How can a Christian oppose a legislative initiative that would guarantee and even expand equality and rights for citizens, as I will suggest that disciples of Christ do in this post?
Let me be clear that I am not going to suggest that Christians should somehow discriminate in any way against the basic, human rights and dignity of any image bearer of God. We are created equal as human beings and worthy of equal respect.
However, a new piece of legislation known as the Equality Act has been introduced by U.S. congressional Democrats and endorsed by President Biden, which would include the categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Inclusions, which would have been a foreign concept to the civil rights leaders and legislators who pushed for that law.
Here is where Christians abiding by a biblical worldview are going to have a problem- a big problem in supporting a benevolent sounding bill which could represent the most invasive threat to religious liberty ever proposed in American history.
How so? Given that this “Equality Act” would negatively impact Christian convictions in the areas of education, public accommodation, employment, and federal funding, were it to pass, its sweeping effects on religious liberty, free speech, and freedom of conscience would be chilling to say the least.
Although disciples of Jesus Christ are to reject every form of hatred, discrimination or bias towards fellow image bearers, believers cannot accept and should oppose the acts’ proposed redefinition of sexuality and human reality as we know it.
Christians understand from scripture that we have been given certain immutable (unchanging) and binary or fixed human characteristics by God reflected in the reality of biology (gender) and ethnicity (race or color).
However, this act aims to further the indoctrinating goals of the sexual revolution in American society, which means to codify sexual behaviors and man-made identities and orientations (LGTBQ) as normative and psychologically rather than biologically based.
The Equality Act would forever cement the unbiblical and ungodly ethics of the revolution into federal law pitting Christian morality against secularly influenced immorality at the most fundamental level.
What is the Problem?
The Equality Law would actually create inequality for Christians. Passage of this ‘equality law’ would communicate that Christian beliefs about sexuality and God’s design for the flourishing of families and society are intolerant, discriminatory and therefore illegal.
Just think of the anti-discrimination laws including sexual orientation, which have passed in several American states and municipalities over the past few years which have discriminated against Christian cake-bakers, florists and photographers among others whose convictions of conscience in refusing to participate in same-sex weddings were treated as equal to those that would deny space at a restaurant counter or a seat on the bus to an African-American.
As one Christian ethicist put it, “In short, the Equality Act equates Christian ethics with hatred and bigotry.”
Whereas followers of Christ should expect and are seeing increasing amounts of anti-Christian bias and persecution in the marketplace of ideas and in our culture – as Jesus predicted we would (Jo. 15:18-25), Christians who ‘love God and love people’ are still expected to graciously and reasonably push back against the tide of the moral revolution taking place in our country and not hasten its expansion.
How? By explaining to skeptics of the faith and biblical ethics that the confrontation of human nature and God’s design for mankind is injurious to all of mankind.
A Picture of the Problem
A prime example depicting the consequences of the Equality Act, would be the enforcement of proposed bans that ensure the rights of counselors -licensed Christian counselors among them, to offer counsel and treatment to individuals voluntarily seeking help to overcome gender dysphoria or sexual sin and dysfunction.
In fact, pastors and Christians offer this kind of help and wisdom from a biblical perspective every day, somewhere to someone when they share the gospel of Jesus Christ as the opportunity of redemption and life transformation, including the forgiveness of all sins- sexual and otherwise, through repentance and faith in Christ.
Secular ‘progressives’ see the above as a necessary ban on “conversion therapies”, also known to them as ‘reparative treatments’, which rely on the assumption as they put it, that sexual orientation can be changed or “cured.” They believe that idea has been discredited by major medical associations in the UK, the United States and elsewhere.
Thus, therapy bans at least for minors, have been legislated in 20 American states and Washington D.C. while remaining legal in the southeastern U.S (including FL) for now, due to a recent federal ruling that cleared the way for psychologists to continue offering the counseling to willing patients, though the Equality Act would threaten to end the practice once and for all, endangering even gospel presentations to lost, sexual sinners seeking God’s saving grace.
Such a precedent is on its way to being set in proposed law in nearby Canada and Australia, where counseling outreach that carries the “purpose of changing or suppressing the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person; or inducing the person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity” would be criminalized.
The danger of the Australian law from an evangelical perspective is its list of “change or suppression practices.” This includes: “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice.”
In other words, if someone there were to ask a pastor or a Christian friend to pray for them that their sexual desires or gender dysphoria might be changed, that pastor or friend would run the risk of committing a criminal offense.
Presumably, this would also apply to parents praying for their children—or perhaps even parents teaching their children that unbiblical expressions of sexual desire are sinful or inappropriate.
How much more difficult would it be to express God’s truth about his design for human sexuality and to offer freedom from the bondage of sexual sin through the cross of Christ, were the Equality Act to be passed in this country?
Will church sermons come under scrutiny for preaching such language as may be the case soon in the nation of Denmark?
The Root of the Problem
Why are we having to even deal with the issue of our government considering legalizing and therefore legitimizing psychological fantasies of sexual identity and preferences that would have been thought of as unimaginable as recently as 15 years ago?
The clay pot is attempting to create its own pottery.
“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? (Isa. 45:9, ESV)
Once mankind begins to think of himself a maker of men – a creature who worships and fancies himself to be the creator, he will consider mankind to be a product. Sexuality expressed in fluid or ever-changing identities and ethics, may be such a product. Again, this version of the Equality Act manifests a Romans 1 attitude that refuses to accept God as God and as the sovereign creator and sustainer of this world.
No different than the temptation of the enemy of our souls to our first parents in the garden, man is still dissatisfied with being the pot made and managed by its potter. Early church father Augustine in his Exposition of the Psalms wrote of how the pot’s nature is connected to the grace of the potter, “From God we have our being and also our well-being.”
In a perversion of Augustine’s theological truth statement, the modern idea has become that if we have our being from ourselves, then so also is our well-being.
We don’t do a very good job of playing God do we? How idiotic is it to think of a pot being fashioned at the potter’s wheel to take the chair of the potter and shape itself? That’s what sinful man does every time he tries to usurp the authority and honor due God. We keep killing ourselves spiritually and physically every time we try to take God off his throne and put ourselves on it.
Were it so simple that we could solve the problem of the inequality of this proposed Equality Act, by just quoting Christ, “He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female (Matt. 19:4; cf. Gen. 5:2).” Men and women are biological certainties of creation made to live out sanctified single lives in service to God or as married- one man and one woman for one lifetime on earth.
That’s God’s design for his image bearers and the designer always knows what’s best for his design. Where does that leave us with a post-Christian culture hell-bent on ever expanding the limits of its own sexual revolution?
Christian author Nancy Pearcey says it well:
As we work through controversial moral issues, it is crucial to bear in mind the main goal. It is not, first of all, to persuade people to change their behaviour. It is to tear down barriers to becoming Christian. No matter who we are addressing, or what moral issue the person is struggling with, their first need is to hear the gospel and experience the love of God. (Love Thy Body, p. 260)
When we start with that and pray and trust the Holy Spirit to do the work only he can do, we can be confident that God will perform his ultimate ‘conversion therapy’ on whom he wills, no matter what Caesar’s plans are to stop it.