The North American Division has storied history of issuing press releases that lean more towards liberal politics than biblical principles. Sometimes though, they “get it right” and they are to be commended when that happens.
On Wednesday March 13, Nancy Pelosi introduced the so-called Equality Act, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law. This Democrat-sponsored Equality Act (H.R. 5) was passed by a liberal majority in Congress today. This federal sexual orientation and gender identity law would empower the government to interfere in how regular Americans think, speak, and act at home, at school, at work and at play. Any bill promoting such authoritarianism is a serious danger to our freedoms.
A few hours later, the General Conference and the NAD issued a press release recounting their concerns for H.R.5 — a deliberate danger to religious freedom. Their statement.
On Friday, May 17, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5). The bill, if it were to become law, would extend protection to gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals across a broad spectrum of U.S. civil rights laws. This would include employment, housing, public accommodation, and social services.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned that this legislation would further erode the religious liberty of faith communities and their members. This bill makes no allowance for communities or individuals of faith who hold traditional views of marriage and gender.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that every human being, regardless of their beliefs or choices, is created in the image of God and thus deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We recognize LGBT individuals often suffer unjust discrimination and are in need of legal protection.
Unfortunately, in attempting to provide protection for some, the Equality Act unnecessarily infringes upon the rights of others.
The way forward means addressing the concerns of both the LGBT and religious communities. We believe there is a better approach, one that builds upon the civil rights protections offered in the Equality Act by also reaffirming the First Amendment religious freedom rights of people of faith.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirms its biblical interpretation of marriage, gender, and our long-held commitment to the separation of church and state. The Seventh-day Adventist Church calls on Congress to pass legislation that guards the civil rights of all Americans, while unequivocally protecting the right of faith communities to live, worship, and witness according to their convictions.
We salute the NAD for rightly identifying the dangers of this over-reaching Bill.
This dangerous Bill threatens the freedom of conscience for six different people groups in America:
Employers and employees
Parents and Children
Non-Profits and charitable volunteers
Christians who live according to the dictates of the Word of God
Where the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered equality by ensuring that blacks had equal access to public accommodations and material goods, the Equality Act would further inequality by penalizing everyday Americans for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Similar sexual orientation and gender identity laws at the state and local level have already been used in this way, and adopted as a major platform of the Democrat party.
While we differ with the NAD on several things, we stand with them in their concerns about the religious freedom implications of the treacherous bill and the liberal tsunami that drives it.
And a Sabbath Fist-bump.