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11 minutes | Aug 23, 2017
To Print or Not to Print? This Promotional Printer Chose to Follow His Conscience
Blaine Adamson, owner of promotional printing company Hands On Originals, has turned down several requests to create shirts based on the message that he was asked to print on them. But when he declined one particular design, he faced a public smear campaign and a lawsuit that threatened to destroy his business. Blaine could have folded then. But five years later, he hasn’t. And he has no intention of doing so now. First and foremost, Blaine is standing for his faith – it’s the most important part of who he is, and it guides everything he does. And he is also standing for his freedom of conscience and the principle that no American should be forced to speak a message or promote an event that conflicts with their faith. If we don’t have the freedom to decline to express messages that violate our convictions, that should concern us all. A Kentucky court recently ruled in Blaine’s favor, upholding his right to decline to print messages that conflict with his beliefs. Now, the Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether to hear his case. This week on Freedom Matters, Blaine and ADF attorney Jim Campbell join the show to discuss the case.
16 minutes | Aug 10, 2017
This Professor Needs to be Reminded How the First Amendment Works
Members of Fresno State Students for Life were chalking positive, pro-life messages on the sidewalk leading up to the campus library when they saw other students erasing the messages. Because Fresno State Students for Life members had gotten permission from school administration to do so, this came as a shock. So, chapter president Bernadette Tasy started recording. Watch what happened: Yep, you heard right. Public health professor Gregory Thatcher told Bernadette that “college campuses are not free speech areas.” On top of that, he claimed that Fresno State Students for Life was only permitted to chalk messages in the speech zone on campus. Except that there are no speech zones on campus. The policies instead state that “freedom of expression is allowed in all outdoor spaces on campus.” Yet, he still took it upon himself to recruit his students to erase the messages, even erasing them himself. And he absurdly claimed that he was exercising his free speech rights by censoring the students’ speech. Yet even Fresno State’s policies state the obvious: “The right of self-expression does not extend to preventing self-expression by others.” Alliance Defending Freedom has filed suit against Professor Thatcher on behalf of Fresno State Students for Life. This professor is teaching his students that the proper response to someone you disagree with is to silence their speech, rather than countering it with your own. On Freedom Matters this week, we sat down with Bernadette and ADF attorney Casey Mattox to discuss the case.
23 minutes | Aug 4, 2017
Should We Be Forced to Promote Every Event the Government Demands of Us?
There are a lot of events that Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips will not use his artistic talents to promote. He won’t design Halloween cakes, or lewd cakes for bachelor parties. Cakes that disparage others are out of the question. He tends to think along the lines that if he would not design it and put it in the showcase in front of his granddaughter, then that’s a request he needs to turn down. As a Christian, Jack cannot use his artistic talents to promote all messages or events. And he shouldn’t have to. No creative professional should be forced to create custom work to celebrate an event with which they disagree. So, when a same-sex couple walked into Jack’s store and asked him to design their custom wedding cake, he had to politely decline. Because he believes what the Bible says about marriage, that it is the sacred union of one man and one woman, he did not feel he could design something that celebrates anything contrary to that. He did, however, offer to sell them anything else in his store. Despite that, they sued him. Alliance Defending Freedom has represented Jack all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we will continue to defend him before the Court in the coming term. Jack will serve everyone, but he cannot promote every message. And he should have the freedom to do that. A government that can tell you what messages to promote, regardless of your beliefs, should concern us all. This week on Freedom Matters, we sat down with Jack and ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco to discuss the case.
19 minutes | Jul 20, 2017
Who knew a Facebook post politely explaining your beliefs could get you in so much trouble?
It’s just that, a Facebook post explaining their beliefs on marriage, that got the Tennes family farm kicked out of the local Farmer’s Market in East Lansing, Michigan. All they did was honestly answer a question about their views on same-sex marriage. As Catholics, they believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman as the Bible teaches, and they explained their beliefs accordingly in response to an inquiry. And that was the end of it. Or so they thought. East Lansing city officials apparently did not like the fact that the Tennes family dared to voice their beliefs – which, last time I checked, was a right protected by the First Amendment. Yet, East Lansing tried to keep them from coming back to the Farmer’s Market, telling them that hecklers might show up to protest their viewpoint on marriage. When Country Mill kept attending (with no protests to be seen), East Lansing resorted to other measures. Leading up to the 2017 Farmer’s Market, East Lansing sent out invitations to vendors as it had in the past. But for the first time in seven years, Country Mill Farms did not receive one. So, the Tennes family filled out an application to attend so that they could sell their apples, blueberries, and peaches at the market. They noticed that the city had added a new policy requiring all vendors to comply with East Lansing’s nondiscrimination law, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, not just at the Farmer’s Market but in all of their general business practices. This policy even applies to the Tennes family farm despite the fact the farm is located in Charlotte, Michigan, 22 miles outside of East Lansing. The Tennes family submitted their application since they happily serve anyone and everyone who wants to buy their fresh and organic produce at the Farmer’s Market. But East Lansing denied their application, claiming that they violated the policy by their speech on Facebook. This is a major violation of free speech and religious freedom, so Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit on the Tennes family’s behalf. This week on Freedom Matters, we sat down with Steve and Bridget Tennes and their attorney Kate Anderson, legal counsel for ADF, to discuss the case.
20 minutes | Jul 6, 2017
When a playground isn’t just a playground
Just over a week has passed since the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in the playground case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. The case centered on a small-town church with a playground used by local families. When the State of Missouri offered a grant program to make playgrounds safer, Trinity Lutheran seemed a perfect fit. The officials reviewing applications gave the proposal high marks. But that didn’t matter—it was a church that had applied. A rejection letter soon followed. Five years later, and not without some last minute drama, the court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church. For some, the 7-2 decision represents a sea change in how states treat and award funds to religious organizations. Others say a footnote in the opinion limits the impact to discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing. Erik Stanley, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and Director of the Center for Christian Ministries, filed the case on behalf of Trinity Lutheran Church in 2012 and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. He joins Freedom Matters this week. We’ll talk about the church, the case, and get his thoughts on the opinion.
10 minutes | Jun 29, 2017
Supreme Court to weigh in on Conscience
Last July, a Colorado cake artist who declined to use his artistic talents to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony asked the US Supreme Court to take his case and rule that the government cannot force him to communicate a message with which he fundamentally disagrees. This week, almost a year later, the Court has agreed to hear his case. Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, and Kristen Waggoner, Senior Vice President of US Legal Advocacy, join Freedom Matters to discuss what this means to Jack and other creative professionals around the country who simply want to live and work consistent with their deeply held beliefs. In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Jack politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted, but he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which eventually ruled against Phillips. The same-sex couple was easily able to obtain their desired rainbow-themed cake for free from another nearby cake artist. In contrast to the ruling against Phillips, the commission found in 2015 that three other Denver cake artists were not guilty of creed discrimination when they declined a Christian customer’s request for a cake that reflected his religious opposition to same-sex marriage.
11 minutes | Jun 7, 2017
An Initiative for common sense in Washington
The day after Christmas in 2015, five members of the Washington State Human Rights Commission passed a new rule opening sex-specific locker rooms, showers and changing areas to members of the opposite sex. Right now, a biological man may enter any girl’s public locker room in the entire state and declare his right to be there. Even worse, if a girl or her parents complain, they are told to leave the locker room and may be subject to penalties. Kaeley Triller Haver is Communications Director for Just Want Privacy, a grassroots group hoping to put an initiative on the ballot to require schools to maintain separate facilities for boys and girls and allow businesses to manage private areas in the way they feel is best for them. Kaeley joins the show to talk about the initiative and her work to protect the privacy of families in Washington.
30 minutes | May 31, 2017
Pass out the Constitution, Get Arrested
Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and Director of the Center for Academic Freedom, joins the show to explain how members of a Young Americans for Liberty club were arrested for passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on a college campus. The arrests were captured on video that also show campus officials telling the YAL supporters that “engaging [students] in conversation on their way to educational places” is a violation of the Solicitation Policy because it is an “obstruction to their education” to ask them questions like, “Do you like freedom and liberty?,” adding that he was concerned that the students from “rural farm areas…might not feel like they have the choice to ignore the question.” Also, for the first time, a President submitted a budget to Congress that directs federal funding away from Planned Parenthood to local health care clinics that outnumber the abortion giant 20-1. This is just the latest example of the Trump Administration’s willingness to act in support of the sanctity of life. Just two weeks ago, the President expanded the Mexico City Policy to stop any U.S. government funding from going to international organizations that commit or advocate for abortion. Casey testified before Congress in support of redirecting funds from Planned Parenthood to thousands of health care clinics across America that actually provide health services for women.
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