Tuesday, March 31, 2015
March 30, 2015|1:10 pm| The Christian Post|
A Christian florist and grandmother who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding because of her Christian belief in traditional marriage has been fined $1,001 by a Washington court and will be held liable to pay the legal fees incurred by the gay couple, which could "devastate" her financially.
As previously reported by The Christian Post, 70-year-old Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, was found guilty of violating the state's non-discrimination law in February, after referring Rob Ingersoll and Curt Feed to another florist when they asked her to provide the floral arrangements for their wedding.
Although Stutzman sold flowers to Ingersoll for nearly a decade and maintained a positive relationship with him, when he asked her to provide flowers for his same-sex wedding, she felt she could not act against her Christian conviction to serve her friend.
Afterwards, Ingersoll took to social media to voice his displeasure with Stutzman, which drew the attention of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who eventually filed charges against Stutzman, after she refused to comply with his demands that her shop serve gay weddings.
While Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom's Fridaysummary judgement orders Stutzman to pay a fine of $1,001, for now, and forces her to provide services for same-sex weddings, her lawyer, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Kristen Waggoner, said that Stutzman is still at risk of losing her retirement savings and business as she will be responsible for paying the legal fees and damages incurred by Ingersoll and Freed, who were represented by the ACLU.
The court will hold off on making a decision on how much Stutzman will have to pay in legal costs and fees until after a ruling has been made on an appeal. ADF has indicated that an appeal will be filed. Additionally, the ruling will force Arlene's Flowers to uphold the state's non-discrimination law and serve gay weddings.
"Today's judgement affirms the court's earlier decision that Barronelle must pay a penalty for her faith and surrender her freedom and conscience," Waggoner said in a statement. "The penalty and fees imposed today are only the first punch. The ACLU, on behalf of the same-sex couple also suing Barronelle, has asked the court to award them penalties, fees, and costs, which will financially devastate this 70-year-old grandmother's retirement and personal savings. The message sent by the attorney general and the ACLU to the people of Washington is quite clear: surrender your religious liberty and free speech rights, or face personal and professional ruin."
Even though Stutzman faces the possibility of personal and professional ruin, she had the "option" to escape from her legal crisis if she had agreed to accept Ferguson's settlement offer, the day after she was found guilty in court, which was to pay a fine of $2,001 and agree to provide her services for gay weddings. Stutzman, however, felt she could not turn her back on Jesus in order to save herself or her business.
"Washington's constitution guarantees us 'freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.' I cannot sell that precious freedom," Stutzman wrote in a responding letter to the attorney general's settlement offer. "You are asking me to walk in in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do."
"Your offer reveals that you don't really understand me or what this conflict is about. It's about freedom, not money," Stutzman continued. "I certainly don't relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important."
Attached to Eckstrom's judgement was a handwritten note further asserting that businesses that offer wedding-based services cannot refuse to provide goods to same-sex weddings, no matter what their religious beliefs are.
"All goods, merchandise, and services offered or sold to opposite sex couples shall be offered or sold to same-sex couples, including but not limited to goods, merchandise and services for weddings and commitment ceremonies," Ekstrom's note stated.
Monday, March 30, 2015
March 27, 2015|1:39 pm| The Christian Post|
Oregon's legislature advanced a bill that if enacted would ban sexual orientation change efforts therapy for gay minors.
Earlier this month, the Oregon House passed House Bill 2307, which aims to legally ban medical professionals from engaging in SOCE therapy if a patient is under 18.
"A mental health care or social health professional may not engage in efforts to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity if the recipient of those efforts is under 18 years of age," reads HB 2307 in part.
"Any state board that regulates licensees described in subsection … may impose any form of discipline that the board may impose on a licensee under the laws of this state for violating a law of this state or a rule adopted by the board."
Sometimes called "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy," SOCE therapy seeks to change the sexual preferences of a patient from homosexual to heterosexual.
The therapy is controversial, with major organizations like the American Psychiatric Association opposed to the practice.
HB 2307 has drawn the concern of Equality And Justice For All, an ex-gay organization that supports the legalization of voluntary SOCE therapy for minors and adults.
In an email sent out Thursday, Chris Doyle of EAJFA described the support for HB 2307 "particularly unconscionable" since "minors often struggle with same-sex attractions as a result of rape or molestation by pedophiles."
"To propagate their lies, gay activists have made outrageous claims that this therapy involves electroshock and other forms of aversive methods, but they have yet to offer any proof of this. Contrary to their claims, this counseling is simply talk therapy," said Doyle.
"Homosexual activists would rather keep these young people locked in a lifetime of hopelessness — and silence — than allow them to find healing from rape or molestation."
Introduced in January and also called "The Youth Mental Health Protection Act," HB 2307 garnered strong support politicians and LGBT groups.
Last month, Casey Parks of the Oregonian reported that medical professionals, clergy, and LGBT activists testified in support of the bill.
"Twenty people sent in testimony supporting Oregon's bill … including a Western Oregon University student, [who] wrote that their parents forced them to attend conversion therapy in Oregon," reported Parks.
"Only one person sent in testimony opposing the bill. Teresa Harke of the Christian advocacy nonprofit Oregon Family Council testified that the bill is 'too broad and may have unintended consequences for religious liberties.'"
On Mar. 17, the Oregon House passed HB 2307 with a vote of 41 to 18. All but seven of the yes votes were Democrats and all the no votes were Republicans.
A couple days later, HB 2307 was sent to the Oregon Senate, which referred it to the Committee On Human Services and Early Childhood.
If enacted, Oregon will join California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia as regions that ban SOCE therapy for minors.
Several other states including Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, and Virginia have considered similar legislation, only to vote it down or let it die in committee.
In January, the Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee voted down a bill to criminalize conversion therapy for minors introduced by State Delegate Patrick Hope.
Friday, March 27, 2015
March 26, 2015|10:42 am| The Christian Post|
A small congregation in New York has voted unanimously to leave Presbyterian Church (USA) following the mainline denomination's recent vote to approve gay marriage.
Brighton Presbyterian Church, a 200-year-old congregation in Rochester, voted Sunday to seek dismissal from its PCUSA regional body, the Presbytery of Genesee Valley.
The vote to disaffiliate came not long after a majority of presbyteries in PCUSA approved an amendment to their Book of Order defining marriage to include same-sex couples.
Kerry E. Luddy, spokeswoman for Brighton Presbyterian and wife of the head pastor, told The Christian Post that the decision to leave "is not a sudden decision."
"We have been prayerfully considering this for about two years, and officially began the discernment process in mid-2014," said Luddy.
"Our reason for leaving is centered on the status of biblical interpretation within the PC(USA). We believe that Scripture's meaning and intent should not be altered to fit a current culture."
Earlier this month, a majority of PCUSA presbyteries voted in favor of Amendment 14-F, which changed the definition of marriage for the denomination.
While PCUSA's Book of Order originally defined marriage as being between "a man and a woman," Amendment 14-F changed it to "two people, traditionally a man and a woman."
Support for Amendment 14-F was notable from the start, with "yes" votes from the regional bodies, or presbyteries, outnumbering "no" votes early on.
Two weeks into March, PCUSA was a mere seven votes away from Amendment 14-F succeeding, with 79 presbyteries voting "yes" and 37 voting "no."
One of the 79 "yes" votes was the Presbytery of East Tennessee, which narrowly approved the amendment with a vote of 61-56 following a meeting in Chattanoga.
"We have a lot of students who come into our campus ministry with their story being one of hurt and shame given to them by the church," said University of Tennessee campus minister Kally Elliott at the meeting.
"Our goal is to share with them the love of Jesus Christ and to let them know that they are fully loved, fully welcomed as they are, who they are."
Genesee Valley, a presbytery that includes over 60 congregations, was one of the regional bodies to vote in favor of Amendment 14-F.
The Rev. Amy Fowler, chief administrative officer for the presbytery, told CP that Brighton Presbyterian has "just completed the first phase" seeking dismissal.
"No other congregations have indicated since last Tuesday that they will request to enter the process," added Fowler.
Regarding next steps in the process, Luddy explained to CP that Brighton Presbyterian had not yet chosen another Presbyterian church to seek affiliation with, but that it would be one "that fits both our reformed theology and one that values women in leadership."
This is not the first time PCUSA has had controversy over its move toward greater acceptance of homosexuality within the church.
In 2010, the PCUSA General Assembly approved Amendment 10a, a measure allowing for presbyteries to approve ordination of noncelibate homosexuals. In response to Amendment 10a over 150 congregations voted to disaffiliate from the mainline denomination, with many forming the theologically conservative Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians.
Some have speculated that a similar exodus may befall the largest Presbyterian church in the United States in response to the passage of Amendment 14-F.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
March 25, 2015|4:05 pm| The Christian Post|
Declaring to his congregation that homosexuality is a distortion of God's creation, Southwest Missouri megachurch pastor, Rev. John Lindell of James River Church, urged his followers in a recent sermon to vote to repeal Springfield's contentious sexual orientation and gender identity law in that city's local elections on April 7.
Question 1 on the city of Springfield ballot will ask voters whether they would like to repeal the amended version of the city'sNondiscrimination Ordinance, which was expanded in October 2014 to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes for housing, jobs and public accommodations.
"I do think it's important for you to have at least heard from me my concerns relative to the repeal of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity bill. And if you live in the city of Springfield, we are asking you on April 7 to vote 'yes,' 'yes' to the repeal of the ordinance," said Lindell, whose church attracts about 9,000 people weekly, in the March 15 sermon highlighted by News-Leader.
"It is possible for someone who has practiced a life of adultery to stop," he noted in the sermon. "It is possible for someone who has been a life-long alcoholic to stop. It is possible for somebody who has a cutting tongue and a big mouth to stop. It is possible for someone who is engaged in homosexual behavior to stop."
Despite the issue being a political conversation that could land Rev. Lindell in trouble with the IRS for speaking out, he charged that what he's doing is perfectly legal but warned that if Christians don't stand up against the ordinance, speaking out like he's doing could soon be against the law.
"Addressing this topic or the subject of the upcoming vote from the pulpit is not against the law in this country, although it may be in the future. Nor is it outside the parameters of a Gospel ministry," he explained.
"Let me put it to you this way: To those who struggle with same-sex attraction and say God made me this way, Paul's point in Romans 1 is that our human nature has turned against what God intended and that is at the heart of all sin," charged Lindell.
"Lest we think of God's judgment primarily being lightning bolts falling from heaven on people, God's judgment as it is expressed in Roman's chapter 1 is that He gives every human being who rejects His Word and His way over to their own desires, which is a catastrophic judgment. We all have desires that are warped as a result of our fallen nature: pride, selfishness, greed, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, envy, covetousness, chemical addiction. Our desires for things God has forbidden is a reflection of how sin has distorted us rather than a reflection of how Christ has made us," he noted.
"If you're a Christian living in the city limits of Springfield, I urge you to vote yes for the repeal of the ordinance. As you leave today, we'll have ['yes' signs available for you to take with you to display.] And part of the reason the signs are going up is just simply the ballot language is confusing. You'd think if you were against the ordinance you'd vote 'no,' but no, you need to vote 'yes,' because you are for repealing the ordinance; so it's a bit confusing," he continued.
"All of us need to pray, we need to pray for the well-being of our city. For some who are sitting there and you are saying 'well, you know, at least we don't live in Springfield.' "Let me just encourage you to consider that what happens in Springfield will happen in the rest of the area," he said.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Kelsey Harkness /March 20, 2015| The Daily Signal|
Religiously affiliated schools in the nation’s capital could soon be forced to formally fund and recognize student groups like LGBT organizations, whose mission conflicts with the schools’ religious beliefs.
The measure in question, called The Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, is one of two pieces of legislation passed by the D.C. Council that supporters say will prevent LGBT students from being discriminated against, and opponents argue is an intrusion on the freedoms to religion and speech.
Catholic University of America, located in Washington D.C., is one institution that feels threatened by the proposal.
“It’s the government telling us how to run our school and the government telling us how seriously we can carry out our religious mission,” said Larry Morris, general counsel for Catholic University. “We should be able to operate our school with regard to benefits we provide to employees, with regard to recognition, operation and funding of student organizations, in a way that’s consistent with our faith.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., sees it differently. She says the measure will protect students from being discriminated against by their schools or universities for their sexual orientation.
“[W]e are not going to have our LGBT students stigmatized and denied by their own universities and schools,” she said last week in a press release defending the legislation.
Morris maintains, “It’s not a matter of discrimination at all.” He says students are already free to meet and discuss issues of their choice. The difference, he says, is that under the Human Rights Amendment Act, Catholic schools would be forced to formally recognize and possibly devote funding to those groups.
“Any group of students can meet and do or talk about most anything,” Morris said. “All we are talking about here is the government requiring us to recognize and give a platform to an organization that would advocate positions that are contrary to the church’s teaching.”
The Human Rights Amendment Act would eliminate the long-standing “Armstrong Amendment,” which was created to exempt religious schools in D.C. from being forced into violating their beliefs about human sexuality by “promoting, encouraging, or condoning any homosexual act, lifestyle, orientation, or belief.”
>>> Commentary: Protecting Freedom in the District of Columbia
The Human Rights Amendment Act won the approval of the D.C. Council and was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier this year. But because all D.C. legislation must be transmitted to Congress for a 30-day review period before it can take effect, Congress—with the president’s signature—has the power to stop it.
On Wednesday, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and James Lankford, R-Okla., attempted to do just that, introducing resolutions of disapproval that, if passed and signed by the president, would effectively overturn both the Human Rights Amendment Act and the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, which critics say could force pro-life organizations into hiring pro-choice employees.
Cruz and Lankford will face strong pushback from a coalition of about 50 national and local groups, which on Monday sent a letter urging Congress to “oppose any effort in Congress, including through resolutions of disapproval, that would prevent two bills recently passed by the District of Columbia Council from taking effect.”
In it, they wrote:
Because of the central role that access to education plays in personal and professional development, eliminating discrimination in education has long been recognized as a government interest of the utmost importance. D.C. has a substantial and compelling interest in ensuring that educational institutions in the District afford all students equal access to school facilities and services.
Tom Burnford, the secretary for education for the Archdiocese of Washington—which oversees 20 K-12 schools in D.C.—argues that Catholic schools are being discriminated against.
“I think the irony is…it’s the government getting involved in a religious school in the name of antidiscrimination, but what it’s really doing is discriminating against the school by penalizing those schools that don’t share the government’s view on so-called marriage and human sexuality,” Burnford told The Daily Signal.
Burnford believes the legislation would undermine the purpose of parents choosing to send their children to religiously affiliated schools.
“[Parents] choose to send their child to a Catholic school because they know their child or high school student will be taught a specific set of values—a specific faith,” he said. “What’s problematic is when the government starts interfering to determine what those values are.”
Friday, March 20, 2015
March 20, 2015|5:37 am| The Christian Post|
A Massachusetts Christian academic institute under fire for maintaining a policy for students and faculty that only allows for sex within heterosexual marriage has reaffirmed its stance.
Gordon College, a Christian school located in Wenham, announced earlier this week that it's maintaining its conduct policy barring sex outside of marriage, including adultery and homosexuality.
Administrators at the college also announced Monday that they will form a task force called "Life Together" that will aim to work on human sexuality issues in the campus community.
Rick Sweeney, vice president of marketing and communications atGordon College, provided The Christian Post with a statement from the academic institution on the matter.
"The taskforce, whose name is inspired by the Dietrich Bonhoeffer book of the same title, is one of several new initiatives focused on three key areas — residence life, campus programming and the overall educational experience," reads the statement.
"In addition, Gordon is bolstering its anti-bullying policies to ensure it is best serving all students. Gordon will conduct biennial surveys to assess the wellbeing of students as it relates to sexuality and sexual identity."
In an interview with CP, Sweeney explained the reasoning underpinning the decision on the part of Gordon's Board of Trustees.
"It was important to be clear [Gordon] supports the institutional commitment to orthodox biblical teaching around human sexuality," said Sweeney.
"At the same time, the college leadership is committed to ensuring we support and care for all students including those of diverse characteristics and backgrounds … while remaining faithful to our underlying Christian theological framework."
Over the past year, Gordon had made headlines over its official position that students and faculty cannot engage in sex outside of marriage or homosexual activities.
Last July, Salem's government ended its contract with Gordon over usage of the city's Old Town Hall due to the academic institute's ban on homosexual behavior.
Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll told CP in an earlier interview that Gordon College's "behavioral standards" policy was "in violation of the LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that was unanimously adopted by the Salem City Council."
"The city does not contract with private parties that willfully discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation," said Driscoll."… [T]he city terminated the contract because Gordon's behavioral standards code conflicted with our fully LGBT inclusive non-discrimination ordinance. It is not discriminatory to reject discrimination."
Gordon's recent reaffirmation comes as part of their process of discernment surrounding a pending report meant for their accreditor, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Last September, NEASC's Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and Gordon released a joint statement noting that Gordon was to undergo a process of discernment as to whether or not their policy on human sexuality was discriminatory.
Barbara Brittingham, president of the NEASC Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, provided CP with a copy of the joint statement.
"The commission has asked the college to submit a report for consideration at the commission's September 2015 meeting describing the process and its outcomes, to ensure that the College's policies and processes are non-discriminatory and that it ensures its ability to foster an atmosphere that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds," reads the statement from last year.
Brittingham explained to CP that Gordon is not under investigation for its policy and the institution is not on trial for maintaining its position on human sexuality.
"Gordon College is accredited through NEASC's Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and has been so continuously since 1961. The commission has enjoyed a positive relationship with Gordon College," said Brittingham.
"As indicated by the joint statement, the commission has asked Gordon College to submit a report for consideration at the commission's September meeting describing the college's discernment process and its outcomes."
Thursday, March 19, 2015
March 18, 2015|3:51 pm| The Christian Post|
A wedding videographer in Ohio could face legal action after she declined to shoot a lesbian couples' wedding ceremony because it would have conflicted with her biblical understanding that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
When Jenn Moffitt and her partner Jerra Kincely were searching in February for a videographer to film their wedding, they sent an email inquiry to a local video production company called Next Door Stories in Bexley, Ohio, a town in the Columbus suburbs.
CNN reports that the couple got an email back from the company's owner, Courtney Schmackers, on Feb. 4 politely informing them that she doesn't offer her services for same-sex weddings.
"Hello, Thank you for reaching out about wedding videography. How did you hear about Next Door Stories?" Schmackers' email asked. "Unfortunately at this time I do not offer services for same-sex weddings, but thank you for your inquiry!"
In an interview with CNN that was published Monday, Moffitt said that she was stunned by Schmackers' response to her request.
"I couldn't believe it," Moffitt explained. "It is a small business, and I thought this was a tight-knit community. We wanted to support local commerce and to get that kind of response was astounding."
Moffitt and Kincely have filed a complaint against Next Door Stories with the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce. The couple has also taken to Facebook to explain the conflict, which has stirred outrage among gay rights advocates, which has shined a negative light on Schmackers' business.
Although Schmackers' refused to provide a comment to CNN on why she refused to provide her services to the lesbian couple, The Daily Mail reports that Schmackers took to Facebook to explain her decision.
"I made a business decision based on my spiritual beliefs and the biblical definition of marriage because I thought that I had a right to that," Schmackers wrote. "Unfortunately, I gave the wrong answer to the wrong person, who decided to make a private issue into a public platform and now I am fully experiencing the consequences. I am sorry you had to be exposed to it, and I'm open to any and all conversation regarding it."
Although the couple filed the complaint, Ohio is one of 13 states that does not allow same-sex marriages, and Bexley is also a municipality that does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Additionally, the Bexley Chamber of Commerce does not prohibit its members from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
The Bexley Chamber of Commerce issued a statement through Facebook on Monday condemning Schmackers' refusal of service. The post continued by stating that board members have decided that the chamber's policy must be changed so that this type of "discrimination" does not happen again.
"At our Feb. 11 board meeting, we discussed in detail how the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce could ensure this does not happen again. The Chamber Board believes that discrimination in any form is wrong and should not be tolerated. At this meeting, the board agreed that our membership policy must be revised to reflect this. We began the process of re-writing [sic] our policies and guidelines."
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
March 18, 2015|9:47 am| The Christian Post|
The California Supreme Court has instituted a policy that prohibits state judges from participating in the Boy Scouts of America because it doesn't allow openly gay adults to become troop leaders.
California Bans Judges From Participating in Boy Scouts Over Its Policy Prohibiting Gay Troop Leaders
Earlier this year the court voted unanimously to change the California Code of Judicial Ethics, removing an exemption allowing membership in youth organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, that it claims practice discrimination.
While the Boy Scouts voted in 2013 to lift its ban on openly gay youth members, it maintained its policy prohibiting openly gay adults from actively participating in troop activities or becoming troop leaders. The Christian Post contacted the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday, but a spokesperson declined to comment on the California cout's decision.
Cathal Conneely, a spokesperson for the Judicial Council of California, provided CP with a statement about the court's actions.
"The proposed rule change was sent out for public comment last year, and the change was supported by the California Judges Association," reads the statement, in part. "The amended rule is now consistent with the American Bar Association's Model Code of Judicial Conduct. Judges will have until Jan. 21, 2016, to comply with the new rule."
Conneely added that "the court's action eliminated an exception for nonprofit youth organizations" in general, and not just the Boy Scouts.
"Of the 22 states with sexual orientation as a protected class, California was the only state with this type of exemption — it is now consistent with the other 21 states," Conneely told CP.
Richard D. Fybel, chair of the Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics, added in the statement released in January: "The only remaining exception to the general rule is membership in a religious organization."
"One other exception — belonging to a military organization — was eliminated as well, because the U.S. Armed Forces no longer restrict military service based on sexual orientation, continued "Fybel, who also serves as a justice on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
While first approved by the state supreme court in January, the changes to the code of conduct policy that effectively bans judges from participating in youth groups like the Boy Scouts has just recently garnered headlines.
In an article posted on Monday, National Public Radio covered the change and included protestations from some within the state judiciary over the change.
"I don't think that a person appearing in my court would think that I'm biased or unfair simply because I help my sons out in their Boy Scout troop," San Diego Judge Julia Kelety told NPR. "The issue is whether individual judges can choose in their private lives to be involved in an organization that has tremendous qualities and provides tremendous support for young people."
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
By Dustin Siggins March 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) –
Lawmakers in Texas, Kentucky, and Minnesota have introduced bills that would require public schools to protect students from local transgender bathroom laws.
The "Kentucky Student Privacy Act," introduced by State Senator C.B. Embry Jr., RMorgantown, requires all people to use bathrooms designated for the biological sex of their birth. Additionally, students who "encounter a person of the opposite biological sex in a bathroom or locker room" can sue schools for $2,500 "if staff have allowed it or failed to prohibit it," reports The CourierJournal.
The bill, which has passed the state Senate, is similar to one that has homosexual activists in Texas crying foul. Texas HB 2801, introduced by state Rep. Gilbert Pena, RPasadena, requires "only persons of the same biological sex may be present at the same time in any bathroom, locker room, or shower facility in a building owned by the district."
While schools have some flexibility regarding facilities for transgender students, the Texas bill one of three introduced this session, according to the LGBT activist blog TowleRoad would also allow students to sue for $2,000 plus associated legal costs if transgender students are found in the wrong facilities. TowleRoad called this the equivalent of "the bill...[placing] a on the heads of transgender students."
Like Texas, Minnesota has seen several bills introduced to protect students from transgender advocates. One bill was ntroduced once in the Senate and twice in the House as a response to the Minnesota State High School League's decision on transgender students in December to allow transgender boys to use the same hotel, locker room, and shower facilities as girls. That proposal would require boys to use facilities appropriate to their physical biology. Minnesota state law already allows women to play on boys' teams including transgender females who believe they are actually males.
Monday, March 16, 2015
March 13, 2015|4:37 pm| The Christian Post|
Over 100,000 Americans have expressed their support for a U.S. Navy chaplain who's facing a possible career-ending discipline after he voiced his Christian beliefs on homosexuality and premarital sex during a counseling session with sailors.
In early 2014, a small group of sailors asked for a private counseling session with Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, and asked about the spiritual nature of certain types of personal conduct.
Modder, who has served over 15 years as a Navy chaplain after serving four years in the Marines, answered according to his Pentecostal faith. However, the group of sailors did not agree with Modder's Christian views and later complained.
The commander of Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, Capt. Jon Fahs, sent a Feb. 17 memo to Navy Personnel Command suggesting three different courses of action that the Navy should take against Modder as a result of communicating his Christian belief on homosexuality.
First, Fahs asked that Modder be relieved of his duties and be assigned elsewhere. Secondly, Fahs suggested that Modder be removed from the Navy promotion list, meaning that he would likely never be promoted to the next rank. Thirdly, Fahs recommended that Modder be sent to the board of inquiry, for a "separation proceeding" that could result in Modder being discharged from the Navy.
The social conservative activist organization Family Research Councilstarted a petition in support of Modder and his right to voice his Christian beliefs. As of Friday afternoon, over 55,280 people have signed the petition indicating that they believe Modder was within his rights to explain to the sailors his Christian view on homosexuality.
The American Family Association has also started a movement of support for Modder and set up a webpage making it easy for people to write to their Congress member to voice their outrage with the Navy commander's suggested actions. On Thursday, AFA announced that over 50,000 emails have been sent to all 535 members of Congress.
"I think that it is appropriate for the American public to be outraged over this," Liberty Institute senior counsel Mike Berry, who is legally representing Modder, told The Christian Post.
"This is an outrage. As far as Chaplain Modder goes, he is very encouraged to know that this many people share our outrage," Berry continued. "In fact, it sends a message to him that he has relayed to me, that the American public has his back."
The Liberty Institute has also started a petition in support of Modder.
"Knowing what I know about Chaplain Modder, reading his service records and seeing the awards that he has received, the decorations that he has received, the accolades, the letters of recommendations, to see these allegations and accusations that are now before him that the Navy is trying to use against him, I can't comprehend how this is happening to this American hero," Modder explained in a Liberty Institute video.
Modder has been accused of telling a woman that she was "shaming herself in the eyes of God" for having premarital sex, telling a student that homosexuality was wrong, and that "the penis was meant for the vagina and not for the anus." Also, he allegedly told a woman about the immorality of her being pregnant out of wedlock.
Prominent figures, such as former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and leading evangelist Franklin Graham, have also voice their disapproval of the disciplinary action that the Navy could impose on Modder.
"Today's military planners seem to think there should be nothing but atheists in foxholes, and that includes chaplains," Huckabee, a Southern Baptist pastor, told Fox News' Todd Starnes.
In a Facebook post, Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said that Navy chaplains shouldn't have to fear losing their jobs when they express their religious beliefs.
"It's a sad day in America when military chaplains have to choose between being true to their faith and keeping their jobs," Graham wrote. "But this is what's happening at every level under the Obama administration."
This is not the first time that the Navy has cracked down on chaplains for expressing their religious beliefs. In December, another Navy chaplain was condemned for telling a suicide prevention class how his Christian faith helped him battle depression.
"It's an outrageous report — one that has become all too familiar in the Obama military, where Christians are being forced underground. Of course, the Defense Department insisted that stories like Modder's would never happen in a post-DADT world," FRC President Tony Perkins wrote in his Thursday Washington Update. "Unfortunately, we have an administration that has little regard for the law, therefore we need to force them to abide by it."
As the pattern of sexual liberty trumping religious liberty in the military and public sector continues, Berry told CP that he thinks the pattern is only getting worse and more severe.
"The overarching theme or pattern is getting worse, but I think this is certainly the worst case that we have seen yet; because really, what is at the heart of this issue is that we have a Christian chaplain who wants to engage in his chaplain duties in accordance with his Christian beliefs," Berry explained.
"Since we have been keeping track at Liberty Institute, every year we compile a survey of religious hostility in America, and one aspect of that survey focuses on the military. Every year, we observe more and more instances like this occurring and they seem to get worse in frequency and severity every single year. This is really not just according to me, or Liberty Institute, but by most people's accounts this is the worst case we have seen yet."