Connecticut threatens to ban employee donations to American Family Association for alleged LGBT ‘discrimination’
TUPELO, Mississippi, December 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The state of Connecticut is threatening to prevent its employees from donating to a Mississippi-based Christian activist group that urges boycotting retailers like Target and Zales that promote the LGBT agenda.
The American Family Association, whose statement of beliefs is steadfastly Christian, reports that Connecticut comptroller Kevin Lembo has raised the possibility of taking the AFA off a list of approved charities for which the state will deduct donations from employees’ pay at their request.
If Lembo launches an investigation and decides that AFA “discriminates against the LGBTQ communities, as well as Muslims who choose to serve and protect our country by enlisting in the U.S. military,” the organization would be in violation of the anti-discrimination regulations for the state’s employee charitable giving program.
According to Lembo, who acknowledges that he is motivated in part by the fact he is “an openly gay father and spouse,” the AFA’s website statements and its activities indicate its defense of “family values” means “combating the ‘homosexual agenda,’ by boycotting companies that promote equal treatment, tolerance and acceptance of all families and marriages.” Lembo has asked the AFA to provide proof that it is not violating Connecticut’s rules.
Lembo also contends that he cannot find any evidence of truly charitable activities such as assistance to “the homeless, children, senior citizens.”
Charities are generally defined as educational, humanitarian or religious in nature to benefit society or a group of people in some manner while operating in the public interest.
AFA President Tim Wildmon notes that Lembo “never cites any state or federal laws of which the AFA may be in violation.” He does cite “our ongoing and successful boycott of Target over the company’s dangerous and misguided policy allowing men in the same bathrooms and dressing rooms as women.”
Lembo also refers to the boycott of Zales by AFA’s One Million Moms division over the jewelry chain’s high-profile ad featuring an engaged homosexual couple.
Wildmon urges AFA supporters to contact the Connecticut State Comptroller's Office and “urge Mr. Lembo to retract his letter in full and issue a public apology” to the AFA. “This is a state government official coming directly after your AFA” for standing up for “biblical beliefs about human sexuality, marriage, and family.”
“Moreover,” Wildmon added, “it is an unconstitutional attack on the First Amendment rights of all religious organizations. … Let them know that this abuse of power is not acceptable.”
The stated mission of the American Family Association is to “inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Lest anyone still doubt the AFA is faith-based, it declares “AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture.”
However, the First Amendment might not protect the AFA, warns Tom Brejcha, the president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society. He told LifeSiteNews that even in states that passed versions of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” clarifying that the First Amendment meant no other laws could be used to attack the religious rights of individuals or organizations, nothing is safe in the courts against LGBT rights.
Illinois passed a “RFRA,” he noted, but the courts had still ruled against Catholic Charities and Lutheran social services and in favor of the state government’s requirement they assign foster children to homosexual couples. “The First Amendment should protect the AFA on paper,” Brejcha said. “But courts are preferring LGBT anti-discriminatory rights.”