On February 25 the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, also known as the “Equality Act.” (Read the full text of the bill here.) It will now be considered by the US Senate.
The legislation expands US government “protections” for people in the growing categories of sexual orientation and practice. These include areas of sexual practice that most evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, and others deem to be contrary to the will of God.
The IPHC opposes this legislation for numerous reasons, among them being that the protections provided religious institutions in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 are expressly excluded. This language is directly from the legislation:
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.” In other words, the legislation supersedes religious liberties under the 1993 RFRA Act and the First Amendment.
The National Association of Evangelicals has addressed the implications of the House legislation and the process by which it was passed: “Today’s action by the House of Representatives to pass the Equality Act on a party line vote without hearings or committee markup represents a lost opportunity to develop sensible legislation that would unite our country and protect all Americans from unjust discrimination. While the Equality Act offers protections for LGBT individuals, its current form threatens to turn houses of worship and other religious spaces into ‘public accommodations’ subject to intrusive government intervention, in violation of the First Amendment.” (Read the NAE’s statement here.)
The IPHC has been very clear in its statements regarding human sexuality, marriage, the Bible, and the drift in our culture. I encourage you to read our statement on Marriage and Sexual Morality. A Spanish version is also available.
What shall we do?
- We must renew our commitment to the Bible as the Word of God. The IPHC Articles of Faith and our first core value affirm Holy Scripture has the final authority for our beliefs and actions.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across our churches. We pray this will bring about genuine repentance so that we will live as light and salt in this world.
- Pray for, and financially support our educational and benevolent institutions, as they will likely encounter serious challenges if this bill becomes law.
- Remember that we do not hate people. We are called to love people, and live in such a way that the lost will find hope in Christ through our verbal and life-style witness. We must be mindful that “we do not war according to the flesh,” (2 Corinthians 10:3), and “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12).
- Call and email your US Senator. You can Google how to contact your Senator by name and state. With an evenly divided Senate, it is imperative that we respectfully contact our senators appeal to them not to support this legislation.
- Call and email the White House, respectfully expressing your opposition to the Equality Act.
- Pray for the US Supreme Court. If the legislation becomes law, there will likely be court challenges.
Regardless of what occurs in this issue, we are called to live with love, hope, truth, proclaiming the righteousness and goodness of the kingdom of God. Let us not be afraid.