The Supreme Court of California recently ruled that judges can no longer be affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America.
- California is one of 47 states that bans its judges from belonging to organizations that discriminate against certain groups of people. In more than half of these instances, we are talking about discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex.
- In the twenty-two states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, like California, the issue gets a lot more complicated. In 1996, California’s Supreme Court ruled that judges could not belong to groups that “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation, but they carved out three exceptions: the military, religious groups, and youth organizations like the Boy Scouts.
To understand what’s going on here, we first have to do a bit of verbal reorientation. The issue isn’t or ever has been a matter of “orientation” but rather behavior. No one is recommending discriminating against a man oriented towards adultery or bigamy. However, there are laws against acting out on these impulses. Likewise, employers do not give tests to determine whether or not the potential employee is oriented towards theft or assault. However, they might check their criminal record to see if the prospect has acted out in these areas. That’s their legal right!
Behavior is one thing; orientation is another. Laws rightfully discriminate against theft, assault, and rape and not against orientations. Similarly, the church regards these behaviors as sins. We are all orientated to sin, but we need not act out on our orientation, and this makes all the difference. Likewise, the church doesn’t call an orientation a sin. After all, we are all tempted to sin, even Jesus (Heb. 4:15-16).
An advisory panel to the Supreme Court of California [SCC] had issued a report advising that:
- “Because the Boy Scouts of America [BSA] continues to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation . . . eliminating the exception and prohibiting judges from being members of or playing a leadership role in the Boy Scouts would enhance public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.”
Although the BSA does not discriminate against gay youth, they do discriminate against gay leaders, and understandably so. The BSA has disclosed a long and sad history of the sexual molestation of youth by homosexual leaders. Should society not endorse this understandable discrimination? Of course, they should! Should judges be tossed off the bench because of their association with BSA? Does such involvement cause questions about their impartiality? Of course not!
If their association with the BSA compromises their impartiality, why not also their association with a political group – the democratic party? Of course, such logic would require a judge to live in an antiseptic world without any prior opinions or affiliations. It would also require that a judge to not have any prior rulings, all of which could suggest partiality. This is, of course, ridiculous, as is the California ruling. But it is even worse than that. It is hypocritical! Do not the members of the SCC also have affiliations that might call into question their impartiality? Of course!
Their logic also paves the way for a massive assault against the church and anyone with any church affiliations. After all, the church discriminates. Many do not ordain women or unrepented sinners, let alone unrepented homosexuals! Wouldn’t such an affiliation give the impression of partiality? According to this hypocritical logic, it would!
The next step then becomes a matter of “logic” – ban anyone from office who has any affiliation with a biblically oriented church!
Already, many are operationalizing this twisted “logic”:
- Kelvin Cochran, chief of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, was suspended in November after he wrote a short book, a portion of which conveys the biblical view of homosexuality. He gave copies of the book, Who Told You That You Were Naked? (self-published in November 2013), to a few co-workers he knew to be strong Christians – but three city employees also received a copy without asking for one.
- Mayor Kasim Reed now has fired Cochran after suspending him for a month without pay, saying "his actions and decision-making undermine his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse work force." Cochran, a firefighter for more than three decades, otherwise had no blemish on his record.
Perhaps, instead, we need to be able to overlook differences of opinion. Do we want a world where no one can have an opinion deemed offensive? Instead, Reed fired Cochran claiming that his views prevent him from “effectively manage a large, diverse work force." However, he hasn’t been able to demonstrate any deficit in Cochran’s management. It would be equivalent to firing Mayor Reed because his commitment to his party prevents him from managing effectively. What hypocrisy!
Reed rests his decision on “the city's nondiscrimination policy.” However, it is Reed who is discriminating against Cochran, denying him his constitutional rights of the freedoms of religion and expression:
- The mayor has stated publicly that Cochran's "personal religious beliefs are not the issue," but that the city's nondiscrimination policy is "nonnegotiable."
The implications of such a ruling are far-reaching. If a public employee cannot express his religious opinions, even off-the-job, and cannot associate with a group that has views currently regarded as “discriminatory,” no Christian is safe, no business is safe, no public engagement is safe for the political outsider. Even social media may soon become off-limits to those who “discriminate,” even if just in their thought-life or associations.
Such decisions will compel people-of-faith to violate their conscience or to live fearfully in silence. For another example:
- An employee of Ford Motor Company lost his job last year for expressing his Christian beliefs when asked by the company for his feedback. Now he is asking for federal intervention on his behalf. Thomas Banks worked for Ford in Michigan for more than three years as a product engineer. But one day he received an email, left a message in the comments section, and two weeks later – in August 2014 – was fired after being told he had violated Ford's anti-harassment policy.
Harassment? Having a politically incorrect belief is now harassment! However, the secularist is oblivious to this unconstitutional grab of our basic human rights. Nor will he care until he becomes the object of such injustice!
- The Christian couple who declined to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple in 2013 were found guilty of unlawful discrimination by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries January 29. Aaron and Melissa Klein reportedly rejected the baking request in January 2013, saying same-sex marriage conflicted with their their religious beliefs. Now the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery owners will have to pay the two women up to $75,000 per person who filed the complaint.
As a result, the Kleins have lost their business, as have many others, but who cares! Instead, the Mainstream Media spins this as a victory against their right to discriminate. However, this is not at all the issue. This Christian couple has gladly served gays, as have many others now forced out of business. Instead, it is not about the Kleins discriminating against gays, but the State discriminating against the Kleins, coercing them to perform acts that violate their sincerely held beliefs. It would be like coercing a Muslim photographer to film an orgy or a gay baker to inscribe a cake, “Yes to Traditional Marriage.”
I am not left unmoved by these decisions and the direction of this nation. Instead, it has caused me to pray more and to draw closer to God and church, as we are encouraged:
- Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
And that Day is approaching:
- "All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” (John 16:1-2)
This is the evil I see all around us. But evil is now called “good,” and good is now called “evil.” Terror has become “workplace violence” committed by the deprived and the mentally ill, not by culpable human beings. Meanwhile, those who are committed to loving others and the welfare of their communities are hated, vilified, and deprived of livelihood. We have left the domain of reason into one of immediate fulfillment at any cost. Lord, come quickly!