The Practical End to ENDA

November 23, 2013

ENDAby Nathan A. Cherry

For the time being ENDA appears dead. Even though it passed in the Senate it had no chance of making it through the House where Speaker Boehner opposed it as well as most Republicans; and a few vulnerable Democrats hoping to keep their job in 2014.

In case you don’t know what ENDA is, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act seeks to make it illegal for an employer to hire or fire a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

On the surface this might sound like a good idea. After all, no one should be denied a job simply because he is gay. But the problem with ENDA is that it has a back door that would lead to forcing religious organizations and Christian business owners to violate their religious convictions. Here’s how:

The only exemptions from ENDA apply to churches. This means religious organizations and faith based businesses would not be exempt. This creates a problem in that those organizations that operate under a Gospel-centric mission would be forced to hire people whose life style directly opposes their mission. The practical example is a Christian school being forced to hire a homosexual, or a Christian organization like Family Research Council or Samaritan’s Purse being forced to hire a transgender person.

The problems with such a policy become clearly evident when put into a real-world setting that will no doubt occur very quickly if ENDA was passed. Those who seek to destroy the Judeo-Christian heritage of our country by removing any semblance of morality from our society don’t waste their time applying for jobs with these groups because they know they have no chance of being hired. But is ENDA is passed the protections those organizations now operate under would disappear. The implications cannot be overstated.

But, lest anyone be duped into supporting ENDA so long as it contains robust religious and conscience exemptions, don’t be fooled. Such protections are a Trojan horse designed solely to lower the guards of defenders of freedom only to be ambushed when they are removed. There’s no doubt such protections are needed; one needs only to look to recent headlines to see the need.

A member of the Mormon Church, Robert, is seeking to have the church officially recognize him as a female, Leahnora, after he divorced and started officially living as a woman in 2012. The man says he wants the church to officially recognize his transition to a woman and allow him to attend women’s only meetings.

This case shows the need to defend against the passage of bills like ENDA. Though ENDA would protect the church from being forced to officially recognize a transgender person, other organizations operating under the same religious beliefs and convictions would not be protected. Forcing people to violate their religious convictions via government mandate is the very thing our Founder’s sought to protect against.

For the naïve that might think an ENDA bill with religious exemptions will satisfy LGBT activists, think again. A popular homosexual activist wrote in a Huffington Post article that any ENDA bill the president might sign. “none should include any religious exemptions.” And the Washington Blade, a homosexual newspaper reported that Harry Reid vowed to remove all protections for Christians after ENDA passed!

These accounts underscore the fact that religious exemptions in bills like ENDA are a rouse designed to distract and gain support of moderate lawmakers who might otherwise oppose such legislation. Then, once the bill has passed the liberal progressives with a sexually immoral agenda can remove the protections. The effects would be devastating to Christian businesses and organizations that seek to operate under a biblical, Gospel-centric mission.

Here in West Virginia, an openly homosexual state delegate pushed an ENDA bill in the last legislative session. Thankfully it was met with enough opposition to never see the light of day. But that bill will be revived in the upcoming session and poses a serious risk to Christian business owners and faith-based organizations like Christian schools, Bible bookstores, and para groups. Vigilance in West Virginia will be needed in order to defeat this bill once again.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, writing at their Speak Up Movement Blog, has some wise suggestions for churches, and other faith-based organizations that will protect them – for now – against the effects of ENDA legislation. They suggest:

“The starting point for protecting churches, Christian schools, and other religious ministries against this new push is to solidify their protections by clarifying their beliefs in their bylaws and policies. For example, religious institutions that believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, or that derive beliefs from their church teachings, need to clearly state and affirm those beliefs. If a church believes that God created humanity male and female according to His design and purposes, it follows theologically that pursuing a course based upon gender confusion violates scripture that such behavior separates us from God, and that such behavior should not be celebrated as liberation from God’s creational design. Furthermore, churches and religious nonprofits will do well to require both employees and volunteers to recognize and affirm biblical standards, and to make clear that departure from these standards will be cause for immediate termination of employment.”

These suggestions are timely as we see the push to pass ENDA and similar legislation. Churches would be wise to heed this advice and amend their constitution and by-laws to reflect these suggestions. Christians would be wise to let their lawmakers know they oppose ENDA style legislation for the fact that it violates the religious freedoms granted in the Constitution.

The end-game to ENDA is the elimination of Christian morality in the public sector workplace. That is the bottom line and LGBT activists won’t be satisfied with anything less. The freedom of an employer to hire only people that agree with the organizations mission is a fundamental conservative liberty. The Founder’s never would have envisioned a place where business owners are forced to hire people that oppose the core values of the business. But that is what ENDA does, it makes it illegal to hire only those who will support, rather than tear down, the mission of the organization.

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Tags: Alliance Defending Freedom, business, Christian, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, fire, hire, John Boehner, Judeo-Christian, LGBT, owner, Washington Blade

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