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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Iowa: 'Some' churches must comply with transgender bathroom laws

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ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7452
Mississippi

 Iowa: 'Some' churches must comply with transgender bathroom laws

This appeared on FoxNews:

Is a church a place of public accommodation and if so – are congregations required to follow anti-discrimination laws regarding gender and sexual orientation?

That’s the issue raised by a brochure published by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. They contend that any church that opens its doors to the public would be required to comply with sexual orientation and gender identity laws.

It’s unclear when the Commission’s brochure was published, but it clearly outlines their interpretation of the 2007 Iowa Civil Rights Act – known as Iowa Code Chapter 216.

First Liberty Institute is representing Cornerstone World Outreach, a Sioux City church that fears it may be in violation of the statute.

Hiram Sasser, the law firm’s director of litigation, said the Commission’s brochure means churches would be required to let transgender individuals use the bathrooms of their choice.

“It further compels our client to use specific pronouns when referring to certain ‘gender identities’ and prohibits our client from even teaching its religious beliefs,” Sasser said.

“Cornerstone World Outreach cannot be made to open its restrooms for use by individuals in accordance with their gender identities, rather than their sex assigned at birth,” Sasser said.

The law firm fired off a demand letter to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission calling for them to amend its published policy to clarify that it will not apply Iowa Code 216 against churches and they must also acknowledge that Cornerstone World Outreach is exempt from enforcement.

I reached out to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission for clarification on their interpretation of the law – but so far they have not returned my correspondence.

Chelsey Youman, First Liberty’s chief of staff, told me the ramifications of Iowa’s policy cannot be overstated.

“This is an unprecedented move by a government agency to mandate that anytime a church opens its doors to the public that it automatically qualifies as a place of public accommodation,” Youman said. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Pastor Cary Gordon accused the Iowa Civil Rights Commission of “acting like a First Amendment Gestapo – to hunt down and harass churches and local businesses trying to live out their Christian convictions.”

“Based on what they are saying, orthodox Christianity is in violation of the state law of Iowa,” the pastor told me.

The brochure on sexual orientation and gender identity has a section titled, “Does this law apply to churches?”

Just so liberals won’t accuse me of taking this out of context – I’m going to provide you with the entire answer:

Does this law apply to churches? Sometimes. Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public.”

A few thoughts here, folks:

Does that mean churches must allow men who identify as women to use the bathrooms of their choice during Wednesday night church suppers? Are congregations required to let transgender folks play on the church softball teams of their choice? What about church-related sporting events for children? Are those events covered under the law?

And which government agency decides what is and what is not a “bona fide religious purpose”?

“Such emphasis highlights the Commission’s intention to not only heavily scrutinize the validity and sincerity (of the) religious doctrines of our client and other religious institutions, but also the very legitimacy of the church as a religious body,” reads the First Liberty letter to the Civil Rights Commission.

But the most concerning part of the policy involves the public accommodation clause. The Commission states that churches that open their services to the public would have to comply with the law.

Well, that covers just about every church in the state – because that’s the point of Sunday services. Churches want everyone to attend their services – saints and sinners.

Attorney Youman tells me if the rules are enforced, it could lead to significant trouble for people of faith.

“The state claims it has the power to regulate what the church even teaches – what they are allowed to say from the pulpit – in addition to how they operate regarding matters of gender and sexuality,” she said. “If the church has a doctrine or theology that is at odds with the state and they speak out about that – they can have the full weight of the law brought down against them.”

To be clear – no church in Iowa has been accused of violating the law – but Pastor Gordon only believes it’s a matter of time before an activist files a complaint.

“It’s a harbinger of more trouble to come if we don’t address it right now and hold them accountable to what they are saying,” he said.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/07/05/iowa-some-churches-must-comply-with-transgender-bathroom-laws.html?intcmp=hplnws


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2016/7/6 10:52Profile
SugarRun
Member



Joined: 2011/2/6
Posts: 49
IA

 Re: Iowa: 'Some' churches must comply with transgender bathroom laws

DES MOINES, Iowa —A Des Moines church filed a lawsuit Monday against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

The Fort Des Moines Church of Christ said the commission is violating the church's freedom of religion with its interpretation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

The 32-page lawsuit seeks to strike down as unconstitutional a portion of a 2007 Iowa law that could apply transgender bathroom rules to churches.

The Fort Des Moines Church of Christ filed the lawsuit on Monday against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission seeking to keep the state from enforcing rules allowing biological males who identify as women to use women's bathrooms and showers and the same for females identifying as men.

The commission has said the state law sometimes applies to churches, which the church says would be a violation of its constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of religion.

"The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is essentially marching right into the church and directing how Fort Des Moines must use its own facilities. It is an astonishingly unprecedented government overreach," said Christiana Holcomb, of the Alliance Defending Freedom for Faith, for Justice.

Tom Conley is an Iowa Civil Rights commissioner. He said the commission was just doing its job and following the law and his personal feeling is this is an issue that can be resolved.

"I think there is room for compromise and I don't think we've really had that. On one hand, we have people who believe their religious rights are being violated. On the other hand, there is a perception people who are transgender, gay, or lesbian are trying if you will -- to cram it down the throat of people who aren't," said Conley.

Conley suggests a third gender neutral bathroom could be the solution.

Donna Red Wing is the executive director for One Iowa, which advocates for LGBTQ.

She said there is a legal line the church has crossed.

"If they are involved in a bonafide religious activity they are exempt. If they are offering public accommodation that could be a camp open to all kids, could be a food pantry. If they receive funds from local, state, or federal government that takes them out of the bonafide religious activity into public accommodation," said Red


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Eileen

 2016/7/6 12:06Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7452
Mississippi

 Re:

The law is not fair by any stretch of the imagination.

Laws also say the church buildings cannot be used for political affairs....but in the south it is in the black churches where the civil rights movements got traction; it is in the popular churches where the LGBT movements gain their momentum and is still being sustained.

I do not like it but it seems to me we are seeing the end of how we do church. Maybe one has to revive the brush arbor meeting style and use porta-potties...or the woods... not being funny, here. Am serious.

Sandra


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Sandra Miller

 2016/7/6 12:27Profile









 Re:

Public, state sponsored/licensed churches, 501(c)3 will still exist but many believers will now go underground (house churches). The Lord is way ahead of things as house churches have been building for over 30 years.

Question: What influence would the Federal Government have over a body of people who are not under the 501(c)3 jurisdiction?

 2016/7/6 12:37
watchnpray
Member



Joined: 2016/5/16
Posts: 37


 Re:

"...(M)any believers will now go underground (house churches)."

My thoughts exactly, Julius. Still, look out for infiltrators. Personally, I've been leading a men's Bible-study group for a while now and I suspect there's a govt. informant in our midst. What makes things more interesting is that the guy was my best friend in childhood and we're still pretty chummy.


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Xavier

 2016/7/6 12:59Profile









 Re:

Yep, and "Judaizers"...the legalists who would spy out your liberty in Christ and seek to bring you into the bondage of works so they can boast about their influence in your fellowship and even take it over.

So, many things to stay on your guard, about. Watch and Pray.

"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Act 20:29-30)


 2016/7/6 13:19
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5345
NC, USA

 Re:

Xavier- what do you mean by "govt informant" and who would expect him to inform and what would you expect him to inform?


_________________
Todd

 2016/7/6 14:10Profile
watchnpray
Member



Joined: 2016/5/16
Posts: 37


 Re:

Hello, Todd!

Without getting into specifics, since we’re dealing with what could be a sensitive situation (related to government intelligence, and a mere hunch of mine, but a strong one at that) let me say that my friend is a mid-level official in an agency with sweeping powers in the area under its purview. He was gung ho about getting together with the rest of us from the time I first invited him, although he persists in being “devil’s advocate” at our meetings and, while he acknowledges the essential validity of our faith, is quite openly set in his worldly ways and expresses as much. Intelligent and well-read, he listens attentively to the presentation and exposition of the gospel, and assents, as I said before, to the logic of it all. And, while other members have opted out of the meetings because of more pressing worldly concerns, this individual is the most zealous attendee we have and takes time out of his busy schedule to be there. Anyone else who prefers the world to the Way would have long since stopped bothering with “boring” Bible studies, but he is all for them. Granted, he might just be someone who loves to debate, but there is a je ne sais quoi about his eagerness that has put my infilt-radar – ever scanning – on full alert.

Maybe he has been commissioned to smell out potential terrorist groupings, or pockets of nascent political agendas, or it could be that conservative Christians are coming increasingly under surveillance. I am not a conspiracy theorist, Todd, but I sure don’t disregard the probability that some, at least, of the paranoia that such a worldview engenders might actually have some foundation to it. Hope this helps.


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Xavier

 2016/7/6 15:09Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7452
Mississippi

 Re:

I just read ""The Pastor's Wife" by Sabina Wurmbrand. I urge you to read it NOW. It will educate you...

Sandra


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2016/7/6 15:35Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5345
NC, USA

 Re:

Very interesting Xavier. Perhaps there will come a time when you must tell this gentleman, "what you are going to do, do quickly."


_________________
Todd

 2016/7/6 15:55Profile





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