The Kansas cities of both Salina and Hutchinson are currently under attack from the religious right because earlier this year both town City Commissions voted to extend anti-discrimination ordinances to protect the LGBT community.
The Salina City Commission passed the anti-discrimination ordinance in May by 3-2 vote and since then, church leaders and other anti-gay groups have gathered enough petition signatures to put the issue to a public vote on the November ballot. A repeal effort on a similar bill is also underway in Hutchinson, Kansas.
The First Southern Baptist Church in Salina was instrumental in gathering petition signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. Senior Pastor Richard Edds said he and his congregation began organizing the minute they heard the ordinance had passed. The Kansas Family Policy Council collected 2,325 signatures, but only needed 1,297 to get the repeal attempt before the city commission
“The ordinance would codify a type of behavior and give them [LGBT people] special rights that will influence businesses, landowners and our churches,” Edds said. “That infringes on our freedom of religion to express ourselves. The ordinance violates the standards of God’s word. They’re asking us to do away with what God has to say about this behavior and lifestyle, and we won’t do it.”
Edds said he believes homosexuality is a choice and that LGBT people need Jesus to transform them in “his image.”
“We don’t hate these people,” he said. “We are opposed to their immorality. It’s like they are trying to change the game of life and force us to accept their way of living as normative, and it’s not normative at all.”
“Religious liberties are key when you consider something like this,” said Robert Noland, executive director of the Kansas Family Policy Council, “(The ordinance) does impose upon religious liberties, which is in the First Amendment, so we think it is important to hold strong to those liberties and defend them wherever we can.”
Perhaps both Edds and Nolan need to be reminded that a person’s religion is protected and they cannot be discriminated against under Federal and State Law. And that most certainly IS A CHOICE and is currently being forced on man as a “way of living as normative” where to many it is not.
About the autho
Will Kohler, owner and creator of Back2Stonewall.com is one of the country's leading experts on LGBT History, Media and Popular Culture. A longtime LGBT Equality activist, advocate and journalist Will created Back2Stonewall as an open venue to report and discuss LGBT issues, news and media in an open and honest way.