Monday, March 2, 2009

Gay Activists and Civil Rights

By Robert Gagnon (Hat Tip Virtueonline)

Most people have not been closely following the implications of the promotion of the homosexual agenda in other Western countries, especially Canada and Sweden, or even in selected areas of the United States. Here are some results that would follow from granting homosexual marriage or its legal equivalent and making "sexual orientation" a specially protected civil rights category for "hate speech" and "non-discrimination" laws.

(1) Go to jail for "hate speech." If a "Human Rights Commission" finds that you have made public statements that "incites hatred" against homosexual persons, you may go to prison. Ultimately, even ministers of the gospel will not be exempt.

This past June in Sweden a Pentecostal minister, Ake Green, was sentenced to a month in prison for referring to homosexual practice in a sermon as a "horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society." The public prosecutor commented: "Collecting Bible [verses] on this topic as he does makes this hate speech." The Swedish parliament has already given initial approval to a constitutional amendment that would prohibit any speech that "implies unfavorable treatment" to homosexual persons, with a prison sentence of up to two years.

Even highly placed church officials face the specter of prosecution. In the Catholic Church, Belgian Cardinal Gustaaf Joos faces an anti-discrimination lawsuit for remarks that he made in 2003 about homosexuality and the Church’s teaching in a Belgium magazine. Madrid Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela is facing a suit in Spain for preaching against homosexuality in a sermon he gave in 2003. In 2000 Dutch authorities even contemplated bringing charges against Pope John Paul II after he declared a homosexual rally in Rome to be “an offense to Christian values.” They backed off only when they were forced to concede that the Pope had "global immunity." In Oct. 2003 Anglican Bishop of Chester, England, Peter Forster, was investigated by police by making the following "hate" comment in an interview with a local newspaper: "Some people who are primarily homosexual can re-orientate themselves. . . . We want to help them, but I don’t offer it as a pancea." The police chief declared that the comments were "totally unacceptable" and compared the remarks to offenses against ethnic minorities "generated by hate and prejudice."

Just three weeks ago in Philadelphia eleven people belonging to a Christian evangelistic group called "Repent America" were arrested for singing hymns and carrying signs ("Homosexuality Is Sin; Christ Can Set You Free") at a homosexual celebration called "Outfest." They were charged with "ethnic intimidation" under Pennsylvania’s "hate crime" law ("sexual orientation" and "gender identity" were added to the law this past summer). This, along with a charge of "criminal conspiracy," and other trumped-up charges, could result in a prison sentence of up to 47 years.

(2) Lose your job for not supporting "coming out" celebrations at work or for "discriminatory" speech outside of the workplace. That’s right, you can even be fired from your job for statements made outside your place of employment. Chris Kempling, a public school teacher and guidance counselor in British Columbia, Canada, was suspended for one month, without pay, for writing allegedly "discriminatory and derogatory statements against homosexuals" to a local newspaper. What kind of terrible statements did Kempling write? Things such as: "Gay people are seriously at risk [of sexually transmitted disease], not because of heterosexual attitudes but because of their sexual behavior"; and "Homosexual relationships are unstable, ‘gay’ sex poses health risks and many religions consider homosexuality immoral." In a decision against Kempling handed down this past February by the British Columbia Supreme Court, Justice Ronald Holmes stated that "discriminatory speech" made outside the workplace can be punished by one’s employer if one belongs to the "teaching profession" or "any [other] profession" (i.e., a white-collar job).

In 1998 Annie Coffey-Montes, a New York Bell Atlantic employee for 20 years, was fired for attempting to remove herself from the e-mail list of GLOBE (Gay and Lesbians of Bell Atlantic), which advertised “gay pride” parades, “coming out” parties, and homosexual dances. After a year of petitioning her supervisor to have her name removed, she responded to one GLOBE e-mail with: “Please take me off this email. I find it morally offensive. God bless you.” She ended by citing Romans 1:27. Coffey-Montes was fired for “creating a hostile work environment.” In 2001 Albert Buonanno was fired from AT&T Broadband of Denver for not signing a "certificate of understanding" stating that he would "fully value sexual orientation differences." In Oct. 2002 Rolf Szabo, a 23-year employee of The Eastman Kodak Company was fired when he responded to an e-mail requiring supervisors to promote a "Coming Out Day" for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees with the following: "Please do not send this type of information to me anymore, as I find it disgusting and offensive. Thank you." In 2003 Richard Peterson at Hewlett-Packard’s office in Boise, Idaho, posted at his cubicle two Bible verses critical of homosexual practice in response to a poster of two homosexual man placed near his cubicle. He was fired for not "accepting [the company's] values."

(3) Be fined and pay heavy legal fees for daring to criticize, or not supporting with your business, homosexual practice. Two incidents in Canada give a good indication of where things are headed. Canadian print shop owner Scott Brockie was ordered to pay a fine of $5000 because he refused to print homosexual advocacy materials for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives. In attempting to defend himself in the courts, Brockie not only incurred over $100,000 in legal expenses beyond his legal defense fund, but was also ordered by the Ontario Court of Appeal this past year to pay the $40,000 incurred by the Ontario Human Rights Commission for prosecuting him. Hugh Owens, a Canadian correctional-center guard, was fined $4500 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in 2002 for taking out an ad in a local newspaper that responded to a "Gay Pride" celebration. The ad reproduced a bumper sticker that Owens had created, showing two male stick figures holding hands, with a line through the picture, and the mere citation of four references from the Bible against homosexual practice (no quotations). Owens, who had to represent himself because he could not afford legal representation, may yet have to pay the prosecuting expenses of the Human Rights Commission.

In California businesses that don’t offer benefits to homosexual couples are denied state contracts, irrespective of the business owner’s religious beliefs. Moreover, perceived workplace discrimination against "transgendered" persons (both transsexuals and transvestites) makes businesses liable to a $150,000 fine.

(4) Have your children taken away from you if you teach them "homophobic" ideas. In 2003 Dr. Cheryl Clark was ordered by a Denver Circuit Court judge and later in 2004 by the Colorado Court of Appeals not to say anything to her adopted daughter that her ex-lesbian partner might construe as "homophobic." In California potential foster parents who express disapproval of homosexual practice are disqualified from foster care. Adoption qualifications will one day screen potential parents on the basis of their stance toward "sexual orientation differences." Where is this ultimately headed? It is not hard to imagine. Suppose your child wonders whether he or she is bisexual, homosexual, or transgendered—not a far-fetched possibility given the coercive promotion of bisexuality, homosexuality, and transgenderism in the school systems and the higher percentage of orientation confusion among adolescents. If your child then tells the school guidance counselor that you regard homosexual behavior as sin, the counselor will report the matter to your state Child Protective Services and your child will be removed from your home. The state will reason: Would we tolerate black children raised in the homes of Klu Klux Klan members?

(5) Have the school systems teach your children that you are a hateful bigot. In California all public schools, as well as private and religious schools that receive state money, must have curricula that “foster appreciation” for sexual orientation differences. An example of the kind of material that children can be subjected to includes a presentation sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) called “Cootie Shots.” In one of the skits a young boy declares how wonderful it is to dress “in Mommy’s high heals.” “What’s wrong with being like a girl? ! / . . . They are swine, I am the pearl! / And let them laugh and let them scream! / They’ll be beheaded when I’m queen!” In a GLSEN video, “It’s Elementary,” a resource promoted to elementary school teachers, an 8-year old girl reads her essay to her class stating that those who accept the Bible’s teaching on homosexual practice are stupid. The teacher gives her essay an award.

In 2002 the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that neither parents nor school boards could prevent public school children, even in kindergarten and first-grade, from being instructed in the classroom about the acceptability of homosexual relationships. This is what is coming to America. If you are fortunate enough to have your children embrace your values in sexual ethics they will marginalized as the moral equivalent of racists and humiliated in the classroom.

(6) Other Consequences. The ramifications of making "sexual orientation" a nationally protected civil rights category are endless. Here we can only mention briefly a few other consequences.

Adoption agencies will not be able to give any priority to heterosexual married couples over homosexual couples because that would be discrimination. It makes no difference that the child is exposed to a homosexual environment and would be more inclined from this to experiment in homosexual behavior. It makes no difference that the vast majority of homosexual relationships will be not be long-term and monogamous.

Christian groups on college campuses that do not allow practicing, self-affirming homosexuals as leaders will be charged with discrimination and kicked off campus.

Professionals who have affiliation with such "discriminatory" groups as the Boy Scouts or the Salvation Army will be subjected to censure. Already, for example, the American Bar Association is considering prohibiting judges from involvement with any organizations that "discriminate" on the basis of "sexual orientation."

Christian colleges and seminaries that are suspected of "sexual orientation" discrimination—whether in hiring professors, allowing any faculty to say in class that homosexual practice is sin, or failing to provide "domestic partner benefits" to homosexual employees or "married student housing" to homosexual students—will be denied access to federal student loans. Eventually accreditation will be affected since the Association of Theological Schools cannot permit institutions to perpetuate the "moral equivalent" of racism.

In order to protect themselves from federal lawsuits or civil suits, corporations will need to prove that they do not discriminate on the basis of "sexual orientation" by adopting affirmative-hire programs for self-professed GLBTs (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered persons). It will not be good enough to have an "orientation-blind" policy.

The Bottom Line

The one political concern where the greatest sea change in the federal government’s policies is likely to come is not in social programs for the disadvantaged, the environment, taxes, or even the Iraq War. No, the greatest change is likely to come on the issue of homosexual advocacy and the oppressive hand of the federal government against those who resist the false conclusion that homosexual practice is a normal, natural, and acceptable form of behavior that society should promote. It is on this issue that there is a serious prospect of radical abridgement of your religious and civil freedoms, to the point of being fired or imprisoned. What could be more alarming? Every Christian has a civic responsibility to engage the political process with a view to preventing such tragic results.

Note to the reader: For a more detailed description of ways in which the homosexual agenda has abridged civic freedoms of believers see pp. 10-18 of my response to David Balch.

Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary,

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