Eight Republicans Join Democrats to Pass All-Out Assault on Faith
If Democrats get their way, religious hospitals would be forced to perform abortions, Christian churches would be forced to host events that are contrary to the Bible’s teachings, and Christian schools would be required to accommodate the preferences of transgender students regarding athletic teams and bathrooms.
The House voted 236-173 to approve the “Equality Act,” legislation that would expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also protect, on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.
But it would also completely obliterate the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that stops government from encroaching on a person’s religious liberty. In other words, the Equality Act effectively puts a bullseye on every person of faith in the nation.
Eight Republicans broke ranks and voted with the Democrats to attack religious liberty. The renegade Republicans include: Rep. Brooks (IN), Rep. Diaz-Balart (FL), Rep. Fitzpatrick (PA), Rep. Hurd (TX), Rep. Katko (NY), Rep. Reed (NY), Rep. Stefanik (NY), and Rep. Walden (OR).
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” that the bill will “erode the First Amendment and totally destroy religious liberties.”
“This is an attempt to silence the Christian voice,” Hice said. "This is going to literally empower the federal government to force people to contrast their deeply held religious beliefs.“
"Christians will be forced to violate their beliefs if the Equality Act passes,” declared a headline on Christian Broadcasting Network.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said no institution or person of faith would escape the Orwellian reach of the law and predicted a “catastrophic loss of religious freedom in America.”
“It is an egregious attack on the freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs. It would position the government to lord over churches and other faith-based institutions, dictating potentially who they hire, how their facilities are used, and even punishing them for not falling in step with a view of human sexuality that directly contradicts orthodox biblical teaching,” Perkins said.
Hundreds of pastors and religious leaders have already signed a letter warning that churches could be forced by the government to be opened up as public accommodations to host events and other celebrations against their conscience.
“This is extremely dangerous and I don’t think people realize how bad it is,” Family Research Council’s Travis Weber said on the “Todd Starnes Radio Show.”
When Democrats introduced the legislation last March, they predicted that conservatives would “use fear” to stop the bill.
“We cannot allow claims of religious freedom to be used to discriminate against an LGBT individual,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said.
In other words, faith-based flower-shop owners, bakers, and even adoption agencies would be forced to engage in practices that might violate the tenets of their religious beliefs.
Weber said the Equality Act would not only gut religious liberty, it would also target biological women.
“It should be renamed the ‘Inequality Act,’” Weber said. "When you actually dig beneath the surface and see what it does to women, to children, to families across America [and] what it does to religious freedom, it’s actually incredibly unequal.“
Rep. Hice said he fears Democrats could use the bill, if it becomes law, to "totally silence and, to some extent, potentially even criminalize the Christian voice when it comes to the issue of marriage.”
It’s unclear what will happen in the Senate — especially if establishment Republicans side with Democrats.
So as it now stands, the only thing standing between religious liberty and tyranny may be President Trump’s veto pen.