The once great state of California used to be the land of the brave and the free.
California championed the freedoms of our great Constitution including and especially the first amendment, and the second, and the fourth, and the fifth. Wherever the rights of the people were paramount, guaranteed and fully protected by the Constitution, California guaranteed all of them, and then some. California, once upon a time, was a place where freedom of speech rang loud and clear, as did freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press and the media. California was a welcoming home to all of them.
But that was then. In the now, no state in our great union has been more aggressive in trying to control and curtail free speech. NONE!
The Judiciary Committee of the legislature in California in the person of the Assemblyman Evan Low has championed a resolution (assembly concurrent resolution 99) which in essence will dictate, demand and require what religious leaders say about LGBTQ behavior or identities. This proposed law will require religious leaders to “embrace the individual and social benefits of family and community acceptance of LGBTQ people.” That is so no matter what the religious leaders believe or whether or not they choose to embrace and champion the tenets of the bible with respect to this lifestyle, both old testament and new. In short, says this new law, preach the party line, embrace and articulate the current California thinking, incredibly and aggressively secular, and in no way condemn the lifestyle no matter what the scriptures say.
But this unbelievable piece of legislation has only just begun. It now requires religious leaders to condemn “conversion therapy” as unethical and such a practice must be legally banned. This legislature, championed by Evan Low claims that conversion therapy is not only unethical, but leads to higher rates of suicide.
And, any such verbal negativity by religious leaders can cause serious harms, including family rejection and there should be no attempt to dissuade an individual who wishes to change sexual orientation or gender identity. If this becomes law, and it probably will, it will be the most serious infringement on free speech ever passed by any state. In fact, it could very well be the beginning of the end of the FREEDOM OF THE PULPIT and certainly the ability to preach publicly what Pastors believe and what the scriptures teach.
And of course, what goes in California goes around. You can be certain that, if this legislation passes, similar legislation will arise in our most liberal states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, and perhaps Hawaii and others. No matter that the first amendment of our great Constitution absolutely forbids our federal congress, and by extension state legislatures from making any law which would in any way ABRIDGE much less eliminate free speech. California will do what California wants no matter the Constitution. It is a state, a nation it thinks of itself as, unto itself, ready to defy the Supreme Court, the President, and the Congress in order to do its own thing.
We are left to wonder just what the punishment for verbal violation of this bill will be. Should Pastors and other religious leaders have the courage to SPEAK, and that speech runs afoul of this law, what I wonder will California do to punish them and shut them up.
This bill not only threatens Pastors, but Christian counselors as well. Here the words of ordained counselor Joe Dallas who said the following:
“While warning against the dangers of so called conversion therapy, this bill ACR 99 restricts much more than counseling. It, in fact, dictates to Pastors what they cannot teach. That is, that homosexuality (according to the bible) is a sin.”
And of course, that may be the real reason why this legislation is proposed. It angers the LGBTQ community whenever homosexual lifestyle is referred to as a sin IN BIBLICAL TERMS rather than just an alternative lifestyle. Now comes this bill of MINISTER MUZZLING. I can only imagine what comes next. Sooner or later, virtually any biblical admonition or prohibition can come under attack and little if anything of the bible of old will be left protected. But again, my fellow Americans, California will do what California wants to do no matter the Constitution, and no matter the very first and most important amendment of all:
FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
There will be little of that left to Pastors and religious leaders.
The legislators claim that such teachings against this lifestyle and the tenets of traditional faiths have caused depression and increased rates of suicide. But, over 25 religious and nonprofit leaders, including several psychologists have signed a letter refuting the resolutions claim which they state is not based on the facts. This group cites several research projects that found individuals with same–sex attraction and who live according to their traditional religious faith are no less happy or healthy than individuals in liberal faiths or no faith who live out an LGBTQ identity. But California will do what California wants to do, no matter the facts. And if California wants to shut down free speech, California will do just that, especially when it comes to Christianity and the pulpit preaching of Christian ministers. You can be certain that this bill will face incredible constitutional challenges both at the state level, and of course the federal, and ultimately THE SUPREME COURT.
These 25 religious and nonprofit leaders, again including several psychologists, who signed this letter of protest stated very clearly their belief that this bill is a threat to religious freedom and could actually hurt families when a same–sex attracted parent is no longer able to seek therapy to save their marriage and family. And, thankfully, the letter goes on to state:
“It is unconstitutional to strip any person of any first amendment freedoms, and it is inhumane to prohibit individuals from addressing their own personal pain and desire for healing and change.”
Is it ever. And that, in my view, is indeed the larger problem. The UNCONSTITUTIONALITY of this act, this bill, which does not only curtail free speech, but actually seeks to eliminate it.
And, this bill can become the precursor of more to come. And, in the once great state of California, you can be certain that there will be more to come.
And, there already is MORE COMING at the federal level in the form of THE EQUALITY ACT now proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which will accomplish much of that proposed by the California legislation, AND MORE! That equality legislation as it nears passage in the House of Representatives could strike a severe blow against religious freedom and freedom of speech, the first amendment notwithstanding. It has no chance to become law with President Trump in office. But if a Democratic candidate for President wins in 2020, you can be certain that this legislation will either pass or much of what it contains will be implemented by presidential order. The fight is on, and big time my fellow Christians. We the faithful carry on struggle and disagreement with dialogue and discussion. We champion biblical truths from deep belief and faith, and for real Christians, with love. But now comes the CHRISTIAN SHUT-UP verbally on the one hand, but also in terms of conduct and behavior on the other. The conflict has only just begun.
When the Supreme Court in the person of former Justice Kennedy announced its decision that the right to gay marriage was constitutional, Chief Justice John Roberts in his descent warned the nation that this decision, this finding of a new constitutional right to gay marriage, would trigger an incredible and aggressive conflict with the guarantee of the first amendment of religious freedom and its companion freedom of speech. And, was he ever right. Liberal even radical states like California have been emboldened by this decision and where radical progressivism prevails, these states will do anything in their power to muzzle Christianity, Christian teaching and the tenets of the bible. We the Christians assume free speech, the right to our own beliefs, the right to champion those beliefs publicly. But we will now be faced with a defensive, protective approach to those rights fending off the aggressive attacks, like in California, sure to come. The fight is on, as we were warned by Chief Justice John Roberts. And it will only get more aggressive. This California legislation is just another example of how polarized, separated and antagonistic our country has become. There is no dialogue but only demand. There is no discussion but only demonizing THE OTHER. And in so many states and even at the federal level, the radical progressives have the power of the legislature behind them, and the tacit if not open endorsement and encouragement of governors. If we are in fact true, Bible–believing Christians, we have no other option but to STAND UP, and:
FIGHT THE FIGHT OF FAITH.
That fight is on, everywhere in one form or another. Put on the helmet of faith and take up the sword of truth and join this battle. Today, an ever and radically changing TODAY, Christians have no other choice!