Main | Sunday, October 26, 2014

Michigan Pastors: We'll Go To Jail Rather Than Obey Proposed LGBT Rights Law

A coalition of anti-gay pastors rallied on the steps of Michigan's capitol building on Friday to declare that they will go to jail before obeying the proposed inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in state anti-discrimination laws. From a press release published by Christian Newswire:
"We, the undersigned Christian Pastors of the State of Michigan declare our opposition to adding sexual orientation, gender identity or other similar designation to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act." -- Pastor Doug Levesque, Immanuel Baptist Church, Corunna, Michigan, reading a pastor's joint statement. The Pastors said that legislation in other states that were allegedly intended to protect homosexuals actually ended up discriminating against people of faith, citing the recent case in Houston, Texas, where the sermons, notes, and text messages of pastors were subpoenaed by the mayor.

"The homosexual agenda is an anti-freedom movement which has led to the persecution of pastors and Christian business owners across the nation, whose freedom of speech and freedom of religion are being taken from them, under the guise of so called gay rights. There is nothing civil about that!"-- Minister Stacy Swimp, President, National Christian Leadership Council "Those wanting special rights for sexual orientation are seeking to rewrite the traditional moral fiber of our society." -- Tim Berlin, senior pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Warren

"I don't know of another example of pastors' sermons being subpoenaed, except for in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. I find it ironic that the first example of that happening in America is from the LGBT community." -- Pastor R.B. Ouelette, First Baptist, Bridgeport, Michigan. The pastors asserted that the job of the Michigan Legislature is to affirm and uphold constitutionally protected freedom for everyone ā€“ including business owners ā€“ not pass laws that grant special favors, give special status or guarantee special protections for some while coercing and punishing others.
Swimp: "Let there be no doubt that, if you should decide to go forward with this grave injustice, I, every born again believer I know, as well as every pastor you see here today, shall disobey your unjust law. Here we stand, Black and White together, ready to go to jail!"

The group has launched a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and the website seen in the screenshot above, where they cite Porno Pete's list of outrages committed by homofacsists. Tony Perkins cheers via press release:
Despite the obvious moral and religious implications of stigmatizing disapproval of homosexual behavior, the proposed bill contains no religious exemption of any kind. It was bad enough when religious agencies were forced out of the adoption business, and people in the wedding industry were told they must participate in the celebration of same-sex weddings. Now, ordained ministers in Idaho are told they must perform same-sex weddings and pastors in Houston, Texas are being subjected to intrusive, harassing subpoenas in an effort to silence their effort to let the people vote on a SOGI law in that city. Iā€™m heartened, though, that pastors and Christian citizens around the country, like those in Michigan, now see the direct threat to religious liberty that laws like these pose and they are standing up and speaking out in defense of our first freedom. They are clearly counting the cost.
Here's the full 30-minute hate rally.

RELATED: Public employees in Michigan are protected from anti-LGBT discrimination by executive orders from the governor that must be regularly renewed. While there are no statewide private sector protections, over 30 Michigan municipalities have enacted such ordinances, including the major cities of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Sterling Heights, Lansing, and Kalamazoo.  The state law that would be amended, the Elliot-Larson Civil Rights Act, was approved in 1976 and is named in part for its co-author, Melvin Larson, who went to become chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

Of the 38 members of the Michigan Senate, 12 have co-sponsored the proposed amendment. Coincidentally, there are currently 12 Democrats in the Senate. Of the 110 members of the Michigan House, 51 have co-sponsored the proposed amendment. Coincidentally, there are currently 50 Democrats and one Independent in the House. As you can see, the numbers are against us in both chambers, much more so in the state Senate. The bill's primary Senate sponsor is Sen. Rebekah Warren, the former executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Michigan. The bill's primary House sponsor is Rep. Sam Singh, the former mayor of Lansing and the first Indian-American elected to his chamber. Read the proposed amendment.

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