Saturday, May 26, 2007

May 25, 2007 - A Sad Day for Iowa

Governor Chet Culver on Friday signed into law "a bill making it illegal to discriminate in employment, public accommodation, credit, housing or education based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity." (Source: Des Moines Register)

The problem with this law isn't that I want gays, lesbians and transgendered (that concept is still ridiculous to me, like we are able to pick our gender) not to be able to be employed, get a loan, receive an education, obtain housing and the like. What I don't like is taking what many would argue is a behavior, a choice, a "lifestyle" so to speak and making it a protected class. Thereby granting them special rights.

As a Christian working for a para-church Christian organization our right to association should have been honored, and at the very least, an exemption given, but that is not the case. Churches are given an exemption for ordained clergy - you have the right not to hire a gay pastor, but churches can not discriminate against secretaries. One might even wonder if a non-ordained ministry director (such as a youth director) is gay if a church would have to hire that person as well.; Catholic & Christian schools also receive an exemption with teachers and administrators, but not other administrative staff. Boy Scouts receive no protection, as I understand this law.

Do we see the problem with this? It is no longer about equal protection under the law, but now it is about forcing their lifestyle on those who find it sinful. If I am in a church, I shouldn't have to hire a secretary who is a practicing homosexual, just like I wouldn't want to hire a secretary who is addicted to drugs. Christian churches, schools and organizations are not in the habit of hiring people with the knowledge of that person living unrepentant of a sinful lifestyle. This is what this law essentially will force us to do when faced with a homosexual unless we have other documented grounds for not hiring that individual. This is deplorable. I'm looking forward to 2008, I for one am going to remember what this year's General Assembly has done and will do my very best to remind those around me a well.


Noah Braymen said...

I saw this as well. I see three possibilities (I'm sure there are more). For the local church (1) it very well may force a restructuring of Churches (which may or may not be a good thing), (2) it might force a watered down ordination of ministers, or (3) it might force churches to go liberal (proving their credibility or lack thereof).

This paints a scary picture for para-church organizations, particularly if there is not a requirement for ordination to serve. Also, what of the women in leadership whom, according to conservative theologians, are not to be ordained? The floodgates are open.

I think that unless a major work of God takes place we are seeing the end of logical reasoning and religious liberty in our country. Can't people see that this is a violation of church and state in the fact that the state is blending into the church? Man we better pray...

In Christ

Shane Vander Hart said...

Good thoughts Noah. As you know many churches have already gone the way of #3 - the United Church of Christ is a great example of that.

Humanly speaking it doesn't look good. But I rest in the fact that God is building His church and not even the gates of hell will prevail against it. We do need to pray. We need to pray for a government that is righteous as well. Christians who did not vote in the last election got what they were asking for. We can not afford apathy.

We need to make disciples, we need to pray for our land and its leadership, and we need to take our calling as salt and light literally. That also means being good citizens and getting out and voting our values.