Editor’s note: Some of the most compelling emails and comments in recent days were about Fred Lucas’ report on the Christian family barred from a Michigan farmers market for its views on marriage and Genevieve Wood’s commentary on ESPN’s mischaracterizing its own audience survey. Have a look.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Fred Lucas’ story on Michigan farmer Steve Tennes (“Farmer Won’t Host Same-Sex Weddings at His Orchard. Now a City Has Banned Him From Its Farmers Market”) is not so much about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans as it is about the heavy hand of the government dictating to individuals what they can or cannot do.
If Tennes and his wife Bridget don’t want to sell a product or service to someone, fine. I would be willing to bet that another enterprising individual would step in and start a competing business to fill that void.
Let’s face it: The LGBT community comprises a large chunk of the consuming public and doesn’t need special protection by the government. Let the marketplace solve the problem.
I will check out the Tenneses’ Country Mill farm, though, since I will be going to the East Lansing area because I have, you know, that good old freedom-of-choice thing.—Jon Mickley
The Tennes’ Country Mill farm is 22 miles away from East Lansing, Michigan, so is not subject to the city’s laws. Selling fruit at the farmers market has nothing to do with hosting weddings on the farm.
Steve Tennes also has a First Amendment right to practice his religion. He sells fruit to anyone who wants to buy it at the city’s farmers market, so he is not discriminating against customers.
Simply put: The city does not have jurisdiction over what happens on a farm that is not within city limits.—Terri Lynn Merritts
Superb article by Fred Lucas. My heart bleeds for the Tennes family. Such a beautiful family in so many ways. Why is our country allowed, through the courts, to literally tear down this family and their dreams—as was done to the Christian bakers in Colorado? (That case had me down on my knees crying.)
How can LGBT citizens get married (under God) and then use the label they have given themselves to destroy families? This country was founded “under God,” and “in God we trust.” LGBT marriage is man-made, not a natural law.
The article was informative and very sad for me to hear about. Keep up the good work and God’s blessings always.—JoAnn Sickinger
I support Steve Tennes and his decision not to allow a same-sex wedding on his Country Mill farm. From what I understand, he worked to resolve the wedding request amicably, and he acted with the sort of character one would expect of a God-fearing man.
In these days of one-sided decision-making, where religion seems to come up short, I am afraid we are destined to have to face these trials. The few will throw up the mud while the majority just keep silent, saying nothing at all even though they think the truth.
I will pray for Steve Tennes and his family. If our government wants to legalize this practice, despite what the majority wanted initially, the word “marriage” should not have been used.—Jim Gross
I sent this letter to East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows and the City Council:
I have just read an account of what is happening in your city regarding the family of Steve and Bridget Tennes. The persecution and reverse discrimination is unacceptable regardless of any law that tries to force them against their legitimate religious beliefs.
They own their business and it has been successful as a result of their own effort and moral conviction. I urge all of you who are elected officials to use common sense and back off from the persecution.
—John H. Ross. Montrose, Colo.
Should this farming couple be forced to entertain a satanic feast that glorifies anti-God ideas, whether or not it includes human sacrifices?
Do East Lansing officials peruse Facebook pages of everyone who participates in the farmers market, and disinvite all who express any ideas contrary to officials’ concept of acceptable belief?
Should a Muslim be banned from the farmers market if he has looked at a jihadist Facebook page without having written a post decrying the jihadist ideas? Or should he be banned because he participates in any other Muslim activities that might not be considered politically correct in East Lansing?
Not to pick on Muslims, it’s just that all the East Lansing discrimination complaints seem directed at Christians who try to live lives consistent with their beliefs.—David Miller
This farmer has been banned from an East Lansing farmer's market because of his family's personal religious beliefs. https://t.co/fu32apgFfD
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) June 1, 2017
This action against Steve and Bridget Tennes, highlighted by Alliance Defending Freedom, is another way the government is taking rights away from Christians and trying to ram their agenda down the throats of people who do not support the gay agenda.
Marriage has been between one man and one women for years, and all of a sudden the government decides differently. We are the people who pay their salaries.
I hope and pray that the Tenneses start a farmers market outside the East Lansing city limits and outside city officials’ ability to ram their agenda down the family’s throats. I also hope they can encourage other farmers market participants to join them.—Gary Simmering
Interesting article. Why not go to a Muslim-owned business in Dearborn, Michigan, demand they cater a same-sex marriage? Sounds like discrimination against Christians to me.—Karin Sue, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Treat everyone the same and abide by the Constitution’s First Amendment. This couple’s right to follow their religious faith and not hold same-sex weddings is what they were protecting. And doing so did not prohibit a gay couple from getting married, did it? No.—Charles David Johnston
I found The Daily Signal during an online search about the Tennes family, to research what I read at Fox News. Though Todd Starnes’ story for Fox was good, Fred Lucas’ was worded more clearly and he tried to reach out and get input from the city.
I noticed a pop-up that you try to cover stories not covered by the mainstream media. Because of your desire to cover those stories, I will be reading you regularly. Thank you for your work. It is much needed and appreciated.—Tiffany Long
Who lost their freedoms? The Tenneses refused to host same-sex weddings and the East Lansing farmers market refused to allow the Tenneses to sell produce. If the couple has the authority to control who they do business with, then so does the farmers market—or do the Tenneses get special treatment?—Sarah VanBlarcom
The left is obsessed with controlling how others think. People of faith need laws to protect them. Obviously the First Amendment is not enough.—Anthony Davis
Absurd. Those people who said gay marriage wouldn’t affect anyone were lying, big time.—Stephen Staedtler
People who said marriage equality would destroy what is called traditional marriage were lying. My marriage is just fine, and it is time to treat everyone the same.
This is about Michigan farmers Steve and Bridget Tennes’ operating a business that discriminates against LGBT individuals. There you have it. It is all about people demanding special privileges for their religious beliefs.
If someone wants to operate a business that serves the public, then they should serve the public. You don’t get to decide which part of the public you approve of and which you don’t. That is what black Americans had to suffer with for a hundred years after the Civil War ended slavery.—John Levin
If it is time to start treating everyone the same, as John Levin writes in response to the story about the farmer who won’t host same-sex weddings, then it is time to eliminate affirmative action hiring practices. It is time to eliminate government-dictated protected classes of individuals.
It is time to require all females age 18 and over to register for the Selective Service (otherwise known as the draft), just as males must do. It is time to charge women the same as men for life insurance.
It is time to make every state a right-to-work state. It is time to terminate legal age requirements to vote, hold office, hold a job, and buy alcohol, tobacco, or firearms.
Is that what John means by treating everyone the same? If not, then being treated the same is not what he wants. He can’t have it both ways.—Jerry Zacny
Steve Tennes suggested another orchard down the road for the same-sex partnership. It is his farm and his decision. How tolerable of the left, again.—Tim Darnell
Just a question: Where do you draw the line? Businesses are not persons; they have no beliefs. Owners have beliefs. Now what if a business owner were to decide that he didn’t want to sell to black people, which we know was once a common practice?—Michael J. Weston
Who is the tyrant in this case? The farmer said, “No, you can’t do your thing here” to gays, and then city officials said, “OK, so you can’t do your thing here.” It’s pretty clear-cut, eye-for-an-eye logic.—Vandoren Wheeler
Let’s force Muslim-owned businesses to cater and hold gay weddings. We know it won’t happen, because they get a special carve-out.—Norm Katzin
There is still freedom of thought, belief, and religion in this country. When the state (read municipality, etc.) dictates that I yield my moral beliefs for the benefit of a few—at my expense (read moral, physical, or financial)—there is an intrusion of my right to operate a business according to the dictates of my conscience, which translates to infringement.—Dan Kelly
— Genevieve Wood (@genevievewood) June 7, 2017
ESPN’s Liberal Bias, in High Definition
Dear Daily Signal: I’m writing about Genevieve Wood’s commentary, “Add This to the List of Reasons Conservatives Think ESPN Is Biased.” A few years ago, ESPN fired one of its editors for a headline alluding to a “chink in the armor.” Because many of the sports people running ESPN are not exactly well-read or well-rounded, they thought it was a racial slur. (Editor’s note: The phrase was the headline for an online story in 2012 about New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, and the editor maintained it was an innocent mistake.)
Meanwhile, its sports schedule is so Israel-hating, ESPN verges right on the line of anti-Semitism. According to their schedule, either Israel does not get ESPN or Israel doesn’t exist; however, some country called Palestine does. I just cannot find that nation anywhere on a current world map.
Those two incidents were all it took in our household. No one ever watches ESPN, including our son, who now lives on his own. ESPN needs a little Target treatment: The public quit shopping there and Target’s stocks have nose-dived for over a year.—Robyn Schmalz, Santa Fe
Great article by Genevieve Wood. I have always enjoyed sports, but never watched ESPN because I can’t afford satellite or cable television. I guess that puts me in the classification as a dinosaur, but at least I won’t have the same desire to get ESPN one of these days. Thanks again for your reporting, and keep up the good work.—The Rev. Gerald Johnson
I quit watching ESPN a couple of years ago due to their left-leaning bias. This year I canceled my subscription to Sports Illustrated for the same reason. When SI decided to put Caitlyn Jenner on the cover they lost a 20-year subscriber. Its apparent neither realizes people watch sports so they don’t have to listen (or read) all that left-wing babble about social justice and politically correct nonsense.—Al Adams
How can I become ESPN’s lost subscriber No. 10,000,001? Every satellite and cable TV service includes 30 or 40 channels of ESPN, and we subscribers are obliged to pay for the “service” whether we watch it or not. I don’t. Please tell me how to get my provider to let me drop that dreck and reduce my bill.–Ken Marx
Stick to sports, ESPN. I don’t understand why you have to go political. Stay in your lane.—John Bradford
Great piece! Tantamount to a three-point shot from half court.—Kent Ostrander
The average sportswriter makes Barack Obama look like Attila the Hun.—Kipp Exline
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) May 30, 2017
A Reminder of the Dangers of Socialism
Dear Daily Signal: Thanks to Ricardo Pita for his experiential reporting about his experience in Venezuela and the dangers of socialism (“I Grew Up in Chavez’s Socialist Venezuela. Here’s What I Think About the Current Crisis”). I will pray for the oppressed people there, and that good leaders emerge.
I wish Bernie Sanders’ supporters would read Ricardo’s works. Our youth are swept up in these same false promises of a free university education and so on. As new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pointed out, education is not free. Someone has to pay for it. Teacher salaries, classroom materials, and other overhead have a price tag.
If we want a peaceful world, doesn’t it make sense that those who have great respect for life and the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death are going to be true peacemakers? Venezuela’s leaders who perpetrate violence against their own people and seek to harm their own people and keep them down in poverty and crime don’t share this life and dignity approach.
Our government should try to keep us safe and free. People living in crime, poverty, and violence are not free.—Kathleen Goryl
‘I Crave Conservative Viewpoints and Just the Facts’
Dear Daily Signal: Hallelujah. I have been receiving your email for a while and just clicked “delete,” thinking it was more opinionated junk mail. Today as I was about to hit delete, I spied the word “Heritage” and was thrilled after I verified from your website that The Daily Signal is affiliated with The Heritage Foundation.
Due to declining finances I have been unable to donate to the wonderful Heritage for a long time. I crave conservative viewpoints, and the “just the facts” I receive from you are not available on network news. I get so angry with the hateful, disrespectful attitudes of 95 percent of news readers.
I don’t have cable television, and since Donald Trump has been elected my president I have grown more and more disappointed with television news. The only acceptable programming now for me is “NCIS” and PBS’ “Masterpiece” presentations.
I have never liked the word “boycott” because it seems punitive to me, but I do wish The Daily Signal could start a section to enable seniors and “underfundeds” like me to voice our collective displeasure against the death spiral our political arena has taken, and those who support it.
I am not whining, but my finances are shrinking monthly and I have no money in my budget to support organizations like yours. But I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please don’t stop, or submit to the arrogant and evil press.—Iris Chandler, Fairhope, Ala.
(Editor’s note: It’s our privilege to have you as part of The Daily Signal audience, Ms. Chandler, and your faith in our team is a generous contribution. We’re just happy to have you aboard and spreading the word.)
How Are We Doing?
Pretty good.—Robert Kroning
I often find your articles too wordy and long to Twitter and expect them to be read.—Johanna Engel
You’re doing great. Look forward to hearing from you.—Peggy Carr
Good job of reporting, Nolan Peterson. Be safe!—Hannah Johnstone