Opponents to our values often tell us to keep our noses out of their lives, that what happens in private isn't anyone's concern. Mind your own business they tell us. Apparently, as is usually the case, their standard doesn't apply equally.
A case in point: A Michigan woman is facing a federal investigation because she posted an ad on her church bulletin board seeking a Christian roommate.
Seriously. State approved roommates!
Finding a roommate is stressful enough — trying to find a complete stranger who has a compatible lifestyle, sometimes under financial pressure. But according to our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund (see Speak Up Movement blog), the government now is in the business of telling us with whom we can and cannot live:
The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, alleging that this 'posting' was discriminatory. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has turned this over to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which notified this lady that it will now be handling this investigation.
The lady under investigation is not a landlord or manager of multi-family apartments. She simply owns a home and is seeking someone of like faith to share her 900 square feet living space. But apparently, in the United States, in The Age of Obama, the desire to have a roommate who shares one's faith is such a threat to our national well-being that it requires state and federal investigations. So much for our freedom of privacy . . . or of association . . . or of religion.
You might wonder why this matters to us in Virginia. After all, we don’t have a "Department of Civil Rights" going around investigating similar "threats."
Or do we?
In Virginia we have something called the Human Rights Council that is tasked to . . .
investigate, seek to conciliate, refer to another agency, hold hearings pursuant to the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), and make findings and recommendations upon complaints alleging unlawful discriminatory practices.
Now don't get me wrong. If serious acts of real discrimination take place there should be a way for victims to be protected. But it is undeniable that such an entity can be used to intimidate and threaten people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong but practicing their freedom.
The Alliance Defense Fund makes it clear (see news release) that the woman in Michigan . . .
has a fundamental, constitutional right to seek out a Christian roommate. To claim that she loses her constitutional rights to freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom of speech just because someone else might be offended that she wants to live with a roommate of the same faith is preposterous.
This week's elections demonstrated a serious mistrust in our government. Citizens spoke loudly that our government is far too big and threatens too many of our freedoms. While much of the debate has surrounded fiscal issues, a government that can control what doctor you see or how much income you have can very easily control which roommate you choose. That is what citizens across the nation voted against on Tuesday.
We can hope that what is happening in Michigan doesn't happen in Virginia, or we can elect men and women to office who understand the limits of government and the constitutional freedoms that we once enjoyed.