Friday, August 2, 2019

You are receiving this email because according to our records you live in the city of Sheboygan. If that is not accurate, please let us know; and secondly, if you know someone who does live in the city of Sheboygan, please forward this email to them.  Thank you!

We are sorry for the late notice on this, but we just today learned that the Sheboygan Common Council is going to be voting this coming Monday, August 5, on a proposal that will ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.  Obviously, the intent has been to move this proposal quickly and quietly so as to not give citizens much time to respond. In a call made this morning to the City Clerk’s office inquiring why the agenda for the upcoming meeting wasn’t yet posted online, the clerk responded with, “Well, we only have to post the notice 24 hours in advance,” which in this case would be Sunday late afternoon. From my perspective, while that may be legal, it’s terrible governing, at a minimum.

The ordinance is essentially the same as the other community’s have passed. The idea is basically to stop anyone from offering real help and real hope to minors struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender identity issues.  The proposed ordinance would apply to any person, which in the actual wording means not just an individual but businesses, organizations and even churches.  A “person” would be prohibited from offering counseling that is Christian or biblical–because the intent of such counseling would be contrary to what the new law would allow.  As is typical with these ordinances, they allow and even encourage counseling that affirms and encourages same-sex attraction and gender “transgendering.”  But any counseling of a minor that does not affirm and encourage a minor in these areas would be forbidden, including counseling by a pastor or ministry leader or a Christian counselor–if a fee is paid for such counseling. However, legal experts in this area have repeatedly told us that no one knows for sure what “for a fee” really means, making that murky language at best and certainly subject to litigation. Also like the others this proposal also has no religious exemption, which means, at a minimum, a Christian counselor who works for a counseling center that clearly charges a “fee” for services would be prohibited from offering true biblical counseling to a minor whose parents sought him/her out for help with unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender-confusion.

This proposal is dangerous and unconstitutional. It trounces on parents’ rights and on religious freedom of counselors and ministry leaders. It is dangerous in that it encourages minors to continue on paths that will very often lead to heartache and even major health issues.  

Now is the time for you to let your Sheboygan Common Council know your opinion of this proposal and how you want them to vote. We hope (and encourage) you to graciously but firmly urge your elected officials to oppose this proposal and vote no this coming Monday.  Here is a link to find out who your alderman is and how to contact him/her (email or phone): http://www.sheboyganwi.gov/officials/common-council/.  It’s important you know 5 of your 10 alderpersons, Sorenson, Felde, Ackley, Donohue and Savaglio, have co-sponsored this proposal. If the Council votes 5-5 on this issue, then your Mayor, Mike Vandersteen, would cast the deciding vote. So contacting Mayor Vandersteen is very important as well.  The Mayor’s phone number is 920-459-3317. His email is mayor.vandersteen@sheboyganwi.gov.

It’s very important that you know if you want to speak at the meeting Monday evening, you must call and register with the clerk’s office by noon Monday, August 5. Public comments happen early in the meeting and speakers are asked to restrict their comments to no more than 5 minutes. The clerk’s phone number is 920-459-3361. We hope many will attend the meeting and that many will also speak.

The meeting is at 6 p.m., Monday, August 5, at the Sheboygan County Courthouse, 5th Floor, 615 N. 6th St., Sheboygan, WI.

In an article in yesterday’s Sheboygan Press, Alderperson Felde says this is a personal matter for her since she has “a child who identifies as a member of the LGBT community.” Alderperson Sorenson says, in the same article, those supporting the ordinance see it as a public health issue and that Sheboygan is “not going to tolerate child abuse.”  

Friend, this is not a matter of public health and because one’s child identifies as LGBT does not mean this is good or right policy. For a sitting alderperson to maintain that not passing this ordinance means Sheboygan is tolerating child abuse is nothing but an open scare tactic, just as are the opening words in the ordinance, which says, “The City of Sheboygan is a welcoming community to all people, and does not accept bigotry and hate” (emphasis added). Officials want to be sure anyone who objects knows they are being labeled as hateful and bigoted. This is a shameless attempt to silence opposition to this very dangerous and wrong ordinance.

Three other important action steps you can take:
1) Share this email with others you know who live in the city of Shebogan and urge them to join you in contacting your local officials and getting the word out.
2) Check with your pastor to be sure he knows about this issue–and encourage him to contact all of the council members and the mayor. This is VERY important!
3) Plan to attend the council meeting on Monday–and encourage others to join you, including your pastor. 

God bless you for anything you can do to stop this very bad proposal from moving forward in your city!

 

 

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