I guess you could say that Nike just did it.
Ten days ago, I wrote about the growing prominence of the LGBT rainbow flag. In particular, I noted how big businesses are pushing it, sometimes even to the neglect of the American flag.
Then last week, Nike lived up to its motto. Though I wish they hadn’t, they proved my point.
As you may have heard, Nike pulled its Betsy Ross American flag shoes because they were just too controversial.
But lost in the kerfuffle was the fact that, a month earlier, Nike introduced rainbow flag shoes celebrating the LGBT movement. And those shoes are still on the market – not too controversial at all, in Nike’s eyes.
While Nike’s conduct was especially blatant, one big business after another is wrapping itself in the rainbow flag of the LGBT movement – even incorporating the Pride flag into their logos.
And it’s not just private businesses. Some government bodies have been hoisting the rainbow flag, flying it alongside Old Glory, claiming to support “equality for all.”
But, as I noted previously, “we already have a flag for that – the one that hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have died to defend. The pledge to that flag underscores the ‘liberty and justice for all’ afforded to every American.”
Whether it’s Nike marketers or progressive politicians – who think they are being hip and inclusive by wrapping their company (or their state or municipal government) in the gay pride flag – they need to know the message that they are sending is indeed very controversial to a big segment of America.
In my previous article, I summed up what millions of other taxpayers and potential customers see when we see the rainbow flag:
- The rainbow flag represents attacks on the religious freedom of people all over the United States.
- It represents a movement that seeks to force its viewpoint on all Americans, regardless of their deeply held religious convictions. It would – and has – forced Americans to pay heavy fines and to give up their businesses simply for declining to celebrate messages that violate their conscience.
- It represents an attack on the privacy and safety of women and children. Laws to implement the LGBT agenda are being used, as intended, to allow biological men into showers, locker rooms and bathrooms.
- It represents an attack on the rights of women – especially girls who are increasingly being crowded out of athletic competitions by biological boys who claim to be female.
- It represents a social experiment that attempts to push its way into our Armed Forces – at the expense of military readiness.
- It represents a movement that is relentlessly targeting our kids – from Drag Queen Story Hour to the nationwide projects to “queer the classroom.
This rainbow banner that supposedly stands for “equality for all” is, in reality, an emblem of “special rights for some,” at the expense of anyone who disagrees.
It’s time that corporations get this message, and what better place to start than with Nike?
We’ve made it easy to send your message to Nike. It only takes 30 seconds, and you’re free to customize your message if you wish.
One flag truly represents freedom for every American. Thanks for making clear to Nike which flag that is!
How would you react if an employee at your favorite restaurant cursed at you because of your beliefs and forced you to leave?
This just happened to a team member who works for our Nebraska state allied group, Nebraska Family Alliance. Marilyn handled the situation in her favorite coffee and crepe shop with all grace, a true example of what it means to be salt and light in today’s culture.
But the story is much bigger than Marilyn’s experience at a local coffee shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. The real story is about what we believe America should be and the legacy we hope to leave to our children.
As Marilyn said so well in her letter, Americans “will inevitably disagree on political and policy issues.” Even deeper, Americans who carry the flag for the LGBT movement will inevitably hold different worldviews from Americans who are Bible-believing, Christ-followers—and those competing worldviews will lead to disagreements in law and culture.
Yet the America we envision is one where all are free to hold their own beliefs, without the government forcing anyone’s beliefs on someone else. We envision an America where every person is shown respect, yet free to voice their opinions.
In other words, we believe that the barista’s behavior toward Marilyn was wrong, but we also wouldn’t support a Christian barista yelling at an LGBT patron and forcing her to leave a coffeeshop. We believe that a Christian bakery owner shouldn’t be forced to create a custom-made cake for a same-sex wedding, but we also believe that an LGBT bakery owner shouldn’t be forced to create a custom-made cake for our Christian ministry’s anniversary.
We invite you to read Marilyn’s story from Lincoln, Nebraska below, and we hope you’ll agree with her that the bigger story about the kind of Nebraska—and America—she envisions is indeed possible.
Read Marilyn’s story: I Was Cursed Out of a Coffee Shop for My Views. We Can All Do Better.
~The Family Policy Alliance Team
The United States House voted on Friday, 236-to-173, to advance the “Equality Act” which, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, places “gay rights” in direct conflict with religious liberty. In fact, it actually elevates gay rights above religious rights. But then again, perhaps this was the goal all along.
In a widespread 2014 interview, then-Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Chai Feldblum was asked if she could conceive of a legal matter in which religious liberty rights would trump gay rights. She answered: “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
Feldblum is openly lesbian. To her credit, she made no attempt to hide her agenda. And while progressives try to sugarcoat their poison pill in sweet expressions of “Equality,” Christians should take notice that it is anything but equality for those who express a Christian faith. The provisions of this legislation open the door to:
- Parents losing their right to direct medical care when their minor child seeks experimental “gender transition” drugs and genital reconstruction surgery
- Parents being kept uninformed when their child seeks counseling for struggles with gender identity or unwanted same-sex attraction
- Biological males competing in girls’ athletics and for girls’ scholarships
- Christian business owners being required to choose between their faith and their business
- Christian adoption agencies being forced to choose between their faith or continuing to serve children and birthmothers in need
While the Senate is unlikely to give a hearing to the so-called Equality Act, that’s not the end of the story. First, the House, under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, is likely to tack it onto other legislation, potentially forcing big votes in the Senate.
And even with the threat of a Presidential veto, this is an all-too-familiar strategy of the Left—promote corrosive legislation in one session and get as many legislators as they can on record supporting it. Then actively press the issue forevermore in the court of public opinion to wear down people’s natural concerns and values. And finally, ensure the radical legislation passes in the most progressive states to lay the groundwork for passage in other states and eventually Congress.
To their shame, Nancy Pelosi’s House voted to subvert religious liberty to gay rights even though the former is fundamentally protected in our First Amendment. Strikingly, at the same time and for the 44th time, Pelosi prevented the House from voting on legislation to protect a child who survives an abortion. Instead, Pelosi’s policy allows that child to perish by withholding medical assistance. Where’s the equality for children born alive?
If that doesn’t awaken the church, what will?
Family Policy Alliance exists to be the voice for people of faith—in the church, the Christian business community and in legislatures across the nation and in D.C. We amplify your voice to stand firm and take action. But we can only stand for you when you stand with us!
Won’t you give today to have your voice—and those of your children—amplified today and heard tomorrow?
Standing for the Family,
President and CEO
Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom
By Autumn Leva, Director of Policy & Communications
Jack is a small business owner from Colorado. He’s a cake artist who has loved art all his life. And, he’s a Christian who wants to live out his faith in the way he runs his business—and every aspect of his life. You could be Jack. I could be Jack.
Today, Jack is at the Supreme Court defending his freedom and faith, and the decision in his case will likely be the most anticipated Court ruling in the summer of 2018—similar to the ruling on Obamacare in 2012, the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case in 2014, and the decision on same-sex marriage in the Obergefell case in 2015.
Jack has been defending these rights ever since he told a same-sex couple he couldn’t design their wedding cake. The couple filed a complaint against him with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, forcing Jack to defend his faith, freedom, art and family business in a long legal battle.
But, what most people don’t know about this case is why Jack is in Court in the first place.
Here are the top 3 reasons:
- Colorado’s Legislators Passed a Bad Law.
The law putting at risk Jack’s religious and artistic freedom was passed by Colorado legislators in 2008. Simply put, the law adds the classifications of “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” to the state’s civil rights code, giving those classifications the same level of protection as race, disability, and national origin. This is often called a “SOGI” law.
When Colorado legislators were debating this law, they received lots of warnings from groups like Focus on the Family and Family Policy Alliance (under its former name, Focus on the Family Action) that the law would harm freedom for all Coloradans. But, the majority of Colorado legislators and then-Governor Ritter decided to sacrifice religious and artistic freedom for the sake of a progressive agenda—harming family businesses like Jack’s.
- Colorado’s Liberal Civil Rights Commission Failed to Protect Religious & Artistic Freedom.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that Jack’s decision to follow his conscience by not designing a same-sex wedding cake was unlawful, even though a person’s “religion” is a protected classification in Colorado, freedom of religion and expression are protected in the Colorado Constitution, and freedom of religion and expression are protected in the United States Constitution.
The liberal Commission ordered Jack to design all wedding cakes (or stop designing them altogether, losing 40% of his business), to educate his staff that living by his beliefs was wrong, and to report to the state government every time he declined a business order for a cake.
Does this seem outrageous to you? The Colorado Civil Rights Commissions, like similar bodies in most states, is made up of members who aren’t even elected by you –the voters—yet they have the power to pick and choose which civil rights to protect (or fail to protect), to require business owners to “educate” their employees on how living out their faith is wrong, and to dictate even which cake orders to fill.
- Colorado’s Legislators Didn’t Protect Jack.
Colorado legislators could’ve passed a law to protect Jack—and other business owners and artists in the state like him. They’ve had an opportunity every year since the SOGI law passed in 2008 to clarify that religious and artistic freedom are protected in Colorado.
In fact, that’s what they should be doing, rather than standing by while family businesses are harmed in the state. The legislative body is charged with making laws—not the judiciary. Using their law-making power (and taxpayer resources) to protect freedom should be lawmakers’ top priority.
Instead, Jack was forced to turn to the courts to protect his freedom through a long legal process where nine Justices, primarily Justice Kennedy, will decide how he can run his business in his state.
And here’s why Jack’s story matters to every family:
Maybe you’re thinking: Yes, I could be Jack, but my state would never do what Colorado did.
Check out our map below.
- States in blue are states with laws already in effect similar to the law that harmed Jack.
- States in red are states where liberal activists would love to pass a SOGI law and claim a victory in 2018. In fact, in many of those states, a SOGI bill like the one that harmed Jack was introduced at the Capitol this year!
In other words, if you live in a state marked in blue or red, you or your loved ones could face a situation similar to Jack’s because of your faith.
And what about Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission with unelected members who aren’t accountable to the public? Yes, most states have a similar administrative body, and they almost always lean liberal—meaning they’ll tend to favor a liberal agenda over protecting religious and artistic freedoms.
With liberal activists fighting hard to influence state lawmakers and administrative bodies like Civil Rights Commissions, families in most states may see their lawmakers passing bad laws or failing to protect freedom and families.
So what can we do about it together?
My team and I at Family Policy Alliance don’t believe you, me, Jack, or anyone else should have to go to court to protect their freedoms. The first stop for protecting freedom should always be with the people we elect to represent us and pass good laws—whether at the local school board level, in the state government, or at the U.S. Capitol in D.C.
So, we invite you to partner with us as we work with our state allies in 2018 to (1) advocate for legislators to pass good laws that protect freedom for people like you, me and Jack when most state legislatures get back to business in January; and (2) elect the right people who will pass good laws that protect freedom in November.
You can help in two ways right now.
- Know your state & work together!
We work hard to know what’s going on in each state that will impact freedom and your family. We’re making more maps like the one above to help you know where your state is at on each issue, and we work with our local ally in your state. But, we can’t send you special alerts about your state and if your legislators are trying to pass a SOGI law like the one that harmed Jack without knowing your district. Please take a moment to enter your zip code. And, passing laws that protect freedom and holding legislators accountable for the laws they pass needs the help of the whole Body of Christ. Please encourage your friends in your state (or in other states) to know their own state & enter their zip codes as well.
- Prepare for 2018!
As we prepare for 2018, please support Family Policy Alliance with a year-end gift! Your partnership will equip families to understand each state’s laws and hold each state’s lawmakers accountable for protecting freedom. Thank you in advance!
Today, President Trump announced that his administration kept his promise to protect religious freedom by providing relief to employers who have a faith-based objection to providing contraceptives, including drugs that can sometimes cause an early abortion!
The Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby brought the Obamacare violation of religious freedom to the national spotlight when they fought the mandate at the Supreme Court.
But some may not be aware that the Hobby Lobby case was paired with another case involving Conestoga Wood Specialties, which played heavily into Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion upholding religious freedom. The Conestoga case was initiated and taken to the U.S. Supreme Court by one of our state allies, Pennsylvania Family Institute.
“We went to court in 2012 to fight this unjust mandate on behalf of the Hahns, a Mennonite family and owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties,” said Michael Geer, President of the Pennsylvania Family Institute and a board member of Family Policy Alliance. “Thankfully, in 2014, the Supreme Court victory granted relief for the Hahns and the Green family (owners of Hobby Lobby) in a landmark ruling. We’re glad now to see that other religious employers and ministries will be protected as well, thanks to the President’s actions.”
“President Trump deserves to be thanked for upholding his promise on religious freedom,” said Paul Weber, President of Family Policy Alliance. “And we’re grateful to Michael Geer and his team for helping pave the way to this victory through their outstanding work that led to the Supreme Court win.”
Family Policy Alliance, a national movement of 40, state-based family policy groups, took your voice to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price this week.
Secretary Price & HHS are in the process of reviewing all the regulations that were passed by the Obama Administration to go along with Obamacare, and they reached out to family-centered ministries in the states to see how Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations were affecting them. We are grateful that Secretary Price is seeking input from state groups who represent families like yours as they consider how Obamacare is creating burdens.
Our Alliance responded to Secretary Price by sending him a letter simply asking him to rescind two of the most burdensome Obamacare regulations that are harmful to families, the sanctity of life, and religious freedom.
Just what exactly are the regulations that we asked Secretary Price to rescind? The “transgender mandate” and the “contraceptive mandate”—both of which threaten to punish health care professionals and religious groups who are pro-life or who uphold God’s design for male and female.
The “transgender mandate” redefined the term “sex” to include “gender identity.” The effect was twofold. First, the mandate makes it impossible for healthcare professionals to refuse to participate in medical services that “transition” a man into a woman, or a woman into a man, even if the refusal was based on deeply held religious beliefs—or on their professional opinion that the procedure would actually harm their patient. This is especially concerning for children because studies consistently confirm that the vast majority of children who identify as transgender do not persist with those identities into adulthood. The “transgender mandate” would require doctors to take drastic measures to alter children’s bodies, even if they believe it would be harmful or if the child would not want to identify as the opposite sex later in life.
Second, faith-based employers must now violate their beliefs by offering health insurance plans that cover gender transition services for adults—and even minors—or face punishment.
The “contraceptive mandate” is equally as burdensome to religious freedom. This regulation forces religious employers who believe in the sanctity of human life to offer health insurance plans that cover sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs. You may have heard of this mandate because organizations like Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor were forced to turn to the Supreme Court to protect their religious freedom from this harmful mandate.
But because of partners like you, Family Policy Alliance and your state-based family policy ally were able to send strong and clear message to HHS asking it to lift the unfair regulatory burden off the backs of religious professionals and organizations across our country.
Thank you for supporting us in this endeavor, and for continuing to help us build a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. And if you aren’t connected with one of our 40 state-based family policy groups across the country, please take a moment to find a group in your state and begin partnering with us today!