Posts

shape of United States filled in with American flag on striped background with words national news

Unplanned Movie Top-Selling DVD on Amazon

Unplanned, the unexpected hit movie that told the story of former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson and the horrors of the abortion industry released as a DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and digital download on Tuesday.

It is already the top-selling DVD on Amazon, an incredible feat for a movie that had to be filmed largely in secret due to possible abortion activist backlash, got slapped with an R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), endured censorship for being pro-life, and wasn’t heavily promoted, any one of which could have been the movie’s death knell.

In fact, the response from the official Twitter account for Unplanned about DVD sales said, “No promotion. No ads. We’ve barely mentioned our DVD release on social media.” Despite its humble beginnings, the movie grossed $19 million at the box office over 19 weeks.

Said Cary Solomon, one of the film’s co-directors, “We presold about 235,000 [DVDs] without even telling anyone it was out there. What does that say? It says that we have a nation that is hungry for stories about life, but not only that [but for] true stories that reveal the truth.”

The Unplanned DVD is also available at Walmart and other retail stores and from the official Unplanned website.

News Sources:

NOTE: FACT provides links to external websites for educational purposes only. The inclusion of any links to other websites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

Get News Stories in Your Inbox Every Week

Get more news snapshots like this one by subscribing to our weekly Five Minutes for Families email.

shape of United States filled in with American flag on striped background with words national news

Billions Shaved Off of Gillette’s Profits

Proctor & Gamble’s Gillette brand of shavers for men began featuring commercials bashing men for their “toxic masculinity” as a new marketing angle in an attempt to appeal to millennials.

Even though Gillette CEO Gary Coombe acknowledged that the campaign backfired, the company then quickly jumped on the LGBT bandwagon by showcasing a “transgender boy” (a biological girl) being taught how to shave by her dad in a Father’s Day ad.

This prompted conservative groups like One Million Moms to reach out to their conservative base to boycott the company. Many attribute the boycott for the $8 billion non-cash write-down Gillette reported in the second quarter report of its parent company, Proctor & Gamble. The company’s liberal stance on the issues of marriage, life, education, and religious liberty is reflected in its score from 2ndVote of 1.7, on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the most liberal.

Instead of admitting that its political ideology might have been largely to blame for the asset devaluation, CFO Jon Moeller is blaming a cultural trend toward facial hair as the culprit: “Lower shaving frequency has reduced the size of the developed blades and razors market.”

While Gillette may still be shrugging off the loss and claiming that boycotts really don’t work, former Walmart CEO Bill Simon says it does not take much to affect a company’s bottom line. “It doesn’t take a lot of people to stop buying product or to stop going to a retailer or a restaurant . . . for [companies] to notice, because a couple of percentage points is win or lose for a company,” he says.

News Sources:

NOTE: FACT provides links to external websites for educational purposes only. The inclusion of any links to other websites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

Get News Stories in Your Inbox Every Week

Get more news snapshots like this one by subscribing to our weekly Five Minutes for Families email.

shape of United States filled in with American flag on striped background with words national news

Funeral Home at Center of Sex and Gender Identity Lawsuit

Tom Rost’s five-generation funeral home in Detroit will be in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court when it hears oral arguments in his appeal from a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which ruled that discrimination in the workplace on the basis of “sex” as used in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included “gender identity.”

The controversy arose when Anthony Stephens, a long-time employee of R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, who now identifies as a woman, sought to dress accordingly in violation of the company’s sex-specific dress code, which he had adhered to for six years. Rost ultimately fired Stephens out of consideration of the needs of grieving families and also that of an older female employee who would have had to share a restroom with him.

Even though the policy was consistent with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standards, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against the funeral home alleging workplace discrimination.

Alliance Defending Freedom will argue Tom’s case at the U.S. Supreme Court, which is set for October 8.

News Sources:

NOTE: FACT provides links to external websites for educational purposes only. The inclusion of any links to other websites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

Get News Stories in Your Inbox Every Week

Get more news snapshots like this one by subscribing to our weekly Five Minutes for Families email.

The TN Democratic Party Exposes Religious Liberty Gibberish

Last week I said that a religious liberty that means religious neutrality is impossible. And this week the chair of Tennessee’s Democratic Party proved me right.

The proof came in the form of a letter from the party’s chair, Mary Mancini, to the chief executive officer of Cracker Barrel wanting to know her thoughts concerning a certain church in Knox County that was using one of Cracker Barrel’s local restaurants for an event of some kind that the church had entitled “Small Town Soul Winning.” Ms. Mancini made it clear a church was involved and that her concerns arose out of one of the sermons from that Knox County church that had contained statements “against the LGBTQ+ community.”

I have no objection to her posing the question or even being upset on behalf of many within her political constituency. I did not hear the pastor’s entire sermon, but such portions as I did hear and later read sure seemed to miss the Gospel mark both in content and tenor.

But theological dissection of what was said and how it was said is not my purpose today. Rather it is to further the point made last week that there is no such thing as religious neutrality.

I harp on this hoping that some folks—even on “my side” of the sexual ethic question—will think more deeply about the true scope of religious liberty in a pluralistic society vis-a-vis a religious liberty that is essentially pluralism (and polytheistic) in its worldview.

Cracker Barrel’s Response Invites a Civil Rights Complaint

Upon receipt of the letter, Cracker Barrel’s CEO said the business disagreed strongly with the pastor’s statements and the church would “not be permitted on site.” That is where the law of religious liberty parading as religious neutrality was broken.

If the pastor and church were so inclined, it would be legally appropriate for the church and pastor to file a claim against Cracker Barrel and hold it liable for its actions for the same reason claims were filed by citizens in other states against Christian baker Jack Phillips and floral designer Barronelle Stutzman because they refused to provide custom services. And, unlike these Christians, Cracker Barrel is probably not being asked to provide any unique custom services to the church, just its regular “beans and cornbread” type menu. Follow the logic.

Why Wedding Cakes and ‘Pinto Beans and Cornbread’ Are the Same Thing

Jack Phillips was civilly prosecuted for violating a state law making it “a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of . . . creed, . . . sexual orientation, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation.”

Mr. Phillips did not refuse to design a cake for the two men who wanted to purchase one “because of their sexual orientation,” but because of his religious beliefs about the nature of marriage. Those beliefs prevented him from creating something that celebrated as a marriage that which he could not, in good conscience, depict as marriage.

However, the argument against Phillips goes like this: The reason you won’t make the cake is “because of” your beliefs about “sexual orientation,” and therefore you would not have denied them wedding services “but for” your views regarding “sexual orientation.” I think that syllogism is flawed, but the courts have bought it.

Now consider the church. It is an organization with a “creed,” which, like Colorado’s law, is found among those things against which discrimination is prohibited under Tennessee’s civil rights law, Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-501. I know Cracker Barrel would say it didn’t “discriminate” because of the church and pastor’s creed, but because their speech was hateful. However, if the “but for” argument works against Mr. Phillips, it works for the church and pastor and has to be applied to Cracker Barrel.1

Has SCOTUS Weighed In Against Cracker Barrel?

Actually, that last thought reflects what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission said in dismissing the claim against Mr. Phillips: The government can’t apply one standard to one commercial vendor under its law and apply a different standard to a different commercial vendor. The U.S. Supreme Court said in Mr. Phillips’ case that “the difference in treatment between Phillips’ case and the cases of other bakers who objected to a requested cake on the basis of conscience and prevailed before the Commission” was in “indication of hostility” against religion in violation not just of a statute, but the First Amendment’s provisions regarding religion.

So, if a “but for” legal standard is to be applied to determine if there is discrimination based on sexual orientation, it also has to be applied to determine if there is discrimination on the basis of creed.

I think Cracker Barrel would have a hard time referring to a church and its pastor’s statements in a sermon and then arguing the church’s “creed” had nothing to do with denying it service.

I think it’s clear that the Tennessee Democratic Party and Cracker Barrel do not believe in religious neutrality and, I suspect, the party will put as much economic pressure on vendors like Cracker Barrel as they can in support of its constituents. The Cracker Barrels of the world do obeisance to their perceived monetary gods, because they can’t be neutral, either.

Religious Neutrality Is Not the Answer

Christians need to think a moment about what has happened: It was a sermon preached inside the four walls of a church that got this church excluded from receiving services from Cracker Barrel.

That Christians might disagree with the theology and tenor of the sermon preached is not the point. Rather, the point is that those Christians who want to retreat from the so-called “culture wars” and trust for their protection in a liberty law grounded in religious neutrality need to think again.

Christians of all people should know that trusting in the law to save them has never worked.2

NOTES

1. No doubt, defenders of Cracker Barrel would say this was not just a meal but an “event” and the restaurant didn’t want to be associated with the event. But is not a wedding and reception an event? Of course.

2. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision yesterday preventing the removal of the Peace Cross in a public space in Bladensburg, Md., does not change this point about religious liberty. That decision involved the Establishment Clause, which involves different constitutional issues.

Related Post:


David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

FACT-RSS-Blog-Icon-small Get David Fowler’s Blog as a feed.

shape of United States filled in with American flag on striped background with words national news

Converse ‘Pride’ High Tops Promoted by ‘Drag Kid’

Converse has enlisted 11-year-old “drag kid” Desmond Napoles to be one of six LGBT spokesmen for its latest rainbow-arrayed high-top sneakers for June’s “Pride Month.”

Desmond, who goes by the moniker “Desmond Is Amazing,” was featured in several news stories last December that argued he was being exploited by getting paid to dance in a gay nightclub in New York City.

Yet on its promotional website for the new shoe collection, Converse showcases a photo of all six LGBT representatives sporting sneakers, and down in front is young Desmond, posing suggestively in a shoulder-baring outfit and wearing heavy makeup.

Even some LGBT supporters were outraged with this new campaign. Said one person on Twitter, “It’s really painful trying to advocate for LGBT positivity when you see ACTUAL child sexualization lumped into it like a tumor. Whatever clueless executive signed off on this should be ashamed.”

On its website, Converse, which is owned by Nike, said, “Converse is committed to supporting movements for positive social change and amplifying youth voices as they spark progress to build the future they believe in.”

“Social change” or “progress” should not be made by exploiting children in order to celebrate and advance forms of sexual expression that deny and degrade the beauty of the sexual complementariness that exists by God having created us male and female.

Converse began its “Pride” sneaker collection in 2014. Proceeds from this merchandise go to support LGBT charities It Gets Better Project and Out MetroWest as well as a Boston-based medical organization called Fenway Health that specializes in helping those with same-sex attractions and HIV/AIDS research.

News Sources:

NOTE: FACT provides links to external websites for educational purposes only. The inclusion of any links to other websites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement.

Get News Stories in Your Inbox Every Week

Get more news snapshots like this one by subscribing to our weekly Five Minutes for Families email.