In 2011, the Human Rights Campaign launched a video series that, according to HRC’s president, would “help drive the national conversation about same-sex marriage.” And it did just that. The series featured professional athletes, movie stars, politicians and civil rights leaders. And look where we are today.
Looking back, it’s clear that while opponents of same-sex marriage made much better arguments, the advocates changed the cultural imagination.
Well on Monday, the HRC announced a new video campaign called “Americans for the Equality Act.” This time, Christians need to be prepared to respond.
According to Andrew Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, “the Equality Act represents the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in America.”
I agree—with the caveat that the Equality Act seemed virtually unpassable when it was first conceived all the way back in 1974. In fact, it seemed unpassable in 1984, 1994, 2004 and even 2014.
But today, what seemed unthinkable seems quite possible.
Despite the name, backers of the Equality Act aren’t seeking a balance of LGBTQ rights with religious rights. As Andrew told me recently on the BreakPoint Podcast, the Equality Act “is a winner-take all solution. It takes the categories of gender identity and sexual orientation and elevates them to a protected class in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
That would mean in every area of public life—public accommodation, public education, and even Christian education—gender identity and sexual orientation would receive the highest level of federal protection.
Even worse, the Equality Act specifically targets the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed by President Clinton. So in cases involving claims of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, religious rights would be tossed aside. The Barronelle Stutzmans and Jack Phillips of the world—or any Christian trying to live out their convictions in public life—wouldn’t stand a chance.
That means that religious conviction about sexual behavior or gender realities would immediately, as Andrew said on the podcast, be put “on the opposite side of federal law . . . Our viewpoints on marriage and sexuality and how we define male and female,” would be considered irrational. And that we hold them not with good will, but with animus. “The Equality Act,” Andrew continued, “effectively turns Billy Graham into Jim Crow.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and David Carlson