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A ‘wrong-thinker’ can feed his family, right?

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Do you have a right to participate in the American marketplace, a right to feed your own family?

Some people say, “No.”

On Friday, a farming family in Michigan celebrated a small victory. Federal judge Paul L. Maloney granted a preliminary injunction barring the city of East Lansing from prohibiting the Tennes family of Country Hill Farm from participating in their annual Farmer’s Market. “On the evidence before this Court, the City amended its Vendor Guidelines and then used the changes to deny Country Mill’s vendor application. There exists a substantial likelihood that Plaintiffs will be able to prevail on the merits of their claims for speech retaliation and for free exercise of religion,” stated the judge.

The case has been summarized nicely by the Arizona Daily Independent:

At issue is an unconstitutional, unlawful, and complex policy that city officials adopted specifically to shut out Tennes and Country Mills Farms, his family’s fruit orchard, purely because he posted on Facebook his belief in biblical marriage. The city did this even though Tennes, his family, and the orchard are in Charlotte, 22 miles from East Lansing, well outside the city’s boundaries and beyond its jurisdiction.

After seeing Tennes’ Facebook post from August 2016, city officials took several actions to drive him out of the market. First, they told him they did not want Country Mill Farms at the next scheduled market, and they warned him that protests could occur if his farm continued to participate. Tennes, a military veteran, decided to continue to serve his customers at the market. No one protested. That did not change city officials’ resolve that Tennes could no longer participate in the market due to his statement of his religious beliefs.

For the first time in six years, when applications opened for the 2017 farmer’s market, the city did not invite Tennes to participate in the market. City officials also changed the application process for Country Mill Farms only, removing Tennes’ vendor application from the normal committee review process and reviewing it directly instead. Since Tennes and Country Mill Farms did not violate any law while at the market or in Charlotte, the officials crafted a new vendor policy that extended the city’s Human Relations Ordinance, bypassing jurisdictional limits under Michigan law, to expel Tennes from the market.

East Lansing’s Mayor, Mark Meadows, has maintained his stance against allowing Country Mills Farm the ability to participate in America’s economy via the selling of fruit at the Farmer’s Market within city limits, stating “They can say whatever they want, but their corporation needs to act in a certain way to qualify to sell products at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market on publicly owned land.” The mayor seems to have forgotten that observant Christians are taxpaying members of the American public and, as such, have equal access to publicly-owned land. Though it appears that the only criminal and unconstitutional act committed in this case was committed not by the Tennes family, but by the city officials of East Lansing, the city is still considering an appeal to block the judge’s injunction.


There is no social justice to be gained though depraved ostracization. Instead, one only finds anger, hate, and revenge… a sinister soup for the impotent and ignoble.


In the meantime, many will claim this small victory to be a win for religious freedom; others will claim it as a win for free speech rights. As a new report details, religious freedom has come under increasing attack in recent years, and free speech is, based on recent events, quite evidently no longer widely regarded as sacred. However, what this temporary injunction truly amounts to is a win for all of us in our efforts to feed our own families: a win for all Americans’ right to participate in the marketplace.

This win doesn’t come without a cost. While the Tennes family has finally been allowed to participate in the East Lansing Farmer’s Market, the family has already missed approximately 3 ½ months of marketplace participation, with only 6 short weeks left before the season ends. There will no doubt be an economic toll on this family due to 3 ½ months of sitting on the side lines. Yet, some of the very people who extoll diversity and equality or some of the people who condemn poverty and hunger will remain opposed to the Tenneses’ ability to sell fruit- to feed and to provide for their family.

No, the Tennes family does not think “right.” For many of the very people lecturing the rest of America about tolerance, the Tenneses simply think “wrong.” They hold the “wrong” opinions, they speak the wrong words in the public forum, and they subscribe to the “wrong” faith. Therefore, this family and their business should be shunned from the economy, prohibited from making a living through participation in the marketplace, and, most of all, absolutely forbidden from pursuing the American Dream.

Constitutional rights? – Never heard of them.

Human rights? – You aren’t really human anyways.

For this very reason, the small victory in the case of the Tennes family is actually a large victory for us all. There is no nobleness to be found in depriving a family their right to earn a living. There is no honor to be found in petty vengeance. There is no justification for imposing poverty on a farming family in Michigan for “wrong think.” There is no social justice to be gained though depraved ostracization. Instead, one only finds anger, hate, and revenge… a sinister soup for the impotent and ignoble.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” ~ Leviticus 19:18

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Culture and Religion

Why abortion must be fought politically AND culturally

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Why abortion must be fought politically AND culturally

Last week, I jumped in on a heated Twitter debate between a conservative writer and a pro-life policy wonk. Though they both wanted to reduce or eliminate abortions in America, they were fighting over whether it was practical or even fair to charge women who get abortions with a felony. Obviously this debate was set within a hypothetical world in which abortions were already illegal, but it’s worthwhile to plan steps that need to be taken if Roe v Wade were overturned, or if some other laws at the state or national level made abortion-on-demand illegal.

Both sides made pretty epic arguments supporting their side, but both missed the bigger picture. Abortion is, at the very least, a two-front war. There are a few smaller fronts where the war can be waged, but the two primary battlefields are political/legal and cultural. Most pro-lifers fight the political battle. They may invoke faith-based arguments or post videos from the womb to pull at the heartstrings, but when they do so within the framework of the law, they’re still making a political argument.

The pro-abortion side is focusing on the cultural side of the debate… and they’re winning. It’s not because they have the better argument. It’s because the pro-lifers are neglecting this front, and the few that are actually addressing it are doing so with a generally poor strategy. Most are relying on judges and legislation as the way to stop abortions. Meanwhile, they’re losing ground on the cultural front.

How is the left so adept at fighting the culture war? Because they’re framing their arguments within a bigger picture. Their focus on the collective rights of people groups has made their willing sheep abandon what they once knew in their hearts, that killing preborn babies is fundamentally wrong.

The left’s message is that if you believe in equal rights, then you MUST believe in women’s rights. Not too long ago they called it “reproductive rights” but they abandoned that when they realized they could position abortion within the greater women’s rights narrative and get away with it. We’ve seen some pushback by prominent pro-life women, but it’s not enough. To win the cultural war against the womb will require utilizing a variation of the same tactics used by the left.

There are three fundamental truths that pro-lifers must understand if we’re going to win the culture war as it pertains to abortion.

  1. Statistics are counterproductive. I cringe every time I see or hear someone spouting out statistics like there are 125,000 abortions worldwide every day or that over 50,000,000 Americans have been murdered through abortion since it was made legal. It’s not that the statistics are wrong. It’s that they only have an impact on those who already oppose abortion. Those who support abortion do so knowing that many abortions happen and they don’t really care because to them, these weren’t people. Whether they think of them as fetuses or potential humans or parasites or whatever, they’re not going to be swayed by arguments that abortions are rampant.
  2. Science is on our side. Every week, there are new stories highlighting certain attributes of preborn babies that need to be communicated to the masses. They feel pain. They dream. They’re often viable at a much earlier stage of development than previously believed. There’s still a large portion of the population that believes a baby’s heart starts beating when they leave the womb. So much effort is made to use the science on the political side, we often forget that it works from a cultural perspective as well, perhaps more so. We need to educate the people so they understand that preborn babies aren’t just potential humans. They’re humans.
  3. Framing is everything. Just as the left has framed abortion as part of women’s rights, so too must pro-lifers frame the right to exist as a human right. This may seem like a political argument instead of a cultural one, and it is, but when we do so from the perspective of right versus wrong, we can allow the argument to transcend into the part of consciousness that touches on cultural ethics. But framing doesn’t just end with making it a human right to live. We have to frame abortion itself with other topics that people may find despicable. Here are three examples of talking points that frame the abortion debate in a culturally favorable way for pro-lifers that have the potential to reach those who are either pro-abortion or indifferent.
    1. Planned Parenthood was born from the tenets of racism and population control and continues those missions today.
    2. Pushing for gun control to save lives while endorsing abortion-on-demand is a contradiction.
    3. The elite promote abortion knowing it is far more rampant among the poor and minorities. This is no accident. It’s by design.

The war on the womb cannot be won through political means. It cannot be won through cultural shifts. It can only be won when both fronts are addressed simultaneously. Pro-abortionists are doing it. It’s time pro-lifers learn a lesson from the enemy.

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Culture and Religion

Doctors baffled as inoperable brain tumor in 11-year-old Roxli Doss miraculously disappears

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Doctors baffled as inoperable brain tumor in 11-year-old Roxli Doss miraculously disappears

It was the worst news Scott and Gena Doss could have received. Their 11-year-old daughter, Roxli, was suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, a very aggressive brain tumor. To be sure, her parents sought multiple opinions to see if the worst-case scenario perhaps wasn’t what they thought it was.

Everyone agreed. It was bad.

“At Dell Children’s, Texas Children’s, at Dana-Farber, at John Hopkins, and MD Anderson, all agreed it was DIPG,” said Scott.

The prognosis was grim, but then something miraculous happened.

Texas girl’s inoperable brain tumor miraculously vanishes

https://nypost.com/2018/12/18/11-year-old-girls-inoperable-brain-tumor-miraculously-vanishes/Roxli underwent weeks of radiation as her Buda community rallied by holding a benefit for her in August, when all her parents could do was pray for a miracle.

“And we got it,” an overjoyed Gena said.

“Praise God, we did,” Scott added.

“When I first saw Roxli’s MRI scan, it was actually unbelievable,” Harrod said. “The tumor is undetectable on the MRI scan, which is really unusual.”

Doctors have no idea why the tumor vanished.

My Take

Those of us who share faith in God and His plan are rarely surprised to hear stories like this one. Medical science can only go so far before a higher power must be called on to intervene. We hope and pray the Doss family’s story can inspire others.

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Culture and Religion

Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

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Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

It genuinely disgusts me that, despite how much we’ve progressed as a society, especially in regards to our treatment of minorities and women, men still earn more than women do. It makes me ashamed of my country. How can we still refer to the United States as the “Land of Opportunity” when women are only paid $0.80 for every $1.00 that men are paid despite working just as hard in the same positions? Hell, even that depressing number doesn’t accurately express how large the gender pay gap is, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In the report, titled Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap, published in November 2018, the organization revealed that women earn a mere 49% of what men do. What’s worse is that it won’t be until 2059 that men and women have 100% equal pay, assuming the gap continues to narrow as slowly as it currently is. This is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s well past time Congress made it illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work.

At least, that’s what I would say if I was a leftist moron who still pays attention to the easily debunked “women earn less than men because of sexism” argument that’s been regurgitated countless times over the years.

The reality is that Congress made it illegal for employers to pay people differently based on their sex decades ago. It was called the “Equal Pay Act” and it was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy all the way back in June 1963. Ever since then, employers have been able to pay employees differently based on their merit, their seniority, their work output, or really whatever factors the employer desires… except sex.

A man and a woman in identical positions with identical output are legally required to be paid the same amount, and employers that fail to do so run the risk of some hefty legal ramifications. But if that’s the case, then why do the numbers presented by the IWPR show that there’s such a massive gender pay gap? Is the Equal Pay Act ineffective? Did the IWPR mess up its numbers? Is there some patriarchal plot to keep women from making money?

No, no, and no. The real answer is incredibly simple, and it’s one I’m sure most of us were able to figure out on our own the first time we heard the “women earn ($0.75, $0.79, $0.80) for every $1.00 that men earn” statistic that’s been getting thrown around for years. Basically, men are paid more than women on average because they seek out more lucrative jobs on average and work longer hours on average. If you take the combined earnings of all the women in the United States in a given year, divide that number by how many women worked at any point in that year, and then do the same for men, you’ll see that the earnings-per-working-woman are quite a bit lower than the earnings-per-working-man, so clearly there is a gender pay gap. However, despite what leftists like the people at the IWPR want you to believe, this gap has nothing to do with sexism.

This was demonstrated in a report, also published in November 2018, by two PhD Candidates in Economics at Harvard University. In the report, titled Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators, the two students examined the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in order to figure out why such a heavily unionized agency in such a notoriously progressive city (Boston) still paid its female employees $0.89 for every $1.00 it paid its male employees. The answer was, once again, incredibly simple. Women were less likely than men to work overtime hours while also being more likely to take unpaid time off. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

Men tended to prefer making more money to having more free time, while women tended to prefer having more free time to making more money. While an argument could be made that more employers should account for the different preferences of men and women, something the report actually advises on how to do, there’s no basis for the argument that the gender pay gap is a result of sexism.

It should be noted that the Harvard report examined just one industry in one metropolitan area, which means the findings aren’t applicable everywhere, but the gist of them is. Yes, there is a gender pay gap. That’s an objective fact. However, it has nothing to do with sexism. The causes of the gap vary from industry to industry and place to place, but they almost always have to do with the inherent differences between men and women. I think there’s a conversation to be had about whether or not this is an issue, and if it is, whether it’s up to employers, society, or women themselves to solve it, but to even have that conversation requires us to abandon the idea that sexism is the cause. There are certainly some instances where it is the cause, but the vast majority of the time, it’s not.

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