ADF says policy ‘does not contain adequate safeguards’ for religious dissent and endangers women and children
By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
February 19, 2015
A recent tweet by the Charlotte City Council indicates that they will not take up the controversial “bathroom ordinance” as planned, February 23rd. Instead the tweet says they are moving its consideration to Monday, March 2nd at 6:00 pm. to give more time for speakers.
The City Council voted 7-4 on February 9th to put the controversial ordinance on the agenda. The proposed ordinance adds the categories of “sexual orientation,” “gender identity or expression,” “marital status,” and “familial status” to the city’s nondiscrimination laws.
According to a recent legal analysis of the proposed ordinance by Alliance Defending Freedom, the measure fails to “contain adequate safeguards for constitutionally protected speech and free exercise of religion.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League said, “Since federal judges legalized same-sex marriage in our state, it was inevitable such a radical change would produce societal conflicts that government, exercising its broad enforcement powers, would seek to resolve. We are seeing this already in policies like the one proposed by the Charlotte City Council. Their proposal places citizens, small businesses and religious groups whose beliefs, traditions and morals are at odds with the newly imposed definition of marriage, or the new designation making homosexuality equivalent to race, subject to legal consequences, if they are unwilling to comply with this new legal orthodoxy. Make no mistake. This is exactly what we are witnessing here.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is “an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith,” says the ordinance presents the following serious concerns:
- It will infringe 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.
ADF cites the following example: “Last year, pursuant to its local non-discrimination law, the city of Coeur D’alene, Idaho, tried to force two ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, to perform a same-sex ceremony, even though doing so would violate their religious convictions. The Knapps own the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel. The city of Coeur D’alene subsequently confirmed that it had not made a mistake: the wedding chapel was subject to the nondiscrimination ordinance.”
- 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, locker rooms, and shower rooms open to both sexes. This will violate the constitutional right to privacy and place these entities at risk of lawsuits.
For an example in this case, ADF cited the following: “[A] man in Los Angeles pretended to be a woman so he could secretly video-record women and girls as they used the toilet. When finally caught, he had hours of video of numerous unsuspecting women and girls. And a violent sexual predator pretended to identify as a woman so he could gain access to women’s shelters. Once accepted in the shelters, he sexually assaulted two women…If the Ordinance is enacted, businesses will no longer be able to protect their female patrons by preventing these predators from entering the women’s facilities.”
- It will require the City to engage in impermissible discrimination on the basis of religion when it chooses businesses with which to contract.
ADF writes: “For example, if the City were to solicit bids for a contract to provide services to at risk children, religious organizations that, because of religious reasons, cannot employ those who identify as gay will find themselves excluded from the bidding process. This seems to place the City in the position of discriminating because of religious beliefs – yet, the current City law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.”
High profile clergy have weighed in on the proposed City Ordinance.
In a February 19 Christian Post editorial, Dr. Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio broadcast, called on Charlotte’s citizens “to wake up and fight for moral values.” He urges anyone who lives outside of Charlotte and has friends there to pass along the word about the danger the policy presents. He also asks that they contact the mayor and council members respectfully, asking them not to vote for the measure.
Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has chimed in too. “I cannot see why the City Council would even consider this,” said Graham. “It’s not only ridiculous, it’s unsafe.” He added, “I also urge Charlotte Christians to voice their strong disapproval…and I ask the Charlotte City Council to vote wisely against this proposed ordinance.”
Dr. Mark Harris, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Charlotte, and former U.S. Senate candidate, touting a new Super Pac called, “Faith Matters!” is soliciting funds to get a radio ad on the air that will make “thousands upon thousands of folks in Charlotte understand what is happening.”
Dr. Harris implores people to help with funds for the radio ad by contributing at the following Faith Matters link: http://faithmattersnc.org/make-a-donation/.
Dave Kistler, president of the North Carolina Pastors Network, admonished, “It is our understanding that the majority of the Council is in favor of passing this ordinance. If this happens, you can rest assured that a similar ordinance will be coming to your city or town. Is that what you want?”
Take Christian Action:
The Christian Action League exhorts all concerned citizen Christians to respond to this threat by doing the following:
- If you know people living in the Charlotte area, take the time to forward this critical information to them. Let them know with urgency that they should respond.
- Sign the petition “Don’t Do It Charlotte”
- To demonstrate a unified opposition to the proposed Ordinance, plan to attend “The Don’t Do It Charlotte Rally,” Monday, March 2nd at 4:00 p.m. The rally will be held at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte. Some of the speakers for the rally include, North Carolina Values Coalition president, Tami Fitzgerald, the famous Benham Brothers and apologist Frank Turek.
- Plan to attend the Charlotte City Council Meeting after the rally. Having a big crowd filling the room is critical to the success of opposing the Ordinance. The meeting will take place, Monday, March 2nd at 6:00 pm.
- Contact the Mayor and Charlotte City Council members and respectfully express your opposition to this dangerous Ordinance, request that they vote “No” on the policy. Their contact information is below:
Mayor Dan Clodfelter
Mayor Pro Tem Michael D. Barnes
Claire Green Fallon
Patsy B. Kinsey
Gregory A. Phipps
John N. Autry
Edmund H. Driggs