Unless you’ve been living under a rock this year, the acronym “RFRA” has probably become part of your daily vocabulary. The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act was carried by Indiana lawmakers during the first half of the 2015 general assembly. They proudly carried RFRA until the liberal left turned up the heat. Under fire, ALL but nine lawmakers folded like your local dollar store card table. Corporations “marked their territory” with cheap threats of economic terrorism and outright corporate thuggery. The liberal media fanned the flame with their fictional drama until the politicians cried ‘uncle’ and opened the door to an unprecedented attack on people of faith.
I’ll never forget the press conference when the dam broke and Indiana politicians surrendered to the gay lobby and corporate bullies. Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma, and Senate Pro Tempore David Long led the surrender as they mocked and poked people of faith. David Long expressly noted folks who represent the pro family movement such as Micah Clark from the American Family Association” don’t represent Hoosiers, and they certainly don’t represent him.” The final speaker they brought to the podium at the press conference was Chris Douglas, founding president of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and Kathy Sarris, co-founder of Indiana Equality, who warned us they would be back next session for MORE. They declared that very press conference was the beginning of the battle to create a sexual orientation protection law in Indiana.
Many GOP members fell hook line and sinker for the drama created that day. Representatives like Cindy Ziemke (R), who represents a very conservative portion of Indiana took to Facebook to support the LGBT cause. Some Republicans even joined the Democrats to call for Indiana to take a step further and support a gender identity law.
There are lots of interpretations of “The Fix.” Will it harm… won’t it harm…
Most legislators believe their attorney’s interpretation of “The fix.” I understand the frustration they feel. They were backed into a corner by the Indiana leadership. I don’t agree with their decision, but I acknowledge they were in a hard place.
I happen to believe attorneys like Alliance Defending Freedom, Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Right to Life, Heritage Foundation, Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, Michael Farris, Home school Legal Defense Association, Bopp Law firm, Liberty Institute, and the Liberty Counsel. When you read their legal briefings, they speak with a unified voice. “The fix” put Indiana religious liberty in jeopardy. We are worse off now than before RFRA. These are men and women who fight on behalf of religious freedom every day. I trust them. See their statements here.
Regardless…it is what it is. The RFRA debacle is finished for the season. The lawmakers who caved will have to face voters without the help of the religious right and their base. Some will be primaried. That will play out in another blog at another time. Right now we must look to the battle we were promised at the fateful press conference.
Let me introduce you to the next fight. Round two, and the next acronym you will need to know and the tools you will need to fight it:
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity laws. It is sometimes referred to as a Non Discrimination law, or Civil Rights law. For the past several years, the federal government has tried to pass similar laws, mostly without success. States have been more successful in passing them. According to Alliance Defending Freedom, just under half of the states have passed some kind of SOGI. Gay lobby groups have figured out that local city ordinances are the new push. They are passing them left and right. Most cities don’t understand the true impact it will have.
What is a SOGI?
I sometimes refer to SOGI as the “bathroom bill.” I know that’s not the politically correct term, but to me there is not a term that more correctly defines a SOGI. I also realize there are many more aspects and dangers that come with a SOGI such as hiring practices, forced associations, and completely gutting the “Free Exercise of Religion rights of churches, businesses and Christian organizations. I’ll explain more about that below. According to the ADF Litigation Counsel, Christiana Holcomb, the definition of a SOGI is this:
SOGIs prohibit discrimination in the accommodations or facilities that are open to the public. Generally, breaking down the legalese, that’s gonna be bathrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, any place in which individuals are in various states of undress. This means that an organization must allow its employees and the general public to access the bathrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, etc… That accord with the sex that they choose, that they identify with, rather than their biological reality. Read the rest of the article.
There are many great resources about SOGI, but one of the best ones I have found talking about the health and safety aspect is from the Alliance Defending Freedom. Watch this 8 minute video describing the dangers of SOGI.
Questions from Christiana to think about:
- Can a public school tell a teenage boy who psychologically identifies like a girl, and dresses like a girl, that he can’t play on a girls softball team?
- Can a gay bar owner prefer to hire gay bar tenders so he can attract the type of clientele he is seeking?
- The corporate business office: Is it allowed to maintain a reasonable dress code and say “Men, pant suits only,” while allowing women to wear those skirt/suit combinations?
Under a SOGI, the answer to all of those questions is NO.
Sexual Orientation, Sexual Identity laws are lawsuits just waiting to happen. Moms, how do we know the intentions of a man entering a woman’s bathroom? Is he there because he “feels” like a woman? Is he there because he wants to watch? As Ms. Holcomb stated in the video, we already have folks using SOGI for their own sexual gratification.
Take a look at the example she gave in this article. “College Allows Transgender Man to Expose Himself to Young Girls.” Moms filed a complaint when a man living as a woman (no surgery) entered the girls shower room. Nothing could be done because state law requires equal access to state facilities regardless of sexual orientation.
It gets better. In response to the moms, the pool tried to come up with a temporary solution allowing the girls to use a small locker room next to the main locker room. The transgendered woman was not satisfied. She said she believes the students need an education and wants the girls to be “educated because it is not 1950s and we don’t drink out of separate water fountains.” I am not making this up! Imagine being the mother to one of these girls?
Ms. Holcomb continued:
In Toronto, a dangerous sexual predator used a SOGI to gain access to women’s shelters where he raped two different women.
- Sex-Offender Status Complicates Transgender Woman’s Dallas Hospital Bathroom-Usage Citation.
- Cross-Dressing man allegedly videotaped women in restroom..
- Man sentenced after going into women’s locker room.
- Police: Man in bra and wig found in women’s bathroom
- Cross-dressing Peeper Infiltrates Cal Women’s Locker Room
- Man dressed as woman tried to take pictures in dorm, police say.
- Purdue police investigate report of man taking photographs in women’s restroom
- Cross-dressing man arrested for exposure at Walmart
When we pass these “feel good” laws without looking at the unintended consequences, we put ourselves in immediate danger. In my opinion, SOGIs are sexual predators dream come true! Why would we put political correctness over our safety? Why are we willing to trade our religious freedom for re-election and fluffy fads?
When you add SOGI laws to the books, people of faith are forced to put aside their religious convictions and follow the mandates of the government. This impacts hiring practices, building facilities, creative talents, and even property rights. The Free Exercise rights as stated in our Constitution are trampled with the passage of SOGI laws. There are lots of examples including the Christian bakeries, photographers and florists.
Here is an example of a Free Exercise rights evasion to a church property given in a legal briefing by the Liberty Counsel:
Regardless of disingenuous rhetoric ostensibly providing a purported religious exemption for churches, SOGI proponents seek to create a false distinction between”sacred” church employment, and “secular” church employment, as well as church property that may be a “place of public accommodation,” if the church allows non-members to utilize church property for special events. This puts churches in a very precarious legal position.
Indiana city municipalities and legislative bodies should reject any and all SOGI laws because they are in direct violation to the First Amendment to the Constitution. We still have the right in the United States to not only the Freedom of Religion, but also to the free-exercise thereof and friends, that does not mean being marginalized to a church building.
What can you do?
- Educate yourself: Research…research…research. Know the inside, outside, upside down, backwards and forwards of SOGI. Put them in simple talking points. Don’t use legal words. Plain and simple. Here is an example given by Alliance Defending Freedom in a legal analysis of a SOGI in North Carolina.
- It infringes on the First Amendment, free speech and free exercise rights by requiring business owners to engage in certain activities, or support certain messages, in violation of their religious beliefs.
- It will require businesses, private clubs, and perhaps even churches and other houses of worship, to make their restrooms open to both sexes, and also force fitness centers to make their restrooms open to both sexes, and also force fitness centers to make their restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms open to both sexes. This will violate the constitutional right to privacy and places these entities at risk of lawsuits.
- It will require the City to engage in impermissible discrimination on the basis of religion when it chooses businesses with which to contract.
- Educate your pastor/church: This is not an issue that we can afford to take a pass on. Our churches and religious organizations are in dire jeopardy. Make sure they understand what is about to hit if we keep silent. Share this blog with them. Share the free legal guide created for churches, schools and religious organizations. SOGI-Handbook Protect your church. Prepare NOW
- Educate your councilmen/woman, lawmaker: Many of them are very sweet people. Many just want to be nice. It’s not easy to be a “Debbie Downer” on issues that have pink and green hearts all around them! Face it, we are living in a very “feely” time right now. We all get “offended” numerous times a day. No one wants to be the bad guy. Lawmakers who say no, don’t get re elected! So when they are presented with a fluffy feel good piece of legislation, they pass it before they research the ramifications of it. Don’t let them do that without showing them the consequences. Gear up your Kitchen Table Activism skills!
- Attend your state legislative and local council meetings: SPEAK OUT. Pay attention to the upcoming ordinances. There are several SOGIs being debated now, including one in Goshen Indiana. Check your city council agenda. Check your newspapers. Is there a SOGI on the agenda? SHOW UP IN MASS. Don’t be bullied into a corner like our Indiana lawmakers were this year. Gather a group of like-minded people and go to the meetings. Prepare now for the battle at the Indiana Statehouse. The LGBT lobby has already told us to prepare for a fight. Take them at their word. I promise, you, they will deliver if you let them. PROACTIVELY PREPARE for it NOW.
- Be prepared to replace a lawmaker if necessary: The gay lobby is strong. Corporate thuggery is real. Even after your education and polite contacts to your lawmakers, they still may cave to the money and gay lobby. This is where your unity will come in handy. Be prepared to find a primary to replace them. This can be done easily. Organize and prepare for some hard work.
- Gather your churches, pastors, and friends.. get ready. You are not alone. It’s happening before our eyes… churches ARE uniting! They’ve put aside doctrinal beliefs and united to speak as one united prophetic voice on these moral issues. *Note, this is NOT political. Encourage your pastors to join the Indiana Pastors Alliance then find them on Facebook. I promise, when they do, they will find a group of united men and women who WILL not be moved. Your pastor won’t participate? Then join grassroots from all over the state who have linked with the other pastors, to support them and fight for religious liberty. Join the Indiana Coalition to Protect Religious Freedom.
- Support Christian Legal Organizations: Now more than ever we need groups like Alliance Defending Freedom, American Center for Law and Justice, and Christian Law Association. You can find more of the Christian legal organizations at Christian Legal Defense. We will need these lawyers to defend our religious liberty as more and more attacks come our way. It’s no longer IF they come… It’s when.
- Finally friends, pray: If there has ever been a time to pray for our country, it’s now. I have been involved in the pro family movement for the past 13 years, and I have never seen a move to destroy the family and the church like I have the past 6 months. It’s moved to lightning speed. We need God to intervene not only within our government, but in our churches. The church has bought a lie from the pit of hell that we should not have a voice in public policy. They have bought the lie that we don’t belong in the public square. Some have even bought the lie that God’s Word is not relevant anymore. Now we stand at a crossroads where we could be punished for taking the gospel outside the church building. We need revival. We need to repent for this apathy. Pray for the church. Pray for the remnant. Pray for our leaders. Pray for courage. Pray for God to heal our land.
We must defeat these ordinances now before it’s too late. Sexual Orientation, Gender identity laws are dangerous. This is not one of those issues we want to say “I told you so.” Defeat these SOGIs before they even see the light of day. If you would like more resources and legal briefings about the danger of SOGI laws, please contact me and I would be happy to get them to you.