Southern Baptists in North Carolina are upset by a proposed non-discrimination measure they say endangers women and children and could force business owners to support same-sex marriage against their religion.
The city council in Charlotte N.C., will vote Feb. 22 on an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance that was defeated last year.
The council voted 7-3 Feb. 9 to move ahead with a vote on a measure making it illegal for businesses to refuse services based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. It also would allow transgender individuals to use public restrooms and locker rooms that correlate to their gender identity instead of their physical sex at birth.
Biblical Recorder Editor Allan Blume called it “a bad, unnecessary ordinance that the council should defeat a second time” in an editorial Feb. 8.
Blume said Christians need to step up and defeat Charlotte’s “discriminatory bathroom ordinance that doesn’t even contain an exemption for churches or schools,” before it comes to every city in North Carolina. “This is what happens when only 8 percent of the voters show up for a municipal election,” Blume wrote in the official news organ of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. “Radicals who support the LGBT agenda are elected to force these types of policies on a city full of churches.”
“It’s common sense to prevent men from entering women’s restrooms,” Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, said at a press conference while holding a stack of signatures of people opposed to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
Evangelist Franklin Graham said on Facebook the proposed ordinance “literally opens the doors — the bathroom doors — to predators and sexually perverted people.
“Each section of the proposed ordinance has wording to include ‘gender identity,’” said Graham, who heads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse charity headquartered in Boone, N.C. “Gender identity is what an individual ‘feels’ their gender is regardless of the biological reality. So any man can say they feel like a woman that day and enter the women’s restroom at any public facility or the showers at public gyms by mandate of law.”
Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, compared the ordinance to a line from the popular 1982 horror flick Poltergeist spoken by the little girl who was first to know when evil spirits had returned to their suburban home.
“It appears the same evil spirits that invaded Charlotte with an LGBT ordinance last year, but were defeated, well, they’re ba-a-a-a-a-ck,” said Creech, a former Southern Baptist pastor whose agency represents several conservative Christian groups including the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Creech said the churches of Charlotte needed to band together to make their voices heard against any such proposed ordinance.
“The ordinance is a direct attack on religious liberty, Creech said. “It essentially creates an advantaged class of people based on their sexual behaviors and a disadvantaged class of folks based on their religious beliefs.”
Blume said the LGBT movement “shows a strong prejudice” against Christians.
“If you do not agree with them, you should be destroyed, in their opinion,” Blume said. “They practice relentless intolerance. While they label Christians ‘hate groups,’ they are masters of hatred in practice. In the end, their hatred will be their undoing. Pray for them.”