Prayer Targets: The Equality Act is Anything But; Becerra to Lead HHS?; Collegiate Prayer
February 24, 2021
Dear Praying Friends,
The "Equality Act" (HR 5), if made law, would amend existing civil rights laws that protect persons from discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and sex to make sexual orientation and gender identity a specially protected class (see a secular overview of bill and prospects for passage). If enacted, the federal government would be empowered to prosecute discrimination cases, and state laws that provide religious protections, which then would be trumped by the new federal HR 5 law. There are no religious exemption measures in the House bill. Every Christian needs to understand and pray for the defeat of this anti-Christian legislation. Below are edited excerpts from a shortened version of a brief by Mary Beth Waddell, JD, FRC's Director of Federal Affairs, Family and Religious Liberty.
Why the "Equality Act" (EA) is Unfair, Unequal, and Unjust. It would overhaul our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), expand abortion access, and gut religious liberty -- leaving many to suffer the consequences, including women, children, medical professionals, and people of faith. It mandates an anti-life, anti-family, anti-faith agenda upon all Americans.
The Equality Act Is Radically Pro-Abortion. 1) Health care providers would be expressly prohibited from discriminating based on sex. 2) Sex discrimination would be redefined to incorporate language that courts have previously ruled includes abortion. 3) This redefinition -- in conjunction with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) exemption and expansion of what constitutes a public accommodation beyond physical facilities -- jeopardizes long-standing federal conscience laws that protect opponents of abortion. The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion, would be in jeopardy. 4) By these changes, the EA would essentially create a legislative right to abortion on demand.
The Equality Act Is Detrimental to Women's Equality, Privacy, and Safety -
Equality 1) Contrary to its name, the Equality Act would undermine equality and real civil rights gains women have made. For example, the Small Business Administration Office of Women's Business Ownership, whose mission is to "enable and empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education and support," would have to give biological men who identify as women access to its programs. 2) Biological males would be allowed to compete in women's sports. This would unfairly penalize female athletes and effectively obliterate Title IX (already occurring in some states). For example, two biological boys have collectively won 15 women's track titles once held by nine different girls in Connecticut. As a result, biological girls have consistently fallen below the threshold to advance in their sport, inhibiting their ability to be seen by college recruiters and obtain scholarships...
Privacy and Safety - The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing many years ago about sex-based distinctions, defended privacy for men and women in separate bathrooms. Under the Equality Act, females will no longer have privacy in public bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, or even battered women's shelters. Similar state and local laws have already revealed the consequences of this policy: a) A kindergarten girl was assaulted by a boy in her school bathroom. b) A rape survivor was forced to quit her job when her employer began allowing men into women's private facilities (being seen in the shower had been part of her victimization). c) A biological man was allowed residence in a women's shelter, and nine women have filed a sexual harassment suit against him. d) In addition to being unfair, allowing biological men to compete in women's sports is also unsafe. It could lead to significant injuries for female athletes, particularly in high contact sports, as biological men are bigger and stronger than women on average.
The Equality Act Harms the Very Members of the LGBT Community It Purports to Protect. 1) The Equality Act advances policies that do not align with science. It therefore harms members of the LGBT community seeking assistance in an area like healthcare, which necessarily must be based on biology and science: a) A biological woman identifying as a man and who was listed as a man on medical records was assessed for kidney disease as a man, causing treatment missteps and nearly resulting in death. b) A biological woman identifying as a man appeared to be a masculine, overweight man to hospital staff. They therefore had no reason to think the patient was pregnant and in labor. Sadly, the patient did not receive immediate care and delivered a stillborn baby. The doctor noted that the male classification "threw us off" from the patient's actual medical needs. c) A biological woman identifying as a man, who had undergone a mastectomy, developed cancer in the remaining breast tissue. The doctor was not sure how to code this patient in the medical records system. d) A biological woman identifying and appearing to be a man was diagnosed with an ovarian tumor after several steps of treatment.
The Equality Act Politicizes the Medical Profession to the Detriment of Patients and Practitioners 1) Under the Equality Act, doctors and others who provide legitimate hormone treatments and surgical procedures for patients with certain physical conditions would be forced to offer those treatments for individuals with gender dysphoria. 2) Moral or medical opinions objecting to assisting individuals in physically altering their bodies would be rendered largely moot, despite science telling us these treatments are harmful. 3) A 2011 Swedish study... found that post-surgery individuals had a suicide completion rate 19 times higher than the general population. a) The risk of psychiatric hospitalization was 2.8 times higher even after adjustment for prior psychiatric disease. b) Death by neoplasm (a benign or cancerous mass) and cardiovascular disease was 2 to 2.5 times higher. 4) There is evidence that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, blood clots, stroke, and more. 4) The EA's requirements would override a doctor's concern about any of these points.
The Equality Act Could Erode Parental Rights a) An Ohio couple declined hormone treatment for their child; Children's Hospital of Cincinnati involved child protective services. The parents were stripped of their parental rights. If refusing puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to children with symptoms or diagnosis of gender dysphoria is deemed discriminatory, such cases could become more commonplace.
The Equality Act Would Severely Erode Religious Freedom -- 1) The EA's supporters claim that it will help eradicate discrimination in our society. But by undermining religious liberty -- the freedom for all to choose their faith and live it out -- the EA will eradicate not discrimination but freedom of thought, belief, and the ability to have a differing opinion without government retribution. 2) The EA will gut the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It will erode the freedom of churches and houses of worship, religious schools and students, and faith-based organizations.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act - The Equality Act expressly exempts itself from RFRA, our flagship religious liberty legislation that received strong bipartisan congressional support and was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton nearly 30 years ago. 1) RFRA does not dictate an outcome; it merely provides that religious claims are deserving of attention. By gutting the applicability of RFRA, the EA places a weight on the scale in favor of substantial governmental burdens on religion without examination. 2) The importance and necessity of RFRA cannot be understated. RFRA protects religious freedom against federal government infringement even more robustly than the Constitution does: 3) RFRA requires that the government show a "compelling government interest" that is advanced in the "least restrictive" manner to infringe on any sincerely held religious beliefs. In contrast, the First Amendment (as currently interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court) allows the government to infringe on religious exercise in many cases if it does so through a "neutral" and "generally-applicable law." 4) If the EA is passed, those with religious views disfavored by the EA would not have RFRA as a tool to defend their religious freedoms.
Churches and Houses of Worship -- 1) Under the Equality Act, churches and houses of worship could be required to violate their beliefs regarding how they use their facilities. 2) Some houses of worship could also be prevented from ensuring their clergy and employees abide by their doctrines or beliefs about marriage, sexual behavior, and the distinction between the sexes.
Religious Schools and Students -- 1) Some religious schools could be considered a public accommodation or an employer that falls within the Equality Act's broad reach, therefore (a) requiring them to allow biological males to participate in women's sports and enter private spaces meant for females or (b) inhibiting their ability to hire only those who share their beliefs. 2) Some religious colleges and universities could be bound in all aspects of their operation, including admissions and housing.
Faith-Based Organizations -- Faith-based organizations, including those that play a vital role in the adoption and foster care system, sometimes receive federal funding to help their important work. Under the Equality Act, these organizations would be forced to either violate their beliefs or shut down, displacing the children in their care. Thousands of children in Illinois were left without care when Catholic Charities was forced to shut down under a "nondiscrimination" law.
- Father, our Supreme Court erred in its ruling in Bostock v. Clayton. Some call it the Roe v. Wade of sexual anarchy prevailing over religious liberty. Lord, men and women who reject your law are seeking to impose their sexual lawlessness upon those who are seeking to obey your laws. They seek morally lawless legal power to punish those who can never affirm their sinful choices and maintain their fidelity to your word. Intervene we pray, not only to prevent this lawless HR 5 bill to pass, but to set a marker that elected representatives of the American people will not yet again declare righteous what you declare unrighteous, nor provide sexual activists the tools with which to persecute religious believers. May they mark religious liberty, already protected under law, and the Constitution, to be a higher principle than sexual libertinism. Lord, protect the innocent, our children, our educators, medical professionals, our homes, and churches. Let our legislators go no further in departing from the plain law of God in their public policy, and thus cause our nation under God to depart farther from him. God, grant repentance, send revival, bring an end to this and every measure that fosters innocent bloodshed, that defies your created order, holy matrimony, and the sacred family institution. Turn us as a nation back to you, the God of the Universe through Jesus Christ! In Jesus' Name, Amen! (Lev 18:22; Eze 3:17-21; Rom 1:18-32; 1 Cor 6:9-11, 18; 10:13; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; 1 Th 4:3-5; 1Tim 1:8-10; Heb 13:4; 1 Pet 2:11-12; 1 Jn 1:9; Jude 7)
Hardline Pro-Abortion Lawyer as America's Top Health Executive? -- Christians were horrified to learn that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was nominated by President Biden to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with its $1.4 trillion budget. Becerra forced California's Christian groups and pro-life pregnancy resource centers to advertise state-funded abortion in waiting rooms and other prominent places in their facilities. But the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) fought it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Becerra would use the mammoth agency to formulate rules to advance the Biden administration's pro-abortion policies in every place by every available means. The Senate Finance Committee is conducting the second of two hearings today. (See Xavier Becerra Not Fit to lead HHS)
- May God give our Senators the strength and determination to filibuster and reject this shockingly hardline abortion advocate from heading what should be our government's chief proponent of life! (Gen 1:26-27; 9:4-6; Ex 20:13; 23:7; Dt 5:17; 30:19; Jer 1:5; Ps 100:3, 127: 139:13-16; Pr 6:16-17; Is 49:1; Lk 12:6-7; Jn 3:16-17; 1 Cor 3:16-17; Ep 2:10).
Collegiate Day of Prayer -- To magnify our nation's need for a radical return to God on America's college and university campuses would be to state the obvious. Professors and their students have become leading perpetrators and victims of our "woke" culture. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can break through the deception and turn the tide (visit Collegiate Day of Prayer).
- Lord, send our schools a massive Jesus Movement, far greater than the last, and move people to unite with these trustworthy organizers to pray for professors, students, parents, curricula, and everything pertaining to the education of our young and not-so-young adults! (Gen 1:26-27; 9:4-6; Ex 20:13; 23:7; Dt 5:17; 30:19; Jer 1:5; Ps 100:3, 127: 139:13-16; Pr 6:16-17; Is 49:1; Lk 12:6-7; Jn 3:16-17; 1 Cor 3:16-17; Ep 2:10)
Join us tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET at PrayVoteStand.org. Dr. Ben Carson and Pastor Mike McClure of Calvary Chapel San Jose, Calif., will be joining Tony to bring us up to date on their issues and to pray.
As always, thank you for praying!