“The ill-named Equality Act is making its way back through Congress this year. The act, which is being painted as a pro-LGBT law, is coming across to many people of faith as an anti-religious freedom law. As Christian Headlines previously reported, the act is seeking to make ‘gender identity’ a covered category under the Civil Rights Act, thereby overriding the protections based on biological sex. Here are 4 things Christians should know about the Equality Act:
1. It Endangers the Church. If the Equality Act passes, Churches will no longer be able to hire someone based on their beliefs. What this means is that a church could not deny hiring someone because they are an Atheist or because they live a life contradictory to the church’s beliefs. This also means that churches, like all other institutions, will not be allowed to segregate restrooms or locker rooms based on sex. According to Greg Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom, the Equality Act is also set to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. This means that people will no longer be able to use religious free exercise as a defense for their actions. For example, if a church declines to allow a gay couple from holding their wedding in their church because it goes against your religious beliefs, the church could be subjected to legal action.
2. It Encourages the Suppression of Religious Freedom. According to The Hill, the Equality Act moves to elevate the protection of LGBT people over people of faith. If enacted, the Equality Act will prevent religious people from denying a service, employment, housing or public accommodations among other things, to LGBT persons, despite the fact that homosexuality contradicts their religious beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom’s Sarah Kramer summed up the effects of the act on religious people, ‘Essentially, the Equality Act gives people of faith an ultimatum: Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment.’
3. It Will Obliterate Women’s Rights. The Equality Act is seeking to make ‘gender identity’ a covered category under the Civil Rights Act. By doing this, the protected category of ‘sex’ is being eliminated. In an interview with Fox News, Doreen Denny, the Senior Director of Government Relations at the conservative group Concerned Women for America, said ‘In a bathroom, or locker room or a dressing room, any biological man at any time that wants to come in and say, I’m now a woman could just have access to that.’ The Equality Act will outrightly let any person who feels like a woman, compete [in sports] as a woman even if they are a biological man.
4. It Will Affect Your Kids. The Heritage Foundation reports that the Equality Act will force doctors to ignore parents’ wishes and give kids--no matter the age--transgender operations and puberty blockers if the child asks for it.”
“4 Things Christians Should Know about the Equality Act,” ChristianHeadlines.com, May 17, 2019