By Peter LaBarbera
Aging pop star and homosexual Elton John (pictured right with his longtime homosexual partner David Furnish) wants to “ban religion completely” because he says it promotes “hatred and spite against gays” (see Lifesite story below). People of faith are outraged, but do they understand that the homosexual lobby seeks to accomplish part of Elton’s dream–i.e., “banning” the outworking of traditional religion that results in speech and actions opposed to homosexuality?
There is an inherent incompatibility between rights based on homosexuality (“sexual orientation”) and traditional First Amendment and religious freedoms, especially for those who believe homosexual behavior is wrong. For a good book on this, I recommend my friend Janet Folger‘s Criminalizing Christianity, available on her Faith2Action’s website.
Here’s a primer on how “gay” activists and the liberal political allies (including activist judges) are moving to ban the application of religion with regard to homosexuality:
In John’s England, a Christian pro-family advocate, Stephen Green of the group Christian Voice, was recently arrested by the South Wales Police “Minorities Support Unit” simply for passing out a Biblical flier opposed to homosexuality outside a “gay” Mardi Gras event. The charges were dropped, but free speech and religious liberty are in jeopardy in this once-Christian land, with UK police hot on the trail of “homophobic” speech.
Consider the case of 67-year-old Christian street preacher Harry Hammond, a sufferer of Asperger’s Syndrome who in 2001 was holding a sign in the town square of Bournemouth with this horribly subversive message: “Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism.” After Hammond was physically harassed by youths, with water poured on him and mud thrown at him, police arrested him (not the thugs) after receiving complaints from homosexuals about his placard.
Local magistrates found the preacher guilty under a 1986 law of using abusive, threatening or insulting speech that could cause harassment or distress to nearby homosexuals–even though it was Hammond who was harmed! Hammond’s sign was ordered destroyed as if it were a dangerous weapon (which seems to be how radical “queer” activists regard Biblical truth). The case was appealed to a High Court after Hammond died, but according to the Christian Voice, “the Court held that the magistrates were entitled to find the sign to be insulting because it appeared to relate homosexuality and lesbianism to immorality.” Click HERE for another good article about Hammond’s case.
Direct, Biblical speech condemning homosexuality as wrong or–God forbid–leading to hell appears to be the most likely target of “hate crimes” prosecution (or speech likely NOT to be protected by the courts) in these early days of government action protecting homosexuality as a “civil right” or “human right.”
Ralph Ovadal is a man who uses very direct speech to rally the public against the homosexual agenda. In 1996, in Madison, Wisconsin, Ovadal, then with Wisconsin Christians United (WCU), was assaulted while protesting a pro-homosexual event at a local elementary school. Despite the hateful motivation of the assailant (he despised one of the WCU signs, “Homosexuality Is Wrong“), and the existence of a strong “hate crimes” law in Madison, the attacker was never charged with a “hate crime.” Indeed, the battery charge against him was dropped and he received just a slap on the wrist despite the severe injuries caused to Ovadal.
How differently would the case have been handled had it been Ovadal who viciously attacked a homosexual protester?
Earlier this year in Boston, Catholic Charities of Boston announced that it was closing down its adoption agency after 100 years of operation, because the Church could not countenance placing adoptive children in homosexual households, which the Vatican regards as “gravely immoral.” Placing children in homosexual-led homes is required under the state’s pro-“gay” nondiscrimination law.
“Gay” rights trumps common sense, religious freedom and the best interest of children, again.
In California, a state “domestic partnership” (DP) law requires that large companies doing business with the government provide DP coverage for their employees. The state law followed a 1997 law in San Francisco (copied by New York and other major cities) that forced local businesses doing business with the city to carry DP benefits for homosexual couples if they offer benefits for married couples.
If moral-minded businessmen, landlords–and even Christian schools and popular ministries–are forced to recognize and reward sinful homosexual couples, then the practice of their religion has been banned in this key area of their life.
Universities like Ohio State and Arizona State, citing their school’s “sexual orientation” nondiscrimination codes, have asserted that homosexual students have the right hold to leadership positions in campus Christian groups despite the “gay” students’ refusal to sign a Christian Statement of Faith (part of which proscribes homosexual practice). It is interesting to note that the campus ministries are willing to let homosexual students attend their meetings but not to assume leadership roles if they reject the group’s core beliefs.
Seems reasonable to me: do I have a “right” to be on the Board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force?
Last year in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Matt Barber (now AFT’s Corporate Outreach Director) was fired by Allstate Insurance Corp., after writing an online article critical of “gay marriage.” Allstate later settled with Barber as word was spreading about its anti-Christian “diversity” agenda.
In Minneapolis, the Police Department suspended Christian psychologist Mike Campion from its list of approved contractors for screening police candidates–following protests by liberal “diversity” advocates who learned that Campion once was a board member of the Illinois Family Institute, a state affiliate of Focus on the Family. Nobody came forth to file a discrimination complaint against Campion, yet he was not put back on the contractors’ list.
Outside Detroit, Michigan, (Catholic) Marian High School dismissed school guard Charlene Genther after Genther revealed her lesbianism in a book–in defiance of clear Church teachings. Jeff Montgomery, Michigan’s top homosexual activist, complained to the Detroit Free Press that such firings are allowed in Michigan since the state has no “sexual orientation” law. Thus Montgomery would deny the freedom of a Catholic school to make hiring and firing decisions based on its own religious beliefs?
In Canada, a Toronto printer and Christian, Scott Brockie, was fined $5,000 by the Ontario Human Rights Commission for refusing to print letterhead for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives. Brockie incurred huge legal bills defending his name. In an interim report, the Human Rights Commission said that Brockie’s “rights as a Christian were subordinate to those of homosexuals not to be discriminated against,” and that he “must restrict the practice of Christianity to his home and church, and not take it with him into the public marketplace.” (See Step One above.)
Consider also the Boy Scouts of America, which in 2000 came within one vote on the U.S. Supreme Court of being forced to hire homosexual and atheist Scoutmasters, despite the Scouts’ creed of believing in God and being “morally straight.”
It’s easy to laugh off Elton John’s comments as just another nonsensical rant by a liberal celebrity. But he is “spot on,” as the Brits say, about the real target of the “gay/transgender” agenda: the faithful practice of true religion, with its pesky demands for sexual purity irrespective of societal fads. The “gay” lobby is in the vanguard of the Left’s effort to demonize Christians and traditionalists as “haters, “discriminators,” and irrational “homophobes.” (One homosexual militant, Mel White, who left his wife to become a “gay Christian” propagandist, mischievously argues that traditional Bible believers who oppose “gay rights” are guilty of “spiritual violence” against homosexuals.)
These activists are lobbying hard for federal (“gay”-inclusive) “hate crimes” and a federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) to strengthen America’s growing network of state and local “sexual orientation” laws. Sooner or later, they will use these laws to further criminalize “anti-gay” speech and actions.
Believers and pastors, wake up: there is an inevitable clash between homosexual-based “rights” and religious freedoms, and you can bet that “gay” activists and their lawyers will not go to the wall to defend our liberties as Christians, especially when they are already smearing us as “haters.”
We’ve seen the future of “gay rights” in Canada and Europe and it is not a happy one for Christians unwilling to compromise on sexual morality. Ban religion? Well, not exactly. How about just “homophobic” religion?
Here are two terrific resources by Robert Knight, former director of the Culture & Family Institute of Concerned Women for America:
What Elton John Said…
The following is excerpted from Elton John: Religion Causes Hatred of Gays; “I Would Ban Religion Completely”, by John-Henry Westen, published Nov 13, 2006, by LifeSite News:
Homosexual activism has led singer Elton John to call for the banning of all religion. In a discussion last August with Jake Shears of Scissors Sisters and published yesterday by The Observer Music Monthly, Elton John said:
The UK Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) jumped on the opportunity to bash Christianity.
GALHA’s secretary George Broadhead said: “It should be quite clear to anyone that these days most hostility to gay relationships and gay rights comes from religious sources, notably Evangelical Anglicans, Christian pressure groups like the Christian Institute, the Vatican, and Islamic organisations.
“Hardly a day passes without some anti-gay proclamations, fatwa or edict being issued by one religious leader or another,” he said.
“Sir Elton John speaks for many when he pinpoints religion as a primary generator of homophobia,” Mr. Broadhead concluded.
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