Skip to comments.Coercing Churches? Parish the Thought!
Posted on 04/24/2012 4:17:04 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
Coercing Churches? Parish the Thought!
Hutchinson City, Kansas isn't exactly a hotbed of liberalism. But 40 miles from Wichita, this conservative town of 42,080 is the latest target in a nationwide campaign to steamroll our first freedoms. Back in November, a handful of Kansas Equality members filed a letter with the local city council, demanding that the town add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes under the Human Relations Code. To some people, that sounded innocent enough -- until Hutchinson leaders explained what this could mean for everyone from the local cupcake shop to the Baptist church. Suddenly, those four little words became a big concern.
In a document circulated in town, the Human Relations Commission (HRC) explained that personal beliefs and company autonomy would have to take a backseat to special accommodations for homosexuals and cross-dressers. Here are just a few examples spelled out by the HRC. If the changes to the code are approved, it would be illegal for businesses to: stop transgender people from accessing public showers or bathrooms -- even if their gender "expression" conflicts with their anatomy; make hiring or firing decisions based on a person's sexuality (think daycare); ask employees to abide by a company dress code based on their birth gender; or direct a cross-dresser to a gender neutral bathroom -- even if patrons complain about the safety of having a man in the women's restroom or visa-versa. What if an employer, landlord, or business owner objects to the rules? Are they exempt? "No," the document states. Noncompliance is discrimination. Surely churches can opt-out, right? Only if they "are not open to the public" -- which, as Kansas Family Policy Council's Robert Noland points out, is ridiculous. "I don't know of many churches that are not open to the public."
What may be the most aggressive part of the campaign is the raid on religious liberty. The city commission specifically warns that "If a church has a parish hall that they rent out to the general public, they could not discriminate against a gay couple who wants to rent the building for a party." Essentially, the HRC would be stripping churches of their most fundamental right -- to worship and operate under the precepts of their faith. If that's the case, then churches like Westside Baptist simply won't comply. "We apply the Bible to our lives," said associate pastor Gary Ridge. "When there is a contradiction between what the city council asks and what the Bible says, we are going to follow the Bible." Much like the contraception-abortion mandate, the government is forcing people to choose between their mission or business and their conscience -- which is profoundly unconstitutional and un-American. "Before you know it, they will be able to shut down churches for preaching Romans 1:26-27," Ridge told Fox News's Todd Starnes.
Unfortunately , this battle doesn't end at Hutchinson's city limits. The march is already underway to small towns across the country. Human Rights Commissions, once an arbiter for civil rights and race issues, are being co-opted by homosexuals to power an anti-family, anti-Christian agenda. It's up to people of faith to build firewalls at the state level to beat back these attacks. Before the May vote, the Kansas Family Policy Council and pastors have been on the ground in Hutchinson, working to alert other cities, offer testimony, circulate fact sheets, and collect signatures (900 so far!) of opposition. If Hutchinson City is going to prevail, then the town made famous by its salt mines will have to draw on that strength to be the salt and light this debate so desperately needs.