Will Churches Become the Hotel California?

Barb Wire

Activists trying latest one-two punch in Ohio

What happens when legal same sex “marriage” is combined with sexual orientation non-discrimination laws? It can become a one-two punch to knock out religious freedom.

In Ohio so far, this hasn’t happened. Activists are dreaming, however, that they can change the landscape in the Buckeye State.

Right now, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has legal freedom to present a strong pro-morality contract to its teachers. But the perpetually outraged, i.e., those who support homosexuality, are crying “foul.” And that includes some of the Cincinnati Catholic school teachers themselves. They are shocked, shocked that Catholics might care about moral behavior.

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The contract stipulates that teachers aren’t to live in sin outside marriage, nor practice a homosexual lifestyle, nor have an abortion or artificial insemination. And no teachers are to show public support for any of these practices. Nevertheless, some think this violates “free speech,” with protests in Fountain Square and complaints voiced in the media.

Keep this picture of Cincinnati defiance in mind as we look at the greater game being played with marriage in Ohio. Homosexual groups are circulating a petition to bring another marriage amendment measure before voters, even though Ohioans already decided marriage is one man and one woman by a 62% majority in 2004.

But the sexual revolutionaries demand another vote, possibly this year but more likely in 2016. The petition language promises “religious freedom,” though. Certainly we can trust “LGBT” activists on this, right?

No, the language of the petition itself tells us where the homosexual activist groups hope they can take us. If, they dream, voters legalized same sex “marriage” and, in the same year, the Ohio General Assembly finally passed an Ohio “ENDA,” a sweeping homosexual rights bill that has never gotten through more than one chamber, the pesky conservatives could be silenced. That could happen as “religious exemption” language in both measures combined to make exemptions easy to dismiss.

The good news is, this is an unlikely scenario, because voters are thankfully not so easily fooled, but it’s a strategy that is apparently in play. Here’s how that would work.

The ballot measure is inaccurately called the “Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment.” It says:

            “This proposed amendment would repeal and replace Section 11 to Article   XV of the Ohio Constitution to:

            1. Allow two consenting adults not nearer of kin than second cousins, and not having a husband or wife living, the freedom to enter into a marriage regardless of gender;

            2. Define religious house of worship as one where the primary activity is religious activity and provides that no house of worship or its clergy shall be required to perform a marriage;

            3. Provide that all legally valid marriages shall be treated equally under the law.”

If Ohio voters were foolish enough to pass this affront to their judgment, the insult wouldn’t end at legalizing two- men or two -women nuptials. Point #2 above, talking about “houses of worship,” would enshrine into the state constitution a much narrower definition of religious freedom. This sleight of hand may escape some voters, but it won’t escape the homosexual lobby’s friends on the bench who will leverage the shrinking First Amendment to aid all leftist causes.

Do you and I believe freedom of religion should be redefined to become “freedom to worship” only within the walls of church or synagogue? That’s what Ohioans will be voting on. We walk inside our church doors, and it becomes the Hotel California (Ohio): “You can worship anywhere you like, as long as you never leave.”

Outside those walls—in schools, hospitals and of course, in businesses—the “price of citizenship” is that you relinquish your faith and its life-guiding principles. First Amendment “free exercise” becomes as meaningless as “LGBT tolerance.”

And of course, this church-based “safety” is insecure as well. It’s only a matter of time until the fascist elements decide they’ve had enough of Pastor Brown’s sermons on  grace and sin, and he is targeted as a test case, demanding he solemnize Bruce and Jason’s nuptials—or else.

But wait, there’s more. Look at Point #3. Why is that included? Because in the perfect Ohio “gay” world, voters approve an amendment enacting same sex marriage and at the same time, discrimination against “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” become illegal under a sweeping law passed at the Ohio Statehouse. A “gay” utopia? You bet.

The current version of this bill ( S.B. 125 and H.B. 163)  boldly regulates an enormous swath of everyday life in Ohio to become subjugated to homosexual interests, from jobs to housing to schools to public accommodations to government contracts to financial transactions. And two of its sponsors in the Ohio Senate are Republicans, Representative Ross McGregor ( Springfield) and Senator Frank LaRose (Stow).

Think about this becoming law in combination with point number 3 in the proposed marriage amendment, that is, the new amendment would ”provide that all legally valid marriages shall be treated equally under the law.”

The “law” ( if the non-discrimination bill passes) may force the Cincinnati Archdiocese to its knees, and any other Christian school that dares to deny employment to a man “married” to another man. There is religious exemption language in the proposed ENDA bill that applies to religious institutions and schools, but it would probably be trumped by state constitutional amendment language. Certainly an activist judge would jump on this opportunity to declare this to be the case.

The Ohio Legislature is currently controlled by Republicans, but if you’ve been paying attention, that should not provide much comfort. If there’s one item on the “LGBT” platform where squishy politicians are likely to cave, it’s on these so-called “workplace” bills and there’s already the shoddy leadership shown by McGregor and LaRose.

The claim is that such laws are needed to ensure that “a person can’t be fired just for being gay.” There’s an ENDA moving in Congress as well. And proponents will cite recent research showing that 68% of Ohio voters support laws “protecting gays and lesbians against job discrimination.”

Of course, such surveys do not reveal the working definition for “discrimination,” which is broad indeed and often includes “protection” for gays and lesbians from having co-workers with conservative religious beliefs. It’s the devout and the morally-minded who are in greatest danger of losing employment after such bills are passed.

The real result of “employment non-discrimination” bills is that you get cross-dressing male employees you can’t fire; activist lesbians teaching third grade; and valued employees suddenly dismissed for voicing the wrong opinion. You get bakers, florists and photographers forced to honor same sex “marriage.” ENDA bills provide a club that homosexual fascists can use to force conservative compliance. That’s the real “discrimination” involved.

But, if you were a lesbian teacher at a Catholic school wanting to “marry” another woman yet facing a morality clause In your contract, you would simply call your lawyer and cite point number 3 in the newly-passed “Freedom to Marry” measure above, and combined with a new state ENDA, this “law” might prevent the Diocese from enacting its unjust rules. You shop for a judge who will make this same argument and in no time flat, you are a proud sexual sinner teaching openly in a religious school, and they can’t stop you. Nor can they stop the open expression of homosexual or transgendered behaviors among students in Christian schools once the ENDA bill is passed.

Now, these two votes are not going to happen, we pray. Ohioans are not stupid. Most of our legislators are not either, and Republicans do like being re-elected. Most still care about the First Amendment, even a few who would shudder at dismissing the wisdom of about ten Old and New Testament proscriptions against homosexual behavior. These taboos are there for a reason: the behaviors and the sinful attitudes that go with them are destructive.

Those who have sense and respect for the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions can hope this perfect storm fails to develop. Yet do we trust the media to tell the truth? Do we trust all the Republicans in the Statehouse to understand what’s at stake?

One thing is certain. A diligent educational campaign is needed, the sooner the better.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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