Equality Act Bans Religious Freedom
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Loving people does not require compromising core Biblical convictions. To the contrary, we are explicitly told:
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Jesus famously associated with “tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:16), but He also consistently pointed out wrong behavior, encouraging those He corrected to do what was right (John 8:11). To the secular world, Christianity often appears as a dichotomy, especially in areas related to sexuality: how can we believe in traditional marriage and sexual relations as defined in the Bible (Genesis 2) while still claiming to love the individuals within the LGBTQ community who demand otherwise?
When the US Supreme Court struck down state marriage protection laws and traditional marriage in 2015,[i] LGBTQ advocates declared a win for equal rights. Since then, they continue to move their agenda forward through Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) laws. Their idea of “equal rights,” however, consistently requires punishment for Biblical beliefs. For example: “Government employees of the city of Oakland, California were threatened with losing their jobs for posting a flier on the employee bulletin board in support of ‘marriage,’ ‘natural family,’ and ‘family values.”[ii]
“Seattle’s Human Rights Commission brought charges against Bryan Griggs for playing Christian radio stations (on which he advertised) in his place of work and posting a letter from his congresswoman expressing reservations about gays in the military, when a self-identified gay employee complained of a hostile work environment.”[iii]
There are scores of similar incidents of LGBTQ hostility toward people of Biblical beliefs. Sometimes, however, Christians have been protected from legal persecution by appealing to the traditional rights of religious conscience.
For example, the Supreme Court case of baker Jack Phillips from Colorado (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission) garnered extensive media coverage as LGBTQ advocates challenged a Christian baker’s refusal to participate in a same-sex wedding.[iv] But by relying on the individual right of religious conscience, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker, not requiring him to participate in the homosexual wedding.
To stop this, the US House of Representatives introduced a federal SOGI law (called The Equality Act) to eliminate all protections of religious conscience in matters of sexuality. As one leader of the new measure explained:
“The Equality Act also clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) cannot be used in civil rights contexts, prohibiting religious liberty—which is a core American value — from being used as a license to ‘discriminate’.”[v]
Significantly, America was founded to secure protection for the rights of religious conscience. As John Quincy Adams affirmed, “The transcendent and overruling principle of the first settlers of New England was conscience.”[vi] This fundamental protection remained across subsequent generations.
As James Madison pledged 150 years later: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship…nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or in any pretext infringed.”[vii]
The Equality Act reverses America’s four centuries of protection for the rights of religious conscience. Instead it uses the power of government to require uniformity of thought, speech, and action in support of LGBTQ views of sexuality and marriage.
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[vi] John Quincy Adams, A Discourse on Education Delivered at Braintree, Thursday, October 24th, 1839 (Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1840), p. 28.