Ohio clergy first to recognize proposed ‘Pastor Protection Act’ is bogus: the Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess (Opinion) | cleveland.com

Three times this month, the Ohio House has held committee hearings on the so-called “Pastor Protection Act” (HB 36), a bill purportedly designed to protect clergy and places of worship from performing marriages against their wishes. This is bogus legislation, designed to confront a non-existent problem, and a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. Clergy already exercise unfettered discretion over marriage decisions.So what’s this legislation really about? There’s no other answer: It’s about protecting the falsehood, and perpetuating the stereotype, that LGBTQ Ohioans and our relationships are inherently secular, unholy, anti-faith, anti-church and, thus, anti-pastor, under the dual guise of exclusive religion and bad public policy. It’s about casting another net of shame over an already vulnerable group of citizens that still lack any statewide protections in housing, employment and public accommodations. This is Ohio masquerading itself as regressive North Carolina or Indiana, and it’s bad for business.  The God I worship is about loosening the bonds of oppression, not piling on. I serve the One whose burden is light, not made excessively heavy. But most importantly, as a citizen of this state, I smell rotten legislation when it’s foisted upon us.My clergy colleagues widely agree: we don’t need these protections; we already have them. Instead, as concerned Ohioans, let’s turn our legislative energies toward those who really do need our watchful love and compassion.

Source: Ohio clergy first to recognize proposed ‘Pastor Protection Act’ is bogus: the Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess (Opinion) | cleveland.com