America is in the midst of a moral revolution. With debate still raging over the deceptively named Missouri Non-discrimination Act (MONA), Missouri’s battle over this dangerous legislation reflects a nation besieged by moral revolution. British theologian Theo Hobson argues that for revolution to occur, three conditions have to be met: (1) What is condemned must be celebrated; (2) What was celebrated must be condemned; (3) Those who will not celebrate must be condemned.
A May 2001 Gallup poll found 53 percent of Americans felt the homosexual lifestyle was morally wrong, with 40 percent saying it was morally acceptable. By May 2018, Gallup poll findings had reversed with only 30 percent of Americans saying the homosexual lifestyle is morally wrong, while 67 percent said it was morally acceptable. There was a time in our nation when sodomy was outlawed. Today only 12 states have laws banning sodomy (Missouri is not one of them), even though the U.S. Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional in 2003. In 2004, Missouri voters by a 70-29 percent margin voiced their opposition to same-sex “marriage,” joining more than 30 other states in expressing the same view. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court overruled those states, legalizing government-supported same-sex “marriage” in 2015. Moral revolution indeed.
Some 21 times MONA has been introduced in the Missouri General Assembly and 21 times it has failed to gain passage. Why? Missourians do not want it. Why? I theorize four reasons: It represents the greatest threat to First Amendment rights, lingering resentment by voting Missourians that the U.S. Supreme Court usurped the people’s will by forcing same-sex “marriage” on the states, Congress’s perceived favoritism toward LGBT people with passage of unjustified hate crime legislation, and insufficient evidence there is widespread discrimination against LGBT people in Missouri – at least not enough requiring government intervention.
So what is MONA and who is behind it? This year’s version of the bill was sponsored by two homosexual members of the Missouri House, Reps. Greg Razer (D-Kansas City) and Tom Hannegan (R-St. Charles). Make no mistake, the full force of the national LGBT movement is behind it as well (more on this later). The bill prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This would include discrimination against housing, denial of loans or other financial assistance, denial of membership into an organization relating to the selling or renting of dwellings, unlawful employment practices, and denial of the right to use public accommodations. It also changes the laws pertaining to complaints filed with the Missouri Human Rights Commission by redefining “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”
It sounds innocent enough – until we “pull back the curtains.” Its impact could be far-reaching, touching areas of our lives we never suspected. For starters, let’s examine how MONA presents a threat to the religious liberty of Missouri Southern Baptists.
1. The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home will be forced to either violate their conviction that every child deserves a mother and a father or to possibly close its doors.
2. MONA could force Baptist student groups to allow homosexuals to be considered for leadership and if they refuse, they will be kicked off campus and publicly condemned.
3. It could force churches to allow LGBT functions in their fellowship halls or on church property.
4. It will not allow Missouri Baptists, who own businesses, to operate them according to their faith. The “free exercise” of religion will be curtailed. Florists, photographers, painters, bakers, bed and breakfasts and many other small businesses will risk fines or have the government shut them down. And you will no longer be able to fire a person for reporting to work as a cross-dresser or flaunting their sexuality. It will also force employers to cover abortions and sex “reassignment” procedures.
5. It will ban ministries which aid LGBT people wanting to leave the lifestyle.
6. It will force all schools and businesses to open their women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and sports teams to boys who “identify as” girls and to men who “identify as” women.
Then there are the not so obvious dangers. Because MONA amends words like “sex,” adding the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity” in Missouri Human Rights Commission law, it will suddenly treat people as racists if they dare dissent from the left’s ideology on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Freedom of speech will be curtailed.
Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act will crumble if MONA passes, leaving our churches exposed to a variety of possible legal challenges, some of which smaller, often rural churches will not be able to defend. Such could force them to close, perhaps leaving communities without a church.
The latest debate over MONA occurred May 8 in the House of Representatives’ General Laws Committee before a packed hearing room at the State Capitol. Republican House leadership granted Razer and Hannegan a hearing, but the bill is not expected to receive a vote either in committee or in the full House or Senate before the General Assembly ended its session May 17.
I testified in behalf of the Missouri Baptist Convention in opposing MONA. I was joined by the Missouri Conference of Catholic Bishops and other ministry and business organizations.
One of the hearing’s key moments came when State Rep. Tracy McCreery (D-St. Louis), quizzed Amanda Smith, a former cross-dresser who left the lifestyle due to support from her church and now runs a ministry that applies biblical principles to people wanting to leave the LGBT lifestyle. McCreery seemed to be attempting a “smear” by introducing the subject of conversion therapy, though Smith had made it clear that her ministry relied solely on the Bible and was spiritual in nature. “Conversion therapy is junk,” McCreery said. But God can change any heart and He does not deal in junk.
Smear tactics by MONA supporters are not unusual. Razer recently mentioned the Westboro Baptist Church in a newspaper interview. Westboro is a tiny group of discredited, radical Kansans whom liberals like to associate with other Baptist groups. Razer frequently blurts the “Christian bigotry” balderdash as well. He seems oblivious to offending millions of Missourians who take their faith seriously and rightly feel threatened by his bombastic rhetoric. No one I know in Missouri’s faith community wishes any ill will toward Razer – or any LGBT person for that matter – and would be happy to have a respectful conversation with him about anyone’s mistreatment. While I disagree with the LGBT lifestyle, as a Christian I still love and respect LGBT people. We are all creatures made in the image of God.
Another interesting moment in the hearing occurred when committee member Rep. Peter Meredith, (D-St. Louis) asked the curious question: Why do people of faith oppose a bill simply based on who people love?
My response: Do polygamists love? Do pedophiles love? Where do the number of protected classes in our discrimination laws end? The answer: there is none. By the way, polygamists already have a lawsuit in the federal court system asking for the same rights LGBT won with same-sex “marriage” – and they are using the same arguments the LGBT lawyers used.
Another deception behind MONA is that it is really not about discrimination. It is about two primary things: (1) Forcing total acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle and (2) silencing all opposition, especially those who believe we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other.
Missourians must understand that we are facing a financial and political juggernaut that is attempting to force MONA’s passage. In the May 8 committee hearing, LGBT advocates bragged about the corporate support they have, mentioning Monsanto, General Motors and Sprint. They have gained political favor by hijacking human resource departments in major corporations, from which intimidating “enforcers” roam the ranks to make sure their lifestyle is accepted while forcing corporations to financially and politically support the LGBT movement. For years they have diligently worked to infiltrate the board of directors of urban and state chambers of commerce – and Missouri is no exception. How a person of faith who owns a business in Missouri, could pay dues to the Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City Chambers of Commerce is beyond me. Their influence is now used to exert pressure on state and federal lawmakers to the detriment of small businesses. Talk about hurting Missouri’s economy! It is small businesses which are the biggest job creators in the state. But money talks and the LGBT movement has plenty of it.
MONA is the greatest threat to religious freedom and freedom of speech Missourians have ever encountered. MONA in no way glorifies God. Indeed it mocks Him. Supporting MONA is an unwise position for government, which derives its authority from God. It is bad law and we must persuade lawmakers and the public accordingly.