Bride Brawl Lifts the Veil on Left's Agenda
At W.W. Bridal Boutique, it isn't unusual to see two women shopping for wedding dresses. What is unusual is two women shopping for wedding dresses for the same ceremony. That's the predicament Victoria Miller found herself in as the owner of the Pennsylvania shop. When a lesbian couple contacted the store for an appointment, Victoria explained that she couldn't help the women find gowns for a ceremony that violates her Christian faith. Right now, an employee explained, the Bloomsburg store doesn't service same-sex weddings.
Instead of showing the tolerance their movement claims to practice, the women turned to social media to bully the shop -- trashing its online reviews and sparking a city-wide firestorm. Miller, whose orthodox beliefs are in the bulls-eye, isn't backing down. "We feel we have to answer to God for what we do," she told reporters, "and providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God's law."
Obviously, W.W. Bridal Boutique isn't the only wedding dress shop in town. These women could have easily taken their business elsewhere -- but chose to retaliate instead. That's because, at its core, this isn't about accommodation. It's about forced acceptance. When religious liberty clashes with homosexuality -- as it has from bakeries to flower shops -- the storylines are all the same: conform or be punished.
In Bloomsburg, liberals are so determined to avenge this couple that they're convening a special meeting of the city council to consider passing a law that the lesbians could use to sue. Unfortunately, this intolerance is exactly what's driving the wave of ordinances that target similar family business owners in Baton Rouge, Houston, and San Antonio. Rather than let consumers decide the fate of businesses that don't concede, the government is dictating marketplace values. When the people do have a voice, as they're desperately seeking in a marriage debate that's been hijacked by the courts, they vote on the side of W.W. Bridal.
Just last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, locals decided overwhelmingly (13,685 to 8,184) to repeal a new law that gave health benefits to same-sex partners. "It sets a financial precedent," said the local Tea Party group, "that will be difficult for the city of Chattanooga taxpayers to sustain long term." Not surprisingly, the story got very little media attention. No one -- least of all the mainstream press -- wants to admit that Americans aren't nearly as supportive of this agenda as the courts and newspapers would have you believe. Unfortunately, that also means the Left only has one option for imposing its agenda: harassment.
Back in Pennsylvania, Victoria Miller continues to be a target. "As a fellow Christian, I'm ashamed of people like you," one commenter wrote. "We are taught to love our neighbor regardless." Unfortunately, culturally intoxicated believers like this one have a misguided (and convenient) view of Christ's calling. Real love doesn't mean you facilitate people's desires that are both harmful to them and society. It means speaking the truth in love.
As Rev. Franklin Graham has said, biblically orthodox Christians should love homosexuals -- and all sinners -- enough to warn them. "Now, if you don't like that, don't get mad at me," Franklin told the pastors at FRC's Watchmen on the Wall conference. "I didn't write the rule book. Almighty God wrote it, and it's a sin against Him."
In the ISIS of the Storm...
Humanitarian aid isn't the only thing reaching the top of Mount Sinjar -- so are Western journalists. And the first-hand accounts they're sharing are horrifying. The Iraqi situation is deteriorating for the refugees, despite the last minute help from America and three days of airstrikes. "It is death valley," said Iraqi General Ahmed Ithwany. "Up to 70% of the [people who fled up the mountain] are dead." Those who are still alive are running toward the parachutes of food -- more than 36,000 meals -- and thousands of gallons of water, one of the few signs of hope on the bleak landscape.
The Telegraph's Jonathan Krohn talked to some of the Iraqis pinned on the slopes, many of whom feel betrayed by the West. "When the Americans withdrew from Iraq, they didn't protect the Christians," said one of the refugees. "The Christians became the scapegoats. Everyone has been killing us."
Even now, many see the U.S.'s intervention as too little too late. Iraq's most prominent Christian leader, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, sent an open letter to the White House decrying the President's strategy. "The position of the American President Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing." Late yesterday, the radical jihadists known as ISIS were bearing down on yet another village, threatening its families to "convert by noon... or we kill all of you."
Meanwhile, in the U.S., even the President's own administration thinks his policy is a loser, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- whose own leadership is partially to blame for the Middle East collapse -- leading the naysayers. Former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford also had plenty to say. Among Republicans, you didn't have to look too far to find critics of the President's foreign failures.
"Sadly what's happening in Iraq is the latest manifestation of the failures of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said at the Faith Leadership Summit in Iowa that FRC Action co-sponsored. "What ISIS is doing in Iraq is unspeakable; ISIS is the face of evil," Cruz said. "ISIS right now is crucifying Christians in Iraq. Crucifixion is not something that just occurred 2000 years ago; they are doing it right now today."
In Israel, America's strongest ally is also suffering from the President's Middle East indifference. That's why I'll be traveling to Israel next week along with a delegation from the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). We were invited by the Israeli government to see firsthand what is happening on the ground in Israel. "Countering rising anti-Semitism in the international press and on the streets, this friendship visit will communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them," NRB President Dr. Jerry Johnson explained. The trip will emphasize that Evangelical Christians support Israel's right to national security, but it will also underscore our need to continue to pray for and work for the peace of Jerusalem so that all the people of that region, Jewish and Palestinian, can live without fear.
For me, the trip will serve as a follow-up to the congressional delegation to Israel that I joined last November. We covet your prayers -- not just for our safety, but for the security of the Middle East. Please consider joining us in a time of international prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.
Planned Parenthood's War on Underage Women
Apparently, Planned Parenthood is so desperate for business that they'll cover up statutory rape to get it. Thanks to our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Arizona Health Services Department may finally have cause to investigate America's largest abortion business. According to reports, a Tempe clinic failed to report the sexual assault of an underage girl -- one of a dozen possible victims of a local sexual predator. The young girl's mom told investigators that the counselor "intentionally mislabeled the pregnancy" as a consensual encounter, because she "didn't want the hassle" of reporting it.
"Planned Parenthood's main concern should be the safety of young girls," said ADF attorney Natalie Decker, "not the size of its profit margin. Sadly, this is not an exception, and Planned Parenthood is abusing more than just taxpayer dollars." The allegation doesn't exactly bode well for one of the chief architects of the phony "war on women."
Planned Parenthood blasted back immediately, insisting that it has a "zero tolerance policy" for staff who refuse to report abuse. When Live Action exposed Planned Parenthood for covering up statutory rape in eight separate clinics, liberals said it was an anomaly. When Lila posted videos of three offices accepting racially-motivated donations, it was a "rogue element." Then, there were the seven tapes of Planned Parenthood aiding sex traffickers and enabling pimps. If there's a zero tolerance policy, you could have fooled us.
** August is supposed to be a slow news month, but you wouldn't know it by the number of op-eds the FRC team is cranking out! Check out these new columns by: FRC's Travis Weber, "Genocide in Iraq," in Townhall, Ken Blackwell, "Hillary Clinton Shoulda Stood in Bed," in the Patriot Post, Peter Sprigg, "Gay Marriage's Next Big Test" in the Detroit Daily News, and Rob Schwarzwalder, "The Left's Litmus Tests of 2014: Abortion and Homosexuality."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.