Losing our freedom of conscience in America at a blinding speed

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen that America is being torn apart. Fundamental principles and common sense are being destroyed. Up is down, down is up, and two plus two suddenly equals five. People are losing their jobs because they stand up for religious principles. Politicians espouse whatever stance on is popular at the moment. Gun rights and freedom of speech are attacked at every opportunity. When will it stop?

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it may contain errors:

GLENN: So you remember the song from Lee Greenwood. I mean, it's Fourth of July week so we'll hear it this weekend in every city across America, God Bless the USA. The chorus goes, and I'll gladly stand up next to you. And I'll -- and defend her still today. You know that part?

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: I've always thought that that part referred to standing side by side on a battlefield. I'll always stand up next to you and defend her still today. But I don't think that's the case now.

I'm sure that's not what he intended when he wrote it. You know, to see our situation. Maybe he did. But I see us standing up defending her here at home without any weapons. I see us standing for the right of conscience.

If anybody has been paying attention, and you haven't been playing politics, just paying attention, America is being torn apart. We're just being ripped apart at the seams. All of our most fundamental principles are being bludgeoned to death. And I say that with full confidence. Hillary Clinton said that traditional marriage was a fundamental, bedrock principle.

Now she doesn't. That was like eight years ago she said that. A fundamental, bedrock principle. Well, I agree with her. And now it's gone. But I think our speech is going away quickly as well. You can say anything you want if you don't mind being hungry for the rest of your life. You can't support your family. If you love unemployment, speak your mind all you want, baby. The CEO of Firefox, fired. Because six years prior he had donated money to a cause in which he believed. Donald Trump this week, fired because he said something I don't agree with, but I don't want him fired for it.

People working at ESPN, right chink in the armor, fired. Freedom of speech? Nope. Nope. Fundamental, bedrock principle, gone. Freedom of religion, religious institutions in some cases have been forced against their doctrine to provide birth control, contraception, and even abortion. Have you heard the latest on Steve Green's place? Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby may have to close.

Because the government is going after them again. And they just came out and said, we may not be able to stay open this time. Hobby Lobby!

So don't tell me we have freedom of religion. People are being forced to provide services for ceremonies in which they conscientiously object. It's called a conscientious objector. We've always had that, that carve-out in the Constitution. If your God tells you I can't do that, you don't do it, and no one can force you to do it.

But now, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, two ministers who operate church threatened with arrest for not performing a gay wedding ceremony. Arrest, jail time!

The Supreme Court ruling that came out last week, is that going to help or hurt? Listen to what our first openly gay senator Tammy Baldwin said about religious liberty this week.

TAMMY: Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith, that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe religious deeply held religious beliefs. But I don't think it extends far beyond that.

GLENN: Okay. It doesn't extend very far beyond that.

Say whatever you like in your church -- this is James Madison -- say -- yap all you want. Got this. Got that, whatever. But as soon as you step out on the sidewalk, your ass is mine.

I don't think so.

By the way, so you know how that works, Tammy, if I may call you that, Tammy, a guy who has been in the service forever, forever -- I'm sorry. No. A guy who is -- I was thinking of another religious case.

This guy is a fire chief in Atlanta. A fire chief.

He said something inside the walls of his church. He was fired from his job because he said at his church from the pulpit, I don't believe in gay marriage. He was fired. So tell me how that one works, Tammy.

By the way, the First Amendment doesn't say anything about institutions of faith. What it does say is Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. I'm exercising my faith right now by telling you what I believe.

The right to keep and bear arms every single time some psycho senselessly takes an innocent life, they roll out the tired, old argument that guns have no place in our society, despite what the Constitution says. The right to be secure in your home, papers, documents, unmolested by authorities, unless there is a probable cause to search or seize your property. Three letters for you: NSA. Here's three more: IRS.

Those are all gone, gang. Or they're on the ropes. Power is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, reserved for the states.

Yeah. Right.

(laughter)

No, that doesn't happen. There's no marriage. There's no straight marriage in the Constitution.

That is a power reserved for the states. Not the Constitution. It says it in the Constitution. So the Tenth Amendment is gone. The only thing we have to not really worry about is probably the quartering of soldiers in our homes. Knock on wood. Well, don't knock on wood because that might be a little confusing to some because there might actually be a knock on your wooden door and I don't know it might be the Third Mechanized Infantry Division that is just wanting to stay.

PAT: Looking for a place.

GLENN: Can we crash here? Our public schools and universities are turning out kids and they're turning them into entitlement addicts. It doesn't begin at school. Because even at our sporting events and other extracurricular activities prepare them to expect everything without earning anything. Participation trophies. Telling them that they're special for no apparent reason. Heaping undue praise on them. Even, when just maybe, constructive criticism would keep a few losers off of American Idol. We told you about UC Berkeley, where Janet Napolitano and her staff are banning certain phrases. These are not words. These are now ideas.

This week, last week it was UC Berkeley. This week it was University of Wisconsin joining the list of racist microaggressions. Microaggressions. Take your microaggression and...

America used to be a place where based on your hard work, dedication, and talent, you could have a legitimate chance to get ahead in life. You could actually possibly become successful. Thanks to the University of Wisconsin and UC Berkeley, we discovered now that's just not true. Gaining reward based on your efforts apparently cannot happen. It's referred to as the myth of meritocracy. Saying things like the most qualified person should get the job just accentuates the microaggression that is seething inside of you. Desperately trying to get out.

What you really mean by that phrase is that people are -- of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race. Why are you such a racist?

And for the holy love of heaven, will you please don't give me the old, everybody can succeed in this society, if they don't work hard -- if they work hard enough. Please don't give that to me. I -- you know that's a lie. Go ahead, say it. Say it to your microaggressive, hateful self. Go ahead say it. Colored people are just lazy. Yeah, that's what you say. Colored people. Hello, Mr. 1956. You're saying they're incompetent and need to work harder. I know exactly what you're saying.

Yep. Can't hide from the University of Wisconsin or UC Berkeley. This is what's being taught to your kids. Take your kids out of school. Don't. Send them to a local community college before this crap.

This is what's happening in the United States of America today. The family, the fundamental building block of civilization is being transformed. Marriage transformed. Speech transformed. Rights rewritten. Invented. Suppressed. It's all happening at the same time by design by the progressives.

And the result will be that America's cream will no longer rise to the top. Cream, we can't have cream. That implies a cow. Who are you to put your hand on the utter of an animal without asking for permission?

Merit is going to just be a parts of in Connecticut. That's it. We'll have generations of Americans who wait to be given what they believe they have coming to them because they're entitled. It won't come, but government benefits will, while they last. More and more fundamental rights will be created.

There is no fundamental right to marriage. Not in the Constitution. For straight people, either. There is no such thing as a fundamental right for health care. Those are things we like. But that's not something government is doing. Marriage was an institution that was started by the religious. And government cannot interfere with the religious inside the walls of the church. So how is it that they say they can -- no, we understand the First Amendment. We got it. You can do whatever you want in the church. And we'll leave you alone. It just doesn't expand past the church. By the way, open up the door of the church because we have to tell you what you're doing on the altar there with those two people. Can't have it both ways, dude.

Health care is the same way. Now they're talking about a guaranteed minimum wage. There is no fundamental right to a minimum wage. A job. There's no fundamental right to food. Now, these rights did exist in that glorious place called the Soviet Union. They still exist in that wonderful utopia of China. But not here in the United States of America. Why?

Well, because our fathers had a different idea. And I'll tell you about that coming up in a second.

[BREAK]

GLENN: So do you remember when the president said this about the Constitution?

OBAMA: That generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

GLENN: Right. Right. He is a constitutional scholar. He has that wrapped up tightly in a nice little box. That is exactly what it says because that's exactly what the founders designed it to do and be. Why? Because they studied all previous governments. They studied it from ancient Greece and Mesopotamia. They went out and they really searched what worked, what didn't, why did it fail, when did it fail. And then they tried to design something that took all of that into account.

They knew that the government shouldn't do certain things to the citizenry, the way Britain did. They wanted government out of the way. They believed that we can do it. We can do it on our own, and we can do it better. Except for a few things like military. Now, who doesn't think -- does Apple think the government can do computers better than Apple? Does Google think they can run the internet better than Google (sic)? Do you think you can run your life and your family, or the government would be better at that? Based on merit, we're given the right to pursue our happiness. Not the guarantee that the government would provide for us.

You got to grab your kids because they are being reprogrammed. We are being reprogrammed to accept that the most qualified person should not get the job. That the special person should. The first person, the first black, Hispanic, woman, gay, lesbian, transgendered man that's still questioning and a little bit transabled or maybe the first transracial. First dwarf. First something should get that job. But not the person who is actually qualified. No. Look, if Ted Cruz were gay, he had exactly the same policies, I would absolutely vote for him. If he would just for the love of Pete, man, put on a skirt, then he would be the first transgendered woman president. Then he's -- he's more than qualified.

We're being directed down that path. And if we continue down that path, America will cease to be great. We've already slid way past good. We're now in, kind of mediocre. It's okay. Kind of like Canada is looking pretty good right now.

Perhaps one day even less.

I started this with that Lee Greenwood quote. I think it's the first time in my career that I've quoted Lee Greenwood. But I'll stand up next to you and defend her still today.

It's time to stand. It's not time to stand against something. It's time to stand for something. Stand for the Constitution. Stand for people's rights. Not even your rights. Don't even worry about your rights. Somebody else's right. We're going to talk about Ted Cruz and he's talking about his solution to gay marriage. But I think in a way, what he's saying is, we got to stand up against gay marriage and get this thing overturned.

I think we need to get it overturned, but not because of gay marriage. We got to get the government out of gay marriage. Rand Paul has the right position on this. Get the government out of marriage entirely. They have no place in our marriage. Right of conscience.

They have no place in our marriage. If you want to get married, you get married. I may disagree with it, but how does it pick my pocket or break my leg? It doesn't.

You want to get married. Get married. If you're two consenting adults, how does this hurt me?

If you want to force my church to marry you, if I go to a gay church and they're like, we won't marry any straight people, so be it. Why would I want them to do it? I'm not going to force them to do it. I'm not going to force your church or whatever to do whatever. You don't force me to do whatever. Why can't we all just kind of be cool with each other? My evil plan, slowly, quietly take over the world, and then leave everybody alone.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.