Picture this scenario. A man walks into Mad Myrna's, the gay bar in downtown Anchorage, intending to apply for a recently advertised bartender position. He is wearing a T-shirt that boldly says either Exodus International or Love Won Out, two well-known ministries that provide encouragement and resources to those in the homosexual community who are looking for help to escape what has become a burdensome and conflicting lifestyle.
"I'm sorry," the Mad Myrna's general manager says, "our business caters to those who actually embrace the gay, lesbian, transgendered, bi-sexual and questioning lifestyles. Your T-shirt makes it obvious that you hold a different viewpoint. We can't, in good conscience, employ someone who is actively and obviously at such odds with the values of this bar. You'll have to look for employment elsewhere."
Is this discrimination? If it is, is it a bad thing? More importantly, should it be allowed in the Municipality of Anchorage?
As I represent a conservative, pro-family, pro-life organization, it might surprise some that my answer to the last question would be an emphatic "yes."
The owner of Mad Myrna's has an indisputable First Amendment right to operate their business within the Municipality of Anchorage under the dictates of their own conscience.
Just as another business owner with a differing set of values has the same right to not have to surrender their First Amendment rights at the market gate in operating their Christian bookstore, run their condominium complex or make hiring decisions at their private school.
We have to start having honest dialogue about this effort by those on the Anchorage Assembly who are pushing this agenda as fast as they can before Dan Sullivan takes office. There is simply not any evidence of systemic or even isolated incidents of gays and lesbians being turned down for loans, housing or jobs based on their sexual orientation.
This is about a movement among activists promoting the homosexual legal agenda to persecute and prosecute anyone who won't be coerced into fully and openly endorsing their agenda. Christians and others of different faiths are now being targeted across the country who decline to endorse, facilitate, or participate in activities that violate their conscience or religious convictions.
That it is happening is not up for debate.
Visit the Triumph and Truth Web site to read about a photographer in New Mexico who was sued and found guilty by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for simply declining to provide services to a lesbian couple who wanted their "commitment ceremony" photographed.
If you read this article, you'll find that this was not a matter of the lesbian couple searching high and low for a business that would take the pictures. It was about a lesbian couple who targeted an individual who wouldn't do it based on her deeply held and personal convictions.
In another well-known case, the Boston Archdiocese was forced to close the doors on its adoption agency, a group that was involved in adoptions for more than 100 years, simply because it could not, in good conscience, abide by the local sexual orientation ordinance that mandated the group adopt children out to gay and lesbian couples.
In the end, this is not a civil liberties issue. It is a religious liberties issue. Infringement of those liberties is guaranteed should this ordinance be forced upon the people of Anchorage.
Jim Minnery is president of Alaska Family Council. This commentary first appeared in the Daily News Web feature AK Voices, adn.com/opinion/akvoices.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing