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TOP NEWS - Worldwide Kingdom/Revival NEWS Forum : TOP NEWS - Worldwide Kingdom/Revival NEWS
Subject Topic: Just Speaking About Her Biblical View of Marriage May Get This Judge Fired and Disbarred Post Reply Post New Topic
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Posted: 09/08/2016 at 7:39pm | IP Logged Quote News Room

Just Speaking About Her Biblical View of Marriage May Get This Judge Fired and Disbarred

Jonathan G. Lange : Sep 8, 2016 :

The commission claims that merely by publicly affirming Biblical teaching on homosexual acts, she immediately and irrevocably rendered herself unfit to judge fairly or impartially in any matter whatsoever.

(Cheyenne, WY)—[LifeSiteNews] On Wednesday, August 17, the Wyoming Supreme Court heard a case that has huge implications for each and every one of us. (Photo via Charisma News)

The case involves Judge Ruth Neely, who has served with distinction for twenty-one years as the municipal judge in Pinedale, Wyoming. Since municipalities have no authority either to issue a license or solemnize a marriage, you would think that she's unaffected by all the hoopla over same-sex marriage. But you would be mistaken. Because of her beliefs about marriage, the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics (CJCE) wants to remove her from her job and disqualify her for service anywhere in the Wyoming judiciary.

The story began on a cold Saturday morning in December 2014. Shortly after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals declared Wyoming marriage statutes unconstitutional, a reporter from the Sublette Examiner called Judge Neely to ask if she was "excited" to perform same-sex marriages. It was only because she had accepted a part-time job as a circuit court magistrate that this question had any relevance at all. In that unpaid position, she was authorized, but not obligated, to solemnize marriages. She gave a perfectly reasonable reply. She said that if she were ever asked, she would help the couple find someone to do the job. However, she would "not be able to do" it herself.

Based on this solitary exchange about a hypothetical scenario, the commission has been waging what they call a "holy war" against her for more than a year. They are not content to send her a letter clarifying what she should have done, nor even a letter of reprimand. Instead, they are leveling the greatest possible punishment allowable by law—and the implications of their arguments are chilling.

Sins and Crimes
One central allegation against Judge Neely is the charge of bias. The commission claims that merely by publicly affirming Biblical teaching on homosexual acts, she immediately and irrevocably rendered herself unfit to judge fairly or impartially in any matter whatsoever.

The commission makes much of a private letter in which she discussed a number of Biblically named sins. The commission was so shocked that she would agree with the Bible that her church (Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) was called "repugnant" in open court. Moreover, when the Alliance Defending Freedom asked to represent her, the commission filed additional charges against her for "affiliating with a discriminatory organization."

Let's think about this for a minute. Note, first, that the idea of "sin" is not a legal category. It is a theological category. Sins are committed against God. Crimes are committed against the state. For centuries Americans have accepted that something may be a sin without being a crime. Drunkenness, adultery, greed, and blasphemy immediately come to mind. This concept is at the heart of the distinction between church and state. For over two centuries, American judges have been applying the law equitably and fairly to people who engage in all kinds of sins without confusing sins with crimes. But now the CJCE wants Wyoming to believe that this particular sin can no longer be called "sin" without threatening the entire judicial system. (Photo: Wyoming State Capitol/Shutterstock/via LifeSiteNews)

If this reasoning is true, then it should apply to every judge who thinks something is a sin that the government has declared legal. Do you believe that drunkenness is a sin? Well, since there's no law against it, you're fired! You think that adultery is a sin? You cannot be a judge anywhere in Wyoming. Who will be left to sit on the bench? Only those who have no moral compass beyond the letter of the law?

Is Only Private Speech Free?
A second major point that the commission makes is that Judge Neely, "by announcing her position against marriage equality," openly spoke against the law of the land. Here is another curious position. Does the commission really mean to say that any public opposition to any law should immediately disqualify a judge from office? The commission might want to think that one through a bit more.

Prior to October 6, 2014, same-sex marriage was against the law in Wyoming. If the commission is right, every judge who spoke in favor of same-sex marriage prior to that date should have been immediately removed from the bench. This would be rather awkward, since Wendy Soto, executive director of the CJCE, was on the board of Wyoming Equality and agitating for same-sex marriage long before it was legal. Even leaving such awkwardness aside, the commission's position has some rather staggering implications. Should we drive all pro-life judges from the bench because of Roe v. Wade? Should we remove all judges who speak in favor of gun control because of the Second Amendment? While NARAL might favor the first idea and the NRA the second, no person who understands the importance of free speech could seriously want either.

And this brings up a third point that we should consider carefully. The commission goes to great lengths to argue that Judge Neely's remarks to Ned Donovan were a "public statement." Presumably, she would not be in trouble if she had...

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