whose belief in traditional marriage drew intense ire from state officials.

Admonishing Colorado’s state solicitor general, he stated that “tolerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual.”

It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant, nor respectful of [Jack] Phillips’ religious beliefs.

If federal, state, and local authorities would heed Kennedy’s call for tolerance and respect in Obergefell and Masterpiece, laws like HB 1523 would not be needed.

But as more and more Americans are forced to choose between their job and their conscience, both state legislatures and the Congress should promptly protect citizens from the new wave of government discrimination.

State laws such as HB 1523 and federal legislation such as the First Amendment Defense Act would ensure that the government cannot put anyone out of work for their beliefs about marriage.

Furthermore, what’s at stake here extends far beyond the marriage debate.

If the government can wield its power to silence opinions it disfavors, then everyone is at risk of being punished for holding the “wrong” opinions.

When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that we commemorate today, he observed that Almighty God created the mind free and that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burdens would beget only hypocrisy and meanness. This admonition bears remembering in our modern debate over the redefinition of marriage.

The residents of Mississippi are fortunate that their legislators got it right with HB 1523. Now, Americans in all 50 states need courageous leaders to stand up for their rights, too.

 

Copyright 2018 The Daily Signal

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  • John Connor

    Sounds like legalized discrimination to me.

    • BroFrank

      You are entitled to your opinion.

    • Trilemma

      Sounds like a reduction in legalized discrimination to me.

      • GPS Daddy

        Such silliness.

  • Vince

    What a pity the culture has fallen so far down the Lewis Carroll rabbit hole that the SCOTUS has to rule that people grounded in reality should not be discriminated against. Marriage is a man and woman, sure as 2 + 2 = 4. Those 5 slobs on the court who ruled that 2 + 2 = 5 need to be taken to the woodshed. Never fight against reality.

    • John Connor

      In all 50 states it is now LEGAL for both opposite sex marriage as well as same sex marriage

      • GPS Daddy

        Because of five activist judges who’s ruling had nothing to do with the Constitution…
        Funny how you beat others down with what is LEGAL but cannot defend your own worldview.
        Do you know it was once LEGAL to discriminate against truly what is a race issue. Now we define race by feelings…

        • John Connor

          The old activist judge canard. Laughable at best. There was no reason to deny gays the same rights as you and I have and enjoy.

          • GPS Daddy

            Hogwash… complete hogwash, not even fit to pour down the drain… like the rest of your arguments. And your still incapable of defending your worldview.

          • John Connor

            Too funny. They’re only activist judges because ruled opposite of what you wanted.

          • GPS Daddy

            Activist judges because the ruling they made had nothing to do with the Constitution. The court should have kicked it back to the states to decide. Then the people could make a change to the Constitution to include or not include SSM. You would know this if you had ready the ruling and the decenting views.

          • John Connor

            Civil rights shouldn’t be voted on. There is not a single reason to deny their right to marry. The Supreme Court has ruled on 14 occasions that marriage is a civil right.

          • GPS Daddy

            Your sexual preferences and what you choose to do with your equipment is not a civil right.

          • John Connor

            Marriage is …..

          • Andrew Mason

            So if SCOTUS rules Blacks subhuman, or that enslaving them is Constitutional it automatically becomes so? You’re arguing that right and wrong are defined by 5 of 9 unelected individuals.

          • John Connor

            That’s a harmful ruling to blacks. Nobody was harmed by letting gays marry

          • GPS Daddy

            Harmful? Really? On your worldview of survival of the fittest explain to me how that is wrong…

          • John Connor

            I have no need to explain why that’s harmful to blacks. Figure it out yourself

          • GPS Daddy

            You did not answer my question. But if I were in your shores I would not answer either…. best not to show how weak your hand is.

          • John Connor

            Answer it yourself. If you can’t figure out why that’s harmful…smh/

  • Chip Crawford

    Look at you Mississippi! a state usually on the bottom of things has risen to the TOP with this. Congratulations are in order.

    • sc_cannon

      The south will rise again and this time bring tolerance and Christianity back into the American dream

  • Oiseau Denuit

    I think it’s time to be back in 2018 and stop judging everything base on Religions this is the worst thing since religion was always responsible for divided people instead of reunited them! Mariage is between two individuals that love each other! That’s it! What is going on in the bedroom of people is not the gov business and less ours if they are adults!

    • GPS Daddy

      >>What is going on in the bedroom of people is not the gov business and less ours if they are adults

      It has not stayed there. The SSM movement wants everyone else to submit to their views or shut up. Basically your saying that its fine for the SSM movement to voice their views but everyone who disagrees needs to keep it to themselves.

      >>Mariage is between two individuals that love each other

      Marriage is the uniting of two different elements not two of the SAME element. So by the definition of marriage two people of the same sex cannot be married.

      >>Religions this is the worst thing since religion was always responsible for divided people instead of reunited them

      You seem to lack understanding of what religion is. Everyone has religion including atheists. Religion is, at its core, your worldview. What you say this life is and is about. Even atheists have a view of what life is and is about. Worldviews are based in assumptions about life that you cannot “prove”. Even atheism make assumptions about life that are not “provable.”

      Division in people is really about the character of the human soul. We, by the nature of our character, fight. We disagree. We hate. We seek power over others. But the bible says that this character we see is a fallen character. That we humans have a problem AND we cannot fix the problem we have.

      • John Connor

        Atheists have zero religion. It’s the simple disbelief in any and all gods.
        Your wrong again. Marriage is a civil contract. No religion or gods needed.

        • Chip Crawford

          You’re not Your … and you are the one that’s wrong.

          • John Connor

            Oh noes, it’s the grammar police!!!! Prove it

          • Chip Crawford

            You prove GPS Daddy is in the wrong; you started this.

          • GPS Daddy

            He won’t go there because he knows he has no argument. Thats why he works so hard to put the ball in our court. We can reason logically and rationally from our worldview to these issues. John will not defend his worldview. He won’t even admit he has one…. showing himself to be a fool.

          • John Connor

            Lol. I have defended my worldview. Just not your ivory tower standard I guess. I would prefer that you’re making a fool of yourself.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I have defended my worldview

            Not so much. You have made bold statements that are not argued but just stated.

            But lets do this, John, lets assume that I have a thick head. I just don’t see a good “defense/argument” when its presented. I’m so dense in this that I can’t even recognize my own nose in the mirror. So clearly spell it out for me, John.

            Lets start with the last debate: You claim that “Sodomy laws protected no one”. Ok. On Darwinian Evolution with natural selection and survival of the fittest can you clearly explain to me how you get from this to “protecting no one”?

          • John Connor

            I have explained on several occasions that I am an atheist. In the end, we are worm dirt. I never said anything about Darwinian evolution.
            Prove your holy man exists. You cannot. You have a worldview based in magic and mine is based in reality.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I never said anything about Darwinian evolution

            Oh, so you deny Darwinian evolution? Are you saying that Darwinian evolution is not true?

          • John Connor

            Nice way to put words in my mouth

          • GPS Daddy

            You can’t answer even that simple question? Do you or do you not accept Darwinian Evolution?
            Lets be sure we are talking that same thing: Darwinian Evolution is random mutations acted on by natural selection and is unguided which leads to the survival of the fittest. And this is responsible for all of life that we see. Is this what you believe?

          • GPS Daddy

            You seem to be struggling with understanding Darwinian Evolution. Here is a link to help you articulate it:

            livescience(dot)com(slash)474-controversy-evolution-works(dot)html

          • John Connor

            Trained in science. You’re too funny.

          • GPS Daddy

            Prove it

          • John Connor

            How would you like me to do that? Send you a copy of my medical license…? Tell you where I work?

          • GPS Daddy

            How about answering my very simple questions? If your sooo trained in science then surly you can do that.

          • John Connor

            I guess we could have a long discussion on the treatment of septic shock or systemic inflammatory response. How about the benefits of oscillating ventilation vs conventional ventilation. How about the staged surgeries in hypo plastic left heart syndrome.

          • GPS Daddy

            How about tell me in layman’s terms what Darwinian Evolution is? Oh, wait, I asked you that already and you cannot answer it. Must be too hard of a question.

          • John Connor

            No need to explain it to you. Look it up. How about we discuss total anomalous pulmonary venous connection. In situations requiring high PEEP do you prefer PRVC OR APRV ventilation? Or are those too hard of questions for you? Keep trying.

          • GPS Daddy

            Were trying to establish that YOU know what you claim to know. Only those who don’t really know would avoid such a very simple question. You make the claim. You back it up.

          • John Connor

            How about the benefit of ECMO in the case of congenital diaphragmatic hernia? Or the treatment of cold shock vs warm shock? Vasopressin vs Epinephrine? Waiting……crickets……

          • GPS Daddy

            You know, John, I’m an idiot like I said before… translate that into simplon’s terms.

          • John Connor

            DiGeorge syndrome? Pulmonary artery hypertension and the use of Remodulin in its treatment? What about lovenox and the associated anti XA levels? stop while your still in sight behind me

          • GPS Daddy

            Hmm, John, can you read?

          • John Connor

            Sure can.

          • GPS Daddy

            So look at you, John. You can read. You are training in science. Yet you can’t integrate your worldview. You cannot explain to me how you get from the survival of the fittest to “laws that protect”. Why in the world based on your worldview of Darwinian Evolution and survival of the fittest do we need laws that protect? Nature as done just fine for a very long time before humans came on the scene without laws that “protect”. Like you said, we are only dirt. Why does dirt need “protecting”?

            Point being, John, you have no way to rationally and logically go from survival of the fittest to “laws that protect” based on Darwinian Evolution. You have no way of rationally and logically going from a worldview that is unguided and purposeless to having meaning in your life. You arrogantly claim that “no god is needed” yet all that you value in your life (family) is a gift from God. You have experienced in your life several aspects of life that directly relate to God. First you were a child with the wonder of a child. Then you became a father and husband. From the father’s role you are able to see how God sees you by how you see your children. As a husband you see the “partnership” that God is offering to you. You think your marriage is only about this life? Think again. in every way God has surrounded you with meaning and relationships that He designed to point back to Him.

            So, New Flash: Your NOT dirt, John. You WILL live eternally. Your body will die but you will not.

          • John Connor

            Nope. Nothing more after death. No proof or evidence of any supernatural beings. You are very entertaining!

          • GPS Daddy

            >>You are very entertaining

            I’m OK with being the brunt of your entertainment (even though you meant it in the worse possible light) because this is a harsh and cruel life. I’ll glad that I can provide you a time of escape from it. You not so much me. Rather, what you provide me with is sorrow. Sorrow that you have chosen the view you have against all logic and reason. Sorrow that you spread that to others. Sorrow that the idea that we are nothing more than dirt has had, currently has, and will continue to has very negative results in the lives of people.

          • John Connor

            Logic and reason are what led me to the views I have. My views affect no one except maybe you.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Logic and reason are what led me to the views I ha

            right.

            >>My views affect no one except maybe you

            And anyone else you have convinced that they are dirt

          • John Connor

            Exactly right. No matter how you put it, magical beings don’t exist. There’s zero evidence or proof of their existence. My daughters have come to the same conclusion on their own.

            I think what really bothers you is that you have no proof or evidence to support your claims of a supernatural being who created everything. Additionally, you’re pushing those views on those around you. My wife doesn’t even know I’m an atheist. My view….nobody else’s

          • GPS Daddy

            >> No matter how you put it, magical beings don’t exist

            I totally agree with you John. Magic beings do not exist. That characterization is totally off base as to who the bible says God is. So your on track with that. But your off track because you rely on magic to happen with darwinian evolutions. Have you read the latest research on that,John. Go over to ncbi(dot)nlm(dot)nih(dot)gov(slash)pmc(slash)articles(slash)PMC4354357653(slash)pdf(slash)13752_2015_Article_203(dot)pdf

            Try “staggering complexity” or “potentially infinitely complex”… these are not terms you use to claim there is an unknown, unguided process that brought life about. Magic MUST be involved in order to make darwinian eolvuton true.

            As far as not “seeing” God… well John that applies to you. That does not necessarily apply to everyone.

            >>I think what really bothers you is that you have no proof or evidence to
            support your claims of a supernatural being who created everything

            You can lead a horse to water….

        • sc_cannon

          There are no atheist John, there are only self important people looking for attention, still if they don’t profess with their mouth that they believe they can not reap what they didn’t sow.

          • John Connor

            What? I don’t have any beliefs in any gods. The whole idea makes zero sense. I’m an atheist.

        • GPS Daddy

          Your anti-intellectual response betrays your shallow thinking, John. You have a worldview. How do I know this? Unless your an AI algorithm then your a real person posting these things. That means your living this life. By the very fact that your living this life you have a worldview. Stated or unstated the way you live life determines what your worldview is. That worldview is a “positive” statement of what you say life is and who you say you are. By “positive” I mean just the opposite of what you posted. Its not a “lack” but your life shouts what you claim life is, it meaning and purpose, and your place it in.

          So, congratulations John, your a religious person.

          • John Connor

            Atheism isn’t a religion. Congratulations on being wrong again. What are the tenets of atheism? Atheism is simple disbelief in any gods.

          • GPS Daddy

            Congratulation’s John for totally missing what I wrote. Yes, John, Atheism is a worldview.

          • John Connor

            Nope. Simple disbelief is all. Read into what you want

          • TheKingOfRhye

            You can say atheists have a worldview. I’d agree with that, everyone has some sort of worldview. Atheism is not a worldview in itself, though. All atheism is is a lack of belief in any god or gods. It’s just a position on one issue.

            Or, look at it this way: Would you consider theism a worldview?

          • GPS Daddy

            >>All atheism is is a lack of belief in any god or gods

            This is a new atheist redefinition of atheism. A lack of belief is really closer to agnosticism. Its an “I don’t know if God exists or not”. But a persistent and firm “lack of belief” is no different that the correct definition for atheism of “There is no God”. However the position of “There is no God” is an affirmative statement about God’s existence and is indefensible AND requires the person to defend it.

            The “lack of belief” position is just a trick to try and wiggle out from underneath that burden of proof.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            A lack of belief is really closer to agnosticism. Its an “I don’t know if God exists or not”.

            Not quite! Agnosticism deals with knowledge, not belief. I am an agnostic and an atheist. I always liked the thing about “Russel’s Teapot” to illustrate that: I can’t know that there is not a small teapot in orbit somewhere between Earth and Mars, but I don’t believe in it, because I haven’t seen any evidence for it that would make me believe. Of course, I’m sure that many theists would argue that there is evidence for their god, but I don’t agree.

            But a persistent and firm “lack of belief” is no different that the correct definition for atheism of “There is no God”

            Now that’s just wrong. Like I was saying, I lack that belief, but I don’t claim to have absolute knowledge that there is no god, because I don’t believe it is something that can be proven or disproven. If I went around saying “there is no god”, that would be a statement that carries the burden of proof just as much as theist claims, but I don’t.

          • GPS Daddy

            >> Agnosticism deals with knowledge, not belief

            Belief and knowledge are not easily separated as you presuppose. Especially with regards to life and God.

            >>Now that’s just wrong. Like I was saying, I lack that belief, but I don’t claim to have absolute knowledge that there is no god

            No, its not.. That is correct. Lets examine “lack of belief” in a different context. Did Gorge Washington have a maid names Emma? There are three options with regards to belief… they are all based on some form of evidence. Your options are:

            “I do not know”: This is an acceptable option if there is no evidence one way or the other.
            “No, I do not”: If one chooses this option then there needs to be more than a “lack of evidence”. Otherwise you are basing your belief on a “lack” of evidence.
            “Yes, I do”: Again, this needs to be evidence based otherwise it is a blind belief.

            But lets say that we have historical records of his life starting with his parents, going through his personal life and into his presidency that details in fine detail all the servants that President Washington has had. And this is verified independently by other historical records. Now we have a basis of evidence to compare against. Do we find a maid in the list somewhere who’s name is Emma? If we do or do not impacts which position is the best.

            There is no place for the anti-intellectual position of “lack of belief” in this. Life is the same way.

            The first evidence that everyone has in you are alive. Like it or not you are engaged in what the meaning of life is by just being alive. Being alive demands a position from you on what life is. By the way you live life, that words you use, the choices you make really determine what you say life is. A “lack of belief” is not an option. You have a positive belief in what this life is, what it means, it purpose. You do answer the questions of why you are here and where you are going by how you live life. Your scenario of the “Russian Teapot” does not apply to this discussion and purposely oversimplifies the issue.

            Beyond that there is a whole series of issues that you MUST engage by that fact that you are alive. At no place in this is the concept of “lack of belief” a valid concept.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            But lets say that we have historical records of his life starting with his parents, going through his personal life and into his presidency that details in fine detail all the servants that President Washington has had. And this is verified independently by other historical records. Now we have a basis of evidence to compare against. Do we find a maid in the list somewhere who’s name is Emma? If we do or do not impacts which position is the best.

            There is no place for the anti-intellectual position of “lack of belief” in this

            I think you’re missing an option here. What if you don’t have those records? Let’s, for the sake of the argument, suppose they either don’t exist, or you don’t have access to them. Then, you don’t know if there was a maid named Emma, you don’t know there wasn’t, but at the same time, you’d have no reason to have that as a belief. That’s basically what agnostic atheism is.

            The first evidence that everyone has in you are alive. Like it or not you are engaged in what the meaning of life is by just being alive. Being alive demands a position from you on what life is.

            I don’t see what that has to do with anything I’ve been talking about. What does that have to do with lacking belief in a god or gods? There are plenty of people who have definite ideas of what the meaning of life is without having that belief. Personally, I’d put what you said a little differently…..you can’t live life without a philosophy; a system of values, goals, etc. None of that requires either having belief in a god, or a lack of that belief.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>What if you don’t have those records?

            THATS the whole point. We do have those records. What your doing is taking the position that you “lack belief” that Washington had a main named Emma when in fact there is a record of Washington having a maid named Emma. The New Atheists walk over evidence after evidence that then turn around and say “prove it”….

            Step up to the plate and swing at the ball, TheKingOfRye, instead of trying to hide in the dugout claiming “I lack belief in there being a pitcher”.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            THATS the whole point. We do have those records.

            I said, for the sake of the argument, let’s say we dont….not going to play along with that one, eh?

            Okay, if you’re talking about the names of George Washington’s servants, yeah sure, I would think one could find that information somewhere. I haven’t seen that information myself, so I lack the belief that there was a maid named Emma, while, at the same time, I don’t claim to have knowledge of it. I don’t believe that there was not, but at the same time, I have no reason to believe there was. Is anything that about that unreasonable to you?

            In that case, it’s something I don’t know, (therefore I lack that belief) because I haven’t ever tried to figure out if it was true or not. In the case of the existence of a god, it’s not quite the same thing, because that’s something I think we can’t prove one way or the other, and I haven’t seen any evidence or argument that would convince me otherwise. Obviously you disagree with me, that’s fine….quite a lot of people do, after all. In Thomas Jefferson’s words, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. I’m not trying to convert you or something, I just want you to understand what it is I do think. I mean, if you want to get into an argument about if we have that evidence or not, that’s a whole other thing.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I said, for the sake of the argument, let’s say we dont

            Dude… stop hiding behind “lacking belief”. It is not an intellectually viable position. You are a living, breathing being. Step up to the plate and bat. Like it or not you ARE at the plate and you are batting.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            I’m not “hiding behind” anything. This is what I truly think and believe.

            “The atheist may however be, and not unfrequently is, an agnostic. There is an agnostic atheism or atheistic agnosticism, and the combination of atheism with agnosticism which may be so named is not an uncommon one.

            If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist… if he goes
            farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist – an agnostic-atheist – an atheist because an agnostic… while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other…”

            – Robert Flint (and btw, that’s from 1888….so I don’t know if you can call this a “New Atheist definition” like you did earlier)

            I’m trying to illustrate to you that there are usually more options on any given issue than “I know this is true” or “I know it is not true”. There’s often also “I don’t know,” whether it’s “I don’t know because I haven’t made up my mind” or “I don’t know because I don’t think I CAN know”…..like in the case of “teapot” thing I brought up earlier. Like that quote says, I have failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a god.

            I mean, even Richard Dawkins, who’s like the most famously atheistic atheist who ever atheisted (lol), had a chapter in his book The God Delusion called “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God”.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I’m not “hiding behind” anything This is what I truly think and believe.

            Sorry, TheKingOfRhye, there is only one purpose for using something life that and that is to deflect responsibility. Thats its ONLY purpose. It has no intellectual merit. Again, you are a living, breathing being. Man’s time is short in this life. You do not have time to waist on meaningless talk. Come out of the dugout, step up to the plate, and swing. But if you choose to stay in the dugout and debate meaningless talk it is your choice to waist your life in such a way.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            I’m not trying to “deflect responsibility”. It is true, though, that people who believe in a god, or people who make any sort of claim that something exists, are the ones with the burden of proof.

            It’s like in a court case…the prosecution accuses the defendant of a crime. It’s not the defense’s job to prove their client DID NOT do it; it’s the prosecution’s job to prove the accused DID do it. The defense isn’t “deflecting responsibility”, they don’t HAVE the responsibility in the first place. In other words, innocent until proven guilty. I don’t (and no one should) accept any claim or assertion until it’s proven true, at least beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, I bet you’d tell me there is proof, but that’s a whole different topic. (Is it impossible to agree to disagree on that?)

          • GPS Daddy

            >> It is true, though, that people who believe in a god, or people who
            make any sort of claim that something exists, are the ones with the
            burden of proof

            Got that one wrong too. Belief in God is a properly basic belief. You on the other hand are deflecting your responsibility of being a living, breathing being by hiding behind your claimed “lack of belief”. But its your choice to hide. The problem you will face is that your life does not hide. Your life will make the statement for you. Your life does not allow you to hide behind a “lack of belief.” I hope one day you come to realize this and stop playing games with your life.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            Belief in God is a properly basic belief

            What does that even mean? Is a belief in a god – your particular god at that, apparently – somehow exempt from the standards of burden of proof we apply to any other thing? If so, why? Or are you trying to tell me that the proof is so obvious that we shouldn’t even be having this conversation? If that’s the case, what is it then?

          • GPS Daddy

            >>What does that even mean

            Ah, you have never head of that before? Now you have something to research. Obviously you do not know everything. Get back to me when you have understood what that means.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            Obviously you do not know everything.

            What, is that supposed to be some kind of “gotcha” statement? I don’t claim that I do. Throughout this whole conversation, I’ve been claiming the exact opposite.

            Get back to me when you have understood what that means.

            You know, I absolutely hate it when people do that kind of thing online. I could have done the same; I could have told you something like “go look up agnostic atheism, because obviously you don’t understand it.” But, no, I didn’t do that; I explained it…because I felt it helped illustrate my point.

            But okay, I’ll guess I’ll play your little game this time, at least. By “properly basic belief” do you mean the kind of thing the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga said, where (per Wikipedia) “belief in God can be rational and justified even without arguments or evidence for the existence of God”?

            Nope, I ain’t buying that one, sorry. I guess I’m just too much of a skeptic for that. I actually find that pretty amusing that you’d use that, after telling me repeatedly that I’m trying to “deflect responsibility”.

      • Trilemma

        Christians have a religious world view. Atheists have a non-religious worldview.

        • GPS Daddy

          That still obscures the more basic issues, Trillema. A worldview has as its core axiomatic beliefs. These are things taking to be true that you cannot prove. Take for example Euclidean geometry. Euclidean geometry has as an axiom that the shortest distance between two lines is a straight light. Ecliptical geometry says that the shortest distance is a curve.

          Like geometry but with one big difference, one must have faith in those axiomatic beliefs. So an atheist has a set of axiomatic beliefs that they have faith in just like everyone else…

          While their worldview does not lead them to a building to take communion it still functions in the same way in their lives just like everyone else’s worldview functions for them. THATS being something called human. Its their religion and they have faith in it.

          • Trilemma

            Believing the shortest distance between two points is a straight line does not make geometry a religion. Believing a chair will support my weight does not making sitting on it a religious experience. Believing you exist is not part of a religion.

            Everyone has a worldview but not everyone has a religion as part of their worldview.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Believing the shortest distance between two points is a straight line does not make geometry a religion

            I never said that.

            >>Everyone has a worldview but not everyone has a religion as part of their worldview

            Not true. Here is why: Religion is just the formal explanation of life. If you are human and alive then how you live your life; the things you say or do not say; the thought you have; the way you spend money… all of these for a mural of your worldview. This mural is the statement you make in regards to what this life is. Religion is just the formal expression of that mural.

            Those are not willing to accept any of the “formal” expressions that we call religions still paint that mural with their lives. That mural answer the questions of “is there a god?”, “Whats the purpose of life?”; “Who am I”, to name a few. That all religion is doing… dressed up in ceremony and creeds.

            So like it or not you are painting the mural of your religion with your life.

      • John Connor

        Marriage is the uniting of two consenting adults in love. No gods nor procreation nor being of the opposite sex necessary.
        Again, atheism is simple disbelief. There are no atheist gods, no tenets of atheism, etc.

        • GPS Daddy

          >>Marriage is the uniting of two consenting adults in love

          Nope. That has not been the definition of marriage in the history of the earth. Nor does that mean it now.

          • John Connor

            Sure it is. No gods needed for anyone to marry. Marriage is man made idea. Now marriage consists of either a man and a woman, two men, or two women. Funny how you deny reality and cling to superstition.

    • Andrew Mason

      It became the government’s business when LGBT people demanded the government certify their bedroom antics.

      As for marriage being between 2 individuals that love each other, nobody argues that definition. A man and a kitten may love each other but the age and species gap makes it an illegal relationship. In some countries a man and up to 3 or 4 women can be a marriage, others have low or no age of consent – child marriages, and still others a flexible on the whole incest issue. Might need to rethink your position unless you want to open the door to a whole lot of other things!!!

      • As long as the government certifies the bedroom antics of Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples, what is your problem?

        • Andrew Mason

          It’s not the government’s responsibility to certify such things, in fact I’m not sure it’s the government’s business. Having decided it will certify however it has now also decided that it has the power to dictate the meaning of marriage – historically it simply adopted the meaning of marriage for its certification purposes. In redefining marriage to be a homosexual act it voids the value and significance of actual marriage. Those who want to marry now have the choice of entering into a homosexual institution, or avoiding government entanglement altogether. So long as the church-state union continues Christians have very limited options available.

          • For heterosexual couples, nothing about marriage has changed. It is neither a homosexual or heterosexual act. It is contractual agreement made between two unrelated adults. The marriage equality movement was never some sinister effort to make homosexuality compulsory for everyone. It won’t cause otherwise Straight people to marry other persons of the same sex. It will not require anyone to attend weddings for Gay couples. Conversely, denying Gay people the right to marry is not going to make Gay people turn Straight!

          • Chip Crawford

            The secular law does not alter the law of God. The power of God can free a person to turn straight and reconcile their conflicted propensities by that same power and love.

        • GPS Daddy

          It simple, a child has a right to a father and mother.

          • That’s irrelevant. Couples do no need to marry to make babies, and the ability or even desire to make babies is not a requirement for marriage. Even couples who are incapable of having sex are still allowed so marry, as long as they are of age and are not closely related. Beyond that, the government doesn’t ask too many questions about why a couple wishes to marry.

          • GPS Daddy

            Chuck, the right of the child is central to this discussion. Nature itself has determined the structure of the family. Like it or not it takes one male and one female to make a child. That child has the right to be raised by their parents. We have now formed the foundation of marriage and family.

            No God needed to understand this. Only clear thinking.

          • John Connor

            There is no right to both parents or for them to be of the opposite sex.

          • John Connor

            No they don’t. Show us all where that is written

          • GPS Daddy

            Therein lies the failure of your reasoning, John. Lets go back to the time when sodomy was a crime. It was written down then, right? Under what reasoning do you reject that law? Just because something is , or is not written down is irrelevant to whether is it right. Now how do you justify the removal of the sodomy laws?

          • John Connor

            Sodomy laws protected no one. They unfairly targeted the gay community. That’s why they went away in Lawrence v TX.

          • GPS Daddy

            Hmmm, interesting… what does “protection” have to do with survival of the fittest and Darwinian evolution?

          • John Connor

            Nice deflection. Talking about sodomy laws.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      “I think”

      And that’s where your problem began.

      • John Connor

        Look in the mirror

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          I do. Every day. And I see a Child of God. Adopted son of the Most High God, Co-heir with Jesus Christ. Blood-bought Born Again Saint indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. A NEW Creation IN CHRIST. Blessed & highly favored Ambassador to Jesus Christ.

          Now go practice what you preach and tell me what you see.

          Someone dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them living in the lusts of your flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3)????

          • John Connor

            Huh???

          • John Connor

            Opinions vary on that one…..

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Opinions aren’t worth the time spent to make one. Reality is what matters. Don’t know which “one” you refer to but the first is reality and the second a high probability since each post you makes moves one toward the certainty of that.

          • Balerion

            You obviously need better eyeglasses.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            A wise man once said it is better to keep your mouth shut and not show your ignorance than open it and remove all doubt. You should work on your wisdom a bit.

            “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something” – Plato

            A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind. (Prov. 18:2)

            The wise of heart will receive commands, But a babbling fool will be ruined. (Prov. 10:8)

            Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, And so is wisdom to a man of understanding. (Prov. 10:23)

            The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (Prov. 12:15)

  • LGBT taxpayers in Mississippi help pay for the salaries of those same government officials who now are allowed to turn them away. THIS is what it takes for make you feel self-righteous?

    • GPS Daddy

      Thats the best you have, Chuck? Your running low on your excuses… better google it to find a better argument.

      • So how would you feel if a government official, paid by YOUR tax dollars, refused service to you?

        • Paul

          How would you feel if the govt you help fund fines you out of business for your religious beliefs? Beliefs that are consistent with thousands of years of practice?

          • Business owners have a choice to either abide by prevailing civil rights laws or not. I don’t have a choice about paying taxes.

          • Paul

            That was an artful deflection, I’ve got to give you credit.

            Guess what, businesses have the same lack of choice to pay taxes. As for civil rights laws, no mention of homosexuals, it took legislating from the bench to get there, even in California!

            Regardless the Constitution clearly states that govt can’t make laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. I know you like to ignore the Constitution so I thought I’d remind you once again.

            I’m curious, back when there were laws against sodomy were you running around telling homosexuals to honor the law?

          • Law are overturned as unconstitutional all the time. Laws against sodomy were unconstitutional because they were used to unfairly target Gay people for the same behaviors Straight people engaged in. Lawrence v. Texas struck down those laws.

          • Paul

            In other words no

          • Chip Crawford

            Frankly, I give no credit for how the reprobate mind works.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Thank you! For years now we’ve been hearing “It’s the Law!” from the LGBTQABCXYZ+50 crowd. Now that some actual Constitutionality is coming back into the court rulings all we’re hearing is whining.

            I think we both know the answer to your question.

    • Trilemma

      How does the Mississippi law allow government officials to turn away LGBT taxpayers?

    • sc_cannon

      Are you blind to your intolerance

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Yeah well, suck it up snowflake. People from all walks of life and beliefs pay taxes for things they’d rather not. Ever heard “Elections matter!”?

      And btw, get a flippin’ dictionary or learn out to use Google. Then look up “self-righteous”. You won’t look like such a Dipstick in the future.

  • Trilemma

    Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523) does not negate any existing anti-discrimination laws. If it was against the law for a bakery to discriminate against a same sex couple, then it still is. The government still can’t deny same sex couples a marriage license regardless of the religious beliefs of the clerk.

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