Apr 12, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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Equality Act: Endangers Religious Freedom

Last Thursday, the House passed the controversial and horribly mistitled Equality Act, fulfilling a Biden campaign promise. As its name implies, it is an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act intended to end discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, substantially expanding the areas to which those discrimination protections apply. If it passes the Senate and becomes the law of the land, private businesses would be required to act in contradiction to their personal beliefs. Opponents claim the law would seriously infringe on religious freedoms.

A report by the Heritage Organization outlined the dangers of the euphemistically named legislation:

“It forces every American to agree with controversial government-imposed ideology on sexuality or be treated as an outlaw. The Equality Act demolishes existing civil rights and constitutional freedoms… The Equality Act guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and threatens constitutional freedoms by eliminating conscience protections from the Civil Rights Act. If enacted, H.R. 5 would force employers, medical professionals, educators, and religious organizations to allow men into women’s shelters, pay for or perform sex-change operations, and engage in speech that violates their consciences. Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies would be forced to violate their belief that every child deserves a mother and a father.”

The report also stated that the Equality Act opens the door to public funding for abortions and sex-change operations and would make doctors who refused to perform these procedures liable to discrimination claims. 

Debate: Yes God, or No God

The religious implications were clearly expressed in the debate over the bill. Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla) criticized the Equality Act during the House debate, opposed the bill claiming it violates religious beliefs. 

“It’s not clothing or personal style that offends God, but rather the use of one’s appearance to act out or take on a sexual identity different from the one biologically assigned by God at birth,” Steube argued. “The gender confusion that exists in our culture today is a clear rejection of God’s good design. Whenever a nation’s laws no longer reflect the standards of God, that nation is in rebellion against him and will inevitably bear the consequences.”

Steube cited the Biblical prohibition. 

A woman must not put on man’s apparel, nor shall a man wear woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is abhorrent to Hashem your God. Deuteronomy 22:5

“When men or women claim to be able to choose their own sexual identity,” he said, “they’re making a statement that God did not know what he was doing when he created them.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler objected on the same divine grounds. 

“Mr. Steube, what any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress,” he said.

Skewed Fact-Check

Such a declaration on the floor, revealing the disdain for God emanating from the Democratic party, could not be allowed to appear on social media. Facebook flagged a post claiming Nadler said, “God has no authority in the House of Representatives.” Politico “fact-checked” the post, labeling it false because it was “similar” but not “a direct quote.” 

USA Today dismissed the post as “lacking context” and “falsely attributed to Nadler, even though Nadler did in fact utter the quote the post was based on. USA Today conjectured that Nadler’s rejection of God’s will as playing a role on congressional decisions was based on the first clause in the Bill of Rights which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The establishment clause is often described in metaphor as the “separation of church and state.” If the USA Today explanation were true, it would represent a flawed understanding of the separation of Church and State as it does not prohibit people or politicians from making political and moral judgments based on their religious beliefs. 

It is interesting to note that Nadler was raised an Orthodox Jew and was educated in a yeshiva until high-school. 

Congressman Al Green also tried to refute the opposition to the Equality Act based on a rejection of God based on racial inequality.

“And still I rise, Mr. Speaker,” Green began, quoting late, great poetess Maya Angelou.

“You used God to enslave my foreparents. You used God to segregate me in schools,” Green intoned. “You used God to put me in the back of the bus. Have you no shame? God created every person in this room. Are you saying that God made a mistake?”

 

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