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-California: State Passes Bill Ordering Pastors and Churches to Support LGBTQ Lifestyle

by Dr. D ~ September 16th, 2019


The California Sate Senate has passed a bill ordering pastors and churches to support the LGBTQ lifestyle regardless of religious beliefs. The bill was previously passed by the state Assembly so now it goes to the governor for his consideration and signature. From SBN News:

California Senate passed a resolution telling Christian clergy to accept and support LGBTQ ideology, even if doing so violates their Christian beliefs. …

CBN News previously reported that more than two dozen doctors, counselors, former homosexuals, and other Christian leaders signed a letter condemning the resolution, which they said violates religious freedom. …

Russell Willingham executive director of New Creation Ministries told CBN News, "I believe ACR-99 sets the stage for future laws that will criminalize pastor caregivers like me who provide such a resource – resources that offer an option for those who don’t want what the state is telling them they must accept."

<Read the whole article>

Here’s a link to the entire text of the bill itself which includes the following resolutions:

Resolved, That the Legislature calls upon religious leaders to counsel on LGBTQ matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy; and be it further

Resolved, That in addressing the stigma often associated with persons who identify as LGBTQ, we call on the people of California–especially its counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators, and legislators–and the institutions of California with great moral influence–especially its churches, universities, colleges, and other schools, counseling centers, activist groups, and religious centers–to model equitable treatment of all people of the state; and be it further …

Response: It is a foregone conclusion that California Gov. Newsom will sign the bill into law. Fortunately there are no penalties for pastors or churches ignoring its provisions. However it sets a terrible precedent that is one small step away from legally forcing pastors and churches to ignore their own beliefs and Constitutional right to religious freedom. The bill should be challenged in court if it is signed into law.

Already Christian schools are under attack in the state when it comes to lifestyle rules on sexuality for students, teachers, and workers. Plus numerous churches are also in the midst of lawsuits against a state mandate that requires all health insurance policies to include coverage for elective abortion, even for churches and religious institutions.

When it comes to LGBTQ issues, the state authorities and the majority of elected political leaders in California seem to be formulating policies that actually make the state a hostile environment for conservative Bible believing Christians, churches, and religious institutions. The prevailing attitude among most of the elected state officials is that the LGBTQ lifestyle should trump religious freedom.

Religious liberty is viewed by many of these leaders as mostly an excuse for bigotry and discrimination that should be limited when it comes to LGBTQ issues. Further more, according to many ‘progressive’ leaders in the state, the traditional interpretations of the First Amendment need to be called into question and adjusted in light of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.               *Top

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4 Responses to -California: State Passes Bill Ordering Pastors and Churches to Support LGBTQ Lifestyle

  1. Brian

    There may be no criminal penalties, but it could become ammunition to help establish a civil cause of action against Christian clergy. It is a whole lot easier to establish civil causes then criminal penalties.

    Look at the various civil rights acts — criminal liability is not absent, but is actually rare. But each civil rights act empowers its beneficiaries to sue over any offense, which has been incredibly effective in coercing change.

    The goal here, I suspect, may eventually involve criminal penalties. But in the short run, we need to worry more about the creation of an ability of an “aggrieved person” to sue a minister who has “offended” him.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Brian,
    your observations give us a much better view of what they are actually going for. Here’s some questions for you:

    If a pastor counsels someone and they are offended and his comments run counter to this legislation then is there possibly some grounds for a civil action or a lawsuit? Or if someone is offended and hurt by what is taught or preached in a church when it comes to the LGBTQ lifestyle would the church liable? Or if a Christian school or institution demands a certain Biblical lifestyle for participants and workers when it comes to sexuality and marriage will that be in jeopardy? If so then religious liberty is under a more serious attack in California than I thought.

  3. Brian

    In real life, I am an attorney. I have no direct knowledge of California law, but what I hear is that it is that it is frequently pretty “out there” in terms of a lack of common sense.

    The goal of certain elements in the LGBTQ movement (and certain leftist allies in the California general assembly) would definitely be to quash any speech that supports a Biblical view of homosexual relations. This would run afoul of the 1st amendment, so I think (for the moment), it is safe.

    The more serious immediate threat is the one that you enumerated later in your comment – if a Christian institution, such as a school, demanded adherence to a Biblical-viewpoint for students, teachers, etc., we already have the groundwork laid in other litigation for a court to hold “No, teacher X cannot be discriminated against in her application for work because she does not believe your worldview”

    Within the past couple of days, two Arizona-based wedding planners won a suit in the Arizona Supreme Court declaring that they did not have to make wedding announcements for gay couples. The Arizona Supreme Court’s majority decision was nothing short of condescending in describing their Christian religious views.

    The dissent argued that if you allow Christians to refuse to provide wedding related services to LGBT weddings, you open the door to vast discrimination against everybody, so lets not let Christians discriminate.

    See article


    So, applying this to your Christian school example, it is the hiring/firing/enrollment and expulsion rules of a Christian school that are most likely to be challenged in the near future. The argument, although not expressed in these terms, will be that “you can believe whatever you want, but you cannot discriminate. Keep you religion to yourself and in the church”.

    The next step I would anticipate would involve church membership. If a practicing homosexual couple tried to join a church, can they be excluded? They will argue that they are not trying to force the members to believe anything, just to join because of their own religious convictions. We already have a US Supreme Court case (Roberts v. Jaycees) which said that private organizations (in this case, the Jaycees) could not forbid people from joining (in the Roberts case – women). The majority held that allowing women to join did not abridge the rights of association of existing members, due to the large size of the Jaycees. Here is the Wikipedia synopsis:

    “In an opinion authored by Justice Brennan, the Court held:

    Application of the Minnesota Human Rights Act to compel the Jaycees to accept women as regular members did not abridge either male members’ freedom of intimate association or their freedom of expressive association.
    The Act was not unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Several features of the Jaycees, including its large size, unselective membership, and purpose, placed it outside the sphere of relationships protected by the First Amendment. The Court ruled that the State’s compelling interest in combating gender discrimination justified the law’s impact on the Jaycees’ First Amendment rights.”

    It is easy to take the language of the foregoing passage and twist it to apply to a large church. (Keep in mind that the Jaycees had small local chapters, so the US Supreme Court disingenuously looked at the national organization in deciding that members’ relationships would not be impacted). The only sentence in the foregoing summary of Roberts that might apply differently to a church is the one about First Amendment rights – and even if Roberts the Supreme Court trampled the First Amendment rights of the existing Jaycees members without hesitation, so why should we expect anything else in regard to church membership?

    Moving forward, sooner or later the federal courts (i.e. the Supreme Court) are going to have to decide the issue they have been dodging for so long — whose rights are superior? Is it the right of the religious person to believe as he/she wishes, and to practice that belief, or is it the right of the LGBT person to marry/obtain a job/join a church etc. that trumps? I believe, as expressed in earlier paragraphs, that we are on a road that leads to lawsuits against churches by “offended” individuals in protective classes, but that there are several steps of gradual encroachment, and gradually creating/recognizing lawsuits in peripheral areas, before the final step of allowing a direct action against a church/clergyman for “offensive” preaching or beliefs.

  4. Dr. D

    Thanks Brian for the helpful information.

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