The state of Connecticut, once a bastion of religious liberty, has now become the epicenter of blatant anti-Christian discrimination. And the poster child for this Christophobia is Kevin Lembo, the state comptroller.
The American Family Association was officially approved last spring by the state as one of the many nonprofits state employees can donate to through the Connecticut State Employee Campaign for Charitable Giving.
Well, Mr. Lembo discovered that AFA stands for a biblical view of sexuality, marriage and family and decided AFA must be punished for the effrontery of actually believing in the values on which Connecticut and America were founded. So he has decided to engage in egregious discrimination himself by cutting off that channel of charitable giving.
The First Amendment prevents the federal government from prohibiting in any way the "free exercise" of religion, and of course you understand that phrase certainly includes Christianity.
The third paragraph of the Connecticut constitution likewise enshrines religious liberty at the state level and prohibits state power from being used to infringe on this freedom:
SEC. 3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in the state; provided, that the right hereby declared and established, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.
AFA's views do not "excuse acts of licentiousness," but quite the reverse. Our views urge moral self-restraint, adherence to the moral standards of the Ten Commandments and the channeling of sexual energy into marriage, which according to God's design, consists of the union of one man and one woman. This is a recipe that is not "inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state" but instead produces it.
So the constitution of Connecticut itself has identified Mr. Lembo as a man who is apparently determined to infringe on the "exercise and enjoyment of religious profession" of state employees by discriminating against them and their freedom to direct their voluntary charitable donations to a religious organization that stands for religious liberty and the natural family.
While accusing AFA of discrimination, Mr. Lembo is practicing it, exhibiting it and displaying it. He is the one guilty of discrimination, and is a part of the reprehensible attempt on the part of secular fundamentalists to purge all traces of Christianity from the public square.
Besides citing the utterly discredited SPLC (whose "hate map" led shooter Floyd Corkins straight to the offices of the Family Research Council), the main offense he cites in his letter is our boycott of Target. Target has made it company policy to allow men who may be sexual predators or video voyeurs to wander unchallenged into female dressing rooms, where they may film or molest our wives, our daughters and our granddaughters. In Lembo's utterly twisted view of the world, the bigots are those who want to protect the sexual integrity of females.
Sadly, Mr. Lembo betrays an abysmal ignorance of his own state's history. The first written constitution in the West is known as the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. It was enacted in 1639, and the individual rights it outlines are still a part of the Connecticut constitution today.
After thanking "Almighty God" for his providential care, the founding fathers of the state immediately declared, "well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God." The overarching purpose of this constitution was "to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
Mr. Lembo is an open and proud homosexual, and his case illustrates the risk to religious liberty when individuals who engage in a sexually non-normative lifestyle assume political power.
The AFA is calling on Mr. Lembo to retract the accusatory letter he has published and to issue an apology to AFA for his religious prejudice and bigotry. He trumpets the fact that he has received awards for openness and transparency in government. It's time for him to show us such awards were deserved. Perhaps a remedial course in Connecticut history might prompt him to use the political power of his office to protect religious liberty rather than squash it.
Right now, Mr. Lembo is in moral limbo and is using his office to repress liberty rather than protect it. It's time for him to come out of the darkness of bigotry and oppression and into the light of religious liberty. Perhaps he'll begin that journey today.
Bryan Fischer is host of the two-hour weekday "Focal Point" program on American Family Radio.
This article was originally published at AFA.net. Used with permission.
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