• January 30, 2023

Think the ‘Equality Act’ Will Spare Churches and Religious Schools? Think Again

 Think the ‘Equality Act’ Will Spare Churches and Religious Schools? Think Again

Joe Biden speaks in a Democratic presidential primary debate. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By Sarah Kramer | February 11, 2021

You might expect churches and religious schools, of all places, to remain safe from the government’s meddling hands.

Our Constitution does guarantee religious freedom, after all.

But if the “Equality Act” is passed—which President Biden has promised to push for in the first 100 days of his administration—not even churches and religious schools will be safe from the government’s reach.

The deceptively named “Equality Act” would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to existing laws banning discrimination in places of public accommodation, employment, housing, and by recipients of federal financial assistance.

And while its name may sound nice to some, the “Equality Act” actually poses devastating and unprecedented threats to religious freedom.

We’ve already seen examples of these threats where similar legislation has been passed at the state and local levels. Now, let’s take a look at what the “Equality Act” would mean for churches and religious schools.

Forcing churches to abandon biblical teaching on human sexuality

In Massachusetts, state officials declared that churches are subject to state public accommodation laws. That meant if churches host public activities – something as simple as a spaghetti supper – they would be forced to open women’s private changing areas and restrooms to biological men. If a church refused, it would face crippling fines and even jail time.

This impacted people like Pastor Esteban Carrasco and House of Destiny Ministries. Esteban and his church wanted to open a women’s shelter for survivors of domestic violence. But according to this interpretation of the law, they would be forced to allow men who identify as female to use the same changing rooms, restrooms, and living facilities as these vulnerable women.

 

 

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