FIRST-PERSON: ENDA's back

DALLAS (BP) -- For two decades the Left has been trying to pass a law that would prevent business owners from exercising their religious beliefs in hiring practices. It's called ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. If ENDA is enacted, employers will find that it's illegal to hold to the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic in deciding whom to hire and promote.

In recent days, by a vote of 64-32, the U.S. Senate passed ENDA.

If ENDA were to become law, employers with religious and moral objections to homosexual conduct would face a situation in which homosexual rights supersede religious rights.

So much for the First Amendment.

Chai Feldblum is a Georgetown law professor, now on leave as she serves on the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. A lesbian activist, she framed the current version of ENDA with its added protections for transgenders. Ms. Feldblum was asked about the rights of a Christian business owner or religious organization sued under ENDA. "Gays win, Christians lose," she replied, saying she has "a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win."

The bill has come up before. It passed the House in 1996 and was just one vote short of passing the Senate. The effort to pass ENDA went underground because President George W. Bush clearly opposed it. Now, President Obama squarely endorses it.

ENDA sets up special employment protections based upon a person's sexual preferences and gender identity, which, in our current cultural drift, may be different from a person's gender at birth. If enacted -- and let's pray it isn't -- ENDA would effectively prohibit employers from considering sexual conduct or stated sexual preference in evaluating the character of their employees or applicants. ENDA would force Christian schools and colleges, Christian-owned businesses, daycare centers and various other religious organizations, except for churches, to employ people who make their deviant sexual orientation apparent.

"If you have religious objections or practical reasons for not hiring cross-dressers, too bad," according to the Family Research Council's warning. "If this legislation passes the House, the government will force you to be politically correct, no matter what it costs you or your bottom line."

ENDA not only would work in direct violation of employers' beliefs, but also those of fellow employees. Those who object to deviant behaviors will have fewer rights than those who practice them.

At this juncture, we may dodge this bullet. House Speaker John Boehner says he will block ENDA from being brought up. He says it's unnecessary, will cost American jobs (especially in small businesses) and will result in "frivolous lawsuits."

There's a lot of pressure on lawmakers to pass this. I mean, who wants to go on record voting against "non-discrimination" in the workplace? This time, 10 Republican senators voted for ENDA. Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey tried, but failed, to amend the bill to strengthen protections for religious employers.

He voted for ENDA anyway.

Speaker Boehner and your House member must hold the line against ENDA.


Penna Dexter is a regular panelist and frequent guest host of "Point of View," a nationally syndicated issues-oriented talk radio program. Her weekly radio commentaries air on the Moody Broadcasting Network and Bott Radio Network.

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