By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Train one is religious freedom. Train two is the Equality Act, H.R.5.
The United States House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, H.R.5. on May 17 by a margin of 236-173. See story on page 1. This would eliminate the use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the classifications protected in the federal civil rights law. The likelihood of this bill passing the Republican-controlled Senate in the near future is not likely. The key words, however, are “near future.”
How soon these two trains collide is anyone’s guess. My guess is it won’t be long enough.
You would have to be an ostrich whose head has been in the sand for the past decade to hold out hope that common sense will prevail.
Homosexuality is not new. It’s covered in the Old Testament. In fact, it’s described as a sin. See Leviticus 18:22. Yet, homosexuality is gaining acceptance at an alarming rate, though the number of homosexuals in the United States is believed to be less than 5 percent of the total population.
In 2018, NBC News reported findings from a Gallup Poll, indicating that 4.5 percent of the U.S. population (more than 11 million adults) identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender as compared to 4.1 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2012 (the year Gallup first began tracking LGBT identification). NBC News reported the increase was “driven primarily” by millennials, those born between 1980 and 1999.
Now, 11 million is a lot of people. No argument there. But it doesn’t quite compare to the 316.16 million people in the United States (according to the 2018 census) who are not homosexual, bisexual or transgender.
Yet, our legislators want to enact a law that basically could irreparably damage or even eliminate religious freedom in our country. Let me make it clear. People who identify as homosexual, bisexual or transgender should not be discriminated against in the work place or anywhere else for that matter.
The issue is not discrimination of homosexuals. The issue is the small minority of liberals who are pushing an agenda to normalize a lifestyle that is contrary to the Word of God. And, Christians in the United States are standing idly by and allowing it to happen.
Not true? Consider the facts. In 2015, 75 percent of the U.S. population identified with the Christian faith. If that is really true, then we Christians have no one to blame but ourselves. We are more concerned with political parties and platforms than we are the issues of what’s right and what’s wrong, with God’s Word being the barometer.
Politicians (both Democrat and Republican House members) passed the Equality Act, H.R.5. Who put those folks in office? We (the American people, including those who identify as Christians) did, and we should be ashamed of ourselves.
This bill passed by the House needs to die and remain dead. Even if the Senate does not approve the bill, it will continue to be brought up over and over again because “the other side” knows that eventually Christians will lose interest and cease their opposition, thinking “they have won.”
We cannot underestimate our spiritual enemy. When we do, we will lose. Contact your legislators. Plead with them to continue to fight against proposed legislation that would “force Americans to participate in events and speak messages that violate their core beliefs, all in the name of an ‘equality’ that tolerates no dissenters” (Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the U.S. legal division of Alliance Defunding Freedom).
The trains are approaching. Are Christians willing to be the brakes?