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ELLIS: Leftist ‘Tolerance’ And The Vicious Attack On Karen Pence

In the United States, a Christian can still associate with other believers in exercising his or her faith, even if that person happens to be the Second Lady of the United States of America.

Sheer hostility, hatred, bigotry, and twisted manipulation of constitutional principles and American values were leveraged shotgun style by the LGBTQ community and its advocates this week against Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence. Not surprisingly, CNN was one of the worst offenders, trying to paint her as hypocritical—as if it’s a stunning revelation that a Christian would choose to teach art at a Christian school.

But at a time when progressive liberals applaud Rep. Ilhan Omar for being the first Muslim congresswoman to wear a hajib because of her faith (notably requiring a modification of congressional rules), it has become obvious that the so-called “separation of church and state” myth is targeting only Bible-based Christians and requiring us to separate from the state. The LGBTQ movement openly embraces anyone “being true to themselves,” unless Karen Pence’s beliefs happen to align with biblical teaching.

In other words, the LGBTQ idea of “tolerance” is limited to whatever they prefer to tolerate. So… is it really tolerance at all? Clearly not. But this is the key: in America, we are free to select and prefer our religious beliefs and to freely speak and advocate them in society. We are free to associate together with like-minded individuals and, like Karen Pence, choose our place of employment, including such places that operate consistent with our sincerely held religious beliefs.

Importantly, the government does not carve out an exception or make an allowance through the Constitution. All Americans have the pre-political freedom to exercise our rights without government interference or compulsion to act incongruently with our conscience.

Christians cannot be compelled by our government to act according to LGBTQ beliefs. Similarly, government cannot compel an LGBTQ person to put a cross in their yard. This is separate and distinct from the moral legitimacy of government to enact laws within constitutional parameters and in accordance with its limited powers. And these powers were specifically given acknowledging that our pre-political rights come from a divine source—our Creator.

Rights of conscience are by definition mutually exclusive to viewpoints that are in conflict. Our Founders specifically and intentionally acknowledged this individual tension when they framed our government to recognize and respect our differences in beliefs. They understood that one of our basic human rights that preexists any government stricture is the freedom to believe and act in exercising religion.

So, tolerance cannot be defined as a requirement to openly embrace or being compelled by government to celebrate anyone else’s sincerely held beliefs. As much as the LGBTQ lobby may derisively hate us for it, our Constitution explicitly protects freedoms of speech, association, and free exercise of religion. Karen Pence may freely associate with a school operating consistently with Christian religious principles, thereby freely exercising her own sincerely held beliefs.

That freedom doesn’t stop with elected office, or someone married to an elected official. In fact, the Founders went further to protect against government compulsion and intolerance when they forbade religious tests for federal office holders (like, for example, Mike Pence). They knew that if there was in fact a separation of church and state, the state would eventually oust people of faith and then have the sole power to enact and enforce laws that would infringe upon religious freedom.

This is precisely what is happening to Karen Pence in the public square this week, and even more alarmingly, poised to happen in Congress this term. This is not just an isolated attack against the Pences. This is targeting all Bible-believing Christians.

The so-called “Fairness For All” legislation would codify a requirement for all Americans to embrace and accept LGBTQ beliefs, under a guise of “tolerance,” with likely shocking consequences for non-compliance. While the precise language of this specific legislation hasn’t yet been released, it is a “SOGI” law—seeking to define sex-based anti-discrimination provisions of federal law as including “sexual orientation and gender identity.” This means that if a man subjectively chooses to identify as a woman, the federal government would require everyone else to treat him as if he is a female, or face the consequences.

Proponents of SOGI laws try to rebrand or minimize the impact through religious-based exemptions, but why should we compromise our pre-political right and allow the government to merely give us an exemption? Once we redefine our rights into mere exceptions or allowances, we lose our rights completely.

Make no mistake, this a coordinated effort to unconstitutionally and absolutely inappropriately compel you and me to speak and act inconsistently with our sincerely held beliefs. This will impact faith-based individuals, families, ministries, churches, schools, and business owners, who will assuredly face threat of lawsuits and will have the regrettably weak defense of a possible exception, if the government arbitrator determines the Christian qualifies.

We have so many notable examples of this problem already, from Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, to faith-based adoption agencies like New Hope in New York, to a women’s shelter in Alaska that is facing a lawsuit for declining to house men (transgender “women”) in the same facility as biological women.

But the LGBTQ agenda doesn’t care about Jack’s sincerely held religious beliefs and that the government can’t compel him to use his artistic skills and talents to create a custom design that speaks a message with which he disagrees. The LGBTQ agenda doesn’t care that faith-based adoption agencies work with some foreign countries that will not adopt out to same-sex couples or that the operators of these ministries hold religious views that the family is uniquely designed for a male father and female mother. The LGBTQ agenda doesn’t care that many women who go to shelters are victims of domestic violence and sex-trafficking, and allowing men to sleep next to them would compromise the privacy, safety, and dignity of everyone involved.

Further, the LGBTQ lobby doesn’t even care about victims of its own advocacy. Studies show that those receiving sex-change hormones and gender-reassignment surgery are 20 times as likely to be depressed and suicidal than that of comparable peers. Medical practitioners are now somehow “bigoted” if their best practice medical opinion is to advise against elective procedures for patients who are “transitioning.” Parents of minors wouldn’t be able to decline treatment and chemical alterations like the 6-year-old in Texas, and minors’ physical bodies and biological chemistry could be permanently altered and mutilated through chemical castration and forced “transition” by parents.

This is much more than Karen Pence teaching art at a Christian school. This is a coordinated assault against the truth of reality: that all men and women have the immutable characteristic of sex that is not a choice, but assigned at conception. This is an attack against the pre-political definition of marriage: that the biological and moral design is one male and one female. This is an onslaught against the traditional family unit, and an attempt to make family authority and healthiest environment to raise children obsolete.

If you think this is isn’t happening, just look at the reaction Google employees had to the use of the word “family.”

So why is it happening? Christians have failed to stand for truth in the past and be eternally vigilant with policy. Because we, all too often, fail to stand firm for our rights and instead compromise and allow our rights to “transition” into mere privileges, exceptions, and allowances because we don’t want to be attacked like Karen Pence or called hateful. We think we will be protected by exemptions. But the truth is that it is not hateful to stand up for biological reality or Christian beliefs. It’s not bigotry to exercise our freedoms or require our government to follow the Constitution.

2019 is unfolding with a continuing host of measures across state and federal legislatures to infringe and minimize Christians’ sincerely held religious beliefs in favor of an LGBTQ agenda.

We cannot allow it. Our Constitution won’t allow it. Stand up. Stand firm.

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