Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Falsely-named "Equality Act" is a Deceptive Attack on Religious Freedom and Women's Rights

H.R. 5, the so-called "Equality Act" is scheduled to be voted on this week in the House of Representatives. Its stated purpose, in brief, is "to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation." But, as always, the devil is in the details, as the saying goes. In reality, the bill guts religious freedoms, limits parental rights, and even endangers Women's Rights. 

In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Franklin Graham summed up the concern many Christians have over the so-called Equality Act: "This week Congress is scheduled to vote on H.R.5, the Equality Act, a bill that represents what is being called “the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in America.”

"I and other Christian leaders wrote a letter to congressional leaders about the Equality Act. Contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to protect our families, our children, & our future by voting NO on the Equality Act."

"Congress needs to hear those who care about religious freedom loud and clear. Let’s light up the phones on Capitol Hill and the White House! Call your elected leaders about the Equality Act today at 202.224.3121."

The letter Graham and other Christian leaders sent to congressional leaders read in part: "As those tasked with the leadership of the church, and as those seeking to humbly convey Biblical truth for the benefit of every man, woman, and child in society, we the undersigned cannot remain silent concerning a dangerous bill pending in Congress known as the Equality Act (H.R. 5). Not only is it incompatible withGod’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 these reasons, we must state that we adamantly oppose this proposed legislation."

The letter goes on to give three main reasons the Equality Act should be defeated: 

"First, the ideology enshrined in the Equality Act—which falsely equates one’s sexual conduct with immutable characteristics like skin color and ethnicity—is a falsehood that openly contradicts the scriptural mandates we were given for our good (1 Thess. 4:3-8). We cannot remain silent and allow this lie to harm countless men, women, and children—whether in this or any other legislation. 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."

"Second, the Equality Act would gut religious freedom protections—even 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.

"Third, the Equality Act is unacceptable because it is anti-life and 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."

The letter can be read in full on the Family Research Council website (link opens as a .pdf).

Concerns over the confusion and vagueness of "gender identity" is causing some feminist leaders to voice criticisms of the bill, including that it would render Title IX protections meaningless, allowing transgendered men to fully participate in women's athletics and compete for women's scholarships. They also claim that the bill would expose women to sexual predators claiming gender identities in order to gain access to women's shelters, bathrooms, and locker rooms.

Even if the bill passes ther House, it faces an almost impossible battle in the Republican-controlled Senate. Also, President Trump has already said he would veto the bill.
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