Saturday, January 10, 2009

ENDA and religious freedom

In the past, I have been quite outspoken in my opposition to ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. My reason for this opposition is because the ACT once said:

"(a) In General- This Act shall not apply to any of the employment practices of a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society which has as its primary purpose religious ritual or worship or the teaching or spreading of religious doctrine or belief."

Under this version of ENDA, lawyers for gay rights activists would argue that Christians Colleges and Christian schools are primarily for education of students (especially if the colleges are liberal arts colleges), and that the spreading of religious doctrine is not primary. These lawyers would argue that Christian charities are primarily about providing food and shelter or adoption, or counseling, etc., and are only secondarily about spreading Christian doctrine.

Christians would end up spending millions of dollars that could go for helping others or for education, just to defend themselves from endless lawsuits by gay activists whose hatred against Christianity knows no bounds. Many Christian organizations would simply go out of business because they couldn't afford the litigation.

Previous wording of ENDA continued:

"(b) Certain Employees- For any religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society that is not wholly exempt under subsection (a), this Act shall not apply with respect to the employment of individuals whose primary duties consist of teaching or spreading religious doctrine or belief, religious governance, supervision of a religious order, supervision of persons teaching or spreading religious doctrine or belief, or supervision or participation in religious ritual or worship."

This meant that in Christian schools, colleges, and charitable organizations, the only people ENDA exempted were those who actually teach religious doctrine or those who directly supervise them. It did not exempt teachers of English, science, history, social sciences, etc. Nor did it exempt administrators like directors or vice presidents.

So in other words, Christian Colleges, schools and charitable organizations would have been forced by law to hire teachers and even upper level administrators who believe that sexual acts between people of the same sex are perfectly OK. If the homosexual employee later got fired for promoting homosexuality, they could sue the organization for wrongful termination under ENDA. Whether they won or not, the Christian organization would spend a small fortune to defend itself and some would have gone out of business.

Due to strong opposition from religious leaders who correctly perceived the danger ENDA posed to religious freedom, the Bush Administration was able to work with Congress to change the wording from what I opposed above, to the wording below:

This Act shall not apply to corporation, association, educational institution
or society that is exempt from religious discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 pursuant to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a); 2000e-2(e)(2))

I still don't really like ENDA--it interferes with the freedom of private companies like E-Harmony to run their own businesses. But thanks to the Bush Administration, ENDA no longer seems to threaten first Amendment religious liberties.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

This is a good thing.