Barbar Lies About ENDA. Film at 11.

Barbar Lies About ENDA. Film at 11. November 13, 2013

In perhaps the least surprising news in the history of the world, Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is completely distorting reality in arguing against a bill that would protect the rights of LGBT people, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. predictably, the lie is intended to sow fear non-existent Christian persecution. And he falsely claims that gays have “admitted” that it will “outlaw Christian morality.”

Writing in the Huffington Post, popular homosexual radio personality Michelangelo Signorile confessed that, of any potential ENDA legislation that might reach President Obama’s desk for his pledged signature, “none should include any religious exemptions” whatsoever.

If Signorile and other “LGBT” activists get their way, this would mean that churches, mosques, synagogues, religious schools, Bible bookstores, as well as any and every other business in America with 15 or more employees, would be forced, under penalty of law, to abandon the biblical and traditional-values viewpoint on human sexuality, and hire (and otherwise not offend) those who openly flaunt expressly sinful and demonstrably self-destructive sexual behaviors.

Though in its current form ENDA contains an extremely weak religious exemption that might – and I mean might – partially protect some churches and religious organizations (until they’re sued by “gay” activists), this so-called exemption would leave most others – such as the aforementioned Bible bookstores and many Christian schools and para-church organizations – entirely unprotected. It would additionally crush individual business owners’ guaranteed First Amendment rights.

He’s shoving a whole bunch of things together and pretending that the law makes no distinctions between them. With all anti-discrimination legislation, not just ENDA, one has to deal with the question of how broadly to exempt religious organizations. You can’t require a church to hire a gay pastor (or an atheist one, or a woman, etc). But that is long-established law that is set in stone on multiple levels. The courts have always enforced this “ministerial exception” even when a law does not explicitly spell out such an exemption. And there is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the federal level and versions of it in most states. Churches are always exempt from anti-discrimination laws and they will be for ENDA as well.

Religious non-profits, including Christian schools, are also generally exempt and would be under ENDA. But a Bible bookstore is a business. And the exemption that Barber wants would allow any for-profit business that is owned by a religious person who objects to the anti-discrimination law to be allowed to violate that law. But that would gut the law completely. The entire purpose of the law is to prevent businesses from refusing to hire, serve or house people on the basis of their religious beliefs. If you are a business open to the public, you can’t discriminate.

The religious exemptions demanded by people like Barber would render our anti-discrimination laws completely meaningless. And he sells that idea with this ridiculous lie that the government will be hauling pastors out of the pulpit and throwing them in gulags for preaching the gospel. It’s a tiresome lie.

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  • matty1

    Which gospel? and why is it supposedly anti-gay when in none of the four most popular versions does Jesus even mention homosexuals?

  • Sastra

    Barbar Lies About ENDA

    Never trust anyone who’s still wearing spats.

  • tbp1

    The religious exemptions demanded by people like Barber would render our anti-discrimination laws completely meaningless.

    That, of course, is the whole point.

  • John Hinkle

    It would additionally crush individual business owners’ guaranteed First Amendment rights.

    Well, then it should be an open and shut case in court, right Matt?

  • scienceavenger

    …and otherwise not offend…

    I wish someone would explain to these nitwits that anti-discrimination laws, whether they protect gays, atheists, blacks, whoever, have never been about protecting people from being offended. It’s about protecting people from the real-life consequences of behavior that OUGHT to be found offensive by any thinking person.

  • matty1

    In Barber’s world the following two scenarios are identical.

    “I heard a rumour you’re gay, you’re fired!”

    “You can’t do that”


    “Today’s reading is from the book of Leviti..”

    “You’re under arrest, put the book down and back away slowly”

  • John Pieret

    What Signorile actually said was:

    We still need full protections in employment, housing and public accommodations, and none should include any religious exemptions.

    He quote a NY Times editorial:

    The exemption would extend beyond churches and other houses of worship to any religiously affiliated institution, like hospitals and universities, and would allow those institutions to discriminate against people in jobs with no religious function, like billing clerks, cafeteria workers and medical personnel. The exemption — which was inserted to appease some opponents who say the act threatens religious freedom — is a departure from the approach of earlier civil rights laws.

    That was what Signorile was talking about, not removing all religious exemptions.

    But when did the truth ever mean anything to the oh-so-righteous likes of Barber?

  • jnorris

    And he falsely claims that gays have “admitted” that it will “outlaw Christian morality.”

    Some day I hope to see actual Christian Morality ™ that is moral.

  • Aliasalpha

    What’s a para-church organisation? Mass in freefall?

  • dan4

    @4: Huh? So we should mock someone for opposing unconstitutional legislation because, uh, a court would swiftly strike down the law because of said unconstitutionality? I really don’t think this is quite the “zinger” against Barber you seem to think it is.

  • dan4

    @9. Wikipedia is your friend, not your enemy.

  • dingojack

    Dan – are you being held up by electron or neutron degeneracy?

    If Baber thinks ENDA is a first amendment issue then it’ll be an open and shut case (but since it’s not, it’ll fail in court just like so many other appeals brought by Wingnuts using this ‘logic’).

    Now run along little Dan and play with your toys, the adults are talking now.


  • caseloweraz

    And he falsely claims that gays have “admitted” that it will “outlaw Christian morality.”

    It’s a truism that you can’t legislate morality. But now Matt Barber claims to think you can outlaw it.

  • dan4

    @12: Yes, but Barber doesn’t want the legislation passed TO BEGIN WITH because of what he sees as its unconstitutionality; in other words, in terms of your “open and shut case” characterization, he doesn’t think there should be a “case” to begin with (which there wouldn’t be, of course, if ENDA doesn’t become law).

  • dingojack

    Dan –

    Question: Why is Barber fighting so hard to prevent this legislation passing? If it’s such a clear-cut First Amendment issue, even if it passes, it should be an easy fight in the courts.

    Answer; Because he knows it isn’t remotely a First Amendment issue. He’s simply framing as if it were in order to hide that his argument comes down to ‘I think it’s icky, therefore nobody can have it’, a pretty shallow reason for trying (vainly?) to prevent the passage of a piece of progressive legislation, don’t you agree?

    Also, it’s designed to frighten cash out of his donors while getting to whine in the media about how ‘oppressed’ christians are*, and how anything that is different from him is ‘evuuuuulllllll’.

    Barber is on the wrong side of history on this argument, and he knows it, which is exactly why he’s fighting so hard. Haters gotta hate (it’s all they’ve got)..

    Simple enough or you to understand Dan?



    * read as: ‘I can’t force my personal morality onto everyone else, waaaaahhhh’!!!