Gay Activists are Attempting to Dissolve the First Amendment

By Michael Brown Published on August 12, 2016

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

These opening words of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights seem perfectly clear. They were written by James Madison “in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties,” and so “the Bill of Rights lists specific prohibitions on governmental power.”

How absolute are these prohibitions against governmental interference?

According to some leading gay activists, these prohibitions are hardly absolute at all. In their view, religious institutions do not have the right to forbid homosexual practice. If they dare to do so — meaning, if they dare to follow the plain teaching of the Bible as it has been understood for more than three millennia — they should be punished.

In California, a bill sponsored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (SB1146) would have removed all federal funding from Christian colleges and universities if they prohibited students from engaging in homosexual practice, taught that marriage was between a man and a woman, or required students to use the bathroom of their biological sex. In effect, “The bill was written to completely subvert and ultimately destroy Christian college education in California” and it has rightly been classified as “the most oppressive LGBT anti-religious bill in the country.”

After weeks of concerted national pressure from religious leaders, the bill was amended, removing the most egregious provisions but still leaving reasons for concern. Lara’s own tweet made clear that he was hardly dropping the fight: “As a gay Catholic man, nobody has the right to dictate how I worship or how I observe my religion #SB1146.”

It looks like the “free exercise of religion” is in for quite a challenge, as if the Founders had said, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” unless, of course, the religion in question taught that marriage was the union of a male and female or spoke against homosexual practice or wanted to keep men out of ladies’ bathrooms and locker rooms.

The Founders must be turning over in their graves.

In this same spirit, “An LGBTQ advocacy group has sent a letter to the commissioner of the Big 12 urging the conference to remove BYU from consideration for membership because it says the school has discriminatory policies.”

What are these discriminatory policies? Take a guess.

Yes, these gay activists are calling on the NCAA not to allow this Mormon university to be part of the Big 12 football conference because of their prohibition of homosexual practice. To paraphrase this new version of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, unless, of course, the practice of that religion is considered discriminatory by homosexuals.”

What could be more ridiculous? Perhaps the coffee industry could join forces in the attack against BYU, since it also forbids its students from drinking coffee?

These new LGBT moves are nothing less than a direct assault on the First Amendment, both in spirit and in letter. This can be easily illustrated by focusing on another part of this fundamental part of the Bill of Rights, namely, the freedom of speech and the press.

To quote the First Amendment in full, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

What exactly does this mean? Obviously, we have immense freedoms of speech and press, as a two-minute online search would immediately indicate. Almost every imaginable viewpoint finds a passionate advocate, while news headlines compete with each other in terms of sensationalistic claims.

And no matter how idiotic or extreme or preposterous these views and claims may be, unless they are aiding and abetting unlawful behavior, they are protected by the First Amendment.

You can say, “White men are the devil!” or “Black men are cursed!” or “America is Satan!” or “Obama is the antichrist!” and your right to say such idiotic things is fully protected by the law. You can say, “Gays are dirty!” or “Christians are filthy!” and your mudslinging is within your legal rights.

And when it comes to the free exercise of religion, we don’t have to wonder what James Madison had in mind. Elsewhere he wrote, “The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.”

Is there anything unclear about the meaning of “an unalienable right”? And could it be “an unalienable right” it if it wasn’t given by God?

Madison also wrote, “Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, ‘still less’ can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body.”

To be sure, Madison resisted any attempt to force the Christian religion on others, writing, “Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and observe the religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those, whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.” (Cited in Jack N. Rakove, ed., Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights [New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2006], 295-97.)

So, others are free to reject that religion or not to practice it, but the government may not restrict the free exercise of that religion, whether it forbids marriage or promotes marriage, whether it encourages promiscuity or condemns promiscuity, whether it prohibits female clergy or sanctions female-only clergy; whether it celebrates homosexual practice or rejects homosexual practice.

The moment, then, that gay activists and their allies seek to punish religious institutions because they deem their beliefs discriminatory is the moment that the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is being threatened.

It doesn’t get much more un-American than that.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Gary

    The US Government is already anti-Christian. The evidence is that the government endorses homosexuality and same-sex marriage, which are two things that are VERY anti-Christian. If the government is against my religion, it is against me. That is why I have withdrawn my support of it.

  • Patmos

    The LGBT Movement wants government to be the de facto religion. No one ever accused them of being all that bright. They are mostly selfish and insecure.

  • Daniel Boone

    Much like Gary, I have come to feel we are living in the twilight zone at best and an enemy occupied country at worst. Government mandated actions in matters of faith is nothing less than a state sponsored church, even if it isn’t labeled as such. And even if the left tries vehemently to deny that label.

    • Paul Burgett

      Boom! That’s it exactly. This gospel of homosexuality has become the litmus for legitimacy in the eyes of the establishment.

    • Eastern_girl

      Exactly, at one point atheistic humanism was trying to get itself declared as a religion for tax breaks. I don’t know if they succeeded or not, but that religion is what get shoved down the throats of government school children every day– complete with insults toward Christianity.

  • Philmonomer

    A question for Michael Brown–

    Is it ok for Muslim students to receive California state grants toward tuition at Muslim universities?

    • NickRepublic

      Absolutely as long as it’s tied to the percentage of muslims in country at the inception of the First Amendment (much like the argument of the 2nd amendment only applies to muskets). Which one of these do you not agree with? (Ps, Islam is a socio-political ideology disguised as a religion not a religion)

      • Philmonomer

        Absolutely as long as it’s tied to the percentage of muslims in country
        at the inception of the First Amendment (much like the argument of the
        2nd amendment only applies to muskets).

        I don’t think I’m following you. Can you explain more what you mean?

        Which one of these do you not agree with?

        To the extent I understand you, I don’t agree that the 2nd amendment only applies to muskets.

        (Ps, Islam is a socio-political ideology disguised as a religion not a religion)

        So it isn’t entitled to 1st Amendment protection? (Again, I’m not sure I’m following you.)

        • ARB

          He’s making a bad joke, applying against the 1st amendment the shoddy logic often used against the 2nd: Just as only muskets were known (allegedly), only muskets should be protected by the 2nd; and as muslims were unknown and unexpected, by the same logic (that is not protected which was not expected), Islam must also remain unprotected by the 1st. (I think it should be obvious that my opinion is that both lines of reason are utter affronts to reason.)

          • Josh Francis

            Actually Muslims were not unknown to the founders of the nation. The muslims were very much in the focus of the founders as the muslims were involved with wars even back then.

        • NickRepublic

          Maybe it is I who am not following you…

          • Philmonomer


        • Sonnys_Mom

          TROLL ALERT

    • Sonnys_Mom

      We’d all better hope’n’pray we don’t end up with “Muslim universities” in the US, because those institutions turn out the worst jihadis.

      • Philmonomer

        There’s one in California now.

  • ThomasCollins1

    Gay activists? There’s nothing “gay” about homosexuality, the epitome of existential nihilism.

    • Franklewank65

      Epitome of mental illness.

      • eddiestardust

        Your subjective opinion, of course…

  • Thisoldspouse

    Gaystapo thugs are the biggest bullies on the block.

  • Black Sails

    – All of this is also because of your So-Called Christians who serve in Congress. Lyin’ Ted Cruz is silent. Little Marco Rubio is silent. & so, those So-Called Christians have given power to speak for you are the problem. Don’t blame me for calling out these fake & frauds who can claim Christ & quote scripture. Satan can do that too. & besides, this proves that Tony Perkins & FRC is nothing but a Christian version of Bernie Madoff. Taking money & not even fighting the fights he claims.

    • Eastern_girl

      Ted Cruz speaks out about religious freedom all the time. You, and I, don’t know specifically whether he has spoken out about this California law, but he brings more attention to religious freedom than most other Senators. Mike Lee possibly being the exception.

      • Black Sails

        – Lyin’ Ted Cruz is just like Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton, he only cares about himself. He doesn’t care for Christians in this nation at all. & to claim he & the other Rino Mike Lee fight is a joke. Those two are so self-centered & care more about keeping there jobs than fixing this nation. Lyin’ Ted Cruz & Mike Lee are Progressive/Liberal Democratic Part members. These two alone have failed & how long have they been there? They both should just endorse Hillary Clinton like the rest of those establishment Rino’s who fund then & own them.

        • Tracie L Koehler

          Read the 10 commandments ? Not !!

          • Black Sails

            – We are not under law!

      • eddiestardust

        Marco Rubio speaks out all the time, too…

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero


    [Genesis 6:1-4; 1 Enoch 6-11]

    From California. As Catholic as Senator Lara – maybe more so. (Hey Lara, take me on. Meet you anytime at the Black Cat Bar on Montgomery!)

    The man’s right, his amended “SB” is not the end of the matter. He (they) will be back for more. What got tossed out got flipped back into their wish bucket. They’ve been through this before with the legislation banning Conversion Therapy. That one, originally, was hardcore devilish. To get it passed they also sliced and diced; those pieces are still sitting on that bucket’s bottom marinating and fermenting to boil and rise again.

    Unwittingly, Lara identified the reason why he and his ilk are getting away with so much. He is an elected *Catholic* state legislator getting away with dogmitizing (criminalizing) into California’s legal statues laws which,in effect, make Christian & Catholic thoughts and codes of behavior illegal. *Catholic* – what an embarrassment.

    Maybe worse, his (and the LGBT+ Sacramento Cabal) getting away (and a far) with what he has means that there’s been zero push-back from the California Catholic Bishops Conference (who, by the way, also sit glad happy in Sacramento). Why is that? (Think I know; so does Sen. Lara.)

    There’s been not a public peep from the Catholic bishops about either these bills (press releases don’t count): No raising of the standards, the call for the faithful to muster for the holy offense. No calls to pitchfork descend upon Sacramento, demanding protection so we can live out our Catholic lives, raise our Catholic families, in liberty and without fear. Not one hasty bulletin insert. No petition drives. No homilies sounding the alarm. From them, not a chick, chickadee peeping peep! There’s the nut of the problem. Sen,. Lara, and his cabal ilk, have astutely noted that there will never be any loud peeping from that quarter. Not under this current Roman papacy. Mercy, no!

    Question remains. When will Sen. Lara (and his cabal ilk) reach into the bottom of their wish bucket and pull out all those discarded marinating, fermenting, molding, bits and pieces of legislative *junk*?

    Invitation’s still open. Black Cat Bar on Montgomery! Why not bring a bishop or two.

    • Major

      There are no Bishops or Pope or Priests since the heretical Vatican II was signed, automatically excommunicating those that signed AND those that followed since. The Dogma are still in effect and you can still be Catholic by learning, believing, and following them. Stay away from the buildings with “Catholic” outside, however

  • ARB

    “As a gay Catholic man, nobody has the right to dictate how I worship or how I observe my religion #SB1146.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s precisely the right of the Catholic church, actually. Organized religion is different from disorganized spirituality by merit of its organization, and like any organization it can define principles and a platform it stands on. Can I call myself a member of a vegan organization, continue my diet containing steak and milk, and demand that they stop discriminating against my dietary choices by not serving adequate sources of protein at their catered meetings, which I do not attend and never will? No; of course not. Claiming membership in an organization is to claim its principles are your own. Perhaps I might be a lapsed or weak vegan, who cannot willfully abstain from meat as recommended by the organization, but I must at least recognize as true the principle that meat must be avoided to be honestly considered a member.

    • Augie80

      This issue is one I struggle with like so many people. Not sure where I draw the line just yet. Your point is well made, but consider a couple caveats. First, being vegan or Catholic is a choice, not an intrinsic part of your genetic makeup. The LGBT community will tell you that being LGBT is not a choice but is as much a part of their makeup as being black is to an African-American. Second, if the vegan organization starts accepting public money it assumes at least some level of public responsibility.

  • Franklewank65

    Gratuity equals submission. They shouldn’t be taking federal dollars to begin with.

    • Dean Bruckner

      And the Federal government should not be confiscating OUR money by threat of force to pay for unconstitutional purposes like college funding.

    • Thisoldspouse

      Were did the federal government get their dollars? From us!!! Those are OUR dollars, too, and we should have a say in how they are used.

  • Sonnys_Mom

    Attn: Dr Brown and readers, do not be misled by Ricardo Lara claiming to be “Catholic”. More and more we see cultural Marxists, who reject Catholic teaching, hiding behind the “Catholic” label, but they have no authority to speak for the church. What he has done by filing this oppressive bill is inexcusable.

  • The Painful Truth

    Well of course, they are Leftists.

  • Braden_Campbell

    “As a gay Catholic man, nobody has the right to dictate how I worship or how I observe my religion #SB1146.”

    Except for, say, the Pope… :/

  • Dean Bruckner

    Lara is the worst kind of tyrant. Unable to rule himself, he oppresses all who refuse to affirm his sinful choices.

  • captslomo

    Nice try…but freedom to worship as you please is not being threatened. Think hot gay sex is a sin? Don’t engage in it. Pretty simple. Freedom of religion is not freedom to discriminate, especially when federal dollars are involved.

    • Gary

      Freedom of religion must include the freedom to separate yourself from those you disagree with. Most people would call that discrimination.

      • captslomo

        In private, no problem. No one says you must invite a lesbian couple to your Sunday potluck, or your church will be shuttered, along with every other house of worship in your denomination. But if you operate in the public arena, or are the beneficiary of public funds, your ability to discriminate is severely restricted.

        • ryu238

          Ahhh…don’t bring in that logic. They don’t wanna mention how they ignore the establishment clause they need to be the victims.

          • John Q

            I know this will go over your head, but the establishment clause has not been ignored. There is not mandatory national religion that all residents and citizens of the Unites States must belong to or pay a “tax”.

        • Gary

          Everyone discriminates every day. Usually many times each day. And everyone, at least to a degree, operates in “the public arena”.

    • Tower of Power

      Elderly troll shares its deep wisdom from the nursing home.

    • eddiestardust

      The first Amendment guarantees the right to practice your’s called the “Free Exercise clause” Of course there are MORE Christians than there are gays. Want folks to accept you? Then stop crucifying our God given and Constitutionally given rights! Oh and while you are chomping on those ideas “captsolmo” please realize that YOU are part of the reason why this former successfully Elected Democrat is NO longer a Democrat!

      • captslomo

        Stop crucifying your rights? Oh, puh-leeze. Martyr syndrome much? When you show up at your local church to worship and find the doors chained up because it is not the “official” state religion, or the jackbooted thugs of the Piety Police kick in your door while you’re doing a bible study with the wrong religious text, THEN your religious rights are being trampled. But when you are not allowed to discriminate in the public sphere against citizens who don’t follow your particular flavor of religion, your rights are not being repressed. Sorry you had to hear that here. Btw: laying your political conversion at my feet sounds an awful like a fundamentalist father whipping a recalcitrant child with the proscribed thickness of rod and exclaiming “look what you made me do!” Make your own decisions and then own them.

  • Gary Brewer

    there are many different religions. I am Christian. not muslim ‘ not catholic’ not hindu . I believe the bible is gods word and in my belief ‘ gay marriage is an abomination. I have a right to believe that. it is my constitutional right. whoever believes otherwise ‘ then they can join some religion that supports their beliefs if they be any. but they do not have a right to try and take away my right to believe what I want or to deny me free speech. gays are against any voice of opposition to their immoral behaviors. the state has no right to tell Christian ‘s what they must believe or teach in their church as long as they are not inciting violence as muslim ‘s do. the government should not be involved in the teachings of the church.

    • captslomo

      And has a uniformed member of the Government God Squad come to your church and told the minister he can no longer read Psalm 22? Then they’re not really involved in the “teachings” of the church. You have as much free speech as you want…tell anyone you want that gays are going to hell. But, for instance, as a government employee, you are not allowed to tell a gay person or a Muslim or a Pastafarian that your religion prevents you from issuing a driver’s license to them, seeing as how what they are offends you. See how that works? Gay behavior is sinful? Don’t engage in it. Worry about your own actions and try to not force your way of life onto those who do not share it.

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        Worry about your own actions and try to not force your way of life onto those who do not share it. See how that works?

        • captslomo

          You make a great parrot, Royce, but as a master logician not so much. First, I’m not gay, TG or evangelical, so I’m not “forcing” my way of life on you. Second, by your response reasoning, if you saw an African American being fire hosed out of a cafeteria with “No Coloreds Allowed” out front, would your reaction be “Well, I’M not the one doing the fire hosing!”? Or would you feel comfortable speaking out and casually mentioning that employing a water cannon might be inappropriate discriminatory behavior?

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            And you make a great example of a self-righteous, spiritually-dead man with a Giant Sequoia Tree sticking outta his eye socket. Perhaps if you get a chainsaw and cut that outta your eye socket you’ll see that trying to force your way of life upon society is EXACTLY what you’re doing. In fact, it’s exactly why you come to this Christian article and attempt to push your agenda here. Do you troll Michael Brown? Other Christians on Facebook and such like the others? If you weren’t trying to force your “way of life” upon society, you wouldn’t be here spouting off at the mouth.

            And speaking of being a master logician, if you had even a rudimentary understanding of logic and reason, you’d understand that everybody tries to push their way of life on others. It’s not a matter of whether, it’s a matter of whose. THUS the court battles, laws, referendums, protests, lawsuits, etc.

            Someone once said that it is better to remain silent and not show your ignorance than open your mouth and remove all doubt. I’d recommend you ponder that for awhile.

          • captslomo

            Mercy, Royce. Add a little fiber to your diet and it might help that dyspepsia. Might I suggest thoroughly chewing and ingesting a few pages from the Good Book, around the beginning of Matthew or so, since you don’t seem to have much use for it. But save all of Leviticus, since that’s likely a favorite. At least the parts that don’t inconvenience you.

            But while invoking a great deal of Bibly allegory, you failed to answer the question. Is speaking out when you see others being discriminated against exactly identical to doing the actual discrimination itself? Because that seems to be your argument.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Your faux omniscience fails you. Nothing wrong with my diet nor my digestion and I’ve ingested far more than a few pages of God’s Word (It’s much more than a “Good Book”. But perhaps you think God is just the “Big Guy Upstairs” too) over the years. And it is a regular staple of my daily diet.

            In fact, it is rather ironic that you reference Matthew and evidently don’t recognize Matt. 7:1-5. Otherwise you’d have known that I actually do have much use for the book as I actually did use it in my comments to you! Duh. But that really comes as no surprise either because the Word of God is spiritually discerned and can NOT be understood by the natural man. (1st Cor. 2:14)

            So with that it is time for me to exercise another instruction given in Matt. 7:6. I will not parley with a fool and someone who has not surrendered their life as a slave to Jesus Christ but rather chooses to create a god in their own imagine according to their own ways and thereby making themselves their own god. There is a way that seems right unto a man and it leads to death.

            Therefore I’ll leave you to wallow in your own spiritual death and the only response you’ll get from me from henceforth will be in a language that you should understand… Oink Oink!

          • captslomo

            The “Holier Than Thou” is strong in this one. Pity.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            There’s that Sequoia Tree again! Oink oink. For anyone else reading, never be dismayed or feel put down by the “Holier Than Thou” remarks. Of course, EVERY true Believer is holier than the Unbelievers. Duh! Far from being a pejorative, it’s nothing more than a fiery dart that falls short and is actually a badge of honor. Undeserving, yes. But a worthy title nonetheless.

          • captslomo

            Royce, the World’s Finest Christian, once again leads you astray, SS the HTT admonition does not reference believers vs unbelievers…it’s believers belittling other believers whose faith and dedication is not deemed worthy enough. In many ways, Royce is starting to remind me of the local deacon who shows up for church each Sunday, thunders against gay marriage and talks constantly of family values….yet every lad in the cub scout troop knows not to go into his tent at night, or you have to play the “Touch the Tent Pole” game.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Capt. Slo Mo (apropos don’t ya think?) does not disappoint. Jesus said the mouth reveals the heart and he’s once again shown his bad breath and dark, dark heart. True Believers have NO problem seeing who’s leading who astray and who is of their father, Satan, telling lies and doing his bidding. (Eph. 2) Of course I would remind him of his idea of the “local deacon”! Where else would one expect his evil, wicked heart to take his mind? We need to pray that he gets saved.

            Though it’s obvious to even the most casual observer as to why he’s here. Let’s pray that God will open his reprobate mind and he’ll come to understand that one simply can NOT stand in opposition to Jesus Christ and be His follower. Oh, he can claim to be until the cows come home but that doesn’t change the truth and he’s only setting himself up to hear the words of Jesus spoken in Matt. 7:21-23.

            I can go to McDonald’s ever Sunday, read their menu ever day of the week, and that won’t make me a Big Mac no matter how often, how loud, or how long I claim to be. Jesus clearly tells us that MANY will claim to be Christians and will one day find out their not. But God also tells us the truth has been plainly known to them and they willfully reject it. So deep down they do know better.

  • John Q

    How does a state legislature have the power to decide which schools get federal funding? Not that federal funding for colleges is authorized by the Constitution, but that is another article.

    • timmy timmtimmy

      States can do away with federal Interventions that’s the easy part. The Federal Government can only dictate to states over federal funding is not to take any federal funding’s and the feds will no longer have a say in states affairs.

      Federal Grants and federal loans all have strings attached to them, where states gives the Federal Government a standing in how those funds are used and a long list of demands to be followed as long as their receiving Federal grants.

      Stop taking Federal Money and the Federals Government will have NO standing in states affairs.

  • Tammy Robison

    Sadly, it seems that the courts have already abolished these constitutional rights by punishing businesses with ridiculous fines and law suites, forcing some out of business and forcing some to undergo reeducation (brain washing) all because they would not violate their conscious by participating in the homosexual agenda.

To God be the Glory
James Robison
More from The Stream
Connect with Us