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.
Because ‘tolerance’ now trumps everything, except tolerance of non-progressive values. Tolerating those is not, in fact, tolerance. Religious tolerance is nothing more than homophobic, bigoted, insensitive, exclusionary hate.
When directly asked if Iowa Code 216 applied to churches, the response from the Commission was:
“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.”
And remember, a non-elected commissioner will determine what is ‘bona fide’ and what isn’t, and when it applies and when it does not. “Sometimes” is a purposely vague response.
Much like the IRS, I wonder if this could be used to target conservatives or conservative values? “Nice little church and congregation you got there. Hate to see something happen to it….”
And if think this is an isolated case in an isolated place, or some kind of ‘misinterpretation’ of a code, think again. Because this is the new normal.
If elected, this kind of legislation will be common place. Oh, wait. It already is.