Freedom At Risk In Nebraska
Nebraska State Senator Adam Morfeld is once again attempting to amend Nebraska’s anti-discrimination law to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes. LB 586 is known as a SOGI law and it would be as bad for Nebraska as similar laws have been in several other states. There are an abundance of reasons to vote “no” on this bill, but you should take a few minutes to learn the serious danger this law and this ideology poses. The Legislature may be voting on this bill as soon as March 22, so it is important to contact your senator as soon as possible to make sure he or she knows how you feel about the bill.
Here is a quick summary of what LB 586 will do if the Nebraska Legislature passes the bill into law (based on the research of Ryan T. Anderson):
1. It will grant LGBT activists special privileges that are enforceable against individual Nebraskans.
2. It will increase government regulation of Nebraska businesses, schools, institutions and other public accommodations.
3. It will require numerous new education and employment policies concerning schoolhouse, locker room, restrooms and workplace conditions that give added privileges to people who choose the LGBT lifestyle.
4. It will grant the government the authority and power to regulate the decisions and actions of private Nebraskans in ways the state has not previously possessed.
5. It will take precedence over religious freedom, meaning that no Nebraskan will be allowed to decline to support and assist the LGBT lifestyle, even if they do so based on their easily identifiable religious belief and the longstanding and unwavering teachings of their church or religion.
6. It will open individual Nebraskans to penalties, fines and sanctions if they fail to assist and support the LGBT lifestyle.
7. It will take away your freedom of speech.
Hopefully the above points are convincing enough. But the far reaching consequences of this bill warrant further study. This is a bill that the most liberal politicians are desperate to pass into law. In each state in which they are successful, they quickly begin eliminating religion from the workplace and the public square. Here is how it works: LB 586 focuses on discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations and public housing. A public accommodation is basically any business (including schools) which is open to the public. Therefore, this bill will impact nearly every individual in Nebraska. Once the law is enacted, activists target a few businesses until they find one who declines to celebrate the LGBT lifestyle. At that point, they report the business to the enforcement arm of the government and often file a private lawsuit themselves in addition to the prosecution by the government. Other business owners are informed that the same expensive and life-altering fate awaits them if they fail to follow the new law.
We have had anti-discrimination laws on the books for decades and they are good laws. However, we have never passed any law that forces other people to affirm the way another person feels or the choices another person makes in the way they live their life. Anti-discrimination laws have always agreed with natural law, such as the fact that a person is born male or female, that a person is born a different color or with a different ethnic background than others or that a person is born with a physical or mental disability. It is also unlawful to discriminate against a person based on their faith or lack thereof. Although faith may be construed as the way a person feels about God or their version of God, the religious protections in the anti-discrimination laws simply recognize the principals on which our country was founded. The protection of religious freedom in the anti-discrimination laws were present in the initial documents that defined our country. Even before the original colonies formed into a new republic, the Declaration of Independence recognized Natural Law and God. Thirteen years later, Congress passed a number of amendments to the newly ratified U.S. Constitution, the first of which recognized the freedom of religion.
Therefore, prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s faith is not a reason to include other non-physical classes to the anti-discrimination laws. Religion (or lack thereof) is a protected class simply because it recognizes the longstanding protection already codified in the U.S. Constitution.
Freedom of religion has survived a number of attacks over the years, most of them coming in the past 50 years. There is a segment of our society, a small but very vocal and well-publicized segment, who wants everyone to believe that the First Amendment means that we cannot allow our faith to influence us or assist in forming our understanding of how our society should function, how our leaders should govern or how our laws should be written. These people are relativists, atheists, agnostics, etc…, who can be generally described as secularists. Secularists believe that the answer to societal challenges and problems can be solved by man apart from God and that government, rules, laws and enforcement will create a good society, maybe even a utopia.
But the First Amendment was never intended to keep a person’s faith out of their understanding of just laws and government. It was enacted to keep the government out of religion. Separation of Church and State has always meant that the government cannot establish an official religion. It means that each individual has the freedom to practice his or her religion without intrusion by the government. Therefore, any discrimination against an individual’s reasonable religious belief, has always been contrary to our founding principles and therefore, offensive to the law of the land.
Secularists don’t want anyone to realize this distinction because they want a powerful government that is unchallenged by a religious belief. One thing this minority intentionally ignores is the fact that everyone, even secularists, are influenced by their relationship with God. We have seen the terrible consequences of government by people who have little or no relationship with God. These people include murderers in recent history such as Stalin, Mao and Hitler, as well as more ancient brutal cultures such as the Egyptians, Aztecs the and Mongols–under Genghis Khan, all who practiced extensive human sacrifice and/or held absolutely no regard for human dignity. While we look back on these truly horrifying villains and cultures in our past we see strikingly similar atrocities in the Middle East today as well as our own society which exterminates hundreds of thousands of babies each year. Yet instead of focusing on the true evil in our world, our politicians put all of their energy into passing laws that eliminate religion from the public square and celebrate the way a very small segment of our society feels and chooses to behave.
Back to today and LB 586.
LB 586 will add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the protected classes in Nebraska’s anti-discrimination law. What is “gender identity” and what is “sexual orientation”?
Even the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT lobbyist in the country, admits that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are feelings. In fact, they often have little or no relation to the actual biological makeup of the person’s body (also known as scientifically verifiable reality). A perfectly healthy young man may say he “feels” like a female, even though we all know that no man could ever explain how a woman feels. Additionally, these feelings can change back and forth as much as a person desires. Are you male or female? Can you honestly describe how someone from the opposite sex feels? In a court of law, we call that speculation and it is not allowed into evidence. Speculation is just a fancy word for a guess. As you will agree, making medical, legal, business and other types of decisions based on nothing more than a guess, is a bad thing for everyone.
For the first time in the history of our state it would be illegal to disagree with another individual’s perception of reality or lifestyle choice. What is unlawful discrimination under LB 586? That question cannot be answered at this time. It is kind of like Nancy Pelosi’s defense of the enormous bill that gave us Obamacare: “we have to pass it to find out what is in it”. With LB 586, we are being asked to pass it and then see how it impacts Nebraskans.
But we don’t have to guess regarding the damage it will do here in Nebraska. Due to this very same type of law in other states, small business owners are being fined out of existence and some risk losing all of their personal assets to aggressive LGBT activists and government officials who use them as examples of what happens to Americans who decline to celebrate homosexual behavior. Examples (in addition to many more) are Barronelle Stutzman in Washington and the owners of Sweetcakes By Melissa, Aaron & Melissa Klein in Oregon.
You may ask “Isn’t there a law that would protect a Christian business owner from being forced to violate his or her firmly held religious belief?” The answer is no. Not in Nebraska. One of the hottest issues debated in the last session of the Nebraska Legislature was as law that would have protected Nebraskans who relied on their religious beliefs as a basis for declining to celebrate the homosexual lifestyle, but the LGBT advocates resist each and every meaningful attempt to enact conscience protection. In essence, the LGBT activists and the senators who are pushing LB 586, say it is all nor nothing for them. They demand that all Nebraskans celebrate the LGBT lifestyle and that to recognize any protection for religious belief is unacceptable
Here is my position: Nebraska needs a conscience clause on the books before any further LGBT legislation can be considered. A conscience clause will consider the LGBT position and weigh it in comparison to the accused person’s religious beliefs (protected in the 1st Amendment). If there is a compelling state interest which supports the override the individual’s religious belief, the LGBT position will prevail. If there is no compelling interest, the accused person’s religious belief will be respected. This will be done on a case by case basis, using the facts and circumstances relevant to the specific situation being considered.
LGBT activists such as the Human Rights Campaign are flooding each senator’s office with emails, letters and phone calls, telling them to support LB 586. Many lobbyists are well-funded and very organized, but when it comes to LGBT issues, the most aggressive and the most well-funded is the Human Rights Campaign.
But even with the money and the marketing, the Human Rights Campaign and the other activists and lobbyists who are trying to shove LB 586 down our throats, we can prevail. Nebraskans simply have to realize several things and then speak out. Here is what we have to realize:
1. Most of the individuals contacting the senators in favor of LB 586 are doing so at the urging of special interest groups and lobbyists such as the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign and other groups and organizations who are not led or organized by local Nebraskans. They may have local people serving as their front, but they do not speak for Nebraskans.
2. Many of the people contacting senators in favor of LB 586 are not even residents of Nebraska. They are responding to petitions and recruiting efforts that draw comments and interest from activists from every other state in the country and sometimes people from outside the U.S.A.
3. Over 96% of Nebraskans do not identify as gay, lesbian, transgendered, etc…
4. The Nebraskans who are not living the LGBT lifestyle, yet still support LB 586 are simply misled and misinformed and are in need of better information.
5. Many of the people contacting senators in favor of LB 586 do not have children and families who will be impacted by unjust laws such as LB 586 for decades to come.
On top of all this, our effort to keep LB 586 from becoming law in Nebraska is not solely a religious and religious freedom argument. LB 586 is being pushed by large organizations from outside of Nebraska who have little or no regard for the best interest of individual human beings. Science, including both medicine and psychology, including by not limited to the American College of Pediatricians, the Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that people who actively engage in homosexual behavior such as same-sex behaviors, crossdressing, transsexualism, etc…, contract several illnesses and disorders at a higher rate than those who do not engage in the LGBT lifestyle. In short, it is very unhealthy to choose to follow your inclinations if those inclinations are to participate in the LGBT lifestyle.
We all have the obligation, as unpleasant as it is, to recognize reality and to offer hope and help to people who are being led down the wrong path. We need to retain the right to think and believe differently than activists, special interest groups and even our own government want us to think and believe. LB 586 will outlaw our ability to think, believe and speak differently by outlawing our ability to live differently. If you think this sounds like tyranny, you are right.
Contact as many Nebraska State Senators as you can in order to inform them that you prefer Nebraskans to determine the law in Nebraska, not the Human Rights Campaign.