Texas’ New Anti-Christian Bills and Why Christians Should be Concerned
Members of the Texas legislature are gearing up to consider several new bills that some groups are calling “Ban the Bible” bills.
One such group is Texas Values, a nonprofit that seeks to “preserve and advance a culture of family values in the state of Texas.” They have dubbed these proposals the “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (SOGI) bills.
According to Texas Values, these bills, if passed, would give the government power to ban free expression of biblical beliefs. The punishment for failing to comply is fines, possible jail time and other charges. The state would strip “Texans’ right to practice biblical teachings out of their lives.”
James Wesolek of Texas Values claims that the “so-called anti-discrimination laws turn law-abiding Christians into criminals.”
Texans can’t stand by and watch it happen, he added.
Why Be Worried?
Here are some specifics:
H.B. 244, H.B. 254 and S.B.151 amend the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the Labor Code, and the Property Code. The bills create ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ and ‘gender expression’ protected classes.
If the bills pass, they would effectively criminalize Christians, argues Wesolek. They would force everyone to “support” those having a “gender transition.” They would force Christian businesses like bakeries and florists to use their artistic skills for same-sex weddings and ceremonies. They would force religious homeless shelters, colleges and universities to allow biological men to sleep next to women in abuse shelters or dorms. They would force private property owners to allow men and women access to each others’ showers, locker rooms and bathrooms.
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Further, H.B. 517 forbids therapists, counselors, psychologists or any mental health provider from counseling patients from a biblical perspective. For example, if a counselor tells a patient that homosexuality is against biblical teaching, they could face disciplinary action. They could also face punishment if they discourage a “gender transition.” This is true even if the patient has unwanted feelings and asks the therapist for help.
Stifling the Christian Voice
Those in favor of these bills, however, argue that the intent isn’t to ban the Bible. It’s more about creating LGBTQ equality. Zack Ford of Think Progress says that the bills that Texas Values is concerned about simply “ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations; protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, and make it easier for transgender people to update their birth certificates. None of them mentions the Bible.”
But Wesolek explains that he isn’t talking about having Bibles taken away — yet. The danger is that Christians would be forced to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs or face fines or worse. Texas Christians would be unable to live out their faith in their everyday lives.
Editor, radio show host and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson says that the progressives in Texas want to ban Christianity in all but name. “This continues a long line of thought first advocated by the Obama Administration, which sought to restrict the ‘free exercise’ clause of the first amendment to a ‘freedom of worship’ standard. In other words, be a Christian in church on Sunday, but no where else.”
“Christianity is not a religion of the church pew, but of the town square,” added Erickson. “Texas progressives are trying to ban it from anywhere outside the church.”
Nicole Hudgens is a Senior Policy Analyst for Texas Values. Hudgens says that the anti-Christian bills shock the conscience and must be stopped. “Creating more government control and threatening Christians with jail time or fines does not create a tolerant society.”
CALL TO ACTION:
Please continue to pray diligently as secularists and atheists continue to squeeze Christians out of the public square.