In early August, the City Council will consider an ordinance to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the discrimination ordinances in the city code. The proposal would ban anyone that has ever opposed (“demonstrated bias, by word or deed…”) homosexuality from being involved in city government and/or performing a city contract/subcontract. The proposed ordinance provides no exemptions for religious beliefs on homosexuality, even beliefs expressed in Church.They have since changed some of the wording, but there are still some remaining problems:
- Ban on speech supporting traditional marriage and sexuality by board members and other appointed officials. (Sec. 2-252(b))
- Men in the women’s restrooms and changing facilities. (Sec. 2-592)
- Does not provide a free-exercise of religion exemption for places of public accommodation and will discriminate against (Christian) businesses that want to operate according to their religious faith. (Sec. 2-592)
- Bans (Christian) businesses that refuse to add “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” to their companies’ nondiscrimination protections from working with the city. (Section 7)
- Does not give Churches and other religious organizations clear protection in their hiring practices. (Sec. 2-550(b))
Yeah, not good. As an acquaintance put it, the Devil must be smiling at this set of ordinances. Another friend noted (concerning a different situation related to this same overarching issue) that this reminds him of the passage from Revelations in which all people who wish to interact with the market place must wear the mark of the beast. It's happened before under different guises (e.g. the persecution under Diocletian), and now it's happening again under a different guise:
I’m not an eschatological literalist (far from it), but I have to wonder if there might not be a bit of the “mark of the beast” in anti-discrimination law. Consider this case of an Iowa baker who refused to provide a cake for a lesbian wedding. Hate mail, a boycott, and a possible investigation by the state Human Rights Commission have followed. Or this case, where Western Washington University has booted a Christian law school from participation in a law school information fair because the law school’s code of conduct prohibits homosexual activity (among other sexual sins). This campaign against Christians is simple: regulate everything in a way that prohibits Christians from conducting business (or even administering charity) while following their faith. Force Catholic pharmacists to dispense contraception (and Catholic universities to provide it), Catholic hospitals to perform sterilizations and even abortions. Force adoption agencies to place children with gay couples. Require businesses to participate in gay weddings. Force teachers to promote homosexuality. These are not distopian predictions about a slippery slope, these are reality, and they will get worse. Professional certifications will be contingent upon approval of homosexuality. The goal is simple, the economic strangulation of Christians.
Meanwhile, the occasional report surfaces about Christians in general and conservative Christians (Catholic, Evangelicals) in particular being classified as "extremists" and "potential threats" by our government. The two things are not unrelated, and they make apparent just why it is that our "surrender" in the culture war--and especially the specific issue of "gay rights" and "gay marriage"--will not result in our finding a culture which is suddenly more friendly to us. That logic only works if we assume that we are fighting against merely secular power and principalities.
The "gay rights"/"gay liberationists" movement is merely the guise under which this struggle is brought into the public sphere, and our opposition to this particular sin may become the pretext of eventual persecution. We've been there before many times, but removing this pretext won't really change the persecution. This is especially evident by the original intent in the ordinance, to punish "anyone that has ever opposed ('demonstrated bias, by word or deed…') homosexuality" (my emphasis). Surrender only works when the enemy will actually take prisoners and not mistreat them.