Enough is Enough: A Call to Restore our Constitutional Religious Freedom
Hear the words of Barbara Seely, an attorney with an agency of the federal government, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), regarding a 2013 lawsuit filed against Voss Lighting, a longstanding and successful Christian business: “The EEOC is optimistic that the corporate-wide remedial actions agreed to by Voss Lighting will put an end to the role religion plays in its decisions affecting applicants and employees. If not, we will be back in court again.”[i] The suit was based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where religion is listed as one of the five characteristics an employer could not consider when making hiring decisions. Voss Lighting is a business whose “goal is to ‘sell’ our lighting products so that we may ‘tell’ everyone we can about God’s soul-saving-life-transforming gospel message as Jesus instructed believers to do” and to “do all for the glory of God.”[ii]
As I gather the necessary signatures for inclusion on the ballot as an independent in Alabama’s 3rd District, I have personally talked to thousands of its people. I join them in not wanting the federal government dictating that Alabama businesses “end the role religion plays in its decisions affecting applicants and employees.”
I cannot say it better than the Republican Platform regarding our 1st amendment rights. I will quote the Republican Platform at length:
The Bill of Rights lists religious liberty, with its rights of conscience, as the first freedom to be protected. Religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. As George Washington taught, “religion and morality are indispensable supports” to a free society. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson declared that “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square.[iii]
It goes on to say, “We support the right of the people to conduct their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs.”
Yet, under Workplace Freedom for a 21st Century Workforce, the Republican Platform then states the very opposite when it declares, “All Americans deserve the opportunity to pursue their American dream free from discrimination. Clear nondiscrimination policies ensure all employees have the chance to succeed based solely on their merits. These policies are vital to creating an inclusive, innovative, and competitive workforce.”[iv] These non-discrimination policies are stipulated under the heading We the People and the religious component is included as one of the policies that would enable an attorney for a federal agency to try to force a faith-based business such as Voss Lighting to leave their religion at home when it comes to whom they will hire.
I will not attempt to explain why the Republican Platform sets forth such a contradiction but will try to unambiguously tell my stance on the issue. The biblical wisdom of King Solomon says, “Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or passerby” (Proverbs 26:10) and that of the apostle Paul when he writes, “do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33). Due to the biblical wisdom that verses such as these have to offer, I have stood strongly against the religious component of Title VII for many years. Considering the 2020 case where the Supreme Court made the gender component of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to now include sexual orientation and gender identity, a case where solidly conservative Justices Alito, Thomas, and Cavanaugh dissented, I believe it is time to stop playing defense with our freedom and get on the offensive to take back so much freedom that was taken from us in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
People will always use a form of religion as a basis for evil as I believe was done in the Jim Crow era when people were not given a job simply because of the color of their skin. However, I believe that the real answer to combating this evil is transformed hearts as Voss Lighting preaches, not the federal government trying to legislate morality. In other words, what Voss Lighting does is part of the solution, and the federal government is part of the problem. Maybe the last 58 years has been a discipline of God for the people called by His name displaying that kind of discrimination based on skin color even in the churches, but it’s time to declare the year of jubilee and give a new generation of people of faith the freedom to make progress in race relations instead of the contrary. Please stand with me to get the federal government out of the business of telling employers what things they cannot consider when making hiring decisions and rescind Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.