AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn was one of the speakers at the Grand Rapids “Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally,” one of five in Michigan and a hundred across the nation to protest Obama’s dictate that Catholic hospitals and universities be forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.
|To AFA-Michigan supporters…
This letter from American Family Association of Indiana is so good on several points that I want to share it with you. Thanks as always for your support!
Dozens of Congressmen
This week, 41 members of Congress signed on to a federal appeals court brief that defends Indiana state law preventing Hoosier tax dollars from going to subsidize the abortion industry.
The friend of the court brief from the American Center for Law and Justice follows an earlier brief from the Thomas Moore Law Center in which 60 state legislators signed on to defend the new law. The legal briefs are part of the stateâ€™s appeal of a lower court ruling by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, which put the new law on hold and restored tax funding to Planned Parenthood.
The ACLJ brief argues for Indianaâ€™s right to set parameters for Medicaid recipients. They note, â€œFederal Medicaid statutes and regulations give States broad discretion to craft the rules applicable to their Medicaid programs. Congress left intact the Statesâ€™ authority to determine what makes an entity qualified to provide Medicaid services, 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1396a(p)(1), while ensuring that Medicaid recipients may utilize any practitioner deemed to be qualified under State law, 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1396a(a)(23). Since HEA 1210 does not limit a beneficiaryâ€™s ability to choose among providers that are deemed to be qualified, it is consistent with federal Medicaid law.â€
This stateâ€™s rights argument has been mentioned in many news reports. Perhaps more interesting is another argument in the ACLJ brief that urges the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court decision. It attacks Planned Parenthood and the ACLUâ€™s â€œnovel claim that abortion providers have a constitutional right to perform abortions and receive public funds; if accepted, this argument would unduly restrict the policy discretion that Congress and state and local governments have to decide how to spend public funds.â€ Calling the abortion industryâ€™s audacious claim to a constitutional right to our tax dollars â€œnovelâ€ is kind to say the least.
The ACLJ brief is signed by the following members of the U.S. House of Representatives:
The Term â€œPro-Choiceâ€ May
Speaking of abortion, a new poll from Gallup has some very interesting findings. The proponents of abortion often claim that most Americans are â€œpro-choiceâ€ when it comes to abortion. There are recent surveys challenging this assertion in terms of the self-identification between being pro-life or pro-choice. Even if most Americans are â€œpro-choice,â€ it probably doesnâ€™t mean what you think or what abortion advocates imply.
The Gallup survey of â€œpro-choiceâ€ Americans actually finds that most of these people agree with pro-life Americans on nine significant areas. For example, 86% of â€œpro-choiceâ€ individuals favor informed consent legislation which gives women information about abortion and alternatives beforehand. Two-thirds (63%) of â€œpro-choiceâ€ Americans favor banning the grisly partial birth abortion procedure. Sixty-percent support parental consent laws for minors seeking an abortion. Half (52%) of â€œpro-choiceâ€ Americans want abortions to be made illegal after the second trimester and 79% want third trimester abortions outlawed. One major difference is that most (64%) â€œpro-choiceâ€ Americans support abortion as a means of birth control in the first trimester.
As noted in previous surveys, Gallup has also reconfirmed that those who attend regular religious services (â€œchurchgoersâ€) are twice as likely to be pro-life compared to those who rarely or never attend church services.
The Tail Wagging the Dog
I had a media interview late last week in regard to new US Census Bureau data showing numbers homosexual households in Indiana. When asked if I was surprised at the numbers, I said yes, not at their large size, but at how that minority are given the disproportional political and cultural influence homosexuals wield.
I have similar numbers from the year prior to those the reporter cited, and they are revealing. (Keep in mind that a recent Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans mistakenly believe that 25% of the US population is homosexual or bi-sexual. In reality that number is less than 3%.)
In Indiana, based upon Census Bureau data released in April 2010, there were only 10,200 same-sex couples living together in Indiana. Contrast this with 1,251,500 married Hoosier couples and same-sex couples account for just three-tenths of one percent of the household population in Indiana. In state after state, this percentage is nearly the same. Nationally the percentage of same-sex couples compared to married households is only 0.4%.
Some would argue that if homosexuals currently living together and therefore most likely to marry are so few, what is the harm of un-defining marriage. (For all of their claims of needing to redefine marriage when given the chance to â€œmarryâ€ in Europe or in states like Massachusetts, relatively few homosexuals actually do so. Most reject marriage, raising questions about their claims of disadvantage, denied rights, property sharing difficulties and marriage inequality.)
The real question is if the numbers are so small, why disrupt society by further devaluing marriage, rewriting school curricula, limiting religious speech, closing faith-based charities and other problems associated with same-sex marriage just to appease a very vocal, yet small 0.3% of cohabiting population? What of other behaviors and lifestyle choices? Must marriage be redefined to accommodate them too?
Given the societal importance of marriage and the traditional family, discarding the logical time-tested boundaries of marriage to appease a vocal, and tiny special interest group when poll after poll shows most Americans want marriage to remain as it always has been truly is a radical notion.
One Reason Why the Tail
In light of the data above, a logical question one may ask is why is American culture so pro-gay and morally decadent in virtually every way imaginable? May I suggest that the one-in-four of Americans who identify themselves as evangelical Christians are not following the Biblical directive to be â€œsalt and light.â€ A staggering majority, betwene 76% and 78%, of Americans still identify themselves a Christians.
Why, given such large demographic numbers, is the culture so hostile to basic traditional values, parents, children, faith, etc? There are several reasons for this problem. One of them was found in a survey of pastors from Your Church Magazine that I mentioned in a recent weekly AFA-IN e-mail. The survey found that more than half of the ministers (55%) surveyed admitted that they would not preach at all or only sparingly on certain subjects. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) listed politics as the top subject they would avoid. One-in-four said that they would not mention homosexuality. When it came to the issue of abortion, 18% said that they would not mention this subject from the pulpit. Nearly one-in-ten said that they would not mention the subject or doctrine of Hell.
It is not as though God does not have things to say about these subjects and the issues of the day as revealed in His Word. The primary reason cited for avoiding certain subjects was that it might negatively impact church attendance. Yet, if the pulpits of our nation are silent on the issues its congregants confront daily in news headlines and the culture, how can we expect folks to live counter-culturally rather than mirroring everything around them?
(By the way, I am very excited about a new book coming out in a few weeks from Hoosier talk show host, Peter Heck, precisely about this issue of being salt and light in the world and taking back the culture. You can learn more about his book here: http://www.peterheck.com/78)
The church serves a role as the conscience of a nation, and unlike most government programs, faith changes lives from the inside out. Still, cultural change does not rest solely at the feet of the church. This is where groups like AFA of Indiana play a vital part. Your financial and prayer support of AFA-IN is always welcome and helpful. If you would like to stand with us, you can make a tax-deductible donation online or mail one to us at: PO Box 40307, Indianapolis, IN 46240.
|“I know just for writing this I will get called every vile and vicious name in the book by those spouting ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity.’ So what? …Let the haters hate. My response is to kick the dust off my sandals, move on to the next town, and keep doing what Iâ€™m doing. Iâ€™ve read the end of the book several times. We win, and they lose, every time I do. We succumb too often to these (homosexual activist) bullies. …And bullies donâ€™t stop beating you until you stand your ground. …As long as Christians continue to cower in fear of this scant minority of troublemakers, they will continue to feast on our fear. In the process they will maintain control of our schools and cultural institutions as well, and we will watch as the next generation turns its back on Christ and embraces an ideology that says people are good just the way they are and donâ€™t need a Savior instead.
At the rate theyâ€™re going, it wonâ€™t be much longer that theyâ€™ll make it almost impossible for Christians operating within the free market to earn an honest living without succumbing to political correctness… This is our own fault. Any time a righteous majority is being bullied by maybe (generously) 6% of the population, it is indictment on them, not the troublemakers. How is it that Corporate America is more afraid of offending maybe 6% of the population as opposed to the droves that faithfully attend churches on Sunday? This is another costly sign of our own complacency and compromise being used against us. …Neville Chamberlain Christianity is killing this country.”
Neville Chamberlain is still wrong
by Steve Deace
The lack of support from the American Christian community to the homosexual movement targeting the family and business of Marcus and Michele Bachmann would make Neville Chamberlain proud.
Like the disgraced former British Prime Minister, who became a historic symbol of cowardice and complacency in exchange for peace at any cost, too many American Christians refuse to actually see the grim reality of the culture they live in lest that would mean theyâ€™d actually have to do something about it.
In case you missed it, Marcus Bachmann (husband of the GOP presidential candidate) dares to actually believe the Bible is true in his vocation, and not the pagan politically correct dogma of the day. Therefore, he helps those desiring to leave behind the depravity, emptiness, and self-destructiveness of homosexuality to embrace their new identity in Christ and find the peace that passes all understanding that comes only from an intimate relationship with Him.
For those of you that went to public school and received your duly-appointed taxpayer-subsidized indoctrination, this may sound like blasphemy until you actually meet one of the several thousand former homosexuals walking the streets in America today. Several of whom I have interviewed over the years. However, I have yet to interview a former African-American or a former Hispanic.
Regardless of whether or not you think Congresswoman Bachmann would make a good president is irrelevant to the point of this piece. There is a higher law at stake here than just the next presidential election, as important as that may be. Once again the double-standard that is corrupting our culture is at play. Once again Christians corporately seem either hesitant or completely unwilling to confront it, and until that changes few things in this country will for the better.
Remember a few years ago when Muslims ironically protested the Pope talking about Islam being a violent religion by lashing out violently? In a similarly self-indicting moment of clarity, the homosexual activists in the below video are likewise ironically protesting Marcus Bachmann referring to them as barbarians by being at least a bit barbaric.
Now, letâ€™s turn the tables on the players involved.
Imagine for a second that you are a Christian that believes the Bible is true. You walk into an establishment that caters to those who indulge in homosexual behavior, and disrupt their business just as the homosexual activists do to Marcus Bachmannâ€™s counseling clinic in the video. Imagine that you walk through the front door with a camera, open up your Bible to the Book of Romansâ€™ first chapter, and read the following excerpt aloud:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know Godâ€™s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
What do you think the reaction of the media, or the local police for that matter, would be to such behavior? Do you think it would be as giggly and friendly as the coverage has been of the boorish behavior of the homosexual activists at the Bachmann clinic, or the other GOP candidates they have â€œglitter-bombed?â€
For the record, I wouldnâ€™t typically condone a Christian behaving in such a manner, because the Bible teaches Christians to be far more concerned with their own behavior and the behavior of their fellow Christian than it does pagans, but thatâ€™s beside the point. The reality is there is a double-standard here, and that homosexual activists who often back phony-baloney anti-bullying bills are often themselves the bullies.
They target businesses. They target free speech. They target religious freedom. They target anyone and anything that doesnâ€™t affirm their sinful and self-destructive dogma. They are the most rigid and aggressive fundamentalists in America. The truth is they and fellow knuckle-dragger Fred Phelps is a match made in Hell and deserves each other.
However, the rest of us who just want to live in peace and walk humbly with our God no longer deserve to be bothered by either of them.
Theyâ€™re both bullies. Sadly, Iâ€™m a bit of an expert on bullies given my background. The one thing I know about bullies is theyâ€™re all the same. Once you no longer fear them and their tactics, they have no plan B. This is where my perceived fearlessness comes from. Itâ€™s a self-defense mechanism I developed based on the environment I came from. Once I got over being afraid of the bully at home, I ceased being afraid of bullies period.
For example, I know just for writing this I will get called every vile and vicious name in the book by those spouting â€œtoleranceâ€ and â€œdiversity.â€ So what? Whatever happened to sticks and stones may break my bones, but words (or names) can never hurt me? Let the haters hate. My response is to kick the dust off my sandals, move on to the next town, and keep doing what Iâ€™m doing. Iâ€™ve read the end of the book several times. We win, and they lose, every time I do.
We succumb too often to these bullies. We let them have our bully pulpit, and they beat us to a bloody pulp with it. And bullies donâ€™t stop beating you until you stand your ground. Thatâ€™s true of these bullies as well.
As long as Christians continue to cower in fear of this scant minority of troublemakers, they will continue to feast on our fear. In the process they will maintain control of our schools and cultural institutions as well, and we will watch as the next generation turns its back on Christ and embraces an ideology that says people are good just the way they are and donâ€™t need a Savior instead.
At the rate theyâ€™re going, it wonâ€™t be much longer that theyâ€™ll make it almost impossible for Christians operating within the free market to earn an honest living without succumbing to political correctness because of the pressure theyâ€™re putting on the system. During one of my many job conversations the past few months, I spoke to a radio management executive who told me itâ€™s getting increasingly harder to sell advertising in national conservative talk radio despite the high ratings, because of how aggressive the homosexual agenda is in targeting increasingly squeamish corporations.
This is our own fault.
Any time a righteous majority is being bullied by maybe (generously) 6% of the population it is indictment on them, not the troublemakers. How is it that Corporate America is more afraid of offending maybe 6% of the population as opposed to the droves that faithfully attend churches on Sunday? This is another costly sign of our own complacency and compromise being used against us.
We refuse to stand up to these bullies with the right balance of grace and truth. I once spoke to a former homosexual activist named Charlene Cothran, and she told me it was a Christian woman boldly demonstrating that balance of grace and truth that God used to deliver her from that lifestyle and transform her life. Had that Christian woman cowered in the face of political correctness, Charlene Cothran might still be living a dangerous and self-destructive lie.
Neville Chamberlain Christianity is killing this country. Weâ€™re supposed to be peace-makers, not strive for peace no matter the cost. Not to mention, can there truly be peace without conflict? The peace I have now is a result of the conflict between the life God was calling me to live and the life I was living when He called me.
I believe homosexual activists are so aggressive and/or confrontational because they struggle with the same inner conflict I once did. Part of Marcus Bachmannâ€™s mission appears to be bringing those struggling with that conflict who desire peace in their hearts to the foot of the Cross of the One that offers it. For that mission of mercy heâ€™s being vilified by the very people heâ€™s trying to save.
Perhaps if more Christians followed his example of not running away from the conflict thereâ€™d be more peaceâ€”both in our culture and in the hearts of those ensnared by the homosexual lifestyle.
â€œBlessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.â€
|“In a letter to the Holland City Council, AFA Michigan President Gary Glenn compared homosexuality to a smoking addiction and claimed that passage of the (‘gay rights’) ordinance would itself discriminate against the Boy Scouts, Catholic Charities, and the Salvation Army.”
With national legislation stalled,
by Sam Menefee-Libey with Zach Duffy
…Not all campaigns for the ordinances have been successful. On June 15, the City Council of Holland, Mich., rejected a proposed inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in the cityâ€™s equal employment opportunity policy by a 5-4 vote. Intense lobbying by the American Family Association, a national anti-gay organization, preceded the vote.
The AFA has pledged financial support to any candidates who run against the four councilors who cast votes for the Holland ordinance. Two challengers have already filed petitions.
|“Glenn cited (Holland City Council candidate Jerry) Toniniâ€™s opposition to the inclusion of the terms sexual orientation and gender identity during Mondayâ€™s candidate forum as the reason for the campaign support. Glenn…has vehemently opposed any law that protects â€œhomosexual behaviorâ€ or could lead to the legalization of gay marriages. Glenn cited Hollandâ€™s 64 percent support of the Marriage Protection Amendment in 2004 as a reason to vote for Tonini.”
Gary Glenn campaigns for Tonini
by Staff reports / The Holland Sentinel
HOLLAND, Mich. — Gary Glenn, chairman of the Campaign for Michigan Families, sent an automated phone message Thursday to registered voters in the city of Hollandâ€™s second Ward.
Glenn urged support for city council candidate Gerardo Tonini, chairman of the Holland Planning Commission. Tonini is running against Second Ward incumbent Jay Peters and former Councilman Victor Orozco.
In the message, Glenn cited Toniniâ€™s opposition to the inclusion of the terms sexual orientation and gender identity during Mondayâ€™s candidate forum as the reason for the campaign support.
Glenn, who is considering a run for the U.S. Senate against Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has vehemently opposed any law that protects â€œhomosexual behaviorâ€ or could lead to the legalization of gay marriages.
Glenn cited Hollandâ€™s 64 percent support of the Marriage Protection Amendment in 2004 as a reason to vote for Tonini.
The primary election is Tuesday.
|“Glenn is president of the American Family Association of Michigan. His involvement in the City Council election comes as the chairman of the political action campaign, Campaign for Michigan Families. …In the robocall, Glenn hails (Holland City Council candidate Jerry) Tonini for opposing ‘a discriminatory ordinance giving special rights to individuals involved in homosexual behavior or cross-dressing.'”
Gay rights debate made focus of Holland
by Shandra Martinez | The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND, Mich. â€“ Conservative Christian activist Gary Glenn is keeping his promise to campaign for candidates challenging Holland City Council incumbents who voted in favor of extending the city’s anti-discrimination lawto include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Glenn called Holland voters Thursday night in a robocall message supporting Gerardo â€œJerryâ€ Tonini who is running for 2nd Ward seat on the City Council against incumbent Jay Peters.
Peters was one of the four members who unsuccessfully voted in favor of the ordinance. The three-way race also includes former Councilman Victor Orozco, who supports gay rights.
Did Glenn’s call help Tonini’s campaign?
â€œI don’t know,â€ admits Tonini. â€œThe results will be known on Aug. 2.â€
Expanding the ordinance to sexual orientation isn’t needed, said Tonini, who currently serves as chairman of the city’s Planning Commission.
â€œIf we protect a certain group of people, then in essence we create more discrimination,â€ he said.
In a radio interview, Glenn took aim at Herman Miller by suggesting that gay workers don’t number within the ranks of the “best and the brightest” employees.
Glenn is president of the American Family Association of Michigan. His involvement in the City Council election comes as the chairman of the political action campaign, Campaign for Michigan Families.
Glenn recently announced he might mount his own campaign for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat, which would first pit him against Holland’s favorite son and former Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra.
In the robocall, Glenn hails Tonini for opposing â€œa discriminatory ordinance giving special rights to individuals involved in homosexual behavior or cross-dressing.”
Some criticize Glenn for stepping into the local election but Tonini says he appreciates Glenn’s support.
“Hi, this is Gary Glenn with the Campaign for Michigan Families, urging you to support Jerry Tonini for Holland City Council. Jerry Tonini is the only candidate who opposes the discriminatory ordinance giving special rights to individuals involved in homosexual behavior or cross-dressing.
Jay Peters voted in favor of homosexual activistsâ€™ discriminatory ordinance, and Victor Orozco said he also supports the homosexual special rights ordinance.
This discriminatory ordinance supported by Peters and Orozco threatens your familyâ€™s religious freedom. In other states, these ‘sexual orientation’ laws have been used in court to legalize homosexual marriage and to discriminate against churches, businesses, and individuals â€“ plus community groups such as the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities — who refuse to allow homosexual Scoutmasters or clergy or to support the homosexual agenda.
Remember, Jay Peters and Victor Orozco support this discriminatory ordinance that threatens marriage and religious freedom.
Only one candidate opposes homosexual activistsâ€™ discriminatory special rights ordinance: Jerry Tonini, chairman of the Holland Planning Commission.
Jerry Tonini is committed to protecting the traditional values and religious freedom shared by families in Holland. Jerry Tonini will vote to protect marriage and religious freedom. Tuesday, please vote for Jerry Tonini for city council, either at City Hall or St Frances on West 13th.
This message was paid for by the Campaign for Michigan Families, including our supporters here in Holland.”
ACTION ALERT — DETROIT FREE PRESS — Democrat’s bill would let counseling students decline clients over beliefs
|Dear AFA-Michigan supporter,
Please read the Detroit Free Press article below, then please take advantage of this rare opportunity to encourage a Democratic elected official in Michigan willing to stand up to militant homosexual activists’ political agenda of intolerance and discrimination.
Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, Democratic Floor Leader in the state Senate, is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 518, which would prohibit universities from discriminating against Christian counseling students who refuse to compromise their faith while counseling patients. The legislation comes in response to Eastern Michigan University’s expulsion of Julea Ward, a 4.3 GPA Christian counseling student who refused to counsel a patient on how to improve his homosexual relationship.
Sen. Hunter is getting beat up by homosexual activists and his fellow Democrats for daring defend Julea Ward and other Christian students. Please call or e-mail Sen. Hunter today and thank him for sponsoring SB 518.
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: 517-373-0994
And please contact your state Senator today and urge him to support SB 518. Click here to find your state senator’s contact informatoin: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/FindYourSenator/byaddress.htm
Thanks as always for your support of AFA-Michigan’s stand for Michigan families and traditional family values. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution today — which is especially critical during the summer months when contributions are down — please do so by credit card at http://bit.ly/oggsCk or by mail to AFA-Michigan, PO Box 1904, Midland, MI 48641.
Thanks again, and God bless and strengthen you and your family!
DETROIT FREE PRESS
Democrat’s bill would let counseling
by David Jesse / Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Sen. Tupac Hunter
Ever since Julea Ward sued Eastern Michigan University, saying it kicked her out of the counseling program when she refused to counsel a gay client, Republican politicians have lined up to offer her support.
But a new bill designed to give counseling students the freedom to decline to counsel clients based on religious beliefs or moral conviction adds a wrinkle to the debate — it was drafted by Sen. Tupac Hunter, the Senate’s Democratic floor leader.
“I firmly believe that it is wrong for any institution of higher learning in this state to expel a student from a program because of their refusal to compromise their own belief system,” Hunter said in a statement. His office said Tuesday he was unavailable for interviews on the topic.
In her initial lawsuit, filed in 2009, Ward alleged EMU dismissed her from its graduate counseling program after she declined to counsel a gay client and instead referred the client to another counselor.
EMU responded that it dismissed her from the program for failing to fulfill curricular requirements and for not following the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics.
A federal judge ruled in favor of EMU in 2010. Ward has appealed that ruling.
Special interest groups from both sides of the political spectrum weighed in with support briefs.
Republican politicians tried this year to put language into higher education budget bills to have universities report to the Legislature on how they would “protect” counseling students’ “deeply held religious beliefs.”
This bill is different.
It would be called the Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act and would ban universities from dismissing students who declined to counsel clients because of conflicting religious beliefs. If dismissed, a student could ask a court to be reinstated.
“I believe a student should not be forced into a situation in which he/she would have to provide treatment that compromises their religious or moral convictions or requires them to conceal their values conflict in order to avoid expulsion from a degree program,” Hunter said in the statement. “How is this good for the student or the client, especially? There is no dishonor to the profession nor harm done to the client by simply referring him/her to another individual who can best assist the client in meeting his/her established goals for counseling.”
EMU spokesman Geoff Larcom said the university will cooperate with the Legislature’s mandate if the bill makes it into law. However, he reiterated EMU’s position that Ward’s dismissal had nothing to do with her religious beliefs.
HOLLAND SENTINEL — Bill Freeman will ask council to reconsider (“gay rights”) non-discrimination ordinance
|Homosexual activists and their political allies admit that
most support for a so-called “gay rights”/cross-dressing
ordinance came from outside the city and wouldn’t be
approved by city voters.
“Voters in the city of Holland will not decide if lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people should be protected by the cityâ€™s civil rights ordinances. …The decision was based on whether he believed a majority of the voters in the city of Holland would vote yes, (Bill Freeman, chaplain of Interfaith Congregation) said. He was swayed by much of the support for the ordinance change coming from outside of the city, he said. …Jay Peters, the only city council member present at Freemanâ€™s announcement, said ‘itâ€™s a prudent course of action.'”
Bill Freeman will ask council to reconsider Lesbian-Gay-
by Annette Manwell / The Holland Sentinel
Holland — Voters in the city of Holland will not decide if lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people should be protected by the cityâ€™s civil rights ordinances.
Bill Freeman, chaplain of Interfaith Congregation in Holland, announced Monday on the steps of Holland City Hall that his action will be to try to change the minds of the Holland City Council and that his goal is just one more council vote.
Freeman asked the city council more than a year ago to include the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in the cityâ€™s human relations and fair housing ordinance and equal employment opportunity policy. In April the Human Relations Commission agreed and sent a resolution to the city council for consideration. The resolution failed by a vote of 5-4.
Following that vote Freeman said he would start a petition drive for a ballot referendum. Monday he said instead that he will not rely on a majority to vote for the rights of a minority. His plan of action will be to attend every city council meeting to speak to members of council, educate them on LGBT issues and, because council meetings are broadcast on cable television, educate the public.
â€œWeâ€™re going to try to educate council further,â€ he said, adding that his hope is one more council vote. â€œDr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) did not ask the people of Alabama to vote for the rights of black people.”
The decision was based on whether he believed a majority of the voters in the city of Holland would vote yes, Freeman said. He was swayed by much of support for the ordinance change was coming from outside of the city, he said.
One week ago, Holland is Ready, a local organization working to educate people about the LGBT community, announced it would not seek a vote but continue its goal to educate the public. At that time, Freeman said he was still considering a petition drive and was â€œstill fact-finding.â€
His announcement, made on the front steps of city hall, received applause from those in attendance.
Jay Peters, the only city council member present at Freemanâ€™s announcement, said â€œitâ€™s a prudent course of action.â€
GRAND RAPIDS PRESS — Holland gay rights supporters announce plan to get anti-discrimination ordinance passed
|Praise the Lord! Homosexual activists know what the outcome
of a ballot vote would be in a city where voters supported our
state Marriage Protection Amendment by 64 percent of the vote.
“Backers of a proposal to expand Hollandâ€™s anti-discrimination ordinance to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes will not pursue a ballot measure to overturn last monthâ€™s City Council vote against the proposal. Instead, supporters plan to attend Wednesdayâ€™s council meeting and all future meetings until one of the five council members who voted no changes their vote.”
GRAND RAPIDS PRESS
Holland gay rights supporters announce plan
by Greg Chandler / The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND â€“ Backers of a proposal to expand Hollandâ€™s anti-discrimination ordinance to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes will not pursue a ballot measure to overturn last monthâ€™s City Council vote against the proposal.
Instead, supporters plan to attend Wednesdayâ€™s council meeting and all future meetings until one of the five council members who voted no changes their vote.
â€œI donâ€™t think you ask the majority to vote for the rights of the minority,â€ said Bill Freeman, chaplain of Interfaith Congregation, who has been campaigning for the proposal for more than a year. â€œI donâ€™t think Dr. (Martin Luther) King asked the people of Alabama to vote for civil rights, and I donâ€™t think you should ask the people of Holland to vote for equal rights for all.â€
Supporters of the proposal would have had to get petition language approved by the city, and then collect at least 1,310 signatures by mid-August to put it on the November ballot.
The City Council voted 5-4 June 15 against amending the cityâ€™s human relations and fair housing ordinances, as well as its equal employment policy, to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
â€œWeâ€™re going to try to educate them and answer any questions they might have,â€ Freeman said of the supportersâ€™ plans to attend council meetings.
About 100 people gathered on the steps of City Hall Monday morning for the announcement, with many representing organizations who favor including gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in equal rights measures. Erin Wilson, of the group Until Love Is Equal, called it a regional and economic issue.
â€œIn a recession, you have to be pragmatic,â€ said Wilson, of Grand Rapids. â€œMajor employers are not going to come into a region that declares a particular community as unequal. They just wonâ€™t.â€
Opponents of the measure cite religious and moral objections to homosexuality in their position, and say that existing anti-discrimination laws are adequate. One statewide political action group, the Michigan Campaign for Families, said it would support candidates to run against three council members who voted in favor of expanding the ordinance and who are up for re-election this year.
One of those three council members, Second Ward Councilman Jay Peters, called the decision not to seek a ballot proposal â€œprudent,â€ although he would not speculate whether any of the five council members who voted against the measure would change their mind.
â€œI think the timeline is tight (for a ballot proposal), and to be effective and successful, Iâ€™d like to see us regroup as a community and come at it from a different angle,â€ Peters said.
Mayor Kurt Dykstra cast the tiebreaking vote against expanding the ordinance. Others who voted against the proposal were Councilwoman Nancy DeBoer and Councilmen Mike Trethewey, Brian Burch and Todd Whiteman.
Voting in favor of the expansion were Peters, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Vande Vusse and Councilmen Dave Hoekstra and Shawn Miller.
IN GOD WE TRUST
With gratitude for your support throughout
And relying on Him for our provision, as we always do, please consider
On June 30th, we fell short of covering all of last month’s operating costs.
Thanks as always for your support, and may God bless, heal, and restore
|“The Campaign for Michigan Families, affiliated with the American Family Association (of Michigan), wants to help Holland residents depose City Council members who voted but failed to expand the anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The AFAâ€™s Gary Glenn vowed to support candidates running against those who ‘tried to impose homosexual activistsâ€™ political agenda on city residents.’ The AFA also sees the gay agenda behind some lawmakersâ€™ efforts to include sexual orientation in a statewide anti-school bullying bill.”
GRAND RAPIDS PRESS
Gays not faring so well on the Lakeshore
by Charley Honey | The Grand Rapids Press
Although I have been accused, at times, of pushing the so-called â€œgay agenda,â€ I must confess I donâ€™t know what it is.
Whatever it is, the gay agenda allegedly is running loose on the Lakeshore, judging from objections to recent gay-inclusion proposals there.
The AFA also sees the gay agenda behind some lawmakersâ€™ efforts to include sexual orientation in a statewide anti-school bullying bill. Was fear of the gay agenda also a factor in the Saugatuck school boardâ€™s decision not to adopt a proposed coming-out video in its sex education unit on sexual harassment and bullying, even though gay students are more likely to suffer from that?
Not necessarily. Perhaps opponents simply agreed with board President Mike Van Loon that all bullying is wrong, whether â€œblack, white, pink, purple, short, tall.â€
Whatâ€™s certain: Gay-rights advocates have not fared well on the Lakeshore this year. Include Hope Collegeâ€™s reaffirmation not to recognize campus groups contrary to the Reformed Church in Americaâ€™s stance against gay relationships.
Religious communities are digging in on the gay issue, even as polls show more of them accepting homosexuality and gay marriage.
Pluralities of Catholics (46 percent) and white mainline Protestants (49 percent) now support gay marriage, while heavy majorities of white evangelicals (74 percent) and black Protestants (62 percent) oppose it, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center poll.
The numbers, while reflecting increasing acceptance on both personal and denominational levels, illustrate a deep persisting divide. Behind the polls, many people thoughtfully debate and discern the complexities. But the more public and polarized version pits the gay-agenda-pushers on one side against homophobes on the other.
Letâ€™s be clear about something, that versionâ€™s played out. Just because someone opposes gay marriage doesnâ€™t make her homophobic; she could be sincerely seeking to follow her faith and conscience. And just because someone favors it doesnâ€™t mean he is pushing a broader agenda; he could be sincerely seeking, too.
Itâ€™s time for less demonizing and more listening in the middle.
A well-worn pastoral maxim calls for a â€œboth-andâ€ approach to challenging issues. Donâ€™t divide the issue into a choice of either this position or that. Recognize both sides have something to offer and find ways to include both perspectives.
But the both-and option is in short supply in our either-or culture. When it comes to homosexuality, either youâ€™re for legalizing gay marriage and ordaining gay ministers or not. The Bible says this; the Bible says that â€” end of story.
Whereâ€™s the middle ground?
As one who instinctively seeks the middle ground, I find it hard to locate here. How can you include both perspectives in such a basic clash of values? For Christians, there doesnâ€™t seem much room for compromise between those who cite biblical passages condemning homosexual acts and those who see loving acceptance in the larger Scriptural story.
But there is room for protecting churchesâ€™ religious rights while ensuring gaysâ€™ civil rights. And there is room for listening even if you hold different views.
A lot of people still are working this out. Churches can provide a more inviting venue for people to listen to each otherâ€™s stories with respect and compassion.
Room for All is a Reformed Church in America group that seeks full participation of gays and lesbians in the RCA. While dismayed by the recent developments, Executive Director Marilyn Paarlberg says the group offers speakers to help congregations grapple graciously with the issue.
Itâ€™s a long-term construction project, but building beats tearing each other down. In a tearing-down culture, more churches should make building bridges their agenda.
|Homosexual activist groups know they would not win a vote
of the people in a city where 64 percent of voters supported
Michigan’s Marriage Protection Amendment. But it doesn’t
mean they’re giving up.
“A gay rights group will not attempt a ballot initiative to amend a city ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Holland is Ready rejects ballot move
by Annette Manwell
Holland â€” A gay rights group will not attempt a ballot initiative to amend a city ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The decision was made at a Monday meeting of the group. It comes less than two weeks after the Holland City Council denied a request by Bill Freeman, chaplain of Interfaith Congregation, to include the language in its human relations and fair housing ordinances and the equal employment opportunity policy. The council referred Freemanâ€™s request to the cityâ€™s Human Relations Commission, which, after almost a year of study, in April recommended that the council include the terms.
A 5-4 vote on June 15 by the city council has forced groups in favor of the inclusion in other directions.
â€œThe vote was a very close one,â€ the Rev. Jennifer Adams, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland and spokeswoman for Holland is Ready, wrote in an email. â€œItâ€™s obvious that Holland, as a community, is moving in the direction of inclusion and equal rights for all.â€
â€œIâ€™m surprised by (Holland is Readyâ€™s) decision; thatâ€™s unfortunate,â€ said city Councilman Brian Burch, who voted against adding the language. He said before the council vote that he was in favor of a ballot initiative.
Holland is Ready â€œwill take the approach of furthering conversation, education and creative initiatives with businesses, local government and organizations who are also working toward enhancing diversity and inclusion,â€ wrote Adams.
â€œThatâ€™s great, thereâ€™s opportunity in that,â€ was Burchâ€™s response, adding it is necessary to â€œbuild understanding for equal and individual rights.â€
Until Love is Equal, another group working for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Holland, was more divided after the Holland is Ready meeting Monday, said Drew Stoppels, lead spokesman for Until Love is Equal.
Many members of Until Love is Equal attended the meeting, he said, and remain in favor of asking Holland voters to include the language. Stoppels, however, is not, saying there is not adequate time before the election to leap all the legal hurdles.
Activists would need to draft petition and ballot language, have it approved by the cityâ€™s election commission and obtain 1,310 signatures in the next few weeks in order for the issue to be on the November ballot.
Until Love is Equalâ€™s Facebook page has grown to 2,300 fans. The group is planning two radio shows and has launched a website since it formed, the day after the council vote.
Freeman said Tuesday, he is undecided and has concerns about asking the majority for rights of a minority. He plans to make a final decision after meeting with Mayor Kurt Dykstra later this week.
â€œI am taking some time to discern whatâ€™s the best course of action,â€ Freeman said.
Whatever the next step, it presents an opportunity, Adams said.
â€œWhile we were disappointed with the (June 15) vote, the actual process revealed significant momentum toward establishing equality and fairness for all,â€ she wrote. â€œAs Holland is Ready, we plan to continue to help reveal the vibrant, diverse, welcoming community weâ€™re being given the opportunity to be.â€
â€œI think thereâ€™s a spirit of inclusion in Holland,â€ Burch said. â€œWe do have an amazingly diverse community. We have a lot going for us.â€
|“The Holland City Council defeated a proposal that would add sexual orientation to the city’s civil rights policy. …Since then, Michigan anti-gay rights crusader Gary Glenn has called the proposal ‘dangerous.’ Glenn is the president of the American Family Association and (chairman of) the Campaign for Michigan Families. He tells WZZM 13 News that (CMF) will financially help support candidates who run against any of the three council members who voted yes for the failed proposal and are involved in the city’s upcoming election.”
WZZM-TV CHANNEL 13
Attacks follow Holland’s gay rights no vote
by Steve Patterson and Jessica Puchala
HOLLAND, Mich. — Holland City Council members who voted in favor of amending an ordinance to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation are now facing an organized effort to remove them from office.
The Holland City Council defeated a proposal that would add sexual orientation to the city’s civil rights policy.
The proposed amendment was brought to the city council to protect gay citizens against discrimination. The proposal was defeated in a 5-to-4 split decision.
Since then, Michigan anti-gay rights crusader Gary Glenn has called the proposal “dangerous.”
Glenn is the President of the American Family Association and The Campaign for Michigan Families. He tells WZZM 13 News that his organization will financially help support candidates who run against any of the three council members who voted yes for the failed proposal and are involved in the city’s upcoming election.
“I think we need to lose this image that we are a little too conservative an unwelcoming,” said 2nd Ward Commissioner Jay Peters. “These kinds of things from the American Family Association only try to keep that going.”
Peters is one of the council members who voted yes and is the only among three members running for re-election who is challenged by opponents. The deadline to file was May 10. Any other challengers will have to write in. Glenn promises support.
“There’s got to be a place where Mr. Glenn has got to focus his interest and try to do some good somewhere else,” said Peters.
Meanwhile, a movement on Facebook to boycott Holland business is growing. A group called “I’m Boycotting Holland Until Love is =” now has close to 500 members.
“It’s a knee-jerk reaction,” said Business Owner Bob Schulze.
Schulze owns Globe Vision in downtown, Holland. He calls the movement shortsighted and ironic, saying that he and many area business owners supported the measure.
“I’m not that upset and I’m really not that nervous,” he said. “I think they will see that they probably don’t want to hurt the businesses that are for the issue.”