March 28, 2019 – Washington Co., WI – To the Editor:
I am writing because I am a pastor who teaches the Ten Commandments to young and old and this State Supreme Court race has troubled me because the breaking of the Eighth Commandment has reached new heights. Just the refresh, the Eighth Commandment is You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Luther’s Small Catechism explains this What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way. And I know I haven’t jumped into every political race in the past, but this race for the Court has reached some troubling lows. As the attacks appear to be saying that anyone who is a conservative Christian should not be allowed to run for office, and that is truly troubling. I will not dare to tell you who to vote for that is on your conscience. I do encourage you to vote on or before April 2.
This response is to a series of articles published in the West Bend Daily News, in the commentary section calling into questions the suitability of Judge Brian Hagedorn because of his personal beliefs based on his conservative Christian views. The commentary has continually promoted a false narrative that has been contrived by the “progressive left” to attempt to paint Judge Hagedorn as a hateful bigot who will possibly seek to discriminate against LGBTQ groups. Yet, this view is not supported by facts but rather by statements being taken out of context or the worse possible meaning being applied. Which at best is unintentionally misleading or a blatant smear campaign by those who desire to legislate from the bench rather than interpret the law. In less than an hour of research, I was able to refute the claims made in the ads and “news” articles.
In the commentary published on March 23rd, 2019, in the West Bend Daily News, there were no rulings by Judge Hagedorn called into question. No cases where he let his personal religious beliefs trump the law. Not one ruling called into question his ethics or suitability for office.
Fact: Judge Brian Hagedorn, is a current Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge and former legal counsel for Scott Walker.
Fact: Judge Hagedorn “discriminatory” blog post is part of a summary of a dissent made by the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. The dissent was on a case about Texas sodomy laws, in which Scalia’s dissent was attempting to point out that by striking down a law against sodomy claiming states are constitutionally forbidden from banning any sexual activity citizens consider “immoral and unacceptable” also eliminates the legal basis for “criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity.” Hagedorn simply was paraphrasing Scalia’s concerns. In fact, Scalia went on to encourage LGBTQ groups to persuade their fellow citizens that sodomy bans were wrong and work to change the laws rather than seeking to eliminate the legal basis on which states criminalize socially disapproved sexual behaviors.
While the progressive media and campaign ads run against Hagedorn have claimed he supports “hate groups” it is based on the Southern Poverty Law Center labeling the Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group”. This is the organization that helped defend the Colorado cake baker and seems to be part of the basis on which the Alliance is called a hate group. This is itself an unfair and biased claim.
Hagedorn religious’ beliefs are most definitely being attacked. Yet, to this date, I have not seen any proof that Hagedorn’s beliefs have clouded his judgments in any case before him. We must remember that the United State Constitution states in article six, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”.
Finally, to the question of the Christian school he and his wife help start and still support. This school and the teachers and students are being smeared as some horrible LGBTQ hating organization. When in fact it is a conservative Christian School that has a standard for sexual ethics for both heterosexual and homosexual staff that requires in the school’s conduct code forbidding “teachers from participating in immoral sexual activity (defined as any form of touching or nudity for the purpose of evoking sexual arousal apart from the context of marriage between one man and one woman).”
This is not “hate speech” or bigotry, it is simply a conservative religious conviction. And yes, this is protected by the Constitution. So, please stop the smears, we the people of Wisconsin deserve better.
Rev. Joseph Fisher
 Luther. (2017). Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation (p. 110). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.
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