by Michael Lucchese
Fort Des Moines Church of Christ is suing the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, claiming that the group is interpreting an Iowa state law in such a way to infringe on religious liberty.
A press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the church in this case, asserts that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission’s extremely broad interpretation of state laws effectively constitutes a ban on any speech that would make LGBT individuals feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.
Opponents of religious liberty do not simply want tolerance of differences of opinions on human sexuality. As their fight, both formal and informal, with the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ and countless other religious organizations prove, these radicals want to remake society around their idea of self-identification.
Now, it would seem, the radical social agenda is resorting to violence of the state instead of violence of the mob.
The Iowa Civil Rights Act, which serves as the basis for the government’s policy, also requires that all organizations subject to the law must allow individuals to use bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other sensitive areas based on their “gender identification” rather than biological sex.
However, although the Commission is attempting to apply the law to the Fort Des Moines Church, all activities which happen at a church constitute genuine religious activity, and should therefore be protected by the First Amendment.
“Churches have always been protected from government intrusion, and they still are. They have a firmly established freedom to teach their beliefs and set internal policies that reflect their biblical teachings about marriage and human sexuality,” ADF legal counsel Christiana Holcomb said in the statement.
“Americans, including church leaders, have the right to challenge unjust laws. We don’t have to be punished or thrown in jail before we seek justice,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven O’Ban in the aforementioned press release. “The government should never have the unchecked power to violate foundational, constitutionally protected freedoms.”
Fort Des Moines Church of Christ adheres to biblical teachings on sexuality, and has come under fire at other times for allegedly homophobic positions.
In 2012, pastor Michael Demastus found himself embroiled in controversy for a sermon entitled “Gay is Not Okay.” His sermon was protested, and he received thousands of angry emails, Facebook messages, and phone calls, including threats against his family’s safety.
What the left cannot accomplish with intimidation tactics, they will try to accomplish with government coercion.
In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville argued that tyranny-by-majority can be as bad, if not worse, than a tyranny of aristocrats.
“In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion,” Tocqueville wrote, “within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them…but he is exposed to continued obloquy and persecution… Then those who blame him criticize loudly and those who think as he does keep quiet and move away without courage. He yields at length, overcome by the daily effort which he has to make, and subsides into silence, as if he felt remorse for having spoken the truth.”
The goal of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is clear: Through censorship and burdensome regulation, they would force those who adhere to and promote traditional morality to “yield at length.” Tolerance is not at the heart of the social left’s goals. Acceptance is the mantra of the movement, and religious Americans are caught in the crosshairs.
Michael Lucchese works for the American Principles Project.