A Southern Baptist professor recently referred to The Pathway as an “Ezekiel 33-type publication.” The Pathway takes Ezekiel 33:6 seriously. We will warn churches when and where theological danger lurks.
An amendment to a Motor Vehicle Administration bill in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Bill Eigel, R-St. Charles, and passed by the body, prohibits “vaccine passports.” But before the amendment passed, Sen. Greg Razor, D-Kansas City, one of six homosexual members of the Missouri General Assembly, attempted to amend Eigel’s amendment to include an LGBTQ anti-discrimination provision.
Razor’s sneaky amendment to the amendment could have threatened the First Amendment rights of churches, faith-based higher education and institutions like the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and The Baptist Home. It failed on a vote of 16-15. Shockingly, five Republicans voted with 10 Democrats.
Many Missourians voted for candidates based on the Missouri Republican Party’s pro-family, pro-religious liberty platform. Missourians deserve to know the five Republican Senators who sided with homosexuals. They were:
• Sen. Jason Bean represents Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid and Pemiscot counties.
•Sen. Justin Brown represents Camden, Pulaski, Phelps and Crawford counties.
• Sen. Lincoln Hough represents downtown Springfield (Greene County).
• Sen. Dan Hegeman represents Andrew, Atchison, Clinton, Davies, Dekalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Sullivan, Worth and part of Clay counties.
• Sen. Caleb Rowden represents Boone and Cooper counties.
Did they vote thinking they accurately represented the views of the constituents who elected them? For Missouri Baptist churches, this was an egregious act given their repeated public resolutions calling homosexuality sin. Anti-discrimination laws, like the one Razor guilefully attempted, could force Christian universities to hire teachers that teach contrary to the school’s beliefs. The same could be said for hiring staffs at The Baptist Home and the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH). It could also force the MBCH to allow homosexuals to adopt and provide foster care – which could threaten its existence due to its contracts with the state.
No doubt all five senators would argue homosexuals should not be discriminated against or mistreated. We agree. There is anecdotal evidence of such, but not enough to demand government intervention.
While it is true that compromise is often necessary in politics, Razor’s amendment would make things worse. It could have threatened the First Amendment rights of private citizens. Think about the conscience violations of medical professionals forced to do sex change operations in violation of their conscience. How about the photographer, florist or baker who cannot provide their services for a homosexual “wedding?” The Baptist Faith and Message, the confessional statement of the Southern Baptist Convention, declares “God alone is Lord of the conscience.”
The vote by the five Republicans is also contrary to the Missouri Republican platform, a document people expect to represent views of the party. The GOP platform says this: “Conscience legislation so that no person, business, or organization can be penalized for its exercise of religious freedom by not providing services that violate their religious beliefs.”
But there is more. The “plank” of the GOP platform dealing with “The Family,” states: “Therefore, the Missouri Republican Party supports marriage as being between one man and one woman.” In the “Faith” plank of the platform, it states: “The Missouri Republican Party believes in protecting the religious freedom of citizens.” But Razor’s amendment was a devious attack on religious freedom.
For Rowden, this is not the first time he has sided with homosexuals against Missouri churches. He was one of three House Republicans who opposed a religious freedom bill I took to the General Assembly during the 2016 session. It was known as Senate Joint Resolution 39 (SJR 39) and after surviving the longest filibuster in the history of the Senate (37 hours), it passed and headed to the House for final approval. SJR 39 would have shielded businesses from being forced to provide services that violate their religious beliefs. Rowden joined two other Republicans and the three Democrats on the committee to kill SJR 39. Former Rep. Ann Zerr of St. Charles was another Republican on the committee who voted with Rowden. She later ran for the Senate and was beaten by Eigel, a religious liberty champion.
Rowden ultimately won election to the Senate and was promptly awarded the position of Majority Floor Leader. Go figure. Rumors persist he will seek higher office.
You have been warned.