The president of Christian Action Network, Martin Mawyer, applauded the U.S. Justice Department for filing a motion in federal court supporting the claim by a Christian-based group that it’s constitutional rights have been violated by the University of Iowa.
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed what is technically known as a “statement of interest” on behalf of Business Leaders for Christ on December 21, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
The “statement of interest” maintains that Iowa University officials violated the constitutional rights of the Christian group when it “de-registered” the organization because it requires members to sign a statement that sexual relations should only occur between a husband and wife.
The University claims the Christian group makes LGBT persons feel unwelcome and therefore excludes them, which violates their non-discrimination policy.
The University admits, however, that other registered student groups are permitted to express viewpoints on sexual relationships and gender identity that differ from Business Leaders in Christ.
“The First Amendment freedoms of association, speech, and religion prohibit public colleges and universities from suppressing the expression and beliefs of student groups that officials disagree with,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division.
Dreiband added that “The University of Iowa in this case de-registered Business Leaders in Christ because university officials did not like it’s message. That is forbidden by the Constitution.”
Dreiband also promised, “The Justice Department will continue to get involved in these kinds of cases until this alarming trend is reversed.”
CAN president, Martin Mawyer, said there are two very noteworthy considerations regarding the Justice Department’s “statement of interest” in the Business Leaders for Christ case.
“First, the Justice Department is making clear to public universities, cities and state governments that constitutional rights supersede misguided, anti-biblical and sexually deviant ‘non-discrimination’ laws,” Mawyer said.
“But equally as encouraging,” Mawyer added, “is the Department’s commitment that it will continue to get involved in such cases until this alarming trend is reversed.”
That “trend” is being spectacularly highlighted in an ongoing case in Austin, TX where city officials are mired in lawsuits over its ordinance requiring churches and religious organizations to hire homosexual and transgender pastors and employees.
That ordinance (§ 5-3-4 (A)) makes it unlawful for employers to either fail or refuse to hire or to discharge an employee because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Mawyer is contacting the Justice Department and organizing a grassroots campaign to get the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to file a “statement of interest” in the Austin case as well.
Christian Action Network is a 29-year-old pro-family organization based in Lynchburg, VA with 87,000 members.
“The legal arguments presented by the Justice Department in the University of Iowa case are virtually identical to the constitutional rights at stake in the City of Austin case,” Mawyer said.
“First, the City of Austin is violating the ‘right of expressive association’ among churches by forcing them to associate with members who violate their religious moral standards.
“Second, the City of Austin is violating the ‘free speech rights’ of churches by prohibiting them to state the moral qualifications necessary to be appointed or selected as a minister or employee.
“Third, the City of Austin is violating the Free Exercise Clause of churches by discriminating against their religious beliefs.”
The U.S Justice Department routinely files “Statement of Interest” cases when cities, states or publicly funded entities violate the constitutional rights of citizens.