Back in July I wrote about how the Iowa Civil Rights Commission passed a set of “guidelines” forcing churches to comply with transgender bathroom laws because it considered churches to be places of “public accommodation.” Besides being a clear case of government overreach in violation of the First Amendment, First Liberty Institute–the law firm representing Cornerstone World Outreach in their case challenging the Iowa regulation–pointed out how the law has implications beyond bathroom usage:
“It further compels our client to use specific pronouns when referring to certain ‘gender identities’ and prohibits our client from even teaching its religious beliefs.” (emphasis mine)
Well, it looks like the folks at First Liberty Institute will be picking up some new clients.
Similar to the guidelines in Iowa, the Massachusetts commission considers all churches to be places of public accommodation, saying that so-called “secular” events held in church buildings are “open to the public” and must conform to gender identity pronouns. In addition, churches are prohibited from challenging or speaking against gender identity. And it goes on to say that “places of public accommodation may not discriminate against, or restrict a person from, services because of that person’s gender identity.” In other words, the sexually-confused man or boy must be allowed to attend the women’s conference.
Contrary to their claims stating otherwise, these new standards are not just a list of “guidelines.” Churches that don’t comply will be subject to punishment in the form of fines or imprisonment, or both. Violators will also be liable for damages to aggrieved persons. In other words, churches will be slapped with frivolous lawsuits.
As if the law’s prohibition against the church’s right to speak out against the LGBT agenda wasn’t bad enough, the Massachusetts version would make an organization liable for statements made by congregants. According to the commission, critical remarks against transgendered individuals would be seen as creating a “hostile environment,” and therefore “harassment.”
Following the unconstitutional decision on same-sex marriage, the politicians and the Supreme Court assured churches that their right to oppose the LGBT agenda was protected within the church walls. Besides the fact that this “charitable” assurance is, in itself, a violation of our First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and speech, it turns out that it was a lie meant to kick the can down the road.
So now the question remains. Will the church rise up in civil disobedience? Or will it surrender to their agenda?
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.