Mayor, council members, thank you for hearing me. My name is Joseph Bayly, pastor of Christ Church, in service to Jesus Christ in Milford, with members in the city of Cincinnati.
I am here this afternoon to plead with you for religious freedom. The purpose of the ordinance before you is described as protecting the youth of our city. What it actually does is remove faithful Christians from the work of helping these youth through counseling and therapy. If the purpose had been otherwise, it would have been very easy to draft a law which protected religious freedom for Christians, Muslims, and others.
Instead, the law is written with the goal of silencing people who have unpopular beliefs, the very thing our forefathers fled when they sought a new life here. The very thing they were so concerned to prevent from happening again when they wrote our founding documents.
The goal is not to help children. If it was, the law would not allow Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to help children who want to “transition away” from their biological sex, and criminalize helping those who want to “transition back.”
This is not concern for the children. It is an attempt to silence people of faith, and on behalf of the thousands of therapists and counselors in this city, as well as pastors and Imams that will feel the chilling influence of this law on their free speech—lest the law target them next—I beg you to vote today for religious freedom and freedom of speech and against the establishment a city-mandated understanding of morality.
The fear you have—of morality being forced on certain people—is exactly what this law proposes to do.