Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

The Lexington Herald-Leader printed a rebuttal to my recent opinion on how "Fairness" ordinances jeopardize religious freedom. Here's the scoop. In late October, the Lexington Human Rights Commission found Blaine Adamson and his company Hands on Originals violated the human rights of homosexual activists who approached him about producing T-shirts for their gay-pride event. Adamson declined. He felt that using his time and talents to produce a product that violated his religious beliefs was wrong. He did not want his company's brand on such an event. Adamson was not hateful.  Nor did he demean the organizers of the event. He was simply living out his convictions on a particular matter of moral importance to him in the workplace. He even went out of his way to help the gay activists find another company to produce the T-shirts. Instead, they brought him before the Human Rights Commission which found him guilty. He and his employees were ordered to undergo diversity training.

Enter, Bill Michael who asserts that my "entire premise, the conviction that gay people deliberately choose a lifestyle that often comes with the deepest scorn and contempt society can dish out." To be clear, that is not my premise. Rather, I argued that when sexual orientation is elevated to protected status, it jeopardizes religious freedom. Michael continues "That myth, that gay people "choose" their lifestyle, is used mercilessly by many including "good" Christians and Christian leadership who all find it a convenient means by which to excuse themselves from their persecution of gay people.  Nelson says being persecuted for skin color or racial heritage is simply not on the same level as persecution for being gay because gay people have "chosen" their lifestyle and so should suffer the consequences of making that choice. Young people who hear words from people like Nelson commit suicide every day because they hear him and have no one else to turn to." 

Again, I never mentioned anything about "choosing" the lifestyle or them having to suffer for their choices. Neither is anybody advocating for the persecution of gays.  We should all be grieved when one takes their own life. But is my religious conviction on a moral issue responsible for one's suicide?  Indeed, as I shared with a group of 40+ pastors yesterday, my heart goes out to the homosexual who is hurting, persecuted and marginalized. I challenged them for 30 minutes to find compassion for homosexuals. So let's look at what I really said that incensed Michael so:

  • "The basis for Lexington's ordinance is the assumption that disapproval of homosexuality is tantamount to bigotry. The ugliness of hate toward another simply because of their skin color or ethnicity is indefensible. But equating skin color to sexual behavior is an unfair comparison. Homosexuals never were legally forced to drink from separate fountains. Nor were they denied the right to vote. No religion teaches that skin color is a sin.

    What about protecting Adamson's inherent human right of religious freedom? Is there no longer any room in the public square for religiously informed beliefs? And does refusal to convey an objectionable message really violate another's human right?

    The ruling sends a chilling message to Lexington's practicing Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners who will be forced to lend time, talent and energy to promote messages and ideas which violate their deepest held religious beliefs. No person should be forced to violate their conscience."

So for that, I'm attacked, and called intolerant. The inuendo is incredible. What I believe and what Michael suggests I believe toward homosexuals is way off the mark. Way. Off.  It would be nice if the writer actually refuted what I said. Instead he completely missed the point.