As WE'VE SEEN, SEPARATIONISTS OBJECT to the slightest scintilla of Christianity in the public sector (and the private sector). But they either overlook or actively encourage the state's endorsement of certain secular values they deem worthy, from the homosexual rights agenda to the precepts of radical feminism-including a woman's unfettered right to terminate her pregnancy-on to the promotion of antiChristian obscenity masquerading as art. When the smoke from the often cacophonous debate that surrounds these assaults on culture dissipates, what remains is the bald conclusion that the object of the separationists' desire is not to preserve religious liberty by limiting government's involvement in "religion." Rather, it is to remove, piece by piece, every vestige of Christianity in our culture and replace it with values they deem preferable. Often, lofty allusions to "separation of church and state" are merely camouflage to mask their real agenda. Under their worldview and legal philosophy, there is no such thing as values neutrality. Their endgame is the wholesale substitution of secular values in the place of Christian norms, and their march toward that end is very much in progress.
Homosexual Agenda Government-Sponsored Diversity Training
It is not just private corporations that send their employees to diversity training, as we saw in the last chapter. State governments have begun this practice as well, and it is just a tiny part of what state authorities are doing across the nation to promote a rather extreme homosexual agenda. The Minnesota Department of Corrections required its employees to attend training sessions called "Gays and Lesbians in the Workplace." Employees objecting to the program considered it little more than state-sponsored indoctrination designed to change their beliefs-mostly religious beliefs-about homosexuality. While private corporations are generally not subject to the constitutional prohibition against infringing on individuals' religious freedoms-though they are subject to other legal constraints in this a real-government offices and agencies are. In the Minnesota case, certain employees took their Bibles to the required sensitivity sessions and from time to time read silently from them, without interrupting the sessions in any way. Though they were never told to put the Bibles away, they were later reprimanded "for inappropriate and unprofessional conduct."
The employees, Thomas Altman and Ken Yackly, filed suit against the department for denying their free exercise, free speech, and equal protection rights. The federal trial judge held in 1999 that Altman and Yackly had stated a claim and could go to trial on the free exercise claim, but not on the others. The U.S. Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the matter could go to trial on all counts, rejecting the state's contention that the employees were guilty of insubordination. In the subsequent trial, the jury unanimously found in favor of Altman and Yackly and awarded them damages exceeding $78,000, $60,000 of which was in punitive damages. "Our clients never had an issue with the desire of the employer to ensure that co-workers treat each other with respect and dignity," said Francis J. Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice. "But when the state of Minnesota tried to force these employees to change their beliefs about homosexuality, the government crossed the line and violated their constitutional rights. The employees did nothing more than bring their Bibles to a training session with which they disagreed, and they were punished for it.
The Health Departments of a number of states have permitted the distribution of a Christian-based pamphlet along with many other materials on the subject of AIDS and HIV, thereby sending the ACLU into a tizzy. The Florida Department of Health printed its logo on the cover of the pamphlet "A Christian Response to AIDS" and provided it to community organizations, together with other AIDS education materials approved by the state. The brochure contained biblically oriented content, asking such questions as: "How would Jesus respond to a person with HIV or AIDS?" In some cases, state money was used to purchase the pamphlets. Florida ACLU Director Howard Simon sent a letter to the Health Department, asking that it stop buying and circulating the pamphlets. "While the state must respond to this public health crisis and find ways to stop the spread of the AIDS virus," wrote Simon, "the state must base its message on ... medical and scientific information, rather than advocate a particular Christian set of beliefs. Sectarian messages are inappropriate for agencies of the state."
Simon's use of the word advocate is interesting. While some state funds were used to purchase the pamphlets, this was just "one of hundreds" the Florida Health Department approved for community groups and local health departments, according to Tom Liberti, the head of the Health Department's HIV/AIDS Bureau. This raises the question of whether there must be, as the separationists seem to "advocate," a complete cleansing of religious influences from the public sector. What if empirical evidence could be adduced to show that the Christian approach works better than some of the secular ones? Does the state have such a compelling interest in sanitizing Christian influences from its materials that it must conceal beneficial information from the public?
Under the kind of bill that one would hope could pop up only in California, state legislators approved a measure in August 2002, AB 2651, that would have allowed a teenage boy to report his foster parents for a civil-rights violation if they refused to let him dress like a girl. It is true that the legislation was ultimately vetoed by Governor Gray Davis after intense pressure from lobbying groups, but the fact that such a proposal could get so close to becoming law shows the vast power of the homosexual activists. Indeed, the bill's opponents believe the only reason it didn't pass this time was that Governor Davis was in a very tight race for governor and didn't want to risk his re-election. Under the bill, California counties would be encouraged to provide sensitivity training for foster parents on "sexual orientation, gender identity, and the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender youth, or youth with gender issues." Though the bill didn't strictly require foster parents to participate in the training program, the Campaign for California Families was convinced the law would have pressured foster parents into the training because those who declined would have been less likely to receive foster children in their homes.
It is no secret that openly Christian foster parents in California have already been complaining about being blacklisted for their support of spanking and their moral opposition to homosexuality.
In addition, the bill would have required the California Department of Social Services to target for recruitment "gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender foster parents" and would have prohibited the state from denying placement to foster parents based on their HIV or AIDS status. The bill also would have established a toll-free telephone number that social workers would provide to foster children, encouraging them to report physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, "regardless of whether the abuse is specifically related to his or her sexual orientation or gender identity."
Absent from the discussion leading up to the California Assembly's passage of the bill were objections from such First Amendment watchdog groups as the ACLU or Americans United for Separation of Church and State. This bill undeniably would have forcibly imposed "religious" or anti-religious values on the California foster system and on foster parents. Parents seeking to raise children in accordance with a biblical model could clearly have been precluded from doing so under this bill. The bill "was a bold-faced attack on religious freedom," said Verne Teyler, executive director of Hosanna Homes, a private foster care agency.
Proponents of homosexual rights often assert they do not seek special rights and don't want to infringe on the rights of others. But this bill would have infringed on the rights of people with JudeoChristian standards and would have amounted to the state's sanctioning lifestyles it has historically considered taboo. The bill's own author, Assemblywoman Judy Chu, virtually conceded that the measure was values-oriented when she said, "Foster youth should not be ... told that they are wrong for being who they are."
Chu was not to be denied in her efforts to impose her extremism on California foster parents. In 2003, she sponsored a somewhat different version of the bill, AB 458, and it passed the assembly on May 12, 2003. Like the earlier bill, AB 458 would require foster parents to support homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual behavior and expression among foster children. It would go further than AB 2651, in that it would require mandatory training of foster parents to indoctrinate them to support homosexual behavior of foster children. It would also require foster parent agencies to support homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals as foster parents. And it would bar foster parents from discriminating against children under their care on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This could mean that foster parents could not teach their foster children that homosexual behavior was wrong, even if their religious beliefs compelled them to do so, without violating the law against discrimination.
California is unfortunately not the only state that has dealt with the issue of the homosexuality of foster parents, as gay-inspired aggression against Larry Phillips of Missouri demonstrates. Phillips, who was a social worker at the Kansas City office of the Missouri Division of Family Services, said that his supervisor-who described himself as an "in-your-face queer who gets angrier every day"-told him that he "was being intolerant" and that his religious beliefs "were affecting his ability to perform his job effectively." Why? One reason was that Phillips questioned the placement of a child with a lesbian foster parent, another was that he took a stand opposing a sexually explicit brochure that his supervisor required all his subordinates to carry and distribute to foster children. The brochure was called "What They Won't Teach You in School" and contained this sentence: "Sex can be a lot of things, women with women, men have sex with men, women have sex with men-and sometimes the best sex is with yourself." "This was one sick piece of literature they were passing out, with sick drawings and language, including [profanity], that would get a radio station's license revoked if read over the air," said Phillips. He also said he was verbally assaulted, harassed, mocked, and then fired. Phillips sued the state of Missouri for wrongful termination and a jury awarded him $86,000 in damages and attorney fees, finding that the Missouri Department of Social Services discriminated against him.
Codifying Transsexuality " a Protected Behavior
The political march of the homosexual lobby to legitimize formally homosexual behaviors continues unabated. On January 27, 2003, California assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill, AB 196, to broaden the scope of sex discrimination under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The current anti-discrimination law prohibits housing and workplace discrimination based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, or sexual orientation. Since "sexual orientation" is defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, the law already prevents discrimination based on those behaviors-as it reportedly does in twelve other states. But the proposed bill is designed to widen the protective net to include transsexuality and cross-dressing by adding "gender" as a protected class. (Webster's defines "transsexual" as a person with a psychological urge to belong to the opposite sex, a desire that may be carried to the point of undergoing surgery to modify the sex organs to mimic those of the opposite sex.) Under the proposed bill, "gender" is defined as "the employee's actual sex or the employer's perception of the employee's identity, appearance, or behavior, even if these characteristics differ from those traditionally associated with the employee's sex at birth."
The bill would require employers to allow employees to dress or appear consistently with the employee's gender-as newly defined. In other words, it would force employers to permit males to dress like women and vice versa and preclude business owners from enforcing their own moral standards if they disapprove of such behavior. Assemblyman John Campbell of Irvine noted several problems that attend this floating definition of gender. "This [bill] talks about 'gender" " said Campbell, "but in the concept of the individual's perception of their gender, thereby making that protected class something that can change, can come in and out, can go back and forth, and is not identifiable through any physical attribute. This bill will cause untold lawsuits, untold new problems in the workplace, and further denies the right of businesses to earn your patronage." The bill mandates fines of up to $150,000 against business owners, including nonprofits such as the Boy Scouts and Bible bookstores, for refusing to hire cross-dressing and transsexual job applicants. The law, according to Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the California Alliance for Pride and Equality, "will provide critical protections for those who are fired, evicted, or experience serious harassment because they are perceived as gender nonconforming.
Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, in speaking out against the bill, said, "If I have a Christian bookstore, how could I possibly follow this law? How could I possibly have an employee that's here today in a dress, tomorrow may come in a suit, and then stay in a dress? How can I possibly employ this employee and still have the Christian bookstore and live by my faith?" Temecula Assemblyman Ray Haynes put it in starker terms. "You are messing with people's perception of their souls and their afterlife," he said. "You are telling people who sincerely and strongly believe in a faith that they cannot exercise that faith without being forced into bankruptcy or not owning property or not starting a business! You are imposing your belief on what you think their faith ought to say." On April 21, 2003, the California Assembly passed AB 196 by a vote of 41-34, which was the exact minimum vote required to advance the bill to the state Senate. No Republicans voted for the measure and all but seven Democrats voted yes, with three voting no and four abstaining. While the state of California may be ahead of the curve in measures that contradict traditional values, the city of San Francisco will not be outdone in the race for the bottom. In 2001, the city adopted a policy allowing city employees to obtain sex-change operations at taxpayers' expense.
One morning in November 2002, three homosexual Catholic activists refused to leave the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C., despite repeated requests from hotel management and the metropolitan police, until a bishop served them the Eucharist. The D.C. police arrested them. The night before, a priest denied the three-Karen Speltz, Ken Einhaus, and Mike Perez-Communion during the Washington meeting of the U.S. Catholic bishops at a Mass at Washington's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The next morning the three stationed themselves by escalators they knew a number of bishops would use, and the two men knelt with their hands outstretched. The activists said they had been emotionally shattered and had gone to the hotel to "find healing among the people who caused [us] so much suffering." Later, Susan Gibbs, a Washington archdiocesan spokeswoman, said the refusal of Communion was a result of mistaken identity. Shrine officials thought the three were members of "Rainbow Sash," a prohomosexual group committed to politicizing the Eucharist ritual. As it turns out, they were members of a different homosexual group, "Soulforce," which is an ecumenical organization that works to change church policies and doctrine concerning the treatment of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered Christians (so-called). The priest, Michael Bugarin, said he wouldn't have denied them Communion had he known they were with Soulforce, but had an obligation to refuse them when he thought they were part of Rainbow Sash in order to "hold up the dignity and belief that we have in the Eucharist." "I regret that there was a misunderstanding on my part, and I regret the whole situation;" said Bugarin.
The most interesting part of this saga occurred in court on January 30, 2003, where Judge Mildred M. Edwards, after a two-day trial, found the three activists guilty of unlawful entry for refusing to leave the hotel. She told the defendants that, with her, they had one-twelfth of the perfect jury, since thirty years earlier she had assisted in the defense of Catholic anti-war activists Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAllister while she was a Georgetown University law student. She proved her "perfection" by suspending the imposition of their sentences-the first time in her fifteen years on the bench-and apologized on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church over the Communion incident. The judge then said, "Tremendous violence was done to you, who are the body of Christ, and the body of Christ was denied to you." She added, "As a member of your church, I ask you to forgive the church." Then, at the conclusion of her sentencing, judge Edwards, adopting priestly vernacular, told the defendants to "Go in peace."
This story is significant for at least two reasons. First, the judge's outspoken affirmation of support for the homosexual activists from the bench shows that politically correct thinking has infiltrated our judicial institutions. Second, the judge clearly and openly intermixed her personal faith with her administration of justice. In the words of separationists, she crossed the line of mixing church and state. But as far as I could tell, there have been no cries of protest from the ACLU or from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Perhaps to some separationists the mixture of church and state is permissible, even desirable, in furtherance of certain politically correct causes.
In some cases, local governments affirmatively endorse the homosexual lifestyle and try to impose acceptance of it forcibly on their employees. Traverse City, Michigan, inaugurated a "diversity" sticker campaign in which it placed on city vehicles stickers that were modeled after the rainbow flag homosexuals use to celebrate their lifestyle. Over the rainbow stripes was the message, "We are Traverse City." The campaign was ostensibly in reaction to a number of race-and sexual orientation-motivated crimes and was aimed at unifying the city. It did the opposite, as citizens bombarded the city with complaints over the campaign. American Family Association president Gary Glenn said, "Homosexual activists' allies on the city commission have quickly moved from preaching tolerance of homosexual activity to forcing city police officers to display the official flag of 'gay pride' militants." One Traverse City policeman, David Leach, a thirty-year veteran, registered his strenuous objection to the campaign during an interview with a local Christian radio station. He said he found it "offensive driving a vehicle proclaiming [the homosexual] lifestyle." He later told the Associated Press, "It is a sign of the homosexual, and it's on my patrol car."
When Leach helped organize local opposition to the stickers, the Traverse City Human Rights Commission initiated an investigation against him. Apparently no one told the city fathers, the police department, or the human rights commission that the city had no business subsidizing this campaign with taxpayer money or that it was improper to investigate an officer for exercising his freedoms of speech and religion. No one, that is, until the Thomas More Center for Law and justice sent a letter to the city manager threatening a suit unless the city stopped the investigation "today." "Clearly, this is an effort to harass and intimidate Mr. Leach on account of his religious beliefs," said Thomas More's chief counsel, Richard Thompson. The city shortly thereafter discontinued the campaign and its investigation of Officer Leach. Certain citizens were so exercised about the incident that they formed a group called "Traverse City Citizens Voting Yes for Equal Rights Not Special Rights." Its goal was to circulate a petition aimed at placing a proposed charter amendment on the city's November 2001 ballot prohibiting the city "from adopting laws or policies that grant special 'minority' or 'protected class' status, hiring quotas, or other preferential treatment to individuals who engage in homosexual behavior." The group said such policies necessarily result in discrimination against citizens who oppose the homosexual lifestyle.
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