Pass the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act was introduced in the last Congress - in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) with 11 co-sponsors and in the House by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) with 92 co-sponsors.
The bill will protect individuals from discrimination, under federal law, so that they may be free to express and conduct their business according to their religious conviction that marriage is a union between one man and one woman and that sexual relations take place within this framework.
The bill only affects federal law, not state law. But it is an important step in the right direction of establishing a federal legal regime protecting those with traditional biblical faith and convictions regarding marriage, sex, and sin.
This law would not preclude anyone from choosing alternative lifestyles. What it would do is protect those who, because of their faith, reject those lifestyles from being forced to accept them.
Because a war is taking place in our country to delegitimize religion and to use every means of legal aggression to make it impossible for those with traditional biblical faith to live according to their convictions in their public lives.
Take the case of Baronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist in the state of Washington.
When a friend came to her to request a floral arrangement for a same-sex marriage, Stutzman directed that individual to another florist for whom same-sex marriage and same-sex sexual activity is not a violation of religious conviction as it is for her.
She was found guilty of discrimination in a Washington State court. According to the court, "Stutzman cannot comply with both the law and her faith if she continues to provide flowers for weddings as part of her duly-licensed business."
The court ruling exposes Stutzman to claims for damages and attorneys' fees from both the state and the couple, from her business and personally. She is liable to lose her business, her home, and her savings.
Or how about Kelvin Cochrane?
After a 34-year career, Cochrane was fired from his position as Atlanta Fire Chief by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed because he authored a Christian book, in his private time for his private use, in which, in one place, he condemns same-sex sexual behavior and marriage as sinful.
No charges of discriminatory behavior had ever been leveled against Cochrane. In 2009 he was nominated by President Obama, and confirmed by the Senate, as U.S. Fire Administrator. In 2010, he returned to his position with the Atlanta Fire Department and in 2012 was named Fire Chief of the Year.
Cochrane was simply fired for his Christian convictions.
Politicians who give lip service to American freedom but who will not fight for the very values that make our freedom possible, the values on which our nation was built, don't belong in positions of leadership.
The Republican controlled congress should do everything it can to pass the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.
* Star Parker is the Founder and President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE)