No Tassel without Tussle over Faith
Graduation may be too late to expel students, but it's never too late to expel God! That's the message California's Brawley Union High School had hoped to send the Class of 2014. While graduation speeches are seldom memorable, salutatorian Brooks Hamby wanted his remarks to mean something more than empty catchphrases. And as a Christian, the most meaningful advice Brooks could impart to his classmates involved his faith. Writing the speech wasn't the problem for Hamby, who is now headed to Stanford University: the trick was getting past the censors.
After his first two drafts were rejected by the administration due to religious references, Hamby went to his pastor, who encouraged the bold student to stand his ground. His third draft was likewise rejected, with every religious reference blacked out as if it were a redacted top-secret CIA memo.
Threatened with being silenced and corrected if he interjected religious content into his speech, Brooks Hamby decided to stand last week and spoke with conviction to his classmates. He opened his 99-second speech by using this very incident of censorship as an example: "...In life, you will be asked to do things that you have no desire to do. In life, you will be asked to do things that violate your conscience and your desire to do what is right. And the advice I give to you is this: No man or woman has ever truly succeeded or been fulfilled on the account of...not standing on what they knew in their heart was right or good."
Hamby closed by quoting from the "best-selling book of all time," and boldly urged his class to "be the salt of the earth. Be strong and stand for your convictions and stand for what is right, what is ethical, what is moral, and godly, no matter what the cost to you. Stand for what is good wherever you go, and whatever you do." And if that weren't enough to keep the censors in their seats, Brooks closed with a blessing, "May the God of the Bible bless you each and every one of you every day of the rest of your lives." Those are words that we at FRC will gladly stand with.
Our (square) hats are off to Brooks Hamby for standing up to the bullies who would seek to whitewash the work of God from the lives of students. For more on the story, don't miss yesterday's interview with Fox News's Todd Starnes on "Washington Watch."
Left Pens Its Hopes on Executive Orders
Considering the decisions of this administration, every month feels like "gay pride month." But this year, the President had something special in mind for his activist friends. After months of beating back pressure, a White House official yesterday told the media that President Obama is planning to make good on his pledge to govern with his pen on issues where Congress refuses to act.
The President will soon be issuing an executive order (coinciding with tonight's pro-homosexual fundraiser) mandating that all federal contractors and subcontractors give special treatment to homosexuals, transgenders, and cross-dressers in the workplace. This action is wrong on the merits, because it accepts the premise that distinctions based on actual conduct -- such as homosexual behavior and cross-dressing -- should be treated the same way as distinctions based on immutable and innocuous characteristics like race.
However, it also shows disregard for the proper boundaries of executive powers in relation to the legislature. Just as judges aren't supposed to write laws, but interpret them, the President is not supposed to write laws, but carry them out. Congress has refused to pass the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act" (ENDA) because of the detrimental impact on employers' and employees' constitutional freedoms of religion, speech, and association. In the absence of legislative authority, the President should not impose such policies on federal contractors, either.
Obama's proposed order could have a devastating effect on major corporations such as Exxon Mobil which have courageously refused to capitulate to political correctness, as well as religious groups such as relief organizations which sometimes put government dollars to work in uniquely effective ways. It may be Pride month, but President Obama's pandering to his friends on the far Left is nothing to be proud of.
A San Francisco Giant on Marriage
Nancy Pelosi may run her party, but she doesn't run her parish -- something Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone didn't mind reminding the liberal House Majority Leader in a lengthy letter. Pushing back on Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- and a host of other liberals who came down hard on the Catholic leader -- Cordileone responded to his critics yesterday, making it quite clear he wasn't backing down from this Thursday's March for Marriage.
As a Bishop, "[I am] required..." he wrote, "to proclaim the truth -- the whole truth -- about the human person and God's will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th."
Far from judging homosexuals, Cordileone explains that the March for Marriage is not "anti-LGBT" as Pelosi implied; "it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March." He goes on to defend our friends at the National Organization for Marriage, who the Left accused of organizing the event out of spite. "It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction."
At one point, the Archbishop even highlights the violence at FRC as an example of the one-sided venom poisoning the debate. "We are now beginning to see examples... of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council."
If liberals support the free speech they claim to, San Francisco's diocese believes it should extend to everyone. We do too -- and we plan to exercise that speech this Thursday, June 19 at the March for Marriage! For details on how to join us -- and courageous leaders like Archbishop Cordileone, click here!
(Our apologies! Yesterday, we must have had the March for Marriage on the brain, because we accidentally typed March 19 for the date -- instead of June 19. Circle your calendars for this Thursday, June 19!)
** If you missed my interview about Meriam Ibrahim on Fox News's "Kelly File" last night, check it out below.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.