Author archives: Mandi Ancalle

State-Sanctioned Discrimination in Georgia

by Mandi Ancalle

November 4, 2016

A new type of discrimination seems to be at play in Georgia, and it appears to be sanctioned by the state. Two African-American Christian men have been fired from their roles serving the state and its municipalities for holding religious views about human sexuality. People with sincere religious views are now being marginalized in Georgia, where just last year, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a religious liberty bill saying, “I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask the government to confer upon them certain rights and protections.”

What is ironic is the fact that Governor Deal could “find no examples” of discrimination based on religion in Georgia, despite the existence of the ongoing case of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. Chief Cochran was removed from the Atlanta Fire Department for expressing his religious views about marriage in a devotional book he wrote on his own time. A non-profit litigation firm is litigating his discrimination case against the City of Atlanta.

It is also ironic that Governor Deal quipped, “If indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should heed the ‘hands-off’ admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution.” Indeed, Georgia should follow the hands-off admonition of the First Amendment, rather than discriminating against people simply for exercising their religion and terminating those individuals’ public service.

In fact, mere months after Governor Deal made that statement, the state of Georgia fired yet another public servant because of his religious views. Dr. Eric Walsh was fired from the Georgia Department of Public Health for statements he made during sermons he delivered at his church. His sermons, delivered over a period of years prior to his being hired, included his religious beliefs and viewpoints on social and cultural issues such as health, music, marriage, sexuality, world religions, science, politics, and other matters of concern. Dr. Walsh and Georgia’s other public servants are in need of explicit statutory protections that ensure their First Amendment rights will be respected by the state.

The legislature can easily address the concerns of Dr. Walsh, Fire Chief Cochran, and Georgians across the state, particularly as it relates to their religious views about human sexuality by passing the Government Non-Discrimination Act. The Government Non-Discrimination Act is a simple bill that would ensure that the state respects Georgia’s first freedom, the freedom of religion.

Specifically, the Government Non-Discrimination Act says, “the State shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts  in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; or (3) male (man) and female (woman) refer to distinct and immutable biological sexes that are determinable by anatomy and genetics by time of birth.” The Government Non-Discrimination Act goes on to define types of “discriminatory action,” which includes withholding and terminating employment, the type of discrimination Dr. Walsh and Fire Chief Cochran have experienced.

By passing the Government Non-Discrimination Act and sending it to Governor Deal’s desk, the legislature has the opportunity to reassure Georgians that religious freedom is of the utmost importance in the Peach State. And, as people relocate to the cities and countryside of Georgia to work for the state, they can rest assured that they will not be oppressed because of their religious beliefs.

Identity

by Mandi Ancalle

November 5, 2015

Remember Rachel Dolezal? She is the Caucasian from Montana who, identifying as a black woman, was a leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a professor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University before her parents revealed her true identity and she lost both positions.

You might also be familiar with Jewel Shuping. She is a North Carolinian woman who identified as a blind woman and thus, convinced a psychologist to sprinkle drops of drain cleaner into Shuping’s eyes so she would go blind. When interviewed after going blind, Shuping said she believes she “should have been blind from birth.” The world of psychology calls this body integrity identity disorder.

Most folks look at Rachel Dolezal and Jewel Shupping and are, understandably, deeply troubled by their decisions. In fact, many believe it is wrong for a person to portray himself as someone or something he is not, and it is wrong for a person to harm himself. Most folks would recommend psychological counseling for Dolezal and Shupping, in hopes that they cope with issues pushing them to refuse to accept their biological make-up.

Why, then, does the world applaud Bruce Jenner for identifying as a woman?

Bruce Jenner is just as confused as Rachel Dolezal, the color of one’s skin and the sex of an individual both being immutable characteristics. However, Dolezal and Jenner have been treated differently. While the world has rejected Dolezal and her claims, it has embraced Bruce Jenner. And, though Shupping’s identity disorder is different from that of Jenner, both are mutilating and manipulating their bodies in pursuit of how they identify and view themselves; but, this self-view is obviously not objective.

That said, skin color and sex are objectively determinable attributes, even before birth.

Walter Heyer is a spokesperson regarding transgender regret. He is a male who transitioned to a female and then stopped hormone treatments attempting to revert to his original gender. He now chronicles his story and the stories of those like him who have undergone surgeries and other medical interventions for gender identity dysphoria, only to realize that the reasons they struggle with their gender are not superficial—they are not healed by dealing only with the body. People with gender identity dysphoria need counseling, not surgical mutilation.

Mr. Heyer has also chronicled some of the things he learned along his journey, including the lack of ability to completely physiologically change a person’s sex and the increased risk of suicide in those who attempt gender change. Thus, it is important for parents, schools, and government leaders to endeavor to help individuals work through the reasons for their gender identity dysphoria, and to move toward acceptance of their God-given, natural sex.

Last week, one government leader, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), spoke out about her acceptance of her daughter, who is attempting to become a male. While Ros-Lehtinen is certainly correct in that it is “a tragedy that a great proportion of young people who pass through this transition are rejected by their families,” there should be a distinction made between acceptance and affirmation. Families must learn to accept the individual struggling with his or her identity, without affirming his or her decision to base their identity on subjective views of self, for example, by identifying as a different race, blinding themselves in pursuit of a disability, or undergoing gender transition efforts.

People, especially young people, need support from those who are willing to speak truth into their lives, which includes truth about their natural, biological identities.

Porn, Infidelity, Divorce, and the Depravity of Man

by Mandi Ancalle

October 27, 2015

It’s White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week! The purpose of WRAP Week, which is October 25th thru November 1st, is to inform the public about the harms of pornography, and to advocate for decency. After all, George Washington said, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”

But, we live in a broken world.

According to CovenantEyes, the pornography industry generates $13 billion each year in the U.S., and internet porn alone is a $3 billion a year business. Even 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month. While the problem with pornography may begin with the objectification of individuals made in the image of God, it does not end there. Studies show individuals who are unfaithful to their spouses are more than three times (that’s 300 %!) as likely to have looked at pornography.

Pornography is like a “gateway drug” to sexual anarchy.

Unfortunately, pornography’s effects are far-reaching. Not only is the individual’s brain affected by viewing pornography, but their relationships are subsequently affected as well. In fact, CitizenLink reports that 56% of divorce cases involved “one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites,” and “68% involved one party meeting a new love interest over the Internet.”

CovenantEyes also reports the average age of a male’s first exposure to pornography is twelve, and nine out of ten boys are exposed to pornography before they turn eighteen. This places a significant burden on parents to be aware of their children’s use of technology, especially considering one in five mobile searches are for pornography.

A biblical sexual ethic is not achieved through passivity; it must be fiercely pursued.

This pursuit begins in the private use of phones, tablets, and computers, and extends to interpersonal relationships. Based on statistics, the more rampant the use of pornography, the greater a person’s tendency toward infidelity, and the more likely a couple is to divorce, breaking families apart. After all, actions have consequences, and those consequences involve deep wounds for the families and communities that surround the unfaithful.

The family is the cornerstone of society. As families crumble because of unfaithfulness, society suffers the consequences of children raised with trust issues, in homes without mothers or fathers. Every child deserves to be raised in an intact, biological family unit. Not only does the child benefit, but the entire family benefits economically, socially, and otherwise.

So, when temptation raises its pornographic and unfaithful head, remember that God provides a way out of tempting situations (I Cor. 10:13); and, it is the duty of believers to run in search of that way out, rather than sitting passively as temptation knocks at the door. In today’s culture, fidelity is not an easy path, but with God all things are possible.

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