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-Wisconsin: 5 Churches and a Christian Radio Station Sue Town Over New LGBT Ordinance

by Dr. D ~ March 6th, 2018


Five Christian churches and a Christian radio station are suing the town of De Pere, Wisconsin over a new ordinance that may restrict religious freedom. From the Christian Post:

Last November, the city enacted an ordinance that bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation and other social classifiers like race and gender in areas such as housing, employment and public accommodation. …

The lawsuit claims that the De Pere ordinance does not specifically include protections for religious organizations and that the city government has made no assurances that a religious objection will be provided for faith-based institutions.

<Read the whole article>

Response: There are real concerns that the new ordinance may ultimately target conservative Christian churches and organizations forcing them to violate their Biblical beliefs. According to the article:

The organizations fear that the ordinance could force them to hire people that  don’t agree with the Bible’s teachings and also fear that it could force them to promote messages and events that don’t align with their faith, such as same-sex weddings.

Ironically these same issues were brought up before the US Supreme Court during their discussions over same-sex marriage. There were real concerns that legalizing gay marriage might lead to potential religious liberty problems for those who disagree because of religious teachings.

Now new ordinances are being passed all around the country adding LGBT to race, creed, gender, and disability to the local anti-discrimination laws. The problem is that religious liberty is now being compromised by some of these new expanded laws.

Many around the country have voiced their opinions that LGBT rights should trump religious freedom which they consider to be nothing more than an excuse to willfully discriminate. Others of us who are conservative Bible believing Christians believe that there should be exemptions made for religious freedom which is after all still specifically guaranteed by the First Amendment. That is what the lawsuits in this case are all about.               *Top

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1 Response to -Wisconsin: 5 Churches and a Christian Radio Station Sue Town Over New LGBT Ordinance

  1. Brian

    Here is what the De Pere ordinance says about discrimination in employment:

    (d) Discrimination in Employment Prohibited
    With regard to employment, it shall be unlawful for any employers or labor organizations, to engage in any of the following acts,
    wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason:
    To discriminate against any individual, with respect to failure to hire, refusal to hire, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, including promotion; however nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require any employer to provide benefits, such as insurance, to individuals not employed by the employer;
    To limit, segregate, or classify employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any employee of employment opportunities, or which would otherwise tend to adversely affect his or her status as an employee; or
    To fail or refuse to refer for employment, or to give negative information to a potential employer of any individual, in such a manner that would deprive or limit an individual’s employment opportunities or that would otherwise adversely affect an individual’s status as an applicant or prospective employee

    Note that the foregoing applies to ALL employers without a religious exception.

    There is religious exception in the ordinance, but it expressly ONLY applies to the sale or rental of residences, and ONLY allows a church to limit occupancy to a person “of the same religion”:

    Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit:
    A religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, from limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or from giving preference to such persons.

    So, lets think how that would operate: A {insert name of denomination here} church in De Pere owns a dwelling. Two homosexual men approach and announce they want to rent/buy the dwelling. They also announce that they are Christian (note that the statute does not allow you to limit rental to members of the congregation, or to those of the same denomination). Merely announcing that one is “Christian” should be enough to neutralize the (limited) protection afforded by the statute. So, effectively, the statute gives only an illusion of protection in one narrow area, but no protection to any other aspect of the operations/ministry of a church.

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