An Urgent Call to Action
Some issues we take up on our posts are not pleasant to deal with; this is one of them, but trust me when I say we MUST pray and take action on this issue. It is HR 5 - the [In]Equality Act. The church slept when prayer was removed from our schools and abortion was made the law of our land. We will not sleep through this one.
The Child & Parental Rights Campaign is one of numerous conservative groups tracking this legislation. Please believe them when they say this resolution is “an existential threat to families and faith communities.” We believe it is a direct attack against the U.S. Constitution’s protections of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. They explain the Act and its dangers for us:
The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to remedy discrimination against individuals based on the innate and immutable characteristics of race, color, national origin, and gender. Congress recognized that people were being denied rights and privileges and forced to endure substandard housing, employment, and educational opportunities solely because they were born of a particular race or nationality, with a certain skin color, or as a female. Passage of the Civil Rights Act rightly meant that those innate characteristics could not be used to justify differential treatment in education, housing, employment, and other essential goods and services.
The (In)Equality Act, HR 5, was reintroduced in 2021 after failing to obtain Senate approval in 2019. It proposes profound and far-reaching changes to the Civil Rights Act that would directly threaten religious liberty, free speech, freedom of conscience, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and the privacy and safety of women and girls. The proposed changes to the Civil Rights law under HR 5 would erase biological reality and actually reduce, not expand, protections against discrimination, contrary to the original intent of Congress.
H.R. 5 has passed in the United States House of Representatives. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have made clear their intent to pass this bill. It is now pending in the United States Senate, where it must now be stopped. If passed, here is what it would do:
o Redefine Gender (Male and Female) to Include “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity”
HR 5 would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the term “sex” throughout the Civil Rights Act. Therefore, “sex” would no longer be defined as it has for millennia as the objective biological reality of being male or female. Instead, it would include the societally derived concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity as being equal to and interchangeable with the term “sex,” thereby overriding the very nature of “sex” in the law.
o Require Owners of All Establishments Open to The Public to Comply
HR 5 would expand the definition of “public accommodations” required to comply with this new definition of “sex” to include: a “stadium or other place of or establishment that provides . . . recreation, exercise, amusement, public gathering, or public display.” This would readily include facilities faith-based organizations use for public gatherings or for sports or recreational activities for children. It would also include: “any establishment that provides goods, services, or program, including a store, shopping center, online retailer or service provider, salon, bank, gas station, food bank, service or care center, shelter, travel agency, or funeral parlor, or establishment that provides health care, accounting, or legal services.”
o Force Faith-Based Organizations to Hire Employees Who Do Not Share Their Beliefs
Owners and employers of virtually all establishments open to the public would have to ensure that hiring policies, dress codes, codes of conduct, promotions, and disciplinary actions do not treat someone differently because they are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. That includes churches and faith-based non-profits having to hire people who do not share their beliefs. In addition, property owners would have to ensure that all users of their property comply with these rules.
Faith-based organizations would be able to continue to rely on the “ministerial” exception for employment decisions, but that offers only limited protection. Most importantly, because the ministerial exception would apply only to employees regarded as ministers, it would not insulate churches from hiring decisions related to other staff. Without the protection of RFRA (see below), therefore, faith-based organizations would still be required to adopt LGBT-friendly employment policies.
o Threaten Religious Freedom and Free Speech
Evincing a blatant hostility toward religion, HR 5 would explicitly remove the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense to a claim covered by HR 5 or as a basis for challenging its enforcement. Faith-based organizations would be compelled to, e.g., adjust their programs, open up their privacy facilities to transgender (opposite-sex) persons, and revise employment policies, or be subject to liability.1
o Require All Organizations Open to the Public to Open Up Their Bathrooms
Women and children who use these facilities would surrender their right to privacy and be placed at increased risk for harassment or assault by men who claim to identify as women.
o Undermine Parental Rights and Instruction
By requiring that all private facilities in schools be open to members of the opposite sex if they self-identify as another gender. Children would be required to accept that their female classmates are actually male or male classmates are actually female, contradicting their parents’ instruction concerning the binary nature of one’s sex. HR 5 would also likely lead to universal instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity as normative, further contradicting parental teaching about the created nature of men and women and human sexuality.
o Force Health Care Providers to Provide Abortions, Gender Transition Treatments
Individuals and organizations who provide health care would be prohibited from refusing to perform abortions, “gender-affirming” surgeries, or any procedures requested by LGBT patients on the basis that it violates the provider’s religious beliefs.
o Jeopardize Girls’ and Women’s Athletic and Educational Opportunities
o Inevitably Threaten Tax-Exempt Status for Faith-Based Organizations
While not explicitly included in HR 5, faith-based organizations that refuse to comply with its redefinition of sex/gender could face the loss of their tax-exempt status.
We are clearly instructed by God to align ourselves with His word and stand in opposition to sin. This assault is particularly targeted at our children and grandchildren. In Matthew 18:5-6 (NIV), Jesus said, “And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” We must uphold what the Lord has declared to be right and righteous, and we must do more than just pray. We must pray and act on behalf of our nation’s children. He will save them as we do our part.
CALL TO ACTION
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HR 5 on March 17, 2021. Leaders in the Senate have declared their intent to move this bill to a full Senate vote quickly. It is imperative that pastors and faith leaders take immediate strategic action to stop its passage. Here is what you should do:
Find your U.S. Senator here (senate.gov). The Senate switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121. (If you need more explanation as to what to do once you’re on that website, scroll down to the end for details.)
Numbers matter to politicians. Leaders of all churches, pastor associations, or faith-based movements should contact your U.S. Senators and request a meeting to discuss the threat HR 5 poses to your organization and to parents, students, medical professionals, and business owners within your community.
Pastors and leaders should notify other pastors, associations of pastors, or faith-based groups of the threat and invite them to join in preparing a joint letter informing your U.S. Senators of your opposition to HR 5 and urging them to vote “No” on this bill.
We ask that all churches send a letter on behalf of your church via email and U.S. mail to your U.S. Senators informing them of the harms of this bill and asking them to vote against it. (Their addresses are on the website mentioned above.) Individuals, please do so also.
Educate your congregation from the pulpit on the threats posed by HR 5 and encourage them to contact their U.S. Senators with letters, emails, and calls urging them to vote “No” on this bill.
TOOLS FOR ADVOCACY
Child & Parental Rights Campaign has developed tools to assist us in having our voices be heard. Click on this link to be directed to a private page on their website (You may also find this link on our website: GiveHim15.com). This link will direct you to the following resources:
PowerPoint on HR 5 to share with your congregation or other leaders
Sample letter from an individual
Sample letter from churches
Sample letter for networks
Legal Summary on the Equality Act (PDF)
There is still time to take action, as it appears there are not enough votes in the Senate currently to bring cloture to a filibuster. A filibuster is a tactic used to delay a vote in the Senate. It takes 60 votes in the Senate to stop a filibuster—that is cloture—versus a simple majority to pass legislation. Pray that the filibuster is not removed or amended! The filibuster is critical to keep ungodly legislation from moving forward. You can learn more about filibuster and cloture here. You are going to be hearing a lot about this in the news, related to many ungodly and unrighteous pieces of legislation, so educate yourselves on it. It’s important that we stay informed.
Pray with me:
Father, we are deeply grieved at the intent of HR5 - the [In]Equality Act. This piece of legislation is an open door the enemy could walk through to bring great destruction. We are asking You to spare us from this threat. Lord, please stir up the body of Christ to pray, but also to take action. Motivate the pastors of America on this moral issue, Lord. Put an urgency in them to educate their congregations on this Bill and the issues involved. Stir them to join other pastors and ministry leaders in writing joint letters to their Senators. Give them boldness to rise up and take action to save the families and children in their congregations from the effect of this Bill. Cause the church to rise up, craft the messages for our Senators, and send them. Also, Lord, stir them to make phone calls. Stir us into action and save our nation.
And now, Lord, we take authority over this demonic plan. The church was asleep in the 60s when prayer was removed from our schools, and in the 70s when abortion was made the law of the land. But we will not sleep through this one. We bind every strategy of the enemy to pass and implement this Bill. We ask You, Father, for complete exposure of just how evil it is. We ask You for angels to help us win this battle by influencing pastors to take action and Senators to vote properly. We thank you for this help. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We bind the evil forces trying to pervert God’s creation of male and female through HR 5 - the [In]Equality Act.
You may reach your Senators by going to Senate.gov. You will see a box at the top of the page that says, “Find Your Senators.” Once you click on that box, a drop-down list of states will appear. Choose your state and you will see your two Senators. Their addresses and phone numbers will appear below their photos. If you want to email them, click on their names and you will be sent to their official websites. Information on how to email them will be there. Whichever method you choose please contact them, telling them to “Vote NO on HR 5.”
“Requiring a church to accept or retain an unwanted minister, or punishing a church for failing to do so, intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs. By imposing an unwanted minister, the state infringes the Free Exercise Clause, which protects a religious group's right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments.” Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. E.E.O.C., 565 U.S. 171, 188–89 (2012).