May 13, 2019
There've been some creative attempts to sink the most dangerous LGBT bill in history, but Rep. Debbie Lesko's (R-Ariz.) might be the best. When the legislation hits the House floor later this week, the congresswoman has an idea: why not change the name of the legislation to something more realistic -- like the "Forfeiting Women's Rights Act?"
That's just one of the 28 protest amendments on deck for this week's floor debate from Republicans. If conservatives can't stop Democrats from bringing the legislation up for a vote, they can at least register their displeasure! Which is exactly what some of the nation's top evangelical leaders are doing in a new letter to House and Senate. With this new bill barreling down the track -- and people across business, education, sports, social services bracing for impact -- the evangelical community is refusing to stand by and watch liberals flush 235 years of freedom down the drain.
Together, we're sounding the alarm to Congress that this so-called Equality bill has nothing to do with parity and everything to do with destroying the bedrocks of American life. As such, these evangelical leaders understand one thing: they can't remain silent. "Not only is [this bill] incompatible with God's Word (the Bible) and the historic teaching of the church, but the Equality Act is also riddled with threats to religious liberty and the sanctity of human life." For starters, the signers argue, House Democrats are trying to equate sexual conduct with immutable characteristics like race and ethnicity. "This lie," they write, harms "countless men, women, and children" -- and not just in this instance, but so many others.
"Passage of this coercive measure would lay the groundwork for this lie to enter classrooms across the nation, as public educators could be compelled to teach it to their students. No family would be safe from the long reach of the Equality Act." And that's not all -- not by a long shot. The bill would also gut religious freedom protections -- even, the leaders point out, "the freedom currently enjoyed by houses of worship."
"Under its changes to the employment nondiscrimination provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, some houses of worship would be barred from ensuring their leaders and other employees abide by their beliefs about marriage, sexual behavior, and the distinction between the sexes. Women who identify as men would have to be accepted as men and therefore potentially eligible to serve in positions reserved for men (such as a Catholic Priest or Jewish Rabbi)."
"Religious employers that fall under Title VII may be forced to offer insurance coverage for medical procedures (such as hormone therapy or surgery related to "gender transition") that violate biblical teaching. Finally, the Equality Act would expressly do away with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act's application to its provisions, thereby precluding any religious freedom claims which clergy or others might bring. Under such restrictions, the pathway for the gospel would slowly be closed off."
And we've all seen how these same ideas -- in smaller bites -- have devastated areas like adoption and foster care. Under H.R. 5, the government would drive every faith-based organization out of the business of placing children in good homes. Like so many other Americans, they would have to "choose between continuing their life-affirming work or violating the tenets of their faith, the very faith that drives them to care for society's most vulnerable."
Then, of course, pro-lifers are starting to realize what a threat the bill is to -- not just the unborn -- but people in the medical community too. Believe it or not, the Equality Act actually "creates a right to demand abortion from health care providers. The termination of human life in the womb is unacceptable to any biblically and historically faithful Christian. The responsibility to care for the "least of these" (Matt. 25:40) is a fundamental responsibility of Christ's church, and any proposal that undermines a culture of life must be rejected."
For these reasons -- and so many others -- the church is calling on Congress to reject H.R. 5. You can too! If you haven't contacted your representative and urged them to vote NO, don't wait. Take a few minutes to email and call today! The future of freedom depends on it.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.