Category Archives: Public Policy
It’s important to note that the federal judge issued a stay of her ruling until the appeals process plays out. So for now nothing will change and no pastor or church will be affected. However, the efforts to strip this protection for pastors and churches has continued with this latest ruling. Here’s why it’s important:
The federal ENDA bill appears to be stalled, perhaps dead…for the moment. After passing in the Senate by a solid majority it appears the House will not bring the bill up for a vote. Even though West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin promised to oppose legislation like ENDA, in the end he broke that promise and voted in favor of the bill. However, to this point House Speaker John Boehner has opposed ENDA and said he will not bring it up for a vote in the House of Representatives.
One thing is for sure: this is the end of ENDA. There is no doubt that this bill will come back and we need to be prepared to oppose it. West Virginians in particular need to be prepared to oppose ENDA on the state level as we will no doubt be facing a state level ENDA bill again in the 2014 legislative session.
For those who are not familiar with ENDA, Joe Carter, writing at The Gospel Coalition, has written a short, informative article answering some of the most frequently asked questions about ENDA. In particular he answers the question why should Christians be concerned about ENDA?
“As a practical matter, ENDA teaches a view of human embodiment that Christians will strongly object to. Christianity embraces the body and self as an integrated whole; as unique creations that witness to the divine action and creativity of God through our being created male and female. Male and female are not arbitrary, socially imposed constructs. They are rooted in our biology. In contrast, the worldview behind ENDA assumes an ‘expressive individualism’ where our bodies become instruments of the will, capable of being re-created according to preference and desire.”
I highly recommend reading this article.
Imagine taking your kids to the public library. While some might think public libraries are obsolete in the age of the Internet, many people still go and libraries are a valuable asset to any neighborhood. Now suppose you’ve taken your kids to visit the library on a beautiful, sunny day to enjoy looking at books and other activities. You walk your kids through the library, hand in hand, discussing what kind of books they will look at when, to your horror, you see…
Someone on one of the library computers is looking at porn!
This is just not a scenario out of a parent’s worst nightmare; this is a real-life scenario taking place in libraries around the country. A recent case involves a library in Orland Park, Illinois, where residents are asking the library to install filters on public computers to block access to pornography. Some however are concerned that such filters violate free speech rights and insert more government into the lives of Americans.
For the time being ENDA appears dead. Even though it passed in the Senate it had no chance of making it through the House where Speaker Boehner opposed it as well as most Republicans; and a few vulnerable Democrats hoping to keep their job in 2014.
In case you don’t know what ENDA is, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act seeks to make it illegal for an employer to hire or fire a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
On the surface this might sound like a good idea. After all, no one should be denied a job simple because he is gay. But the problem with ENDA is that it has a back door that would lead to forcing religious organizations and Christian business owners to violate their religious convictions. Here’s how:
Remember way back when Ryan T. Anderson said ENDA would threaten the religious freedoms of Christian business owners and people of faith? Well, he said it:
“While it is unclear which religious organizations would be exempted from ENDA, it is clear that the bill would not exempt those who wish to run their businesses and other organizations in keeping with their moral or religious values. Additionally, ENDA’s religious liberty protections extend only to businesses directly run by a church or religious organizations. As a result, other religious business owners would be exposed to significant liabilities. Consider, for instance, a Christian bookstore not formally incorporated as a religious organization. Such a store could be accused of creating a hostile work environment by selling and promoting books stating that marriage unites one man with one woman. Clearly, ENDA would create enormous legal risks for businesses that allowed their employees to express traditional religious teachings on sexuality. Anti-discrimination law ought not to silence religious believers.”
One article has stayed with me since I first read it last week. I’m having a hard time even processing what I’ve read, much less any sort of biblical foundation for the decision.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s president of children services is urging the convention to change their hiring policy for Sunrise Children’s Services to allow the hiring of homosexuals. In a recent closed-door meeting the president, Bill Smithwick told trustees that “federal protection for homosexuals in the workplace as a ‘civil right’ just as race, gender, national origin, etc., is certain to become law sooner than later. Sunrise will comply or lose.”
Smithwick then presented three options to the leaders including “Follow current policy and terminate the employees. Then refuse to hire homosexuals even when doing so becomes a condition of receiving federal funding. (2) Terminate the employees according to current policy, wait until the government mandates a change, then comply. (3) Change the employment policy now.