The ENDA of Religious Liberty?

Special Rights for Sexual Orientation

We’re all against discrimination, so why should anyone be against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act? Well, I’ll explain, next on BreakPoint.

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John Stonestreet

ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, is set to pass the US Senate. ENDA would make it illegal for organizations or companies with at least fifteen employees, to fire, refuse to hire, or discriminate against anyone “because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

That sounds fair, right? Well, most Americans think so. One poll found that three out of four likely voters support protecting LGBT people from employment discrimination.

But ENDA, while trying to protect employees, is anything but fair to employers—especially those with religious convictions.

ENDA’s proponents will remind us that legal steps had to be taken to prevent systematic discrimination of African-Americans. But there’s a world of difference here, as Ryan Anderson, Daily_Commentary_11_07_13writing in National Review, clarifies.

In the Jim Crow South, there were “pervasive, onerous, and legally enshrined obstacles to employment based on race.” That’s not the case with sexual orientation in today’s America. In fact, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies already have company policies prohibiting employment decisions based on sexual orientation.

Also, one’s race is based on objective criteria. Sexual orientation, particularly in the wording of this bad law, isn’t. It’s subjective, based on personal perception or feelings. While the scientific, psychological, and moral basis of sexual orientation is far from settled, this law acts as if it is, and forces employers to agree.

So, says Anderson, instead of being about equal rights, “ENDA creates special rights for transgendered individuals— males who dress and act as females, and females who dress and act as males—and forbids employers from considering the consequences of such behavior in the workplace.”

And there would be consequences. What about restroom use? What about children  who would be forced into this world of sex change and orientation because of a choice made by their teachers?

Not to mention, ENDA is a gold mine for trial lawyers to file claims of discrimination against employers, who will lose the ability to run their businesses according to their deeply held religious convictions.

As Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission points out, ENDA is so broad that something as simple as an employer placing a Bible on his desk could be prohibited, lest, as the law states, the action would “adversely affect the status of the individual as an employee.”

Supporters of ENDA, of course, will point out the law’s exemption for religious institutions. But those exemptions are unclear, and certainly do not exempt religious business owners from running their business on religious principles.

As Chuck Colson warned us time and time again, the concept of freedom of religion is being constricted to freedom of worship. That lamentable trend is certainly evident when it comes to ENDA, which says you can believe whatever you want about human sexuality and even preach it from your pulpit—but you just can’t act on it, at least not in the “real world.”

So increasingly, the scriptural and physically obvious understanding of male and Newsletter_Gen_180x180_Bfemale, affirmed for millennia by millions and millions of people of good will, is now seen as simple bigotry. More and more, the power of the state is being marshaled to enforce one worldview and suppress others. Now I don’t mean to be alarmist, but we should be concerned.

So is ENDA the end of religious freedom in America? Perhaps not, but it is anything but the benign vehicle ending workplace discrimination that it claims to be. To learn more about ENDA, come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary. We’ll have plenty of resources for you to share with friends and colleagues.

Further Reading and Information

BP-Takeaction_110713The ENDA of Religious Liberty?: Special Rights for Sexual Orientation - Next Steps

Get educated on ENDA. The resources below give details and talking points on the dangers of this proposed legislation already before the United States Senate. Share this information with your family and friends.

And most importantly, pray for your representatives in the House to exercise wisdom and discernment as they debate passage of this bill.

Editor's note: We mistakenly stated that ENDA passed the Senate on Monday. The Senate voted to end debate on ENDA Monday. The Senate votes on ENDA today (Thursday) and is expected to pass the measure.



The ENDA Agenda
Ryan Anderson | National Review Online | October 31, 2013

Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Christian Response
Andrew Walker with Denny Burk | WorldviewChurch.org | November 5, 2013

Fight ENDA
Family Research Council petition

Hidden AgENDA
Tony Perkins | Family Research Council | November 4, 2013

Fight ENDA
Family Research Council petition

It’s Time to End ENDA
Janice Shaw Crouse | The American Thinker | November 6, 2013

US Council of Catholic Bishops Chairmen Explain Opposition to ENDA
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops | November 4, 2013


This reminds me ...
A related law was passed in my state, California. It required schools to allow so-called trans-gender students (such as boys who say they feel like they are really girls this week, although they are anatomically male) to be able to use the opposite-sex bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers! I received an e-mail from Manhattan Declaration about a petition for a proposition to repeal it, to be posted on the next ballot, on Monday. It said I needed to sign it and mail it that day because it needed to be received in Sacramento by Wednesday (yesterday). I read that e-mail Monday night, too late for me to send it that day. So I went to the post office Tuesday and sent it by Express Mail. They claim it was delivered yesterday at 11:36 a.m.
Fool4Christ, keep in mind that the goal of many Christian organizations is to promote Christian ideas and teachings. Under ENDA, someone who is AGAINST such ideas could join such an organization and actively work from within to undermine it.
How should Christian businesses function?
I agree, ENDA sound like a terrible law that would open many Christians to frivolous lawsuits because of the vague language regarding perceived discrimination. However, I am not sure most Americans know what the Bible says about how Christians should run their businesses.

Jesus talks about money quite a bit, and there is much contrast between wisdom and foolishness, workers and sluggards, doers and chatterers in Proverbs. The lazy employees that gossip all the time never get anything done regardless of their sexual orientation should be fired.

What examples are there of discussions about sexual orientation other than idle chatter, or workplace gossip at the expense of productivity? The employer's concern should be maximizing productivity while treating employees like human beings created in God's image.

If employees talk about their personal lives over breaks such as people they are dating, married (Christian or legal counterfeit), struggling asking for advice, wisdom and salt need to be applied. The most Christian thing might be to be friendly and build relationships appropriate to the workplace.

If a benevolent Christian employer wants to treat employees well, pray over employees, maximize profits, repent when there are shortcomings and have Bibles available all to praise the God who is a better boss, there should be no law against these Christian business practices.