Conservative talk show host Steve Deace spent yesterday talking with Michael Peroutka of the Institute on the Constitution, and asked Peroutka what he thought of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Deace called “the single greatest threat to religious liberty.” After Deace ironically cited the Pilgrims as champions of religious freedom, Peroutka called ENDA an attempt in “federalizing perversion” that is unconstitutional…just like all civil rights laws.
“Nobody has rights because of the kind of sex they engage in,” Peroutka said, “I would include the so-called civil rights laws are not law, they never should’ve been passed, they’re not law now, they weren’t law then, they aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”
Later, Peroutka and Deace talked about the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa and its supposed devastating effects on the state.
Peroutka said the gay rights movement’s “full blown agenda” will lead to forced homosexuality: “There is no neutral ground, that’s a lie sold to you just to get you to go along with this particular accommodation or that particular accommodation. There is going to be no place left to stand except, I guess, eventually they are going to force you to engage in the perversion, that’s where this goes.”
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber isn’t exactly known for moderation or mild rhetoric, especially when it comes to gay rights. He warns of “religious freedom being crushed by the homosexualist juggernaut,” says that gay people live a “lust-filled, sex-centric, perversion-centric lifestyle,” believes LGBT families are in “rebellion against God,” claims that the Boy Scouts “committed gay activist suicide” when they allowed openly gay scouts, and insists that the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) would protect pedophiles.
But according to Barber, the real perpetrator of “propagandist hyperbole” when it comes to gay rights is President Obama. In an interview yesterday, Barber and radio host Janet Mefferd snickered at the president’s assertion that without ENDA, “millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs.”
“I often say that hyperbole is responsible for all of the world’s problems,” Barber said. “And here we have the president dealing in this propagandist hyperbole.”
Barber claimed that “in the rare instance that an employer finds out that someone is engaging in an aberrant sexual lifestyle, a homosexual lifestyle, or if somebody goes home one day dressed as a man and comes back dressed as a woman the next” they would be defended by the news media, and that in fact “it’s the people who have a biblical worldview who are afraid to go to work every day.”
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded the Senate’s vote to end a Republican filibuster on proceeding to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“Today’s Senate vote is a huge victory in the ongoing fight to end discrimination in all its forms. Passing ENDA is simply common sense – no one should be fired because of who they are or who they love. These basic workplace protections are so in line with American values that most of the country believes that these protections are already the law of the land.
“Sadly, anti-gay extremists on the right have resorted to dangerous fear mongering and flat-out lies in their push against this important legislation. From American Family Association spokesperson Bryan Fischer’s declaration that ENDA would ‘represent the return of Jim Crow laws’ to Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver’s warning that ENDA would result in the ‘death of some individuals,’ their outrageous claims make clear just how far away their views are from those of everyday Americans.
“I trust that the Senate will soon pass ENDA. The question then becomes whether House Republican leadership will stand on the side of anti-gay extremists or on the side of common sense and decency by allowing the bill to be taken up and passed.”
For more information on the far right and ENDA, see People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch round-up of the top ten Religious Right claims about the legislation: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/enda-near-top-ten-religious-right-claims-about-employment-non-discrimination-act-updated
The following is a guest post by Rev. Dorothy Chaney, a licensed Baptist minister in Miami and a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action.
I have lived in Florida all my life, but here’s something I didn’t always know: in my state, you can be fired for being gay.
It’s true – although most of us don’t realize it. Here in Florida, we lack both a state and federal law protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) employees from workplace discrimination. That means that even if you are the most dedicated employee – always on time, always going that extra mile – you can still be fired because of who you are or who you love.
That’s not right.
Why? First of all, because ensuring that all of us have the opportunity to provide for our families is a core American value. Passing a bill in Congress called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would help make sure that LGBT workers across the country are protected from workplace mistreatment. It’s simple – if you work hard, you shouldn’t be fired because of attributes that have nothing to do with your work performance.
Second, my religious beliefs mean I am dedicated to supporting those in need. As Bishop Gene Robinson pointed out in 2011, “The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are filled with admonitions that we will be judged by the way we treat our most vulnerable members.” He wrote that we are “morally bound” to take care of those who are marginalized, such as LGBT Americans.
He’s right. As a Christian minister, I have worked for many years to lift up those most vulnerable in our communities, from counseling women facing unplanned pregnancies to speaking out in support of those needing access to health care. I have come to see that in order to continue my work for justice, I also need to speak out in support of employment protections for LGBT members of my community. Though faith traditions and leaders may have differing beliefs about sexuality, surely we can agree that every person should be treated with dignity in their place of work. Every person should be able to be open about who they are without fearing for their job.
Finally, not only is passing ENDA the moral thing to do, it’s also the popular thing to do. That’s true here in Florida and also across the country. New polling estimates that more than 60% of Floridians support ENDA.
Unfortunately, those who don’t support these protections are using dishonest arguments to try to mislead the public about the legislation. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, for example, has claimed that if ENDA is passed, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.” This is certainly not true. The ENDA bill even carves out a specific exemption so it will not apply to religious corporations, societies, associations, and schools. The fact is, it goes the extra mile to protect religious liberty, and it is supported by a broad array of religious groups. The bottom line is that ENDA is in no way an attack on religious liberty any more than existing anti-discrimination laws are.
Others are using repugnant arguments in an attempt not just to defeat the bill, but to attack and malign LGBT members of my community. Last year, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition went as far as using the Newtown tragedy in a misguided attempt to turn public opinion against ENDA. Referencing a school district anti-discrimination policy in nearby Orange County, Florida, Lafferty argued that while parents are concerned about “protecting our children” in the wake of the Newtown shooting, they should be worried about ENDA’s “devastating effects” as “people with some real issues [play] out their personal problems in the classroom.” These kinds of lies about our LGBT neighbors underscore why the discrimination protections are needed in the first place.
It is my hope that all of our elected officials will choose to stand on the side of pro-equality majorities rather than with those pushing hurtful lies about LGBT Americans. I was heartened to see that Sen. Nelson has signed on as a cosponsor. Now it’s time for Sen. Rubio to step up to the plate, as well.
Because at the end of the day, discrimination is discrimination. It has no place in our hearts and no place in our workplaces.
On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer spent several segments rallying his listeners to calls their Senators and urge them to vote against cloture on ENDA or, as he calls it, "The Jerry Sandusky Pedophile Protection Act."
According to Fischer, it is good for a society to discriminate against "aberrant, deviant sexual behavior" and those who practice it. Just as convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky was imprisoned for engaging in "sexually deviant behavior," so too should employers be able to fire gay employees because "it is entirely right and entirely appropriate that we should discriminate against people based on their deviant sexual behavior."
Fischer laughably went on to claim that ENDA grants special rights to gays, saying that "there's no protection in here for heterosexuals, none whatsoever ... they get no legal protections in the law." Apparently Fischer doesn't realize that ENDA would make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation ... and being straight is also considered to be a "sexual orientation":
As RWW has been documenting, anti-gay groups have been getting wildly over the top in their denunciations of the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act, which would add to federal anti-discrimination law protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. With a procedural vote in the Senate scheduled as early as Monday evening, anti-LGBT groups are getting increasingly shrill.
On Friday night, the Family Research Council blasted out a breathtakingly dishonest alert charging that under ENDA “employers would be forced to reward workers based on their sexual preferences.” FRC’s Tony Perkins called ENDA a “republic-altering piece of legislation that has the power to fundamentally destroy Americans' First Amendment rights.”
Through ENDA (which FRC has blocked for a decade), businesses would be ordered to make hiring, firing, and promotion decisions -- not based on a person's qualifications -- but on their sexual expression. Homosexuals, cross-dressers, and transgendered workers would automatically qualify for special treatment that other workers would not. Can you imagine walking into your child's classroom and meeting a teacher dressed in drag? Neither can most Americans. But unfortunately, that's just one of the many consequences of adopting a law as dangerous as this one. Preschools, daycare centers, summer camps, religious chains like Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A -- they'll all be subject to the law, regardless of their personal beliefs and workplace standards.
Also on Friday, the National Organization for Marriage blasted ENDA, calling it “a Trojan horse built to attack the foundational institution of marriage between a man and a woman.”
That’s the same line taken a day earlier by Ryan Anderson, a protégé of Robert George and the Heritage Foundation’s answer to young Americans’ support for LGBT equality. Anderson wrote in National Review online that “ENDA would create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, backed up by coercive enforcement.” Anderson also says “ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human.”
Anderson and others call ENDA a threat to religious liberty even though the bill in fact includes a broad exemption for religious organizations, an exemption that is broad enough to raise concerns among some backers of the law. But for Anderson, even that religious liberty exemption is “inadequate and vaguely defined.” He says ENDA would interfere with the rights of business owners to run their businesses the way they want.
That was also the theme of a hyperventilating alert send on Sunday by former military chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt warning that the Senate was preparing to vote “to punish Christian Business Owners.” He says ENDA will trample religious freedom and “will force Christians into bankruptcy and lawsuits if they refuse to hire homosexuals that oppose their corporate mission.”
In reality, ENDA has broad support in the business community and is backed by large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Not only that, but majorities of all religious groups – including white evangelical Protestants – support laws to protect gay and lesbian people from workplace discrimination. So clearly, ENDA’s opponents do not speak for all Christians, or even all evangelical Christians, most of whom agree that fairness on the job is an American value that is worth upholding in law.
As President Barack Obama notes in an op-ed published in the Huffington Post on Sunday, ENDA is a concrete expression of America’s ideal of equality under the law:
America is at a turning point. We're not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we're becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation's journey toward equality isn't complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the content of their character." That's what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.
The Family Research Council is asking its members to pray against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which they claim will require employers to “give special treatment to LGBT employees” and instill an “anti-Christian bias in business.”
The group urges members to pray that ENDA will “be decisively defeated” and ask God to “intervene to prevent furtherance of this law, which would plant homosexuality even more deeply into the fabric of our society.”
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be brought to the Senate Floor as early as next week. ENDA will impact private and public employers and workplaces like the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell impacted the U.S. Military. Military leaders and chaplains are now caught in crises of religious conscience over elevating homosexual rights above religious liberty. Christian service personnel are bearing the brunt. Employers and employees will similarly be required to give special treatment to LGBT employees. This law would mandate the employment of homosexual, bisexual and "transgendered" individuals in inappropriate occupations, disregarding the fact that sexual conduct may be relevant to employment. ENDA would open America's businesses to a host of lawsuits and, I predict, more anti-Christian bias in business, just as is now happening in the military.
May ENDA, first introduced in 1996, be decisively defeated. May deceptive and inadequate religious liberty amendments not distract Congressmen from taking a principled stand on the issue. May God intervene to prevent furtherance of this law, which would plant homosexuality even more deeply into the fabric of our society. Bring millions who need Christ into His kingdom, including those involved in sexual sins, both homosexual and heterosexual
With the Senate expected to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before Thanksgiving, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent – and classic – claims from the Religious Right about ENDA. Because ENDA is common sense legislation that would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the Right cannot gain much traction by opposing ENDA on its merits. Instead, resorting to fear-mongering and lies, they contend that ENDA will lead to everything from the end of religious freedom to sexual assault and death. As the vote approaches, senators will have to choose whether they will cast their lot with anti-gay extremists or with common sense.
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel appeared on Sandy Rios In The Morning, where he told guest host Wendy Wright that hate crimes laws and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be used to protect pedophiles:
“When you have laws like ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, being pushed, hate crimes legislation, that are as you point out so well Wendy, that are very vague in their definition of what is sexual orientation, we will arrive at the point where you know these people who define their sexual orientation by a sexual attraction to children want to be lumped in among those who cannot be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.”
Speaking about a Senate hearing on ENDA, Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio host Steve Crampton marveled that a transgender person was actually allowed to testify on behalf of the legislation and complained that ENDA is not about “equal rights” but rather “special rights” for gays and cross-dressers.
Crampton stated that if ENDA passed, he could come into work – “God forbid,” he said – wearing a dress and would be allowed to use the women’s restroom. “In years past,” Crampton said, “we had another word for this: it’s called insanity.”
While speaking on Today’s Issues, the Texas congressman said the anti-discrimination legislation is “part of this administration’s ongoing war on religion, on particularly Judeo-Christian values,” and asserted that Muslims would also oppose the bill as well. However, Gohmert lamented the growth of Christian and Jewish denominations and organizations that affirm gays and lesbians and defend their rights, saying that they do so “despite the plumbing that God created.”
Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver in a Freedom’s Call radio alert said that the ENDA bill is a “farce” that will “harm women and children.” How? Because employers “will be forced to hire cross-dressers,” whom Staver believes will go on to molest and assault kids.
Mission America’s Linda Harvey stated her belief that schools, and employers in general, should have the right to fire LGBT personnel and urged them to exercise that right. She said that the only person to blame for getting fired is the LGBT employee who refuses to accept their employer’s “high moral standards” and “insist[s] on displaying these lifestyles to everyone and forcing their acceptance.” She said that “no one needs to be involved in homosexuality” and that the “homosexual lifestyle” is incompatible with being “an excellent employee” as it “shows a disrespect” to others.
“Like a B-grade 1950’s horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead,” warned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a recent mailing. Perkins said President Obama is working with the “totalitarian homosexual lobby” to sneak ENDA into law, and if that happens, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.”
“In fact,” says Perkins in his letter, “under ENDA biblical morality becomes illegal.”
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition used the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in order to bolster her campaign against ENDA. While speaking to Janet Mefferd about the Orange County, Florida, school system’s new non-discrimination policy that is similar to ENDA, Lafferty said that just as parents are upset about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and are concerned about keeping their children safe, they should also be worried about ENDA’s “devastating effects” as schools will have “people with some real issues playing out their personal problems in the classroom.”
Lafferty maintained that ENDA is part of the left’s “open season” on Christians on behalf of “fringe minorities and people that are truly sick.” She warned that Chick-fil-A restaurants may soon be “forced” to hire “weirdos” seeking to undermine Christian businesses, warning that transgender people are committing “the ultimate act of self-hatred” and need “special medical treatment” rather than job protections.
Dr. “Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt emailed members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project warning that Christians may face unemployment and starvation if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes.
“The Government is now ordering you: Forsake God or starve to death,” Klingenschmitt writes. “I pray that I would choose bankruptcy, starvation, even death, before disobedience to God.”
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer warned in a blog post that “ENDA would represent the return of Jim Crow laws.” On his radio program Focal Point, Fischer warned that if ENDA is signed into law businesses will be faced with a barrage of “flaming homosexual” job applicants. “The homosexual lobby,” Fischer said, “will send a guy in there wearing stilettos, a dress and dangly earrings” in order to provoke Christian business-owners “not to hire him.”
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is ratcheting up the rhetoric in opposition to ENDA, even going so far as to say that if passed the legislation may lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and death. Staver told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk that ENDA “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals”:
Staver: “So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls. So, I mean, the absurdity of this is just beyond understanding how someone could be in favor of it. This will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.”
In an email alert attacking the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), “Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt warned that ENDA will “jail the Christians who refuse to celebrate gay weddings” and “bankrupt Christian employers.”
Klingenschmitt cited a case of a British bed and breakfast owner who lost a lawsuit after discriminating against a gay couple, warning: “the militant gays essentially demand ‘let us have sex in your house, or we will kick you out of your house.’”
Earlier this month, the former chaplain insisted that gay couples want to force Christians “to participate in their sodomy.”
So-called [homosexual] civil "rights" commissions are replacing courts across America, stacked with Democrat appointees, and given unlimited power to punish, intimidate, and threaten Christian business owners. Not on my watch. Not in this America. Let's end it now.
The militant gays essentially demand "let us have sex in your house, or we will kick you out of your house." Do Christians no longer have control of their own home or business? This is coming to the USA if we allow ENDA to become law. I've been warning for two years that ENDA would bankrupt Christian businesses. Now the Oregon government is helping this anti-Christian intimidation. Just imagine if Democrats pass ENDA nationwide, to "investigate" all Christians who refuse to participate in gay 'weddings?
Jail the Christians who refuse to celebrate gay weddings. They're coming for us, people. This is no joke. This will happen to YOU if we allow ENDA to become law. Sign a petition to Congress today, to stop this nationwide anti-Christian "discrimination" bill from becoming law.
Friends, their version of tolerance now requires bankrupting Christian employers, or any public restaurant or retail store that refuses men full access to women's bathrooms. We must take action to stop ENDA from becoming law.
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel appeared this week on Sandy Rios In The Morning, where he told guest host Wendy Wright that hate crimes laws and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) will be used to protect pedophiles:
When you have laws like ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, being pushed, hate crimes legislation, that are as you point out so well Wendy, that are very vague in their definition of what is sexual orientation, we will arrive at the point where you know these people who define their sexual orientation by a sexual attraction to children want to be lumped in among those who cannot be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.
Religious Right activists have regularly employed such bizarre arguments against ENDA and hate crimes laws. Naturally, they can’t point to a single case where a state job discrimination law or a state or federal hate crimes statute was used to protect a child predator.