Hippies Turn against Free Speech

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Do you remember the good old days, when liberals believed in the freedom of speech? The University of California Berkeley is arguably the birthplace of the free speech movement. Indeed, beginning in 1960’s UC Berkeley was one of the epicenters of powerful counter cultural movements that spawned the hippies and a radical commitment to question, protest and overthrow existing authority structures with a robust commitment to the freedom of speech. The ACLU and other free speech advocates often took to quoting Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Now, Berkeley has ironically become one of the centers of free speech suppression.

What a difference a few decades make! Now that some of the very same individuals who were leading protests in the 60’s and 70’s have matriculated, and have grown up to teach and lead institutions of higher education, many have decidedly turned against the First Amendment’s promise of the freedom of expression. Now that the liberal elites control these institutions, they seek to abuse their power by aggressively turning against all free thought and speech that would dare question now-entrenched leftist orthodoxies or undermine their ability to seamlessly indoctrinate the next generation with collectivist leftist group-think. There are now two classes of speech on most American college campuses: politically correct liberal speech, which is allowed, and politically incorrect conservative speech, which is not.

The clear message to everyone paying attention is that academic elites will only permit ideas and speech with which they agree, but will target for eradication ideas and speech with which they personally disagree. The dominant target for thought and speech suppression on college campuses today is all things conservative, especially ideas informed by the Judeo-Christian worldview. Completion of their radical decades-long revolution apparently means they now must actively suppress, punish, and silence thoughts and words that do not perfectly align with the now institutionally entrenched leftist worldview.  But if the freedom of speech means anything, it certainly does not mean that some speech is more “free” than others or that the state can support speech it likes and obliterate speech it doesn’t.

This decidedly dark Orwellian trend was highlighted recently when Milo Yiannopoulos, a very controversial Trump supporter and an openly gay member of the right, was invited by the campus Republican Club to speak and UC Berkeley.  More than 100 “tolerant” faculty members referring to Milo’s presentations as “harassment, slander, defamation, and hate speech” signed a letter demanding that the University cancel the event. Protestors clad in black clothing and masks smashed windows, set fires, and pepper-sprayed a young female Trump supporter in the face, while carrying posters and signs claiming, quite ironically, that Milo is a “fascist.” Rather than protecting Milo and his speech, UC Berkeley officials and police folded like a cheap suit, allowing the protesters to prevail in their “heckler’s veto” by canceling Milo’s talk. Unfortunately, Berkeley is not alone. Ben Shapiro’s event at UCLA faced similar opposition recently. But, as Yale Law Professor Jose Cabranas pointed out in the Washington Post, “No one can doubt that we should strive for civility. But problems arise when we are told that “uncivil” speech has made a campus “unsafe” — and that university officials should make a campus safe again by punishing uncivil speakers.”

As George Orwell wrote, “If freedom means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Yet, today in our universities, once the bastions of the freedom of thought and expression, the Freedom of Speech is being destroyed, sacrificed on the false altars of “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” “hate speech” and all other forms of mind-numbing snow-flakery. Academic freedom increasingly means liberty only for liberals. Conservatives need not apply or should at least remain silent.

This is no small matter. Our very freedom and the continuation of our republic are at stake. As a conservative constitutional attorney, I do not always agree with former Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren. However, I must wholeheartedly agree with Warren’s prediction about the republic-ending threat of political correctness when he wrote that either “teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and evaluate,” or “our civilization will stagnate and die.” (Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957”)).  Benjamin Franklin agreed that the “freedom of speech is a principal pillar of government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected in its ruins.”

Yes, the freedom of speech includes religious speech. But in this hostile environment, many believers have stopped talking about God and sharing the gospel. Why? Fear of man—fear of retribution. Yet, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so elegantly wrote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” George Washington warned, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Although liberals have lost their love of free speech, we must be different – if not for ourselves, for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Let us this day, as free Americans, commit to steadfastly oppose every authority, government, or other influence, that seeks to suppress, destroy, or silence the freedom of speech. Long live the freedom of speech!

Rogue Nation: Birthplace of Religious Freedom Added to the List of Countries Where Christians Face the Most Persecution

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The silence was deafening as the United States, the birthplace of religious freedom, joined the infamous ranks of the world’s worst places to be a Christian—places where followers of Jesus Christ face the worst harassment and persecution because of their faith. Major American media outlets largely ignored a story of immense implications for the future of the Judeo-Christian worldview and western civilization.

This dirty dozen is a list created by the International Christian Concern (ICC), a watchdog organization formed in 1995 to protect the rights of Christians worldwide, released in its 2016 Hall of Shame Report. It was not surprising that the Islamist dominated countries of Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Nigeria made the list for their persecution and killing of the Christian “infidels.” Nor was it a shock that Russia, Mexico and India were noted because of the suppression of evangelical Christianity either by people espousing other variations of Christianity or by Jesus-hating radical Hindus. It is even understandable that that the totalitarian communist/atheist states of China and North Korea were included.

Nearly simultaneous with the ICC’s report was the European Parliament’s acknowledgement that Christianity, not Islam, is the world’s most persecuted religion. The Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World, confirmed that Christians are currently the earth’s most harassed and intimidated religious group that “routinely suffer religiously motivated persecution.”

Regarding the ICC report, what raises eyebrows is the first-time-ever addition of the United States to the list of the twelve worst countries for the Christian faith.  The ICC’s explanation is as follows:

“Throughout the US, current events and shifting perceptions are causing conflicts between Christian beliefs and public sentiment. This cultural shift affects Christians businesses, organizations and individuals through legal action, free speech infringement, public expressions of faith, and employment.”

The article explains that Christians in the US are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and close-minded. Furthermore, Christians and all religious people are being marginalized through laws and legal action. Specific examples include Christian bakers fined $135,000 for declining to back a cake for a same-sex wedding, Intervarsity Christian fellowship losing official recognition as a student club at California public colleges, employees being terminated because of their faith, and many more. The ICC report cites that claims of “intolerance” and “inequality” are being used to bully Christians and create legal precedents that are actually undermining well established First Amendment rights, including the freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

As we celebrate the peaceful transfer of power, President-elect Trump may provide some relief for believers if he fulfills his promise to respect and restore religious freedom. The overwhelming evidence of the past eight years reveals that President Obama’s legacy must include the truth that he was no friend of religious freedom, exasperating Christians by his First Amendment undermining actions, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Trying to force Catholic nuns (The Little Sisters of the Poor) and other church groups to provide abortion-related products and services.
  • Supporting the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples (Obergefell v. Hodges).
  • The United States Commission on Civil Rights issuing its 2016 anti-religious hit piece report suggesting that sexual liberty (i.e. new anti-discrimination laws) should prevail over religious liberty claims (First Amendment protected) and asserting that “religious freedom” and “religious liberty” are code for anti-LBGT discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. (i.e. Christians are the “deplorables”).
  • The Department of Justice and Department of Education’s 2016 transgender bathroom mandate, forcing public schools to allow student access to bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding based on their perceived gender identity rather than their biological sex.

The ICC posits that part of the explanation for the change may be growing secularization, citing a Pew Research poll showing that those the total U.S. adult population identifying as non-religious jumped by seven percent in just seven years, from 16 percent to 23 percent (2007-2014). Notably, a stunning 35 percent of millennials identify as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular! The report, How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency, confirms that those identifying as Christians also dropped seven percent, from 78 percent to 71 percent, though the share of evangelicals has remained fairly stable. So, what does this all mean?

First, it means we must recognize that there is rapidly growing public pressure on American Christians today, as many secular-progressive elite forces are seeking to drive us out of the public square into hiding and to silence us and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in a time where, sadly, the church is far more influenced by the culture than it is influencing the culture. “One nation” once “under God” has become “divisible,” and divided, as we are now left “with liberty and justice for” some. Most Christians in the US are not handling the current hostile environment very well and many are simply giving in to the pressure, allowing themselves to be silenced and marginalized. Biblical resistance is required. Millennials are the most vulnerable to cultural pressure and the church must do a much better job of inculcating a comprehensive biblical worldview, passing the baton of “the faith of our fathers,” to them.

Second, it means, as I have been warning others for more than a decade, that we are rapidly moving from “soft” persecution towards “hard” persecution of the church in a place formerly known as the land of the free and home of the brave. It is true that while some of us are losing our livelihood, we are not being imprisoned or killed yet, but if the pendulum keeps swinging in its current direction, those prospects may not be far off. The separation of sheep and goats, already well underway, will continue and accelerate. Do not be alarmed that many you thought were authentic believers were only pretending. We need to realize that persecution is a normal part of being a Christian and gird our loins accordingly.

Third, it means that if we value our freedom and the gospel of Jesus Christ, we had better wake up, engage the culture by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), and fight the good fight of faith by actively pushing back culturally, politically, and legally. The American “health and wealth gospel” will be nakedly unmasked for the fraud that it always was. This is not the time for wimpy, half-hearted, “fluffy-bunny” Jesus or “comfortable” Christianity. Those days are long gone in America.  But do not despair!  We have the hope and confidence that our ultimate victory is secure in Jesus Christ. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness had not overcome it (John 1:5).

Ready or not, Biblical promises of persecution are about to get very “real” and, especially for the unprepared, it’s going to be a rough ride. You are not alone. There is a strong remnant. You are surrounded by a cloud of faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Be much in the Word, prayer, and fellowship. Be filled with the Spirit. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Elitist Utopian Transformational Socialists Humbled by 2016 Election

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You’re scared.  Every day you go to school you have to face him.  On the good days, he sneers down at you and calls you names. On the bad days, he threatens to beat you up, throws you up against the lockers, and steals your lunch money. The impact is real. Victimized, your self-esteem craters, you become quiet and afraid. You start to lose hope. Terrified that if you say or do anything, you will be targeted and attacked even more by the menacing school bully.

For conservative Americans, especially biblical Christians, this is how many of us have felt—increasingly marginalized, demonized, and victimized by bullying cultural elites who have been controlling the social megaphones (news media, higher education, Hollywood, etc.) for more than a decade. We are feeling like outliers—strangers and aliens in our own county.  Indeed, conservatives have become intimately in touch with these unhealthy feelings, especially over the past eight years. Radical progressives have been mocking us and shouting us down, while simultaneously pushing an oppressive radical post-modern socialist cultural and political worldview, crushing us under an Orwellian regime of political correctness. Their bag of tricks includes claiming, simply because we disagree with them, that we must be hateful, racist, homophobic, and bigoted, unworthy of being a part of the American cultural fabric or even having a seat at the table of the marketplace of ideas. So much for tolerance!

On November 8, sick and tired of being beat up and bullied by elitists, regular folks across America screamed “enough” and mustered the courage to punch “transformational” liberal socialism in the face at the ballot box. Millions of decent patriotic Americans, who believe in objective truth and American exceptionalism, and who are profoundly concerned that we are losing our way economically and morally, flocked to the polls. For example, white evangelicals, making up 26% of the electorate, voted for Trump at the high rate of 81%, up from 78% who voted for Romney in 2012. Like most typical bullies, once rebuffed and having lost their power, progressives were left sobbing on the ground whining, “Why me?”

They weep because they are shocked and surprised. They simply cannot believe or accept that their utopian fantasies and their flagrant cultural-political oppression have been rejected by “we the people.” And, for many, this election was a referendum—not only a rejection of Hillary Clinton, and her lawless and corrupt way, but a repudiation of Barack Obama’s misguided plan to fundamentally transform America and his already tattered legacy.

Other big losers were the pollsters and pundits inhabiting their liberal media echo-chambers who were calling the election early for Hillary. Trump won in spite of not being a paragon of virtue and in spite of the fact that he was dramatically outspent. The arrogant uber-liberal media cast aside any pretense of objectivity. And, having committed themselves for more than a year as rabid cheerleaders for team Hillary, savagely attacking Trump and his supporters, they were shocked, humiliated, and started melting down as it became clear in the early morning hours of November 9 that he dominated the rust belt and would win. The media have lost any remaining credibility, as they should.

Bitter angry progressives, many of whom didn’t bother to vote, ranting about abolishing the electoral college and chanting “not my president,” participated in violent protests funded by George Soros’ Alinskyan radical-leftist pet community organizing project MoveOn.org. University administrations and staffs came off as cartoonish buffoons as they rushed to create safe spaces for snowflake students by canceling classes, scheduling cry-ins, or handing out Play-Doh and coloring books. Actors and musicians who threated to leave the country if Trump were elected screamed and cried threatening #CalExit but, alas, did not follow through on their childish threats. A hilarious Saturday Night Live skit suggests disappointed progressives move into a safe-space “bubble,” protected from the rest of the United States.

How did this happen? Millions of Americans have felt that the leaders of the federal government have been fundamentally opposed to them, undermining everything they believe is good and true about America. They were tired of being demonized, had had enough, and voted.  The polling data reveals that average Americans, repulsed by the Democratic party’s radical pro-death abortion advocacy, LGBT activism, transgender mandates, and rabid anti-religious platform, especially anti-Christian extremism, were compelled to the polls by their biblically-informed consciences and a profound desire to maintain our constitutional republic and its promise of freedom for everyone. You know something significant and organic is happening when the separatist Amish vote in large numbers helped Trump carry Ohio and Pennsylvania.

We were tired of seeing photographers, bakers, and florists being called hateful bigots and losing their livelihood for merely living according to their Christian faith. We couldn’t understand the absurdity of the Obama administration pushing religious organizations, like the nuns at the Little Sisters of the Poor, to fund health insurance coverage for abortions and abortifacient drugs. We were appalled when Hillary Clinton proudly announced her blind commitment to late term abortions including partial birth abortions. By our votes, we declared “Enough!”

Yet, one would think that so-called progressives, of all people, would have been sensitive to the signs and symptoms of human victimization. If only they were capable of looking or thinking outside of the group-think confines of their echo-chambers they might have understood, as uber-liberal prophet Michael Moore solemnly warned, that there were millions of Americans citizens, who were not necessarily particularly conservative, but who felt left behind by our tepid economic recovery and the freedom-crushing hard leftward cultural-political push of the Obama administration. Though surely a flawed vessel, I believe the most lasting legacy of a Trump presidency will most likely be his two to three U.S. Supreme Court justice appointments, steering us away from being ruled by a liberal judicial oligarchy that would have likely continued to undermine religious freedom and affirm and create fake and destructive constitutional rights like abortion and same-sex marriage.

The popular narrative is that bleeding-heart liberals authentically care about the outcast, the weak, and the marginalized. The hard truth unmasked here is that most elitist liberals only care about “the least of these” in America if you mindlessly submit to their oppressive radical ideology and they can purchase your vote. If not, well you are an enemy of cultural-evolutionary “progress,” unworthy of compassion, pity, or help. In fact, you deserve to be bullied, having only brought it on yourself because of your unenlightened conscience.

Elitists were distracted, so intoxicated by their own wine, making room for the truth to rise up and bite them in the butt. The liberal echo chambers that didn’t understand why Trump, in spite of his many flaws, beat Hillary are probably in denial about what they need to change to reassure average Americans and give them real hope. Savaging all Trump supporters as racist, misogynistic, homophobic bigots is precisely why Hillary lost and it isn’t going to cut it going forward. Throwing temper tantrums in the streets in Soros-funded violent protests isn’t going to change anyone’s mind in your favor. We are on to you now.  Your bullying has kept us largely passive and silent for more than a decade. We are silent no more.

This national election defeat is similar in its miraculous qualities to our recent fight in California to defeat SB 1146, a bill that would have dismantled and destroyed Christian colleges. Against all odds, including a liberal legislature and governor, roaring lambs who found their spiritual spine and prophetic voice, overcame their fears to oppose and defeat an existential threat to religious freedom—the radical sexual liberty claims of “discrimination” by the LGBT lobbyists, including Equality California. When His people stand for truth in unity, powerful things can happen.

Yet this is not a time to rest on our laurels. I submit, as I have argued for years, that it is time for Christians to come out of the shadows, find our moral voice, and engage by speaking the truth in love. Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). If we authentically care for our neighbor and our children and grandchildren, this is a no brainer. Far too many of us have allowed ourselves to become victims of the spiral of silence: intimidated by fear, pressured by elite bullies dictating the cultural narrative, and shamed into silence.

As we continue to emerge from hiding, may the Lord give us backbones of steel and hearts of compassion as we speak the truth in love to power in this present darkness. Even if you don’t like Donald Trump, believers are commanded to pray for him and to pray for peace. I believe there is hope!

It is morning in America. Will you be the light?