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Posts Tagged ‘ENDA’


The Snowball in Scottsdale

Posted in Marriage & Family, News, Religious Liberty on: September 3rd, 2015
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On Monday, August 31 Scottsdale City Council was at it again.

The discussion was whether or not to proceed looking into a “non-discrimination” ordinance for the LGBT Community.

Here’s some background: Scottsdale has already discussed this issue and decided it was unnecessary back in April. Secondly, a Unity Pledge was proposed and adopted- many signing it by their own free-will to be inclusive towards all.

But, we are back where we started – looking to add more regulations with a solution in search of a problem.

There were roughly 150 people in attendance; about 2/3 of the attendees wore blue in opposition to the ordinance.

One speaker we’d like to highlight is Pastor Travis Brown from the Scottsdale Campus for Christ’s Church of the Valley.

Here were his words:

“Mr. Mayor and members of the City Council,

Good evening. My name is Travis Brown, and I am the Scottsdale Campus Pastor for Christ’s Church of the Valley. CCV has 6 campuses throughout the valley, with our Scottsdale campus located on Pima Road, just north of the 101 freeway. Each Sunday, thousands of residents, many from Scottsdale, come together to worship on our campuses.

I come before you tonight out of concern that the council is considering moving forward on an ordinance that, although being pushed in the name of non-discrimination can be used to target and prosecute people of faith. Our main concern at CCV is the harmful impact that such an ordinance can have on not just churches, but the individuals and business owners that make up our congregations.

Around the country we see these ordinances bringing nothing but division and conflict to communities. Which raises the question of why the council would want to bring this type of attention to an already-tolerant and welcoming city like Scottsdale?

Just last year, five pastors in Houston were targeted for voicing their opposition to such an ordinance, which led to a nationwide outcry against the Houston City Council. This is not the type of spotlight that Scottsdale should be pushing for. Scottsdale should be known as a place that embraces churches and people of faith – not one that passes burdensome ordinances that target anyone with religious convictions.

Although we appreciate the council including the direction to study an ordinance that will also preserve individual rights and freedoms of all Scottsdale citizens, businesses, and organizations, one can’t help but be skeptical since these ordinances have yet to do just that. None of the ordinances in Arizona or elsewhere in the country fully protect and preserve the individual rights and freedoms of citizens, businesses, and organizations.

I certainly understand that the backers of this ordinance may be well intentioned, and they want the best for our town. But this ordinance is not the answer – not only because we don’t have a prevalent problem of discrimination in our town, but because this ordinance could create one – one against our town’s robust, loving, and diverse faith community.

I respect your time, and there are many here who also oppose an ordinance. So in the interest of not being here all night, I know that most of the citizens who are opposed are wearing blue, and I ask that they stand right now.

Thank you for your time and I respectfully ask that you oppose this misguided ordinance.”

By the end of the night, five of the seven councilmembers voted to continue moving forward and researching an ordinance. The direction given to the city attorney was to determine if there is language from other municipalities that will “protect the LGBT community, while also preserving individual rights and freedoms of all Scottsdale citizens, businesses, and organizations.” In 90 days, the research will be presented and a decision will be made whether to move forward with an ordinance or not.

What is the point here? I think Councilman Philips addressed the problem quite well when he said, “I asked, ‘Why won’t you take this to the public?’ ‘Because the public won’t vote for it.’ So they are asking us to force this… waste your resources and tax money to move forward on this. Once the snowball gets headed down the hill it won’t stop.”

Continue reading The Snowball in Scottsdale

Nothing but “Cover”

Posted in Religious Liberty on: November 20th, 2013
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Following the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), some, including Arizona Senator John McCain, have pointed to the adoption of the amendment put forward by Senator Rob Portman as evidence that the religious exemption in the bill was “beefed up” or amended to more fully protect religious freedom under the bill. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Portman Amendment, available here (subsection (b) on pages 10-11), does nothing to expand the religious exemption under ENDA, and it merely says that those originally exempt under the bill (basically only churches) cannot be penalized by the government. The amendment does nothing to protect business owners and employers with sincerely held religious beliefs, and it is likely this amendment was a way for some senators to gain “cover” for voting yes for ENDA. As a sign that the Portman Amendment was meaningless, it was reported that LGBT advocates from the Human Rights Campaign as well as the ACLU quickly stated they did not oppose the amendment, saying that it was an unnecessary provision.

In contrast to the Portman Amendment, Senator Pat Toomey offered a much more meaningful amendment to expand the protections in the religious exemption, see Senator Toomey’s amendment here. Although Senators McCain and Flake both voted for the Toomey Amendment, after the amendment failed to be adopted, both Arizona Senators voted for the final passage of ENDA nonetheless.

One other important point: some have said that ENDA’s religious exemption can be strengthened in the House of Representatives, yet this seems highly unlikely. In fact, as an example of the growing disdain by some and lack of respect for religious liberty, backers of ENDA would prefer to completely eliminate the religious exemption, as this New York Times editorial says.

ENDA is bad public policy and threatens the religious freedom rights of every American.

Continue reading Nothing but “Cover”