Freedom of Speech

'Cockroaches': Liberty's Mat Staver Denounces Portman, Priebus and Rove on Same-Sex Marriage

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver yesterday spoke to Vic Eliason of Voice of Christian Youth America on Crosstalk, where the two agreed that legalizing same-sex marriage nationally “would be the same as pronouncing the death sentence on America.”

Staver, who is also the dean of the Liberty University School of Law, even went so far as to say that marriage equality would “obliterate” morality, marriage and “the idea that there even is a God,” along with harming children, parents and society at large.

Eliason: You know as we see the comments, one website indicated that if the court strikes down marriage as we know it that it would be the same as pronouncing the death sentence on America that many of us know and love, recount the days of Sodom and Gomorrah as returning to our culture. Your thoughts?

Staver: Well I think so. Same-sex marriage is ultimately the abolition of gender; it’s ultimately the abolition of any moral behavior with regards to human sexuality. This whole assault on marriage is really an attempt to obliterate not only morality but Judeo-Christian morality, to obliterate marriage and to even obliterate the idea that there even is a God.



Staver: You’re going to have people lose their professions, you’re going to have parents lose their rights, you’re going to have churches and other avenues of religious free exercise ultimately throttled and marriage and morality are going to crumble. Children are ultimately going to pay the price and society will suffer.

He later cited California’s law barring the use of ex-gay therapy on minors as an example of how gay rights represent “a direct assault on the very core of our liberties and morality, marriage and even God.”

Staver described Rob Portman, Karl Rove and Reince Priebus as “cockroaches” which “start running” once “you flip on the lights” over their comments on gay marriage, and Eliason said of the Log Cabin Republicans: “Is there nobody to clean the cockroaches out?”

After discussing George W. Bush’s failure to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment, Staver joined other Religious Right leaders like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer in warning about the emergence of a “third party” and a “mass exodus” from the GOP “if the Republican Party were to adopt same-sex marriage.”

Listen:

Staver: You know it’s like going into a building at night and you flip on the lights and all of the sudden the cockroaches start running, and I think this same-sex marriage issue has shown the cockroaches within the Republican Party, the RINOs: Republican In Name Only. That’s why we lost the 2008 election, that’s why we lost the 2012 election, because they put forth their party person who is not really a conservative and doesn’t resonate with the American people and couldn’t carry a conservative message and articulate it if it was handed to them.

Go back to George W. Bush, George W. Bush surrounded himself by a number of people that were not conservative and in fact though he was elected in 2004 on a marriage mandate, that was what ultimately pushed him across the line; remember that was the time when thirteen states passed constitutional amendments, eleven of them actually on the day he was elected, and Ohio was a key state and Ohio had marriage on the ballot and that pushed him over the top. He had a marriage mandate and coming into 2005 we asked him to push forward with a Federal Marriage Amendment; instead, he and Karl Rove backed away. They tried to reform Social Security, which was not a mandate of his, and he failed and we lost that opportunity.

So now you have Karl Rove and you have [Reince] Priebus and some others, [Rob] Portman, they’re going down a way that ultimately will split the Republican Party. I can tell you what, if the Republican Party were to adopt same-sex marriage, if they were to do that, evangelicals will leave en masse and that will create a third party. No one wants to create a third party, they want to work within the system, they want to make sure that it advances freedom and liberty and the sanctity of life and marriage, but if the Republican Party goes down that road you can bet that there will be a mass exodus from that party and it will not win elections again for many, many years in the future.

Eliason: You know Mat, as we look back to a term that isn’t new but they call them Log Cabin Republicans and that of course was the group that favored homosexual involvement and moral decadence, as I define it, but this was the liberal element. When I saw that happen years ago down in my heart I thought: Is there nobody to clean the cockroaches out? Why do you coexist with that?

Hagee: Sodom and Gomorrah Was God's 'Pilot Study' for Dealing with 'the Homosexual Society'

On this week's "Hagee Hotline," Pastor John Hagee responded to a question from a viewer about whether God would hold this nation accountable if it ever legalized gay marriage by declaring that biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah was "God's pilot study for his response to the homosexual society," and warning that it was not a matter of the government approving it but rather "if the people accept it, and if the righteous accept it, judgment will come":

When Everything Is Partisan, Just Do What's Right

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when Republicans started complaining that President Obama's second inaugural address was too "partisan" and lacked "outreach" across the aisle. But who was left out? What did they find "partisan"? The acknowledgement of climate science? The idea that women should receive equal pay for equal work? The nod to civil rights struggles of our past and present? The hope that no American will have to wait in hours-long lines to vote? The defense of the existence of a social safety net? The determination to offer support to the victims of a historic storm and to find real answers to the epidemic of mass shootings? In the not-too-distant past, none of these would have raised eyebrows except on the very, very far right. But I guess that's the point: what was once the radical fringe is now in control of the Grand Old Party.

In many ways, Monday's inauguration ceremony was a Tea Party Republican's nightmare-come-true. The openly gay poet. The Spanish sprinkled into the benediction. The one-two-three punch of "Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall." It was the embodiment of all that the far right has tried to wall itself off from as the country begins to include more and more of the real America in its democracy.

What would have pleased this faction, short of winning the presidential election? I imagine they would have preferred a paean to the America of their imaginations -- where the founders were flawless and prescient about the right to bear assault weapons and the Constitution was delivered, amendments included, directly from God; where there are no gay people or only silent ones, where the world is not getting warmer; where there have been no struggles in the process of forging a more perfect union. This, of course, would have been its very own kind of political statement -- and one that was just rejected by the majority of American voters.

If embracing America as it is rather than as a shimmery vision of what it never was constitutes partisanship, and if it turns off people who cling to that dishonest vision, let's have more of it.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post.

PFAW

Fischer: We Are the Victims of 'a New Moral McCarthyism'

Yesterday, Bryan Fischer responded to the news that pastor Louie Giglio had withdrawn from participation in President Obama’s inauguration by declaring that anti-gay Christians were "the new Rosa Parks" and the victims of modern-day Jim Crow laws.

He returned to the topic today, citing a piece by Al Mohler  to declare that anti-gay Christians are now the victims of "moral McCarthyism":

Thank You from PFAW Founder Norman Lear

Please take a moment to watch this end-of-the-year thank you message for you and all of PFAW's wonderful supporters around the world from PFAW founder Norman Lear:

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Does Randy Forbes Understand How the First Amendment Works?

One of the most remarkable things about the Religious Right today is the amazingly widespread belief that any criticism or disagreement with their agenda is somehow a violation of their First Amendment rights. 

The Religious Right seems to truly believe that the First Amendment protects their rights to say anything they wish while simultaneously rendering them immune from criticism or opposition, as if the very same First Amendment that protects their free speech rights does not protect the free speech rights of those who disagree with them.

Case in point:  the day after the election, the American Humanist Association sent a letter to all the newly elected members of Congress, encouraging them not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus. But to Rep. Randy Forbes, founder of the Prayer Caucus, this is nothing more than an attempt to "censor people" and prevent them from talking about their faith, as he explained on "Wallbuilders Live" today:

None of us, and no member of our caucus believes, that we want government to dictate what the church should do and we don't want the church dictating what the government should do.

But these extremist groups try to switch that around and they try to carry it to another dimension where they don't want anybody in government to have the right to even speak about their faith, or prayer, or God, or religion.  And they don't want anyone in the church to be able to speak about government.

What they want to do is censor people from their faith and from their First Amendment rights.

Members of Congress have the right to join the Prayer Caucus if they want, just as others have a right to ask them not to do so.  That is how the First Amendment works. 

Disagreement is not censorship and the Constitution does not protect you from criticism.

Beck's 'Obama in Pee Pee' Masterpiece Bid Up to Nearly $12K on eBay Before Disappearing

Glenn Beck opened his program last night with a long segment responding to the recent controversy over a a painting that depicts President Obama in a Christ-like pose and wearing a crown of thorns that has gone on display at Boston's Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery.

Beck began by pretending to be a snooty art critic taking shots at several paintings he disliked by artists like Jackson Pollock, Vincent Van Gogh, and Peter Paul Rubens, before switching over a French artist character who went around "correcting" these paintings by covering up the nudity they contained or simply painting over them, all in order to make the point that the Constitution protects free expression and that while people are entirely free to get offended by certain works of art, they just have to learn to accept that as the price of freedom ... which he proceeded to demonstrate by submerging a bobblehead of President Obama in a mason jar supposedly filled with urine: 

As a piece of performance art, it was all mildly entertaining, but the most interesting thing about it is that one of the underlying themes of the segment was how all of these piece of art, which he considers to be "crap," have sold for millions of dollars while he couldn't understand why people would waste good money on things like this.  

So, of course, Beck has now put all of his own pieces up for sale on eBay, with the proceeds benefiting his Mercury One "Hope for the Holidays" charity effort, incuding his pièce de résistance, "Obama in Pee Pee," which had been bid up to nearly $12,000 ... before it suddenly disappeared from eBay:

UPDATE: Beck reports that the item was removed by eBay for violating the site's ban on "the sale of bodily waste."

Election Is Mandate for Policies Grounded in Progressive American Values

The American people have made their choice -- a resounding victory for President Obama and Vice President Biden and a mandate for their policy agenda.
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Young Progressives Endorsed By People For the American Way Win Big on Tuesday

Washington, DC – More than three-quarters of the young progressive candidates for state and local offices endorsed by People For the American Way’s Young Elected Progressives program won their election bids on Tuesday, People For the American Way reported today. The Young Elected Progressives program, in its first year, endorsed 79 candidates in general elections in 28 states and the District of Columbia, with 60 winning their bids.

“We started this program to boost promising young progressives, many of them making their first bid for elected office,” said Randy Borntrager, Political Director of People For the American Way. “We’re helping to build a lasting movement by providing young progressives with the resources they need to start their careers in public service. We are thrilled that our endorsed candidates did so well on Tuesday, and are looking forward to growing and strengthening the program in future elections.”

Eighteen of the endorsed candidates, many in particularly close races, were given extra attention through the new "On the Way" program. Fourteen of those candidates were successful on Tuesday, including:

  • Stefanie Mach, an alumna of affiliate PFAW Foundation’s advanced leadership programs, pulled out a victory in a hotly contested state House race in Tucson.
  • State Sen. Angie Buhl of South Dakota won reelection to a second term representing Sioux Falls, where she has been a strong progressive leader.
  • Cyrus Habib won a seat in the Washington state House, making him the first Iranian American elected to a state legislature.
  • Jacob Candelaria became the first openly gay legislator in New Mexico, winning a state Senate seat representing Albuquerque.
  • Steve Hansen of Sacramento is poised to win a seat on the City Council, his first elected office, ahead by just 28 votes.

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A Real-Life Halloween Scare From Mitt Romney

Forget ghosts and goblins. Americans' biggest Halloween fear should be a Supreme Court chosen by Mitt Romney.
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WND Columnist: Prosecute Liberals, Journalists for Treason

For years, conservatives have claimed that liberals seek to criminalize Christianity and conservative opinions through imaginary hate speech laws. But today, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush writes that the government should prosecute liberals and members of the press… in order to defend freedom, of course. He accuses journalists of “treasonous collusion” with the Obama administration and said the Founders would have wanted journalists to be “found guilty of high crimes.”

“Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply,” Rush says, “and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.” He claims that progressives’ “seditious, anti-American” speech is “excepted from protection under the First Amendment,” hoping that “the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.”

Assuming that all goes well and that we are rid of Obama in January, there will be a nation to repair – but what about the causes for this necessity? Yes, many Americans are now cognizant of the fact that progressives have “progressed” America dangerously close to being a Marxist-socialist nation and that we are collectively responsible for not having checked that progress. But aside from grass-roots efforts toward electoral and political reform, there are other widespread, organized threats to America’s ongoing concern as a representative republic with guaranteed personal liberties, free speech foremost among them.

Here, I am speaking of the press, the conglomeration of national broadcast, digital and print media organizations that has been incrementally packed with ideological liberals and socialists, and so has disqualified itself as the impartial government watchdog it once was. During my lifetime, I have seen the press become an advance force for social engineering and global socialism. The degree to which they have deceived Americans and enabled the agenda of radicals in recent decades is beyond shame. As former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said recently, the press has become an enemy of the American people. In the matter of this president, the press largely facilitated the ascension of Barack Obama. The instances wherein they have promoted, shielded and aided him are beyond enumeration.

This goes beyond such things as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and his man crush on Obama – I’m talking about treasonous collusion. One particularly scandalous incident occurred during the second presidential debate, when CNN moderator Candy Crowley made an interjection that appeared to have been as spontaneous as Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder, and which led to a solid point scored for Obama. Most recently, after Mitt Romney brought up Obama’s 2009 “Apology Tour,” the press did their best to support Obama’s claim that this never happened, despite boundless reams of footage that exist chronicling the event.



It is improbable that the framers of the Constitution anticipated a situation in which the press were entirely given over to seditious, anti-American policies. If they had, it is likely that their modus operandi would be similar to that for any faction found guilty of high crimes. Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.

This is not likely to occur, however. Radio personality and nascent media mogul Glenn Beck has the intention of putting the establishment press out of business. While I wish him every success, it doesn’t seem likely that he will accomplish this through his organizations alone. In addition to the advent of powerful alternative media sources, I believe it will be necessary to codify – or reaffirm – the nature of crimes against the Constitution and the American people. In this manner, we can thwart the designs not only of the press, but all global socialists operating in America.

Those whose speech and actions impinge upon the God-given rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution are, by definition, excepted from protection under the First Amendment (as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment). This is a very important concept to consider, because it is based on these presumptions of protected speech and equal protection for all that progressives and socialists have engaged in their predation upon our liberties.

If these truths can be acknowledged and widely accepted as such (as opposed to progressives’ Orwellian interpretations), then the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.

Chamber of Commerce - Big Spenders in the 2012 Elections

*NOTE: If you happen to be in the D.C. area, consider joining us Friday, Oct. 19 from 11:15a.m.-12:00p.m. for a rally in front of the U.S. Chamber that will call on the organization to disclose the sources of its funding and to stop opposing disclosure reform. The rally will include grassroots organizations as well as small business leaders and will be held at Lafayette Square, NW Corner, across from the intersection of H and 17th Sts. NW, Washington, D.C.*
 
The 2012 election cycle is poised to be the most expensive on record: if reasonable estimates of its cost are accurate, spending as a percent of real GDP will be 5.4% higher than in 2008.
 
The reason for this is not difficult to ascertain: because of the infamous Citizens United decision in 2010, election spending by outside groups has quadrupled since 2006. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce—the largest lobbyist organization in the United States and the flag bearer for corporate interests—had a lot at stake over the decision and submitted an amicus curiae brief during the proceedings.
 
A common misperception is that the primary effect of Citizens United has been to allow wealthy individuals to commandeer elections via unlimited independent expenditures. While this is true to some extent, corporationsrepresented by trade and lobbying organizations like the Chamber—also have a pivotal role to play in such efforts. In fact, the Chamber spent more than any Super PAC during the 2010 election cycle, indicating that corporations have benefited just as much as individuals.
 
The Chamber has been the premier vehicle for funneling cash to key pro-corporate initiatives for decades. It is a national organization with 300,000 businesses as members and a further 3,000,000 businesses and individuals as associates via state and local Chambers. Though the national and state/local Chambers are affiliates, often coordinate their efforts, and ostensibly have the same goals, increasingly there is divergence between them. For example, the 2010 congressional midterms saw 40 state/local Chambers dissociate themselves from the national Chamber over the content of advertising during the election cycle.
 
Receiving donations from a variety of businesses and individuals (the organization doesn’t have to disclose donors due to its 501(c)6 non-profit status), the Chamber claims to segregate funds for several distinct purposes: thus far, it has donated $1.59 million to campaigns, parties, and associated PACs, spent a whopping $55 million on lobbying, and spent a further $22 million on ‘outside spending’ in 2012.
 
Though ‘outside spending’ constitutes an undue extension of corporate influence over elections, the Chamber still dedicates the bulk of its funds to lobbying. In each instance, its pernicious influence affects the debate by skewing discussion toward corporate-sponsored proposals. For example, the Chamber has worked hard to water down regulations on derivativesespecially the Volcker Rule, which bans proprietary trading (derivatives were at the heart of the Great Recession of 2007-09) and in 2010 the chamber sued the Environmental Protection Agency in order to challenge carbon emission regulations.
 
As an integral member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) —a consistent supporter of regressive Republican candidates and an organization with hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal—the Chamber’s activity evinces the fact that corporations are very active this election cycle and that the claims that the Citizens ruling has enhanced free speech are absurd.
PFAW Foundation

King: Obama and 'His Leftist Minions' are Working Every Day to Undermine America

Speaking today at the Values Voter Summit, Rep. Steve King declared that President Obama and "his leftist minions" are working every day "undermining the pillar of American exceptionalism, attempting to bring down the shining city on the hill [and] turn it into rubble."

But, he declared, "we are not going to let them do that" because "we're going to serve God and country, in that order" and defeat Obama in November, which will be a victory for God:

New TV Ad! "Mitt Romney's Supreme Court: Too Extreme For America"

Mitt Romney says that a woman's right to choose an abortion even in cases of rape and incest is a "decision that will be made by the Supreme Court." But Romney has promised Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade...
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Concerned Women for America Defends 'Pussy Riot' Convictions

Concerned Women for America’s leading “scholar” Janice Shaw Crouse is defending the conviction of three members of the Russian band “Pussy Riot” on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” The three women were sentenced by a Russian court to two years in a prison colony in a decision condemned by the U.S., the E.U. and human rights groups. Their crime was a performance staged in a cathedral in which they beseeched the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Vladimir Putin and denounced the increasingly close ties between the state and the Russian Orthodox Church.

In a column today, Crouse defends the convictions, writing that Pussy Riot “insult[ed] Christians” and that the band members should “accept responsibility for your actions” and “repent.”

So next time Concerned Women for America complains about the Obama administration’s supposed threats to freedom, just remember that they have no problem with Russia imprisoning political activists.

Have the women repented or taken responsibility for their actions? Their formal statements about the incident reveal their utter lack of morality, embrace of a "blame-everyone-but-us" ideology, and disdain for capitalism and individual responsibility. Like their U.S. counterparts, they want "human rights, civil and political freedoms" for themselves but not for Christian believers or anyone else with different beliefs.



The media -- both in Russia and in the U.S. -- ignores the religious bigotry directed at Christianity and, instead, jumps to the defense of anyone who shows intolerance towards the church. It is apparent from the closing statements of the three Russian feminists on trial that they are not sorry for their actions and, in fact, view themselves as the victims, not the Christians that they denigrated. The punk rock group entered the sanctuary with the intent to insult Christians, and when they were held accountable, they claimed that it was someone else's fault.

If you want to rage against that which you perceive to be unjust or unfair, it would go a long way toward credibility to also accept responsibility for your actions.

PHOTOS: Religious, Political Leaders Join Launch of People For Foundation Report, '12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics'

Last week, People For the American Way Foundation launched a new report, “12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics,” which offers guidelines for policymakers and advocates seeking to bring faith into political debates.

Joining us at a launch party for the report and a discussion of the issues it raises were Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress; Sister Simone Campbell, director of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Here are some photos of the event from People For Foundation’s Dylan Hewitt:

Sister Simone Campbell talks with People For’s COO, Nick Ucci 


People For President Michael Keegan, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery 

Michael Keegan and Rep. Keith Ellison

Sister Simone Campbell and Rabbi David Saperstein

Rabbi David Saperstein 

Rep. Keith Ellison and Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Conference.
 

PFAW Foundation

Appeals Court Rejects Right Wing Attack on Hate Crimes Law

A unanimous court thoroughly debunks the demagogic assertion that the Hate Crimes Act threatens First Amendment rights.
PFAW Foundation

12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics – A People For the American Way Foundation Report with a Foreword by Bill Moyers

Washington, DC – The proper role of religion in American politics has been the subject of vigorous – and sometimes toxic – debate for over two centuries. Today, in the midst of campaign-season claims about America’s founding as a “Christian nation” and hyperbolic rhetoric about religious persecution, People For the American Way Foundation calls for a more constructive conversation with a new report, 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, authored by PFAW Foundation senior fellow Peter Montgomery with a foreword by journalist Bill Moyers.

"12 Rules" takes on a number of current debates, including those over required contraception insurance coverage, marriage equality, and the role of religion in the 2012 presidential campaign. This edition builds on earlier releases of "12 Rules" in 1984 and 1994.

The full report can be found online here. 

“Religious liberty is at the heart of what it means to be an American, but it is also at the center of some of our fiercest debates,” said Peter Montgomery. “How do we balance the constitutional principles of free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state when they come into tension with each other? And how can people of faith bring their religious values into the public arena without turning religion into a political club? As our religious landscape becomes increasingly diverse, it is important that we grapple with these issues in ways that are more constructive than divisive. We hope these Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics will launch many constructive conversations around these topics.”

“Our political climate is being poisoned by inflammatory charges of anti-religious and anti-Christian persecution,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way Foundation. “We can look around the world to see what religious persecution looks like, and we think it’s wrong to cry wolf over political and policy disputes. We are strong advocates for First Amendment freedoms. But something can be legal without being wise. The principles in this report should be embraced by people of all religious and political beliefswho long for a more respectful and responsible debate in the public arena.”

This new edition of "12 Rules" will be launched at an event in Washington, DC featuring a discussion with Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim American elected to Congress.

Read the full report, 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics, here.  

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Freedom for 'Phobes

It has been known for years that Chick-fil-A supports right-wing groups. The company has given out gift cards at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit. At a recent Religious Right gathering, a speaker talked about how wonderful it was to live and work in Atlanta, where, he said, there’s a Baptist church on every corner and the streets are paved with Chick-fil-A.

So I am no fan of Chick-fil-A, but I’m a big fan of freedom, and that includes Chick-fil-A’s freedom to open its restaurants, even in cities where progressive political leaders don’t like the reactionary politics promoted by the company and its owners.

There’s been a robust campaign by advocates for LGBT equality to call more attention to Chick-fil-A’s contributions to “traditional family” groups, which total in the millions of dollars. But the feathers really flew when company president Dan Cathy made comments in an interview with Baptist Press bragging about his company’s position on marriage – “guilty as charged” -- and his comments to an Atlanta radio station.

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” said Cathy.

I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about,” he added.

It’s no surprise that Cathy’s comments have stirred supporters of LGBT equality to respond. Much of that response has been in the best traditions of free speech and protest. In Washington, D.C., this week, the Human Rights Campaign organized a protest in front of a Chick-Fil-A food truck. Other activists have rallied outside Chick-Fil-A stores and some students have protested the company’s presence on their campuses.

In addition, a number of political leaders have spoken out in defense of marriage equality and in opposition to the company’s support for discrimination. Twenty years ago, I would never have imagined elected officials taking the time to publicly criticize a business on behalf of the ability of same-sex couples to get married. It’s a good thing – a sign of amazing progress.

But a couple of politicians have gone too far – suggesting that the power of government should be used to prevent the company from opening restaurants based on its political donations and the positions of its owners. That’s not a good thing. As a matter of principle, the government shouldn’t treat individuals differently based on their political or religious beliefs, or companies based on the political activities and contributions of their owners.  As others have noted, we wouldn’t want cities or states to have the power to prevent the opening of stores whose owners support LGBT equality or other progressive causes. 

People For the American Way’s headquarters is located in the District of Columbia, where elected officials have recognized that LGBT people should be treated equally under the law. DC’s progressive public policies stand in stark contrast to the anti-equality work of groups like the Family Research Council, but we would never suggest that the DC government could or should have prevented FRC from planting its headquarters in the center of downtown DC. Our commitment to freedom and equality should extend to those who don’t share it.

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