In perhaps the least surprising news in the history of the world, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is completely distorting reality in arguing against a bill that would protect the rights of LGBT people, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. predictably, the lie is intended to sow fear non-existent Christian persecution. And he falsely claims that gays have “admitted” that it will “outlaw Christian morality.”
Writing in the Huffington Post, popular homosexual radio personality Michelangelo Signorile confessed that, of any potential ENDA legislation that might reach President Obama’s desk for his pledged signature, “none should include any religious exemptions” whatsoever.
If Signorile and other “LGBT” activists get their way, this would mean that churches, mosques, synagogues, religious schools, Bible bookstores, as well as any and every other business in America with 15 or more employees, would be forced, under penalty of law, to abandon the biblical and traditional-values viewpoint on human sexuality, and hire (and otherwise not offend) those who openly flaunt expressly sinful and demonstrably self-destructive sexual behaviors.
Though in its current form ENDA contains an extremely weak religious exemption that might – and I mean might – partially protect some churches and religious organizations (until they’re sued by “gay” activists), this so-called exemption would leave most others – such as the aforementioned Bible bookstores and many Christian schools and para-church organizations – entirely unprotected. It would additionally crush individual business owners’ guaranteed First Amendment rights.
He’s shoving a whole bunch of things together and pretending that the law makes no distinctions between them. With all anti-discrimination legislation, not just ENDA, one has to deal with the question of how broadly to exempt religious organizations. You can’t require a church to hire a gay pastor (or an atheist one, or a woman, etc). But that is long-established law that is set in stone on multiple levels. The courts have always enforced this “ministerial exception” even when a law does not explicitly spell out such an exemption. And there is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the federal level and versions of it in most states. Churches are always exempt from anti-discrimination laws and they will be for ENDA as well.
Religious non-profits, including Christian schools, are also generally exempt and would be under ENDA. But a Bible bookstore is a business. And the exemption that Barber wants would allow any for-profit business that is owned by a religious person who objects to the anti-discrimination law to be allowed to violate that law. But that would gut the law completely. The entire purpose of the law is to prevent businesses from refusing to hire, serve or house people on the basis of their religious beliefs. If you are a business open to the public, you can’t discriminate.
The religious exemptions demanded by people like Barber would render our anti-discrimination laws completely meaningless. And he sells that idea with this ridiculous lie that the government will be hauling pastors out of the pulpit and throwing them in gulags for preaching the gospel. It’s a tiresome lie.