Churches Under Assault: Mayor Stanton Proposes Radical Agenda

| February 26 2013
AZ News

Sal DiCiccio

Mayor Stanton’s proposal (see here http://phoenix.gov/district6/news/index.html) is a radical left turn for Phoenix. Labeled the “Bathroom Bill” it allows grown men in the girls’ bathrooms at our parks, businesses and restaurants and it imposes criminal sanctions on our business community. Furthermore, we now have uncovered that it opens the door for criminal penalties against churches.

Should our priests, pastors, rabbis and bishops and stake presidents be made criminals by the City of Phoenix?

Do you think it is the role of our city to impose criminal penalties against churches?

I don’t. I also believe the proposal is clearly unconstitutional. Please read the comments and the full release from the Diocese of Phoenix below.

“By failing to provide a clear means by which individuals may, in good conscience and without malice, practice their faith and live their values without fear of prosecution and punishment, the proposed “non-discrimination” ordinance actually could be used as a means to codify and mandate unjust discrimination against people of faith.”

Mayor Stanton has put this ordinance on a fast track, greatly diminishing the transparency and opportunity for public evaluation that we value in the City of Phoenix. Every day we are finding new and dramatic changes his proposal demands. Mayor Stanton has dug his heels in on his proposal and he needs to be pressured to reasonably amend it. I am calling on the city to slow this down and give everyone an opportunity to evaluate all the consequences of this proposal.

I do believe there is a chance something reasonable can be attained, but it must not allow grown men in the girls’ bathroom nor impose criminal sanctions on our business owners, and it must specifically exclude religious institutions. This can only be achieved by allowing the faith-based community, which has been excluded from this discussion, at the table. The vote is tomorrow, February 26 at 2:30 pm at the Orpheum Theater (203 W. Adams). Please pass this email to your contact lists and reach out to your City Councilmember, asking that this be slowed down and given proper vetting and transparency.

Here is the full release from the Diocese: 

Diocese of Phoenix Statement on City of Phoenix Proposed Human Relations Ordinance February 25, 2013

As Catholics, we believe that all people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected. In keeping with this conviction, the Catholic Church teaches that all persons must be treated with compassion and respect. The Church, throughout its long history, has been a leading advocate for those who suffer from unjust discrimination, and has condemned all forms of hostility, scorn or malice towards any individual on the basis of race, nationality, sex, religion, disability, orientation or identity.

Accordingly, the Diocese of Phoenix strongly applauds and supports any sincere and well-intentioned effort to protect the human dignity of all people. In the very near future, however, the City of Phoenix is scheduled to consider a proposed ordinance that purports to protect individuals from unjust discrimination, but which is so broadly worded that it risks trampling the religious liberties of Phoenix citizens for doing nothing more than living their faith. As written, the proposed ordinance could be interpreted as forcing people to actively endorse, support and promote actions and behaviors that violate their own personal, deeply held religious beliefs. By failing to provide a clear means by which individuals may, in good conscience and without malice, practice their faith and live their values without fear of prosecution and punishment, the proposed “non-discrimination” ordinance actually could be used as a means to codify and mandate unjust discrimination against people of faith. Such a result would clearly run afoul of the time-honored tradition of religious freedom on which our nation was founded.

The Diocese of Phoenix supports all efforts to protect the dignity of all persons, from conception to natural death. It is our fervent hope that the City of Phoenix will similarly support the rights and religious liberties of all individuals and religious organizations. We call upon the Phoenix City Council to acknowledge and protect the conscience rights of all people to live and act according to their faith and values.

 

To contact the Phoenix City Council:

Mayor Greg Stanton: mayor.stanton@phoenix.gov Councilwoman Thelda Williams: council.district.1@phoenix.gov Councilman Jim Waring: council.district.2@phoenix.gov Vice Mayor Bill Gates: council.district.3@phoenix.gov Councilman Tom Simplot: council.district.4@phoenix.gov Councilman Daniel Valenzuela: council.district.5@phoenix.gov Councilman Michael Nowakowski: council.district.7@phoenix.gov Councilman Michael Johnson: council.district.8@phoenix.gov

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