By Matt Barber
The religious liberty death spiral continues.
One of the most dangerous and discriminatory pieces of legislation in modern times – the ironically tagged “Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” or ENDA – passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday by a vote of 64-32. Ten Republicans disgracefully joined liberal Democrats in this effort to ultimately outlaw the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic.
According to its leftist proponents, ENDA would merely insulate people who choose to engage in homosexual conduct (sexual orientation) or those who suffer from gender confusion (gender identity) against employment intolerance. In truth, however, this legislation effectively would codify the very thing it purports to combat: workplace discrimination.
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.
Although Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., attempted to amend the bill to strengthen religious protections, his amendment was shot down 55-43. Unbelievably, he voted for ENDA anyway.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on the other hand, wasn’t even considerate enough to feign concern for the First Amendment. He promised homosexual pressure groups that Democrats would remove all protections for Christians and other people of faith on the flipside – after ENDA passed.
The homosexual news site Washington Blade reports that homosexual activist Derek Washington of “GetEqual” confirmed Reid’s promise. In a conference call with homosexual activists a week earlier, Washington admitted that Reid vowed, as goes any religious exemption, “the main thing to do was get the vote taken care of, and then deal with it later. As often times happens, you don’t get something perfect the first time around, you go back and fix it later, so that was basically his take on it.”
According to the Blade, “That account was corroborated by Faiz Shakir, a Reid spokesperson, who said the Democratic leader understands the concerns, but wants to get the bill passed first, then go back and address the exemptions.”
They’ve stopped pretending, folks. This is about criminalizing Christianity.
Still, there is a little good news. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said that, for now at least, he opposes the law and will block it because it is both unnecessary and will result in “frivolous lawsuits.” He agrees with constitutional think tanks like the Heritage Foundation that have conclusively demonstrated the threat ENDA poses to First Amendment freedoms.
“The speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
ENDA represents government-sanctioned viewpoint discrimination, plain and simple. It is no different from forcing a deeply religious business owner to hire and accommodate an “out and proud” adulterous “swinger.” It directly alienates the unalienable rights of people of faith. It pits the government directly against the free exercise of religion and is, therefore, unconstitutional on its face.
During his second term, President George W. Bush issued a Statement of Administration Policy on ENDA, highlighting its unconstitutionality: “[ENDA] is inconsistent with the right to the free exercise of religion as codified by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”
President Obama, however – who never met a Constitution he didn’t violate – has vociferously endorsed the bill and promises to sign it into law should it pass both houses of Congress. This is in perfect keeping with his demonstrated belief that the federal government’s constitutionally limited powers are more of a suggestion than a requirement.
Chai Feldblum is a lesbian activist and sexual nihilist lawyer who, in the past, has publicly supported legalized polygamy and bisexual polyamory. She is Obama’s recess-appointed commissioner to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As ENDA’s chief framer, Ms. Feldblum would be charged with its primary enforcement. This is the classic fox-guarding-the-hen-house scenario.
In the past, Ms. Feldblum has repeatedly and candidly summed up the mindset behind the bill. She has publicly stated that the battle between religious freedom and unfettered sexual license (aka “gay rights”) is a “zero-sum game,” meaning the two cannot possibly coexist in harmony. It’s a “winner takes all” approach.
When asked about the Christian business owner or religious organization that morally objects to hiring people openly engaged in the homosexual lifestyle, Ms. Feldblum snapped: “Gays win, Christians lose.” And where Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed right to religious liberty comes into conflict with the postmodern concept of homosexual “rights,” Ms. Feldblum has admitted having “a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
Of course, her analysis is entirely arbitrary and completely unsupported by any reasonable constitutional interpretation or federal precedent. But to Ms. Feldblum, Comrade Obama and his kooky cadre of revolutionary advisers, little things like the U.S. Constitution and federal precedent are but obnoxious speed bumps on the fast track to a brave new world.
Speaker Boehner, you alone stand between these torch-wielding nutters and a highly flammable U.S. Constitution.
Please stand your ground, sir. Under Obama, liberty has suffered quite enough, thank you.
(Note: Republicans voting for ENDA were Sens. Susan Collins, Maine, Mark Kirk, Ill., Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, Dean Heller, Nev., Kelly Ayotte, N.H., Rob Portman, Ohio, Jeff Flake, Ariz., John McCain, Ariz., Orrin Hatch, Utah, and Pat Toomey, Pa.)
Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war.