Backers of private school vouchers won a huge victory Thursday as the North Carolina Supreme Court narrowly endorsed a program that allows public school money to be spent providing vouchers to attend private schools.
North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship program, created in 2013, allows for up to $4,200 per family to help pay for private school tuition. The scholarships are only available to low-income families, with the threshold pegged to 133 percent of the income required to qualify for free and reduced-price school lunches.
Demand for the program has been high, as only 2,400 scholarships are available and more than twice that number have applied, necessitating the use of a lottery system.
Shortly after the program’s creation, a coalition of public school teachers, parents, and school administrators sued, claiming the voucher law unconstitutionally supported religious schools and failed to spend public money on an exclusively public purpose, as required by the Constitution.
Writing for a 4-3 majority, Chief Justice Mark Martin said otherwise, overruling a lower court that had struck down the program.
“Our review is limited to a determination of whether plaintiffs have demonstrated that the program legislation plainly and clearly violates our constitution,” Martin wrote. “Plaintiffs have made no such showing in this case.”
The decision means that students will be able to receive vouchers in the upcoming school year.
National advocates for school choice have been quick to praise the ruling.
“With more than double the applications for scholarships in the first year of the program – approximately 5,500 applications for 2,400 scholarships – parents are making it abundantly clear that they want and demand more power over their children’s education,” said Kara Kerwin, president of the pro-voucher Center for Education Reform, in a statement sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is a giant step in the right direction for parent empowerment in North Carolina.”
The ruling is a big win for voucher supporters, especially as it helps make up for a ruling in Colorado in June which struck down a major voucher program in that state.
In their never ending quest to control all aspects of life with silly regulations, the liberal ninnies that run California have come up with a long list of safety rules for porno film shoots. Among other things, they want to require actors and actresses to wear safety goggles while performing sex scenes. It would seem as if the state has become every adult in the movie A Christmas Story: “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board released a 21-page proposal of porno regulations. If you find it funny that the state is pushing this volume of rules for porn shoots, it’s even more hilarious that they spent 5-years of hearings and research to come up with this stuff.
One of the big recommendations is to make condom use mandatory for all filmed sex scenes, something Los Angles passed into law recently. As unenforceable as that is, there’s even more hard-to-regulate regulations:
No one on a porn set would be allowed to pick up broken glass with their hands. They’d have to use a broom and dust pan.
Porn actors would not be allowed to share razors or any personal grooming devices.
Porn sets would have to be covered in plastic protective coverings capable of keeping the area safe from contamination.
There’s a set of rules regarding the cleaning of dildos.
Porn producers would have to provide soap to the actors that is not irritating.
Anyone handling clothing, including the actors, must wear latex gloves.
And the best of the bunch: If there is to be a facial “money shot” actors and actresses would have to wear eye protection. In fact, the facial as we know it would be outlawed by these regulations:
6. Barrier protection for the eyes, skin, mouth, and mucous membranes. The employer shall not permit ejaculation onto the employee’s eyes, non-intact skin, mouth or other mucous membranes.
In addition to this stuff, there are pages and pages of regulations requiring that porn producers provide vaccinations, laundry service, and my favorite: that they post warning signs on the set. It’s not real clear what these warning signs should be, but I imagine “Caution: Splash Zone” would do the trick.
In addition, there are 10 different regulations related to condom use, including mandatory lubricant. If a porn actor changes the point of entry, he must then remove the condom and put on a new one.
Cal/OSHA is holding public hearings on their massive porn regulation proposal and will soon make a decision on whether to implement these rules or not. This being California, it’s a given that they will vote in favor of unrealistic unenforceable regulations.
I think it will be hilarious to see a porno shot with all of these rules in place: the walls and furniture are covered in plastic drop cloths, the actor and actress are wearing latex gloves and safety goggles, every time they switch positions the actor stops to apply a new condom and lubricant, when it’s over crew members in biohazard suits rush in to quickly decontaminate the set. It should be pretty hot.
There were no complaints nor denials of service to anyone ever, but because of their religious beliefs, Memories Pizza stands in ruin and the family who owns it has had their lives threatened countless times. How did the O’Connor family, owners of Memories, find themselves in this situation? They were honest with a reporter in search of a story to fit the media’s narrative.
Alyssa Marino is a reporter with ABC 57 News in South Bend, Indiana. With her state in the center of a hurricane over religious freedom, Marino must’ve thought she’d had a coup – a devout Christian business owner willing to speak on camera about their religious beliefs and how it impacts the operations of that business.
The issue of gay marriage is not one that generally comes up when talking about a pizzeria. Neither is straight marriage, for that matter. Local pizza joints aren’t generally hotbeds of wedding receptions. Yet, Marino found herself wandering into Memories Pizza to get the unsuspecting owners to weigh in on an emotional issue which has never come up in the course of the business’s nearly 10 year existence.
When owner Crystal O’Connor told Marino, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” she had to know she’d struck gold.
Marino had her headline, “RFRA: Michiana business wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.” O’Connor’s quote was in paragraph three. The chyron on the screen for the report read, “Restaurant denies some services to same-sex couples.”
Buried in the second to last paragraph of Marino’s report:
The O’Connor family told ABC 57 news that if a gay couple or a couple belonging to another religion came in to the restaurant to eat, they would never deny them service.
So how did Marino find Memories Pizza? Brian Dorman, the ABC 57 anchor, opened the broadcast by saying, “We went into small towns tonight for reaction to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. We found one business just 20 miles away from a welcoming South Bend with a much different view.” (Emphasis added.)
For Dorman’s introduction and the fact that Memories Pizza is the only business featured in the story, it gives the impression that the ABC 57 news team had an idea of what they were looking for, and they found it.
The Daily Caller reached out to Marino to ask how many businesses she approached for “reaction” to the law and whether or not she was tipped off to the fact that the O’Connor family are devout Christians. She did not answer our inquiry.
She did, however, respond to a man named Marc Goldberg on Twitter. He asked her how Memories managed to come to her attention, and if they’d ever denied anyone service for their wedding.
Marino’s response was, “I just walked into their shop and asked how they feel. They’ve never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding.”
So a hypothetical situation that has never occurred was enough for Marino to do a remote outside the business on the ABC 57 nightly newscast and make citizens who’ve never been accused of harming anyone the top story of the night.
The story went viral, as it obviously would, and Memories Pizza is now closed and the O’Connor family is receiving death threats. Crystal O’Connor told Marino, “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.” She was right on the first part, her and her family are learning, thanks to “journalists” like Alyssa Marino and Brian Dorman, that she was woefully wrong on the second part.
Jess Dooley, who teaches at Concord High School in Elkhart, wants everyone to grab the pitchforks.
Concord High School
Athletic Director: David Preheim
59117 Minuteman Way
Elkhart, IN 46517
Phone: (574) 875-4804
Fax: (574) 875-0103
But don’t worry, it’s those crazy conservatives who are the intolerant ones.
Update: Let me guess… with pay?
Concord High School girl’s golf coach Jess Dooley has been suspended from coaching for a Tweet she allegedly posted Tuesday evening.
The Tweet under @dooley_11 said “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me? Agree with #FreedomofReligion bill? “That’s a lifestyle they CHOOSE” Ignorant”
The account has since been deleted.
On Tuesday night, the owner of Memories Pizza said they would not cater a gay wedding, but would not deny service to gay customers.
Concord Schools Superintendent Wayne Stubbs wouldn’t speak on camera, but said Dooley has been suspended from coaching until further notice pending an investigation.
And that number continues to increase.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone out there who stood in the gap for business owners persecuted for their faith. We had the idea to create this GoFundMe account about 15 minutes before the show after I spoke with Crystal O’Connor, 21, and heard how she is worried that the intensity of the hatred over their stand for faith may make it impossible to continue to keep their doors open. The O’Connors were already dealing with hardship and it would have been easy for them to deny Christ for earthly gain and say what they thought the local affiliate wanted to hear. They could have avoided controversy, taken the easy way out. They didn’t. They stood up for their faith and explained that while they serve all customers, for the particular function of a same sex ceremony they cannot as that ceremony is at odds with their faith. We just put up the page, you actually made it happen. We were blown away by the number of donations, the amounts; some gave $100, some gave $5. Every bit matters to these folks who can’t earn a living because the world has gone mad and their at the epicenter of this particular storm.
This isn’t a social issue and don’t pay any mind to those who want to obfuscate the real matter at hand with the “social issues” veneer. Those who are protesting against religious freedom are demanding that the government determine the sincerity of a religious belief, that government determine when someone can practice their faith, and for the government to determine where someone can practice their faith. That’s not the free excercise of religion.
Thank you all for standing in the gap. This is the real culture war. Never leave someone on the field when they’re standing for faith. Never let them stand alone.
As of 2pm eastern time, over $190,000 has been raised online to offset the financial losses suffered by the proprietors of Memories Pizza.
Click HERE if you would like to make a donation to these innocent victims of leftist, anti-Christian bigotry.
There are two easy ways to get a Republican to roll over and put his paws up in the air: The first is to write him a check, which is the political version of scratching his belly, and the second is to call him a bigot. In both cases, it helps if you have a great deal of money behind you.
Tim Cook, who in his role as chief executive of the world’s most valuable company personifies precisely the sort of oppression to which gay people in America are subjected, led the hunting party when Indiana’s governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while Walmart, a company that cannot present its hindquarters enthusiastically enough to the progressives who hate it and everything for which it stands, dispatched its CEO, C. Douglas McMillon, to head off a similar effort in Arkansas, where Governor Asa Hutchison rolled over immediately.
There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie. Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing – up to and including requiring algebra classes – that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it rewards and encourages those who cynically deploy accusations of bigotry for their own political ends.
An excellent illustration of this dynamic is on display in the recent pronouncements of columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage, who, in what seems to be an effort to resurrect every lame stereotype about the shrill, hysterical, theatrical gay man, declaimed that the efforts of those who do not wish to see butchers and bakers and wedding-bouquet makers forced by their government at gunpoint to violate their religious scruples is – you probably have guessed already – nothing less than the consecration of Jim Crow Junior. “Anti-black bigots, racist bigots, during Jim Crow and segregation made the exact same arguments that you’re hearing people make now,” Savage said. Given the dramatic difference in the social and political position of blacks in the time of Bull Connor and gays in the time of Ellen DeGeneres, this is strictly Hitler-was-a-vegetarian stuff, the elevation of trivial formal similarities over dramatic substantial differences. The choices for explaining this are a.) moral illiteracy; b.) intellectual dishonesty; c.) both a and b.
Adlai Stevenson famously offered this definition: “A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” We do not live in that society.
Barack Obama can run for office as an anti-gay-marriage candidate – which he did, more than once – and that is a ho-hum business, because nobody believed him to be sincere. Brendan Eich was driven out of the company he helped found for holding a substantially identical view sincerely – and that sincerity is an unforgivable sin in a society in thrall to the teapot-totalitarian temptation. When there is no private property – the great legal fiction of “public accommodation” saw to its effective abolition – then everything is subject to brute-force politics, and there can be no live-and-let-live ethic, which is why a nation facing financial ruination and the emergence of a bloodthirsty Islamic caliphate is suffering paroxysms over the question of whether we can clap confectioners into prison for declining to bake a cake for a wedding in which there is no bride.
The people who have hijacked the name “liberal” – the étatists – always win when social questions are decided by the state rather than in private life, because the expansion of the state, and the consequent diminution of private life, is their principal objective. The self-styled progressive sets himself in rhetorical opposition to Big Business, but the corporate manager often suffers from the same fatal conceit as the economic étatist – an unthinking, inhumane preference for uniformity, consistency, regimentation, and conformity. It is no surprise to see Apple and Walmart joining forces here against the private mind. There is a reason that the atmosphere and protocols of the corporate human-resources office are a great deal like those of the junior-high vice-principal’s office: All reeducation facilities have a little something in common.
The ancient rival to étatism in the Western world is the church militant, both in its formal institutional expression and in the relatively newfangled (and thoroughly American) choose-your-own-adventure approach to Christianity. For the culture warrior, bringing these nonconformists to heel is a strategic priority. Gay couples contemplating nuptials are not just happening into cake shops and florists with Christian proprietors – this is an organized campaign to bring the private mind under political discipline, to render certain moral dispositions untenable. Like Antiochus and the Jews, the game here is to “oblige them to partake of the sacrifices” and “adopt the customs” of the rulers. We are not so far removed in time as we imagine: Among the acts intended to Hellenize the Jews was a ban on circumcision, a proposal that is still very much alive in our own time, with authorities in several European countries currently pressing for that prohibition.
“I expect to die in bed,” Francis Eugene Cardinal George famously remarked. “My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Perhaps it will not come to that. But we already are on the precipice of sending men with guns to the homes and businesses of bakers to enforce compliance with dictates undreamt-of the day before yesterday.
Yes, render unto Caesar, and all that. But render only what is Caesar’s – and not one mite more.
On Tuesday, Arkansas legislators, ignoring the deafening cry from LGBT supporters against Indiana’s religious freedom law, finished approving their own version of a similar bill. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has already indicated that he would sign the bill once it was sent to him, and with the 67-21 vote approving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the Arkansas House, Hutchinson will get his chance. The Arkansas Senate already has approved the bill.
Hutchinson told KARK that the bill represents an effort to balance religious freedom and equal protection of the law, saying bluntly, “This bill tries to do that, and it’s not that complicated.”
The hue and cry over the religious freedom bill in Indiana prompted the governors of New York, Connecticut and Washington to curtail some government travel to Indiana. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy blustered, “They knew what they were doing. They were going to make it legal to refuse to serve gay men and women. Somebody has to call them on it.” Resorting to typical Democrat name calling, he said of Indiana Governor Mike Pence on MSNBC, “When you see a bigot, you have to call him on it.”
The Arkansas bill states: “The Arkansas Constitution recognizes the free exercise of religion; Laws neutral toward religion have the same potential to burden religious exercise as laws purposely intended to interfere with religious exercise; Governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification.”
The bill justified its necessity, asserting:
In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held that the protections of religious exercise afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, only applied to religious exercise burdened by federal law or agencies and provided no protection from burdens on religious exercise from state or local law or governments; to provide the same level of protection from burdens on religious exercise from state or local governments, a state must enact an equivalent to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, that was passed by Congress.