It felt like the first 45 minutes was mostly choreographed to set the tone for the LBGT agenda and the media...there was frequent applause that only later was addressed by the chairperson as being inappropriate. The atmosphere clearly felt like this was unstoppable and a done-deal.
The city attorney stated that NE Attorney General's recent ruling on these ordinances was wrong and that they should just move ahead in defiance of him as Omaha is doing, in-spite of possible costly future litigations.
There was a lot of confusion about the church exemption and even questions about why it was even needed. Ben Gray spoke to this as necessary to maintain 1st Amendment freedom of religion for churches. Ben also gave a lot of false data regarding what is happening with this legislation around the nation.
One of my biggest concerns in this ordinance is the great potential for abuse through the "Human Rights Commission" which will be given broad power to enforce this ordinance. More on this later... Click here for a summary on my study of "Human Rights Commissions" in Canada
With the known make-up of the Lincoln City Council it was apparent the unless God did a miracle this ordinance would pass on the 14th. I was seeking the Lord as to what His purposes for us were in such a meeting... and I felt led that God would help us turn light on into the darkness in such a way that many there would realize the truth regardless of how the vote went. God did just that.
As the overflow audience began to shrink we finally had some of our best presenters...a well respected Lincoln Businessman, several pastors, a local Christian attorney, Hannah from the Nebraska Family Council giving clear documentation of issues from this legislation in other cities that revealed Ben Gray's false reports, Femi spoke eloquently on several points.
The Lord gave me some new insights as I sat there and led me to speak to the confusion over the religious exemptions and 1st Amendment Freedoms. Ben Gray's and the council's confusion over this is because they see 1st Amendment Freedoms organizationally instead of individually. The 1st Amendment freedom of the press is given to individual reporters, not just the organizations they represent. When we see that 1st Amendment freedoms of the free exercise of religion is given to individuals not just organizations it changes everything and things get much more clearly defined.
After my presentation came one of the most amazing, un-expected, and clearly Divinely timed presentations that picked up right where I left off... Fr. Christopher Kubat, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska. Fr. Kubat clearly showed them the devastating effects of this ordinance on Catholic business people and Catholic Charities in-spite of the exemption. He was uncompromising in a gentle-wise way that was awesome and when the one council member asked him if there was an exemption that would be acceptable Fr. Kubat said yes, "An Exemption For Conscience." The looks that came from the council were priceless. A religious exemption for conscience would basically nullify the whole ordinance! I talked to Fr. Kubat afterwards and we are connecting him into our network.
Next Steps for Prayer:
Pray that light continues to shine into the darkness in our cities and that civic leaders see truth in a way that they must personally process.Pray for my second lunch tomorrow with Gay Pastor Scott Jones of First Congregational. We had a wonderful first meeting and are becoming friends as we get to know each other...We agreed that we are not trying change each other, and leave any changes up to God. Scott was raised as a 4th generation Southern Baptist and shared one of the most authentic stories of childhood conversion at age five that I have ever heard...tomorrow we pick up from there...Pray for the Nebraska Heritage Coalition Leaders meeting this Thursday, noon to 1:30 PM at Glad Tidings where several key strategies will be discussed. Pray that many pastors make it a priority to be at this crucial meeting. Please encourage and confirm that someone from your church will be there if you live in the Omaha Metro area.
See you on the streets...Dave