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Legislative update

Friday, March 1, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

In a vacuum, this week’s news that Democrats turned a historic state surplus into a projected shortfall and continued chipping away at our Second Amendment rights would be the stuff of major headlines.

Except then House Democrats did something even more egregious – or even downright sinister – on Thursday by taking a wrecking ball to the very cornerstone of our state and nation: Religious freedom.

House Democrats made it crystal clear this week that our state’s views trump your religious beliefs. They are declaring statutory war on our religious faith while projecting totalitarianism on us all, as if the American Revolution never happened. They have erased the separation of church and state after assuring us for years their anti-discrimination push would spare religious entities.

Here’s how it went down:

Before last year, when gender identity was included (or subsumed) within the MHRA definition of sexual orientation, the still-existing religious exemption for sexual orientation covered gender identity claims as well. When a new, separate definition of gender identity was created last year, there was no corresponding religious exemption added. 

When faith groups first brought forward concerns over this issue, many assumed this was an oversight, and the department and majority would support a fix to restore the status quo as it existed from 1993-2023. But a corrective measure is missing from the department’s bill presented this year, which is why, at the request of Minnesota’s faith community, Rep. Harry Niska crafted an amendment to rectify this situation.

The Niska proposal simply restores the religious exemption in the MHRA protecting religious organizations and faith-based schools against claims of gender identity discrimination. The exemption ensures that religious organizations and faith-based schools can, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their mission and values. Already, at least one faith-based school is facing an employment complaint at the department of human rights because of the removal of the exemption.

Unfortunately, the Democrat majority refused to fix the problem it created and voted down the Niska amendment. Not only that, but Democrat House members made it personal by lobbing cynical insults at members of our religious community who testified on behalf of the amendment. It was an unbecoming display in the Minnesota House of Representatives – if decorum even matters to Democrats anymore.

This is fundamentally a red alert regarding the direction our state is heading under full control of Democrats. They have erased the separation of church and state after assuring us for years their anti-discrimination push would spare religious entities.

It concerns me many people may hear this news and freeze, as if they just saw a terrible accident and don’t know how to respond. It’s admittedly hard to wrap your brain around that fact that, in these very United States of America, the simple act of existing as a religious person is an act of civil disobedience.

It’s bad enough that Democrats keep coming for our tax dollars and our guns but we expect that from them; it’s old hat. Now, Democrats are coming for our religion in an attack on our most cherished, foundational, quintessential American rights – and we didn’t even have to coax their objective out of them as normally is the case. In fact, Democrat House members clarified things in the committee hearing Thursday, indicating in no uncertain terms their swipe at religious freedom was NOT a mistake.

Democrats used full control of the Capitol to end the separation of church and state in Minnesota and crush our religious liberties. And it was on purpose. Just let that rattle around a bit and let me know if you are ready to help get our state back off the canvas before the fight is called.

Click here for the full video of committee discussion and action on the Niska amendment, starting around 13:00.



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