By Tim Krieger

The stated purpose of Pennsylvania's House Bill 300 is to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity. Unfortunately, both the text of the bill and the actions of proponents of similar laws show that H.B. 300 is less about fostering tolerance and more about suppressing religious freedom.

The bill's so-called religious exemption is inadequate. True religion affects the whole being, not just behavior inside a church or synagogue. H.B. 300 would force believers to deny their religious beliefs or face the consequences.

Ask Blaine Adamson, who faces a human-rights complaint from the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization in Kentucky because he declined to print promotional shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival, which were to be used to promote a message at odds with his religious beliefs. The fact that he referred the business to another printer at the same price, or that the organization was able to get the shirts from another printer for free, was not enough to induce the group to withdraw its complaint, which is still pending.

Or consider the case of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a religious association affiliated with the Methodist Church. Despite the fact that the association had many years ago formally pledged to abstain from using its facilities in any way "inconsistent with the doctrines, discipline, and usage of the Methodist Episcopal Church," the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights found that the association violated state antidiscrimination law by refusing to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted at its facility.

Unfortunately, these examples are not isolated incidents, but part of a pattern of behavior designed to suppress the expression of any religious beliefs in opposition to the gay agenda.

Tolerance presupposes disagreement. Tolerance of the gay lifestyle by those holding traditional views presupposes disagreement with that lifestyle. However, some in the gay-rights movement are not interested in tolerance, but insist, often stridently, upon forcing moral and intellectual acceptance of their choices. For them, the point is to break down the opposition of religious views. In so doing, they are destroying true tolerance, and in the process, doing great damage to our civil discourse and to fundamental freedom and liberty.

We have always been a country where each man or woman was free to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience. Over succeeding generations, much blood and treasure have been spent to ensure the survival of that inheritance. Now, under the guise of "antidiscrimination" laws, some Americans are attempting to force their fellow Americans to act in violation of their consciences. Sadly, what a foreign enemy could never do to us, we are doing to ourselves.

State Rep. Tim Krieger is a Republican representing the 57th District, which includes parts of Westmoreland County. Contact him via www.repkrieger.com.