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Conservatives work to reduce government, not to expand its power. It’s no coincidence that homosexual activist groups were among the most aggressive supporters of Obamacare. The act and Obamacare are vast, new liberal government mandates.

The nation’s workplaces have already been subjected to de facto enforcement of quotas despite provisions prohibiting them. Employers are accused of “disparate impact” regardless of sincere efforts to hire more minorities or women.

Imagine “civil rights” lawyers under the Obama Justice Department invading workplaces to ensure that there are an acceptable number of men wearing dresses, along with homosexual-related hires, promotions and celebrations.

Advocates claim that it’s about “simple fairness.” It’s not. The law will criminalize dissent against any initiative by newly empowered “sexual minorities.” Don’t feel like making your employees celebrate “gay pride day” or attend “diversity” brainwashing? Welcome to court. Hope you can afford it.

The biggest mistake that liberty defenders could make is to buy into the “religious exemption” inserted by Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican. It’s a fig leaf, and a thin one at that.

Once the law is on the books, a liberal federal judge will void the exemption.

For a lesson in abusing federal law, consider that the Internal Revenue Service has throttled political speech in churches since the 1950s. Texas Democratic Sen. Lyndon Baines Johnson inserted a provision in the tax code threatening the nonprofit status of religious institutions if leaders endorse candidates from the pulpit. Johnson did so to shut up overly critical preachers.

Churches in America are untaxed not because they do what Caesar tells them, but because, as Jesus says in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The Johnson gag order is unconstitutional, which is why the IRS has not dared to bring a case. Conservative churches, however, have been silenced, while many liberal churches ignore the law. They know that hustlers such as Al Sharpton will run to the media if the IRS gets too frisky.

Add this law to this mix, and we’re well on the way to a day when the feds are editing sermons and punishing churches that don’t have priestesses performing same-sex ceremonies.

Proponents insist that it will never come to that, but don’t believe them. Liberal groups are working to remove the Catholic Church’s tax exemption over its opposition to abortion, and they ran the church out of the adoption business in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Imagine what they will do nationally if President Obama gets to sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.