While the big headlines out of Washington DC this week are all about impeachment, there is a hugely significant story going on that could impact the lives of every single American. Although the impeachment of the President of the United States is no small thing, an issue that requires far more of our attention is that our religious freedoms and liberties are on the line as the Senate is getting ready to vote on two crucial bills.
The first is bill H.R. 5, known as “The Equality Act,” is essentially an amendment to the Civil Rights Act. The bill aims to redefine “sex” as gender identity and have sexual preference added to the list of protected classes. H.R. 5 passed in the House in May. The second bill, and perhaps the more troubling of the two, is H.R. 3570, “The Fraud Prevention Act.” This bill was introduced this past June and would make so-called “conversion therapy” illegal at the federal level
What the supporters of these bills are hoping you don’t know, they face opposition from a group of former LGBT-identifying individuals called “Formers.” According to the Standard Newswire, the Formers have chosen 15 representatives from their group to go to Washington DC and address their concerns about these two bills before they are voted on by the Senate.
The Standard Newswire reports:
Although dubbed “The Equality Act,” Formers understand the bill is an unnecessary concession to the false idea that members of the gay community are marginalized. In fact, LGBTQ-identifying people have always had options in how they participate in broader culture. Nothing constrains them from participating in culture on a normal level. Unlike with the African American community, who have centuries of culturally driven abuse and forced destabilization, those who identify as LGBTQ have been empowered in our modern society as scientists, literary giants, and even politicians when they have chosen not to prioritize their sexual mores.
Meanwhile, H.R. 3570, dubbed the “Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2019,” mirrors a similar bill proposed by California lawmakers but withdrawn by its author after heavy pressure from the state’s religious leaders, including Church United and Formers. Written by California Congressman Ted Lieu, the bill would ban conversion therapy nationwide and prohibit any advertising referencing to the ability to change or reduce sexual orientation or gender identity. The House resolution further minimizes the lives of thousands of Formers by declaring “there is no scientifically valid evidence that supports the practice of attempting to prevent a person from being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or gender nonconforming” adding that conversion therapy is “substantially dangerous to an individual’s mental and physical health, and has been shown to contribute to depression, self-harm, low self-esteem, family rejection, and suicide.”
The Formers going to speak before Congress have a unique perspective on these bills considering they once lived the LGBT lifestyle but have been saved from it through their faith and religious convictions. They have seen firsthand the power of God in transforming their lives and know how detrimental it would be if the very counseling practices that helped save them were soon banned.
These are voices that need to be heard before we enshrine mandated support for the LGBT lifestyle into law.
The Formers recognize the fact that, as the Standard Newswire puts it, these bills would be “the beginning of the end of religious liberty and free speech in America.” The bills would allow the Federal Government to take action against and punish any individual or organization who refuses to accept the LGBT ideology. They would create a super-class of LGBT individuals who would be untouchable, whose rights would supersede those of everyone else, and who no one would be allowed to openly disagree with. That is a terrifying prospect.
“For Formers, bills like H.R. 5 and H.R. 3570 block our rights to follow our own convictions. It enforces the false belief that one cannot change and that one has no choice but to embrace LGBTQ identity and behaviors,” asserts the Standard Newswire.
“Honestly, my life has been changed because I was able to be open about my struggle with the LGBTQ identity,” Edward Byrd says, “Through counseling and other avenues, I was able to process through rape, abuse, and gender identity. If I had not had these options I might not be alive today! Now I am on a path of Faith and Freedom.” Byrd formerly identified as ‘sexually androgynous’ but is now free to live the life God has for him thanks to counseling that would be banned under H.R. 3570.
Luis Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, has taken up the fight against these bills, saying, “If this bill would become law, we will not be able to build our organization, Fearless Identity, that brings hope and understanding to the LGBTQ communities and the church through education and biblical teaching. We support a judgment-free environment for anyone that wants to seek change, and the freedom to do so without fear of retribution or lawsuits because LBGTQ change is possible.”
Former lesbian Amanda Smith sheds some valuable perspective on the ramifications these bills would have on Americans. Smith says, “Vulnerable people deserve care. Individuals who struggle with their sexuality and self-perception around their gender deserve informed, compassionate attention of their choosing. I oppose H.R. 5 because, in the end, it would limit care and resources for people who want a particular type of assistance with these struggles. Making laws around ideologies and self-perceptions, rather than innate qualities like biological sex and race, sets a dangerous precedent. By infringing on other freedoms, particularly religious freedoms, this bill harms — even while it claims to help. I oppose this bill for the ways it would harm people whose stories are like mine and so many others I know.”
“Sexual behavior should not be a protected civil right,” Jim Domen, a former homosexual and Pastor/Founder of Church United in California, correctly asserts. This, in fact,is essentially the bottom line of the debate.
Sexual behavior should not be a protected civil right and counseling practices should not be banned based on the ideology of one group in America; that would make the US a theocracy instead of a democracy.
These bills would be incredibly limiting to the freedoms we currently enjoy as Americans. Call your Senator in Washington and tell them you oppose these bills and any restrictions to freedom of religion!
This is one of the most important legislative battles we could fight in our lifetime. Time to step up!
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