When the Supreme Court ruled narrowly in Colorado baker Jack Phillips’ favor, many predicted the High Court’s deliberate vagueness would invite continued harassment and discrimination for convictional Christians.  

In our first story today, you’ll see that’s precisely what’s happening  

It was George Orwell who wryly observed: 

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” 

A federal judge in New York is telling convictional Christians what they don’t want to hear. But it’s not liberty – it’s tyranny: 

1.   Christian Wedding Photographer Can’t Limit Her Business to Opposite-Sex Couples, New York Federal Court Rules 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Social engineering by courts in the name of “equality” has once again reared its ugly head, this time in New York. Emilee Carpenter is a wedding photographer and a Christian who wants to use her creative skills to promote biblical marriages between one man and one woman. A New York law stands in her way, threatening a revocation of her business license, fines of up to $100,000 and up to one year in jail if she does not photograph weddings of same-sex couples in violation of her faith. 

A federal court judge has denied Carpenter’s First Amendment challenge to the law, invoking flowery language from the Declaration of Independence and famous civil rights cases to justify the denial of her freedoms of speech and religion. 

“Throughout our history, Americans have struggled and suffered in order to extend that principle of equality to the excluded, armed with the belief that our society should fully reflect our most cherished values,” U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci, Jr wrote in his 46-page opinion. “The Supreme Court’s landmark decisions memorialize the necessary, but oftentimes painful, process of reconciling our values and our practices.” 

But what about the Constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom and freedom of speech? And being free from government-coerced speech? Don’t those guarantees trump the feelings of folks who can easily find another photographer among the thousands available? 

Carpenter simply wants to inform people on her website of her beliefs about marriage so that they’ll understand why she cannot use her skills to promote types of unions that go contrary to her faith. She’ll gladly offer her photography services to LGBT customers so long as they are not for a wedding. 

2.   NEA President Wants to Transform Education Into ‘Something It Was Never Designed to Be’ 

From The Daily Citizen: 

Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association (NEA), recently told The New York Times that she is motivated to “reclaim public education as a common good, and transform it into something it was never designed to be: racially and socially just, and equitable.” 

But is that the purpose of education, to be racially and socially just and equitable? And is that what parents want? 

Or, is that agenda the reason so many parents have vociferously denounced an extreme education agenda that sexualizes and radicalizes children to become woke little social justice warriors? 

Pringle’s “agenda has plunged an organization that has historically tiptoed around racially fraught policy debates … headfirst into the racial reckoning unfolding in the nation’s public schools,” the Times said. 

  1. Biden’s social spending plan unlikely to pass this year — here’s what it means 

From CNBC: 

President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate policy bill has stalled in the Senate, all but extinguishing Democrats’ hopes of passing it this year. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat who alone can block his party’s plan, has not signed off on the $1.75 trillion proposal as his party waits to see whether it complies with Senate rules. It means any vote on the bill will likely slip into 2022, when the coming midterm elections will only heighten the sharp political pressure surrounding the plan. 

Failure to pass the plan in 2021 will have immediate impacts. The enhanced child tax credit of up to $300 a month per child will expire at the end of the year unless Congress extends it. The last payments to families went out Wednesday, and the Build Back Better Act would renew them for a year. 

Manchin on Wednesday denied a report that his opposition to extending the bigger child tax credit is holding up the bill. He said he has “always been for child tax credits,” before growing irritated with reporters asking him about the legislation, according to NBC News. 

  1. Thanks To Inflation, The Typical American Family Took A $3,500 Hit This Year 

From the Daily Wire: 

A new analysis shows that American families are experiencing a diminished standard of living due to high inflation. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week that consumer price inflation in the United States has reached a 6.8% clip — the largest year-over-year rate since June 1982, as well as the sixth straight month in which inflation remained above 5%. 

On Wednesday, the Penn Wharton Budget Model — a nonpartisan public policy research initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School — found that inflation trends require the typical American household to spend around $3,500 more in 2021 to achieve the same level of consumption as in previous years. 

  1. Many parents of school shooters ignore glaring warning signs. This grandmother didn’t. 

From the Washington Post: 

She had seen her grandson’s red, spiral-bound notebook before that night, but now, as Catherine O’Connor sifted through its pages for the first time, what she read astonished her. 

“School Shootings,” Joshua O’Connor had titled the first page, above a reconstruction of the Columbine High School massacre that left 13 people dead. In the pages that followed, Joshua, who’d just turned 18, described a detailed plan to carry out his own massacre: the shotguns, pistols, assault rifle and ammunition he would buy and the bombs he would build; the doors he would zip-tie “so bitches can’t escape”; the spot by the bleachers where he would set off the first explosion; the route he would take on his killing spree; the moment, when it was over, that he would end his own life. 

“I Need to make this shooting/ bombing… infamous,” he wrote in early 2018. “I Need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can.” 

Catherine O’Connor, a retired probation officer who was Joshua’s guardian, showed the journal to her husband, who was equally disturbed. The next day, after O’Connor dropped her grandson off at school, she searched his room and found a semiautomatic rifle in a guitar case. Then she did what many parents of school shooters never do: called the police to report that a child she loved posed a threat to his classmates, his community and himself. 

  1. Facebook Admits in Court Their “Fact-Checking” Is Just Opinion 

From The Daily Citizen: 

When a media organization tells you a story has been carefully “fact-checked,” readers on the Left and Right usually take that assurance with a large shaker of salt and a suspicious chuckle. But these so-called “fact-checks” determine what you can and cannot read from these outlets. They pretend to be smarter than you. 

But Facebook has now admitted that their own “fact-checking” certainly does not live up to the claim but are rather just opinions. The social media behemoth was forced to concede this in legal documents for a court case from noted libertarian journalist John Stossel who questioned the reliability of their fact checking. While Facebook admitted it outsources its “fact-checking” to third parties, it refuses to stand behind the very claims they rely on that keeps you from reading things they disagree with. Facebook’s own lawyers make the bold claim the “fact-checks” are nothing more than “protected opinion” of left-wing organizations and are therefore valid because “opinion is protected under the First Amendment. 

Stossel has long been a critic of how Facebook and other social media giants regularly (and falsely) take it upon themselves to determine for the rest of us what is true and false.  

7.   Don’t Let Your Children Hear You Complaining about Your Spouse 

From National Review: 

Kids want to love both their parents, and they instinctively hate and fear being put in a position where they will be forced to choose. 

Everybody who’s married reaches some point of utter exasperation and disappointment with their spouses. 

But … don’t let your kids hear you letting out all of that negativity. Let your kids see their mom or their dad as their mom or their dad, and build and maintain that relationship on their own terms. 

8.   Stop Using COVID As an Excuse to Not Go to Church 

From The Daily Citizen: 

It might very well be reasonable for vulnerable people to avoid gathering in large groups in times of a highly contagious virus. But what about all those who readily go to restaurants but are still reluctant to go to church? 

Scripture makes clear we’re to “not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).  

Christians must prayerfully consider the issue for themselves – but this much is certain: If you’re going to school, sporting events and restaurants but not church – and claiming you’re doing so to protect yourself against the virus—you might want to prayerfully reconsider your priorities.  

The local church is one of God’s many gifts to us, and a significant and powerful one at that. As believers, we must support, revere and champion it – and do so by gathering together to worship whenever possible. That’s because we need communal worship like we need air to breathe and water to drink. 

  1. An Obituary Is the Story of a Life, Not a Death 

From the Wall Street Journal: 

The prospect of writing about death seemed daunting, especially as a pandemic spread across the globe. Amid so many headlines about loss, I didn’t relish the thought of sitting at a keyboard and focusing on the departed. 

But I quickly learned what every obituary writer eventually does: A good obituary isn’t a story about death; it’s a celebration of life. 

I’m thinking about John Neitzke (1953-2021), a longtime professor of computer science at Missouri’s Truman State University who enjoyed designing and baking novelty cakes for colleagues and family members. He made a green tractor cake for a friend, wryly bending one of his principles to make someone else happy. “Real tractors,” Neitzke said, “are red.” 

I also learned about Randy Alford (1953-2020), a faculty member at the Florida Institute of Technology who shined as the designated announcer of graduates at the university’s commencement ceremonies. He took great care in pronouncing the names of students from dozens of countries perfectly, insistent that their hard-earned moment in the spotlight would be flawless. 

I still tear up when I think about Deatra Sullivan-Morgan (1962-2019), who died more than 25 years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A professor at Elmhurst University in Illinois whose career had taken her to several campuses, she was known for buying groceries and train tickets for struggling students and even purchasing shoes for them so they would be properly dressed for job interviews. 

It’s a privilege to bear witness to lives like that, and I’ve been thinking of them all as one-year closes and another begins. I’ll resolve to live a life worthy of its own bright story when the time comes for me. 

10. The history of a Christmas classic, ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ 

From America: 

All over the world this Advent and Christmas season, worshippers will hear and sing along to some version of “Adeste Fideles.” It is traditionally the final anthem during Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, just as “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” its English-language counterpart, is omnipresent at more modest Christmas celebrations. But where did it come from, and why is it so popular? 

A call to worship, the Latin hymn’s words Venite, adoremus (“O come, let us adore him”) are familiar from liturgies for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. And part of the song reproduces the Nicene Creed, a Christian statement of belief widely used in liturgy. 

Although its exact sources and origins remain unproven, musicologists agree that the hymn was first associated with the 18th-century Catholic layman and music copyist John Francis Wade. He lived in an English Catholic community that was exiled to France after the failed Jacobite rising of 1745. That rebellion tried to restore a Catholic monarch, Charles Edward Stuart, known informally as “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” to the throne of England. The UK musicologist Bennett Zon claimed that the hymn can be interpreted as a call to arms for faithful Jacobites to return with triumphant joy to England (Bethlehem) and venerate the king of angels, that is, the English king (Bonnie Prince Charlie). 

The hymn was also attributed to anonymous Cistercian monks, the order that branched off from the Benedictines and shunned musical embellishment. Perhaps the plainness of “Adeste Fideles” made some early listeners recall simple Cistercian chants. The text itself was assigned by some, improbably enough, to St. Bonaventure, the 13th-century Franciscan theologian.