I hate being the guy who’s forced to tell someone “I told you so.” But from time to time (and it seems to be happening more often these days), I am forced to be that guy. So, please forgive my forward nature as we bring some bad news from Kentucky.
Let me begin by saying this – “I told you so.”
The Christian legal firm, Liberty Counsel, has long been a defender of religious liberty and of Christians who were being oppressed, marginalized or abused. In carrying out this good work they recently discovered something rather disturbing taking place right under our noses in the state of Kentucky. The state has apparently begun implementing a new rule for any religious leaders working as a counselor in their youth programs that prohibits volunteers from talking about homosexuality as a “sin.” It’s an odd religious test to impose upon religious volunteers when they can continue speaking on other matters of faith, and it seems specifically designed to use as a tool against Christian clergy.
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“Liberty Counsel writes regarding the blatantly unconstitutional revocation of volunteer prison minister status of ordained Christian minister David Wells, who has provided voluntary spiritual counseling and mentorship to juvenile inmates under the control of the Department of Juvenile Justice. … This revocation was issued by Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center on the basis of the April 4, 2014, DJJ Policy 912, which mandates full DJJ support of homosexuality and transvestism. With no evidence of any violation of DJJ policy on Mr. Wells’ part, his volunteer status was revoked by the Warren RJDC superintendent because he could not sign a state-mandated statement that homosexuality was not ‘sinful,’ among other things…
There is simply no evidence that any pastor or volunteer minister, much less Mr. Wells, has ever expressed “derogatory” language toward, or “bias” or “hatred” of DJJ youths who have sexuality issues. For that matter, it is not “hatred” or “bias” to lovingly point out the harms of homosexuality, and the power of Christ to change lives, should the occasion require it. On its face, DJJ Policy 912, is restrictive of religious speech based on the message, ideas, and subject matter with which certain government policy makers disagree. It seeks to establish a religious “orthodoxy” on homosexuality, and it violates clergy confidentiality. As such, DJJ Policy 912 is facially unconstitutional. By restricting speech which volunteers are allowed to use while ministering to youth detainees, the State of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice have violated the protections given to private speech through the First Amendment and the Kentucky Constitution. Policy 912 requires affirmation of homosexuality as a condition of providing spiritual guidance to troubled youth, and singles out a particular theological viewpoint as expressly disfavored by the State of Kentucky. This the State cannot do.”
We can only hope (and pray) that the state of Kentucky sees the error of its ways and undoes the horrible rule that they’ve enacted. However, I am willing to bet that this is just the first in what will inevitably be a long series of fights over religious liberty, freedom of speech and the left’s hatred of being offended. Because the modern American liberal believes that they have a “right” to “not be offended” they will continue to pressure the government to clamp down on our (real) rights to free speech and religious belief. Mark my words.
Strap in, conservatives, because the ride is about to get very bumpy.
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