Donald Trump may be the next president of the United States but the war on religious liberty rages on.
The other day I received word that Connecticut’s openly gay comptroller is targeting American Family Association, one of the nation’s most prominent and respected Christian ministries.
If Comptroller Kevin Lembo has his way, AFA could be kicked out of the Connecticut State Employees’ Campaign for Charitable Giving (CSEC) — even though they are qualified as a charity under the rules.
Lembo sent AFA a letter accusing them possibly being in “violation of the regulations governing the Connecticut State Employee Campaign for Charitable Giving that broadly prohibit discrimination.”
He specifically mentioned AFA’s petition to boycott Target over its transgender bathroom policies, and ministry statements regarding traditional marriage.
“These actions and statements are extremely troubling to me -- not only as an openly gay father and spouse -- but as administrator of CSEC,” he wrote. “The AFA’s statements and mission not only appear to discriminate against the LGBTQ communities, as well as Muslims who choose to serve and protect our country by enlisting in the military, but it remains unclear what actual charitable services the AFA provides that qualifies it to participate in the CSEC. I am, therefore, initiating an investigation to determine whether AFA is in compliance with the requirements of the CSEC. (Click here to read the comptroller’s full letter.)
If Lembo follows through on his threats, it would mean state employees would not be able to contribute to AFA through the program, AFA president Tim Wildmon says.
“This is a state government official coming directly after your AFA, and the letter is nothing more than an attack on AFA for standing strong for biblical principles,” Wildmon said. “Moreover, it is an unconstitutional attack on the First Amendment rights of all religious organizations. The government is not allowed to dictate to religious charities what they can believe in order to participate in the public square.”
AFA general counsel Abraham Hamilton III, minced no words in his interpretation of the state comptroller’s investigation.
"What's being foisted upon the American Family Association is the latest iteration of 'If you don't adhere to the nouveaux orthodoxy of the day – which is the sexual deviancy agenda – then you must be castigated and expelled from public life,'" he tells OneNewsNow.
First Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser accused Lembo of abusing the power of his office.
“It is surprising that a government would still be so bold as to engage in clearly unconstitutional religious viewpoint discrimination,” Sasser told me. “He is abusing his office by inappropriately using it to advance his own personal agenda and it is really disturbing.”
And to be perfectly blunt, these types of attacks by far-left bureaucrats are why Donald Trump won the presidency.
"This issue ... really brings into focus why a lot of people supported Donald Trump as opposed to Hillary Clinton," Hamilton told OneNewsNow. ”People feared the federal government – more specifically the IRS or the Department of Justice – being used as means of cultural and societal intimidation."
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.