It’s Religious Liberty vs. Gay Sharia in Dixie

By John Zmirak Published on April 6, 2016

Ever since Walmart pressured Arkansas to reject civil rights protections for Christians, and the #BoycottIndiana movement roped in huge companies like Apple, there’s been a confrontation brewing between Americans who demand the free exercise of religion, and big business lobbyists who want to keep their gay customers and stockholders happy. We saw it in Georgia recently, and now PayPal is getting in on the act in North Carolina.

The question is whether politically active Christians can motivate churchgoers and other fans of the First Amendment to counteract high-dollar blackmail of the sort the NFL and Disney employed to cow the governor of Georgia into vetoing a religious liberty bill in his state.

What about denominations that only ordain male clergy? Could biologically female students assert that they “identify” as male, and demand enrollment in Catholic, Orthodox and orthodox Jewish seminaries?

Will Christian business owners, and in some cases Christian clergy, be able to follow their consciences in refusing to participate in same-sex “marriages?” Will state and local governments enforce on every citizen the dictates of “transgender” theory, allowing full-grown, biologically intact men who claim to “identify” as women access to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, among other absurdities?

One implication no one is talking about, but which you can count on gay radicals running with, is this: What about denominations that only ordain male clergy? Could biologically female students assert that they “identify” as male, and demand enrollment in Catholic, Orthodox and orthodox Jewish seminaries? Obama’s solicitor general already admitted during the arguments leading up to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision that he foresaw yanking the non-profit status of Christian ministries and schools, churches and cathedrals that won’t perform same-sex marriages. Why would government officials who are willing to persecute Christian bakers over a wedding cake, and drive the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention into tax bankruptcy, blanch at monkeying with seminary admissions to “protect” the “civil rights” of confused women who aspire to be ordained as male priests or rabbis? (We can be morally certain that Islamic institutions will forever remain mysteriously exempt.)

A Courageous Few

In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill overriding a local, Charlotte, N.C., law that would have let people who psychically identify with the opposite sex use the bathroom of their choice. The result has been a savage backlash, with other state governments suspending official travel to North Carolina, federal agencies threatening to cut off millions in federal funding, and now a concerted effort by big business to cripple the state’s economy.

The Washington Post reports that the latest bully to join the attack is online broker Paypal. The Post reports that the company “is abandoning plans to expand into Charlotte in response to the legislation.” The story continues:

This decision came just weeks after PayPal, the California-based online payments firm spun off from eBay, said it would open a global operations center in Charlotte, a move that state officials said would bring millions to the local economy and employ 400 people.

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and chief executive, wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”

… The state law was quickly pilloried by LGBT rights groups and a host of companies, including Apple, Google, American Airlines and Lowe’s. The NBA, which has a franchise in Charlotte, suggested that it was considering moving next season’s All-Star game out of that city because of the law.

The State of Mississippi is also standing up for the religious rights of its citizens to free exercise of their faith. On April 5, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant defied big business pressure and signed into law HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said:

This new law gives fresh momentum to efforts on the federal and state level to stop government discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. We applaud Governor Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, for standing up for the fundamental freedoms of the people they represent. No person should be punished by the government with crippling fines, or face disqualification for simply believing what President Obama believed just a few years ago, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

Big business and Hollywood have engaged in economic blackmail in Mississippi just like they have in Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas to try to force government discrimination of those who support natural marriage. However, unlike Indiana and Georgia, leaders in Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas have chosen to defend the fundamental freedom of their citizens to believe and live according to those beliefs, rather than capitulate to the economic threats of big business and entertainment.

Perkins suggests that in many cases standing up to the bullies is not only the right thing to do but also the political savvy thing. “Long-term, political leaders who refuse to sacrifice fundamental freedoms under the threats of big government, big business and big entertainment are rewarded with support of voters as their states find such policies promote stronger families, stronger communities, which lead to stronger economies,” he said.

In support of that argument, the Family Research Council cited “a poll released on Friday shows nearly two-thirds of Mississippi voters want to protect pastors, churches, schools, and businesses from government discrimination.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, currently  battling Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich for delegates in Wisconsin, is a longtime supporter of legislation protecting religious freedom. Cruz said in 2015, in the wake of the Indiana debacle: “I can tell you this, when it comes to standing for the religious liberty of Americans, I will always, always, always stand with the First Amendment.”

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