Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate courts in Wisconsin and Oregon siding with freedom over heavy-handed governors, although Oregon Supreme Court just overruled the lower court and sided with the governor. They’re also exasperated as President Trump takes hydroxychloroquine, despite testing negative for coronavirus, in the latest salvo in this bizarre battle over whether the drug helps treat COVID-19. They also hammer House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for making the fight even more juvenile. And they respond to a liberal opinion writer in the New York Times pathetically changing what they really meant by #BelieveWomen so it doesn’t apply to Joe Biden and Tara Reade.
Join Jim and Greg as they welcome more help from Congress to help small businesses stay afloat. They also shudder at a new poll showing 75 percent of seniors don’t even want non-essential workers to be allowed outside. And they discuss the significance of learning coronavirus was here and killing people earlier than we thought.
On Thursday, President Trump issued nine rules designed to protect religious organizations from discrimination by the federal government. He’s also taking steps to protect free religious expression in the public schools.
What is the current law concerning religious expression in government-funded schools? How closely are those laws currently being followed? What are Trump’s orders designed to do? And what leverage does the government have against schools that refuse to accommodate that expression?
Family Research Council Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Travis Weber joins Greg Corombos to address those questions and more.
Oh man, it’s media day in our year-end Three Martini Lunch awards and Jim and Greg are holding nothing back. Specifically, they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2019.
As America pauses for Thanksgiving Day this week, join Jim and Greg as they each list three things for which they are politically thankful. They both start out discussing encouraging signs in the judicial world. Then Jim explains which Democratic presidential candidates he’s thankful for and which figure he’s thankful for doing just about everything the wrong way. Greg discusses the political figure he thinks is setting a good example for conservatives to follow while in office and which groups he finds encouraging in a time of great cynicism and polarization.
On Wednesday, the China-backed leader of Hong Kong announced she is withdrawing the legislation that sparked massive ongoing protests, but a leading Asia expert says that will do nothing to quell other demands of the millions of people taking to the streets.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced she is officially withdrawing legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China. Had she done that in April, it may have been enough to satisfy critics, but months of intransigence and increased police crackdowns on protesters soured relations exponentially.
Demonstrators now want a full investigation into the actions of police. They want all incarcerated protesters released and they want to have universal suffrage to elect their own chief executive and lawmakers.
Asia policy expert Gordon Chang is author of “The Coming Collapse of China.” He is in Hong Kong and took to the streets with demonstrators after Lam’s announcement.
Listen to the podcast to hear how Hong Kong residents reacted to the withdrawal of the extradition legislation and how they view this battle for their freedom. Chang also explains why China may have relented on the extradition issue now and why the ongoing protests present a more difficult challenge for Beijing than many realize. He also reveals why the protesters are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a decision from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that strongly boosts the freedom of conscience in a culture that often wants to crush any departure from liberal groupthink. They also take a wait and see approach as media outlets fret about Trump allies compiling dossiers to confront journalists in the 2020 cycle. They unload on CNN’s Brian Stelter for failing to confront a “Reliable Sources” guest who claims President Trump is responsible for more deaths than Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. And Jim has some strong opinions about those Indianapolis Colts fans who booed quarterback Andrew Luck for retiring on Saturday night.
Tensions in Hong Kong remain very high as huge numbers of residents there continue pro-democracy protests aimed at keeping the communist Chinese regime at arm’s length and forces loyal to the Chinese government take stronger action to put down the protests.
A leading expert on China policy says the showdown is critically important and that President Trump must do much more to support those demanding their freedom.
The demonstrations began in June in fierce opposition to a proposed law in the Hong Kong legislature that would make extradition to mainland China much easier. With more than a million people in the streets, officials shelved the legislation. But protesters want it permanently withdrawn and more power in determining their government among other demands.
“People in Hong Kong, and not just the pro-democracy kids on the streets but also a very large segment of the Hong Kong population, just believe this is their last stand for autonomy,” said Gordon Chang, a China expert and author of “The Coming Collapse of China.”
Peaceful protests have turned more confrontational lately, both in the streets and this week at an airport sit-in. Chang admits some of the demonstrators have gotten more rowdy but he sees something out of place with the Hong Kong police as well.
“I don’t think they’re answering to the Hong Kong commissioner of police. I think that essentially we’re seeing Beijing dictate what’s going on,” said Chang.
Chang says YouTube videos show supposed Hong Kong police officers unable to speak the native Cantonese language or present their police identification. Another shows an officer oddly addressing fellow officers as “comrades” and another showing an officer alternately speaking Cantonese and Mandarin, which is highly unusual he says.
And as China appears to be taking a hard line on the protesters, President Trump appears to be going very soft on China, at least for now.
“The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation, very tough. We’ll what see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody, including China, by the way,” said Trump on Tuesday.
“He’s also said things like, ‘This is a matter between Hong Kong and China.’ That is uninspiring and completely inadequate,” said Chang.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Chang discuss how China is likely to act as the protests continue, why he believes this crisis matters a lot to the United States, and what the proper U.S. position should be right now.
In recent weeks, massive protests in Hong Kong drew the world’s attention, but while the media focused on the political issues at hand, little was made over the fierce battle over Christianity between Hong Kong and the communist Chinese regime.
The latest round of unrest was triggered by a proposed law allowing the extradition of people in Hong Kong to mainland China. Millions of people poured into the streets and into the legislature to denounce the bill and the firm belief that China is hand-picking politicians in Hong Kong to do its bidding.
The people of Hong Kong are determined to protect religious freedom (and their other freedoms). The Chinese government makes no secret that it wants to stamp out Christianity in China and in Hong Kong.
When the United Kingdom handed control of Hong Kong to China in 1997, a deal was struck to allow Hong Kong to effectively govern itself and maintain freedoms of religion, speech, and the press that it enjoyed under British rule.
That means Hong Kong residents are fully aware of how the Chinese are putting Muslims into concentration camps, persecuting Christians and churches, and reportedly harvesting the organs of Buddhist prisoners. Thus, Hong Kong is fiercely protective of the rights its people ought to have in full for another 28 years.
Colson Center for Christian Worldview President John Stonestreet says Hong Kong knows what the rest of the world needs to understand – that a vibrant Christianity is almost always accompanied by much freer societies than we see from atheist regimes and others.
Stonestreet says there are two main reasons for this, starting with the now almost universal understanding that each life has value.
“Every single person has inherent dignity from the moment of birth to the moment of natural death. That is a Christian idea that has now infected the world. Now everyone talks about human dignity as if it’s a thing, even though we disagree on what wee mean by that,” said Stonestreet.
He says that inherent dignity fuels the demand for freedom.
“We believe God created us. Not only did he give us dignity but he gave us freedom, that ultimately our conscience answers to him. My mentor, Chuck Colson, said it very well in the Manhattan Declaration. ‘We can ungrudgingly render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but we can never render unto Caesar what belongs to God,” said Stonestreet.
He says that is what compels China and other authoritarian regimes to try to stamp out the church. It simply cannot tolerate any challenge to its claim of absolute power. He says President Xi Xinping is trying to recreate himself in the mold of perhaps the worst mass murderer in world history.
“This is Mao-like stuff. The Christian gospel runs completely counter to that. When the early Christians said ‘Jesus Christ is Lord,’ there is an implicit ‘and Caesar is not.’ Well, when Hong Kong Christians say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ there is an implicit, ‘and the Chinese government – specifically Xi Xinping – is not,'” said Stonestreet.
“That very idea spawns all kinds of other freedoms, like freedom of speech and freedom of association, the freedom to order our public lives and how we set up our business around our deeply-held beliefs.
“So you can really see how the unique Christian idea of who we are as humans spawned freedom of conscience and how freedom of conscience and how freedom of conscience is really the foundation for all the other freedoms we have,” said Stonestreet.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more on the background of the Hong Kong-China tensions and China’s attempt to meddle in Hong Kong affairs. Stonestreet also explains how Chinese persecution is leading to a refugee crisis and how that crisis is putting the U.S. in a difficult position.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act. Supporters say they want to add anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity similar to the existing provisions for people based on sex, race, ethnicity, and religion. However, critics contend the legislation would ramp up inequality for Americans who do not agree with the LGBT agenda.
Emilie Kao directs the Devos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation. She says the Equality Act actually leads to more inequality.
“We don’t think anybody should be discriminated against simply because they are gay or transgender. Everyone should be treated with respect. But the problem with the Equality Act is that it doesn’t treat everyone with respect. It basically codifies ideologies about sexual orientation and sex differences into civil rights law. That will lead to the punishment of people who don’t agree with those viewpoints,” said Kao.
Kao says the bill would lead to an erosion of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and parental rights.
To begin, the Equality Act would trump the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, meaning wedding vendors such as bakers and florists who feel servicing a same-sex wedding would violate their consciences would not be able to cite their sincerely-held religious beliefs when sued under this law.
Kao says it would also strip legal protections for people who simply disagree with same-sex marriage or the transgender agenda. She says teachers have been fired for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a student identifying as a different gender and hospitals have been targeted for refusing to perform gender reassignment surgery.
According to Kao, the Equality Act would also gut parental rights. And she cited a transgender case in Ohio as a preview for what the Equality Act would do nationwide.
“A Catholic family lost custody of their daughter when the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital said that she should be taking testosterone for gender dysphoria. When the parents disagreed, the state charged the parents with child abuse and a judge terminated their custody,” said Kao.
Parents would also find themselves powerless in confronting an increasingly activist curriculum on these matters.
“In many cases, the parents are not even informed that children as young as kindergarten are being read stories in which they are told something that is a fallacy, which is that a person can transition from one sex to the other sex,” said Kao.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Kao explain how the Equality Act would lead to greater inequality and why the promoters of the legislation are determined to criminalize those who disagree with their agenda.
She says there is a lot more at stake here than most Americans realize.
“I think what people should be aware of is the endangerment of religious freedom – it’s already happening at the state level – the endangerment of parental rights, and the endangerment of women and girls’ safety and privacy, not to mention fairness in sports,” she said.