HOUSTON — It’s no secret – fellow church leaders have been experiencing religious freedom threats for years.
Let’s take a look at one shocking example: The City of Houston demanded that several area pastors turn over their sermons, e-mails, text messages, and other communications with their congregants.
The officials wanted to see if the pastors had opposed or criticized a city ordinance that, in part, allows members of the opposite sex into each other’s restrooms. Clearly, this was a violation of the pastors’ First Amendment rights.
Watch this video to hear a first-hand account of the City’s attempt to intimidate church leaders for standing firm in their biblical beliefs about males and females.
While the Houston city ordinance was ultimately rejected, government officials continue attempts to pass similar laws. Under the guise of equality, these laws add sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected classes in the law.
SOGI laws undermine religious freedom across the country. These laws impact churches and ministries, including those like Downtown Hope Center.
Downtown Hope Center is a faith-based rescue mission in Anchorage, Alaska, that serves both men and women during the day by providing food, clothing, and laundry and shower services. But at night the center becomes a women’s-only shelter to provide a safe place to sleep for homeless women– many of whom have survived rape, sex trafficking, and other abuse at the hands of men. Some city officials have tried – not once but twice – to force the shelter to allow males who identify as female to sleep mere feet from the abused and vulnerable women the shelter serves. ADF is defending Downtown Hope Center’s right to continue operating according to its religious beliefs about males and females.
SOGI laws and issues are not limited to municipalities like Anchorage or Houston. These are appearing at the state and federal level with bills like the Equality Act. If passed, the federal Equality Act could force churches to open sex-specific facilities to members of the opposite sex. It could even forbid houses of worship from ensuring that their employees abide by their doctrines or beliefs about marriage, sexual behavior, and the distinction between the sexes.
The government has no right to meddle in the internal operations of churches and ministries or to tell them what to believe. And you can be confident that Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will continue to advocate for the religious freedom rights of churches across the country.
If your church is seeking ways to protect its religious freedom to the greatest extent possible, you can access religious freedom legal help through membership in ADF Church Alliance.
ADF Church Alliance acts as a hub for churches like yours to gain access to experienced First Amendment lawyers who are available to answer religious liberty questions, conduct document reviews and provide advice, and even represent your organization in court if necessary and appropriate – it’s virtually all-inclusive for religious freedom issues.
Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey has teamed up with ADF Church Alliance so your church can become a member at a discounted rate. Visit www.adfchurchalliance.org/BRN to learn more and use promo code BRN250 when you apply.