In the 12 days since the Supreme Court's marriage ruling, the Left's army is already marching on its next target: the First Amendment. At least two movements are finding more common ground in the wake of the decision -- secular and LGBT activists. The pair are becoming fast allies against what they view as a common enemy: religious freedom.
Since June 26, that bond has only strengthened, as both sides converge on the church in the first wave of post-ruling attacks. Like us, they heard Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's threat to strip religious schools' tax exemptions and are moving quickly to turn that possibility into reality. Barry Lynn, a longtime thorn in the First Amendment's side, is the first to capitalize on this new foothold for religious crackdown, announcing yesterday that his Americans United for the Separation of Church and State would be launching an initiative to destroy the tax relief for faith-based schools. Starting with Christian colleges, Lynn's "Protect Thy Neighbor" project promises to use the IRS as a weapon to force same-sex "married" housing on universities with natural marriage views.
Calling it "on the edge of indefensible," Lynn took issue with any institution that would practice the religious liberty the Constitution guarantees. "...This is a national dialogue that ought to begin... should in fact benefits be given to educational institutions that do in fact discriminate?" Under this new campaign, Lynn vows an "aggressive, multi-pronged initiative to fight the growing idea that 'religious freedom' gives people a right to thwart marriage equality for LGBT Americans, deny women access to reproductive care and use taxpayer dollars to discriminate."
This is exactly the kind of hostility most conservatives predicted in a post-marriage America. In fact, FRC was out front on the issue before the Supreme Court even ruled, organizing more than 70 educators from religiously-affiliated schools to write an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and ask for a legislative shield from this kind of anti-freedom assault. "If the government could revoke the tax-exempt status of such schools, what is to prevent other forms of government discrimination such as revoking grants or contracts or funding for services unrelated to marriage?"
It's a valid question -- especially for a movement so intentionally deceptive about its goals. Obviously, the Left's end game is not marriage, but the complete deconstruction of people's core beliefs. People like Barry Lynn won't be satisfied until secular extremists co-opt religious schools -- or worse, shut them down.
That's why Senator Mike Lee's (R-Utah) First Amendment Defense Act is so vitally important. It keeps the government from using the IRS and other agencies as a weapon to batter Americans who believe in the same definition of marriage that President Obama did three years ago. In the meantime, if Barry Lynn wants to protect his neighbors, maybe he ought to start with the ones who are actually being persecuted: Christians!
When the President travels abroad, there's one thing he never leaves at home: his radical social agenda. Since day one, the Obama administration made it clear that this isn't your parents' version of diplomacy. Instead, the White House has dispatched an army of liberal ambassadors -- all with strict instructions to use their influence to force acceptance of the President's extreme sexual priorities.
Now, after seven years of aggressive bullying, the President's crusade hasn't exactly improved relations with America's neighbors (not that it's an administration priority). From Hillary Clinton to John Kerry, the State Department has repeatedly violated the first rule of the diplomatic process: to respect the traditions and beliefs of other countries. In most cases, this forceful approach has made more enemies of nations than friends -- especially in countries as profoundly religious as Kenya.
Like other African and South American nations, they don't appreciate the administration's decision to openly demonize their beliefs and promote homosexuality and abortion as international "human rights." And when the President Obama visits Kenyans this month, they intend to tell him so. Dozens of lawmakers are planning protests during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, where White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says the President will once again call for "equality" for LGBT Kenyans. "It is important for us as Kenyans to know that the U.S. is not God," one church leader told CNSnews.com. Lawmaker Irungu Kangata was more candid. "We are telling Mr. Obama when he comes to Kenya this month and he tries to bring the abortion agenda, the gay agenda, we shall tell him to shut up and go home." The Speaker of the National Assembly echoed that resolve. "Liberal thoughts are being entertained in some countries under the guise of human rights. We must be vigilant and guard against it. We must lead an upright society and now allow obnoxious behavior as we have a responsibility to protect our children." Already, Earnest has said the President will ignore the country's request and speak out anyway. "I'm confident the President will not hesitate to make clear that the protection of basic universal human rights in Kenya is also a priority...."
In two terms, this administration has amassed one of the worst foreign policy records in modern history -- promoting what our laws don't recognize and falling silent on what they do (like religious freedom). For this White House, everything boils down to abortion and sexuality. Just this month, the President highlighted a column by his eight openly gay ambassadors that insisted "trade policy" is one of the "most promising tools... to export our values of equality and tolerance."
In a world already teetering on disaster, this clash of worldviews is a diplomatic powder keg. "Those who want to engage in those businesses of [homosexuality]," fumed one Kenyan, "they can do it in their own countries, and they can do it wherever it is they want. In Kenya, we will stand firm."
You may not have signed up for VVS yet, but Senator Rick Santorum has! We're happy to announce that the conservative stalwart, who joins fellow GOP candidates Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Dr. Ben Carson, is keeping his string of consecutive Summit appearances intact. For the thousands of conservatives who gather at VVS in Washington every year, Senator Santorum is a voice of reason and clarity on the issues Americans care about most. Unlike some Republicans, he never backs away from a good debate on marriage, life, religious liberty, and foreign policy.
We look forward to having the senator back -- and hope you'll be there to welcome him. Other confirmed speakers include: Lt. Col. Ollie North (USMC-ret.), Dr. Bill Bennett, Brigitte Gabriel, Star Parker, the Benham Brothers, Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein, Fox News's Todd Starnes, and many more. Don't wait! Book your tickets to one of Washington, D.C.'s greatest conservative events by visiting ValuesVoterSummit.org -- and we'll see you September 25!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.