LGBTQ Ballot Initiative Threatens Religious Freedom

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What is the Matter at Issue:

  • A petition initiative seeks to amend Michigan’s civil rights law.
  • The proposal radically diminishes protection for religious exercise, while giving special increased coverage for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Explaining What is Really Going on:

  • This politically leftist petition initiative aims to add sexual lifestyle protections to Michigan’s anti-discrimination law.
  • The proposal intentionally relegates the free exercise of religious conscience into irrelevance.
  • Purportedly in the name of civil rights, proponents seek special preference for classifications concerning sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
  • Revealing their actual political agenda though, the proposal cruelly dilutes existing protection for religion, defining it so narrowly as to provide virtually no protection at all.
  • Grounded in misrepresentation, this leftist-leaning political agenda is armed with the full enforcement power of the state.
  • Make no mistake about it. Activists plan to wield the proposed law as a weapon to destroy their opponents in one of the great cultural debates of our time.
  • The evidence clearly shows that the impetus for the activists’ proposal in no way relates to advancing civil rights;
    • The activists seek nothing less than compulsory civil acceptance of sexual conduct by force of law and punishment.
  • Those who believe that biology and anatomy are more than a social construct should not have to risk litigation and financial ruin to protect their daughters from men invading their bathrooms or showers.
  • Moreover, the law ought not cloak men with the full enforcement power of the state to enter these most private of places.
  • Governments often wields so-called anti-discrimination initiatives as a weapon to oppress religious people.
  • At the urging of leftist activists, government authorities increasingly use laws like the one proposed here to silence and financially cripple Christian people of conscience.
  • The exponential expansion of government actions interfering with an individual’s exercise of religious conscience is especially prevalent in cases involving small and family-owned businesses.
    • Recent cases against bakers, printers, and bed and breakfast proprietors illustrate the point.
    • In a deliberate abuse of power, Michigan authorities are currently investigating Christian business owners for violating the provisions of this petition initiative, even before its proponents obtained a single signature.
  • Elsewhere, government authorities in Houston, Texas, issued subpoenas to Christian pastors.
    • The subpoenas ordered the pastors to give copies of their speeches and sermons related to “homosexuality, or gender identity” to the government for its review.
    • The subpoenas further demanded the pastors produce their e-mails, instant messages, text messages, and diaries, as well as communications to members of their congregation and legal counsel.
  • A city in Idaho threatened criminal prosecution of other Christian pastors for not performing same sex weddings in violation of their sincerely held religious conscience.
  • Ironically trying to justify their hostile attacks in the name of civil rights, activists focus their ire on a mostly Christian minority.
  • Merely defending viewpoints grounded in religious conscience is enough to validate their outrage — especially when those viewpoints threaten “personal autonomy” mantras or protest against forced civil acceptance of all of sexual behavior.
  • The fierceness of the opposition to religious conscience makes clear that such attacks are not about civil rights as the activists falsely suggest.
    • It is, rather, about their desire for political power to censure, by force of law and punishment, any idea informed by sacred tenets that might interfere with their anti-faith political agenda.

Inoculating Against Accusations of Bigotry:

  • Christian people know God created all human life in His image.
    • Thus, for Christian people, every person holds inherent value and deserves respect.
    • No follower of Jesus would, therefore, ever discriminate against another person based upon who they are.
    • Christian people will, though, never concede their First Amendment freedom of conscience.
  • We condemn invidious discrimination and hold no animus toward anyone.
  • We seek respectful consideration of all viewpoints.
    • We reject the fallacy that honest disagreement equates with hate-speech or bigotry.

A Solution in Search of a Non-Existent Problem:

  • The activists’ petition initiative proposes a solution to a non-existent problem.
  • No evidence of pervasive discrimination exists based on the proposed new categories.
  • Not an iota of proof exists that people routinely fire employees based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • No evidence exists that people systemically deny access to educational or employment opportunities based upon the proposed categories.
  • Nobody, based upon the proposed categories, ever faced rules requiring them to sit in the back of a bus or use separate but equal public accommodations like bathrooms.
  • Occasional, anecdotal stories do not justify sweeping statutory changes infringing on fundamental constitutional freedoms of religious people.
  • The test of a properly functioning republic is not whether the government protects the speech and religious rights with which it agrees – it is whether it will protect the speech, religious rights and the economic liberty of those citizens with whom it does not agree.I
  • Instead of censuring or punishing speech and religious liberty, the answer is always to have more speech and the free exchange of ideas – at least in a republic that values true freedom, pluralism, and diversity.
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